Interview Transcript – Episode 2: Slade Echeverria

Not able to listen to the full episode? Don’t worry! You can still read the full transcript of the interview with Slade Echeverria below. Or click here to listen to the podcast episode.

If you want to follow Slade or Anarbor, you can find them on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and pretty much everywhere under Anarbor, or Anarbor band.

Slade Echeverria is the lead singer and bassist of Anarbor, who performed the What’s New Scooby-Doo? theme for the 2010 live action film Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins. Source: Instagram, @slade_ech

AL: What’s your relationship to Scooby Doo?
SE: I grew up watching the original Scooby Doo cartoons, like the classic ones that had the original song: “Scooby Dooby Doo, Where Are You?” You know that one. That was what I grew up (with) and then like the Scrappy Doo and the little guy came on when they were a younger version but I totally grew up on Scooby Doo. I love it.

AL: What’s your favourite memory of Scooby Doo?
SE: When I was little, man, Scooby Doo was kind of scary. They also had that humour to it, but it was also like, it was like suspense and a little bit of scariness to it. So I remember being scared watching it with my mom. And I mean she was never a big fan, but I always loved it, that’s definitely my earliest memory, just being scared. My first memories of being really scared, you know.

AL: How did the opportunity come up for you guys to be part of Scooby Doo The Mystery Begins?

SE: So, funny story. We had just signed to Hopeless Records, and Cartoon Network was looking for a band to do the next Scooby Doo thing, and Hopeless Records didn’t really throw our name out there, they were just like “Here’s our roster, here’s what we’re working with, do any of these bands catch your ear?” And basically they were like “We really like this band” and it happened to be Anarbor.

We didn’t even go to college, we signed right out of high school. So in all honesty, we didn’t really comprehend what was going on until after it happened kind of. They called us on and said “Hey guys do you want to be part of the Scooby Doo, you know, the saga basically, this whole legacy of Scooby Doo, you guys can be a part of it.” And we absolutely jumped on it. So it came down to Hopeless asking us because Cartoon Network was looking for a band to work with, and they just happened to pick us. They liked our vibe. Which thank God, we lucked out, honestly. It’s such a great opportunity.

AL: Had you ever had your music featured in a movie before then?

SE: We did a lot of like Jersey Shore stuff and MTV stuff, but when it came to like, a kids television show, Scooby-Doo, Nickelodeon or anything like that, no, we had never done anything that big. So when we got this opportunity, it was like we had to do it. I remember when I told my mom she was like “Oh my god, Scooby Doo, you loved that as a child.” It was such a cool – it’s definitely a milestone for me in my life to be a part of that legacy. It’s so cool.

When we got this opportunity, it was like we had to do it. I remember when I told my mom she was like “Oh my god, Scooby-Doo, you loved that as a child.” It was such a cool – it’s definitely a milestone for me in my life to be a part of that legacy.

– Slade Echeverria

AL: What was your experience doing it?

SE: So basically, like I said, they asked us to do it, and we signed on, we’re like “Yeah sure, let’s do the Scooby Doo stuff.” A week went by, we drove – we’re from Phoenix, Arizona – so we had to drive to LA. We met up in the Cartoon Network headquarters and they were like “Let’s meet the whole band.” They kind of sized us up, you know, looked at how we dressed and the kind of vibe that we were giving off. They had a whole other closet for us in the other room, they’re kind of like “Okay, we want to do a music video with you guys, we want you guys to write a song that’s like,” what’s the song, it’s by a band called the Turtles. I think it’s “I can’t see me loving nobody but you, for all my life.” They were like “We want you guys to write a song like this,” so we signed on, we’re like “Yeah, sure, great, give us a couple weeks.” 

We went home, wrote the song in our guitarist’s closet, because at the time, we were just out of high school, we were living paycheque to paycheque, we didn’t really have much going on. So we met up in his closet, wrote the song, and we pitched it to them and they were like “This is great, we love it.” We went into the studio and recorded it, and then they were like “We also want you guys to do the Simple Plan version of What’s New Scooby Doo,” and we had never heard of the song, I actually had never even heard of the series What’s New Scooby Doo. So we checked it out and were like “Easy.” We went to our producer and he was like “Great, you guys are going to kill this.” We kind of put our own spin on it which was really cool. 

