Anime Girlfriend feature | Music | Salt Lake City Weekly

Anime Girlfriend feature 

SLC band adds layers to your perception of the "emo" genre.

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Anime Girlfriend - ALESSANDRA VIVO
  • Alessandra Vivo
  • Anime Girlfriend

Finding your identity as a band can be a long process, but worth it in the end when you know what direction to pursue, and find those people with whom you mesh well. SLC group Anime Girlfriend found each other in 2022, and have been working on their music as well as themselves as a band ever since.

"The first song we ever played together was 'Teenage Dirtbag' by Wheatus in my kitchen," said bassist/vocalist Hannah Shipley Williams. "It was really awkward, but we stuck it out and that's how we became a band." Who hasn't bonded over the classic 2000 release?

This is where the group initially thought they wanted to go musically—a more punk/alt route—until they started playing together, and realized that genre wasn't what they were after. Every so often, they will bust out some Sum 41 or "Sex Bob-omb" from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World just to mix it up.

Anime Girlfriend describes themselves as "Mountain West Emo," and this is where they're not only comfortable, but where they really shine. There's a lot to love about emo music—despite misconceptions that it may just be for emotional teenagers, or is all about sadness. While "emo" may be short for "emotional," the emotions in the music run the gamut. That's why the group loves the genre.

"I think, at least for me, there's a sense of vulnerability to emo [as a genre]. It's in the name, emo. But it's the type of music where you can still rock out, but also cry a little," said vocalist/guitarist Ada Carter.

"I know for me, rock music and anything that's not your typical pop is, like, that was the space that I found to be myself when I was a teenager," lead guitarist Rosie Moore added. "It feels totally full-circle to be playing this kind of music. And we hope that we can provide a space for people to be themselves in our music."

Anime Girlfriend's 2023 EP AGF is a musical timeline of how they are progressing and changing as a group. It serves as a great introduction for who they are, but also leaves room for listeners to see what they might do next. Writing the EP was fairly linear, according to the group—what was written first is at the beginning, and what was written last is at the end.

"It flowed really well when we put it that way. So it was kind of a coincidence, but then I feel like by the end of the EP, we were starting to come into ourselves a little more," Shipley Williams said. "'God(Dess)', that was the last one we wrote before we put it out. And I think that song, we really came into ourselves as musicians there, but it's a softer song."

AGF is soft, whimsical and atmospheric, lovingly combining sounds from several genres in addition to the emo vibes. You'll hear elements of rock, indie and shoegaze all blended together to create Anime Girlfriend's easy-to-listen-to sound. It's an EP that longtime listeners of emo will enjoy, and also makes a good jumping off point for those who want to get into the genre but don't know where to start.

Going forward, Anime Girlfriend's sound is going to change a bit as the band settles into their groove and they move on from original drummer Kt Bacon leaving the group. Anime Girlfriend wants to find a new drummer soon, but will continue as a three-piece for now.

"We feel like our EP was a little bit more dark and moody and I think that's definitely still in us, that angst is definitely still there, but I do think it's going to be a little bit brighter-sounding," said Moore. "We're looking towards refining our sound a little bit more, and getting more solidified into a genre. The more we write, the better sense we have of who we are as musicians."

AGF came together relatively quickly, but going forward Anime Girlfriend wants to take their time with new releases to really hone their sound. "I think our next releases will be a little bit different, [so] we'll take our time a little bit more with figuring things out. But I think it was just important for us to just complete these first songs and just get them out into the world, just so we can move on to the next creative steps," Moore said.

Going forward with their new sound, Anime Girlfriend wants everyone to know that they're here to have fun, and hopes listeners are able to pull meaning from their music. "Our lyrics aren't just words that we're throwing out there. Each song really has a story and a meaning, and I hope that people can connect with that and listen to the lyrics and connect with them," Moore said.

Anime Girlfriend's next song "Pretty Boy" is set to come sometime in July, so be sure to keep tabs on them to hear the next step in the band's evolution. "It's the song of the summer," said Shipley Williams.

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About The Author

Emilee Atkinson

Emilee Atkinson

Ogden native Emilee Atkinson has spent her life obsessing over music and enjoying writing. Eventually, she decided to combine the two. She’s the current music editor of City Weekly.

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