But once we got that done, then they wanted to make a music video for You and I, which was kind of the Turtle version of “I can’t see me loving nobody but you” just kind of like a friendship song, you know, a feel-good song about you and your best friend type of thing, or somebody that you loved. And we were like “Yeah, sure.” So they were like “Let’s get you guys in a music video,” so we, I think we were on tour, and we happened to go through LA that day, so they planned it like early in the morning. So we went to this like, it was in Warner Bros., this crazy beat-up warehouse that was like for movies and stuff, right. Really, really cool. The video for Sex on Fire by Kings of Leon was actually filmed in the same warehouse that we did the You and I video which was really cool. But anyways, when we showed up, they had this like whole makeup set and breakfast, this guy was making omelettes for us, had a whole bunch of fruit cut up. There was a bunch of people on the set. You’ve gotta understand, we’re coming from hometown kids in a garage in Phoenix, Arizona, so this is like big time for us. And we were like “Wow, this is really fucking cool.” We have all these people kind of waiting on us hand and foot for this music video, it was super awesome. So it was definitely an experience that we had never been a part of before, it was like the real deal. They were putting spray makeup on me, which I had never come across before, which was totally new to me. So that was super cool. They did part by part, they gave us all these costumes that were part of the video, and they told us the outline of the video and how everything was going to go, but we really didn’t know how it was going to turn out. But by the end of it, I think we were all really happy. And still, that’s one of our top songs that we have right now is You and I, so love Scooby Doo for that.

“You and I” – Anarbor

AL: Had you had You and I written before the movie or was it specifically written for Scooby Doo?

SE: When they came to us, we were in the middle of writing a record actually. They hit us in a great spot, because I think Hopeless Records knew that we were writing a record so you know, like maybe we could throw this on the record too, it would be like a movie, motion picture type thing. But we wrote the song for the movie, not knowing that it was going to be on the record. So we just wrote it for the movie. And it was doing so well, that we were like “Let’s just put it on the record.” And that’s what we did.

Honestly that song would not be written if it wasn’t for them to come to us and be like “Hey, can you write a song about best friends.” And that’s why we wrote it, so that song wouldn’t be alive if it wasn’t for them.

AL: What’s the difference between recording an album specifically for the band, and then recording a song for a movie?

SE: I mean, when it comes to just writing for the band I get to put my personal experiences into it, and kind of more nitty-gritty stuff about my life that maybe you wouldn’t want to hear in a movie song. But, then again, it just comes to the writer. So when it came to the song about Scooby Doo, it was like “Okay, so now we have a topic to write about, we have an outline that we want, this is what the movie’s about,” type of thing, and this is what the part that we’re writing the song for is about. So we kind of had an idea before we went into it about what the song was going to be about, as opposed to me kind of just writing on the fly about maybe what happens to me in my life you know, as day by day goes. It was kind of definitely about my friends and my life and you know about my best friend or whatever but it’s also, it’s just more structured I suppose. Rather than just writing on the fly and out of your head, you know.

AL: Before the movie came out, did you get to see it, and where your music would be featured?

SE: They actually didn’t let us see the movie when it came out, but they sent us five or six copies. We all watched it, it was great, great movie. We all love it. I haven’t seen it in a long time, so it’s been a minute. But I probably should watch it now that I have my daughter with me.

AL: Do you still have those, or at least one copy?

SE: I, personally? That’s a great question. I don’t have a copy of it, actually. I know that we had a couple copies they sent to us that we had to sign and send back, but we didn’t get to keep any of those, and I know they only sent us a handful, so I actually didn’t get a copy. If I watch it I’ll probably just rent it off iTunes or something. 

AL: What was it like to hear your music playing in a movie?

SE: Oh my gosh, it was so cool. Like I remember the first time that I actually heard it, was in a movie theater. So when previews started becoming more live action rather than just like pictures – back in the day, (previews) weren’t like moving pictures, they were just like you know, pictures of the movie coming out and it would skip to the next one. But I remember for the first time seeing ours was in like a movie theater, and it was just a song playing in the background of like – it wasn’t necessarily like a trailer, but I think they might’ve had a playlist on in the movie theater, of like Harkins or whatever, AMC, and that just happened to be part of the actual, their playlist. So we lucked out on that too, they somehow threw our song on like a playlist for Harkins or AMC and that’s when I had people texting me like “Oh my god, your song is playing at the movies!” And I’m like “I know it’s in a movie, but it’s not playing at the movies,” and then I finally heard it myself and I was like “Oh shit, they have us in like a playlist.” It was really, really cool. Definitely didn’t seem real, you know, I had to pinch myself. But that’s definitely an achievement for sure, like I said. It’s a staple in my book, I’ll never forget it.

AL: Were you happy that you were asked to do the What’s New Scooby Doo theme song specifically, or would you have liked a choice as to do maybe the original Where Are You theme?

SE: Yeah, I’ll be honest, when we got the pitch, I was like “Yeah! So you’re telling me that we get to redo the ‘Scooby Dooby Doo, Where Are You’, the original Scooby Doo song?” And they were like “No. So, Simple Plan did this version, you guys get to cover it.” And we were like “Oh, that’s so cool but it’d be so much cooler if we could do the other version!” You know, in my head, I had so many ideas for the Scooby Doo song, but. I was definitely a little bit bummed, I’ll be honest. I was definitely a little bit bummed that we didn’t do the original. However, I’m absolutely grateful that we got to do anything that has Scooby Doo in it. I can’t be that upset about it, but I was a little bit bummed, I’ll be honest.

AL: Did you know that they would be using that version ultimately to recreate a mix between the Scooby Doo Where Are You opening and the What’s New Scooby Doo opening?

SE: No, they didn’t say anything to us. They just kind of like were “Hey, what do you guys look like? Okay. Let’s get you guys in some clothes. Okay. Let’s make a music video.” They never said if it was going to be in the movie or not, they never gave us a thumbs up like “Yeah, you guys did it,” you know, it wasn’t anything like that, it was just like “Okay, thanks.” And then we kind of just waited and then eventually we got some CDs sent to us, and some DVDs. And that’s kind of how it worked. We got paid a flat fee for it. But we still get royalties for the song, which is great. But yeah, it was definitely a weird experience, but really, really cool.

AL: What was the recording (process) specifically like?

SE: So we recorded the song with Mike Green. Mike Green did the early, early Paramore stuff, so this guy is like super awesome, really, really great. Honestly, like a musical genius. He helped us out a lot in the cover. The cover was more, it was more old-school. So when Simple Plan did it, it was more just kind of like root notes, no lead lines, Pierre just kind of went through and sang the track and that was it. So we tried to spice it up a little bit more, and Mike Green definitely helped us out with that. He definitely engineered it, and had ideas for parts just to kind of spice it up a little bit, cause we had to make it a little bit different from theirs, right. So, it was great, it was a lot of fun recording that track, actually. And I always try to think of me in the booth when I was singing that song, like where I was in my life and like you know, just everything. It’s cool to think about. It’s like a flashback.

AL: Can you elaborate more on what specifically you did to make your version Anarbor and not just an exact cover?

SE: So, Simple Plan’s version is basically like the simplest that it could be, right. So you have the drums going, you have the guitar, and then you have a bass kind of just filling it out and Pierre singing over the top. We added a bunch of lead lines, we added some drum, we made it into swing. So instead of like straight 1-2-3-4, it’s like a swing so it’s 1-and-2-and-3-and-4. So it’s an actual swing version of the song which is really cool. And that’s kind of Anarbor style, is to make it more swing, more rock.

I’m still shocked that people still to this day say they found us through Scooby-Doo, it still blows my mind.

– Slade Echeverria

AL: You mentioned that you had never heard the Simple Plan version originally, but have you met the Simple Plan guys, are you close with them, have you talked about being on Scooby at all?

SE: You know what, we did a tour in Australia with them, we did the Australian Warped Tour, but the schedules unfortunately were so off, that we never got a chance to hang out with them. But I would love to chat with them about the song, you know, it’s cool that we both did a version of it. I would love to chat with them, I think it would be really cool. We should go and do like a split song with them, that would be sick. Cartoon Network needs to hit us up, let’s do it.

AL: Have you/would you ever play your version of What’s New live?

SE: That’s a great question. I think if enough people wanted to hear it, I think me and Danny could make that happen, yeah. I know that my three-year-old would probably fucking love if I played that song, so we might have to do it here soon.

AL: Do you still play You and I live at all?

SE: Oh yeah. Yeah we still play that song. We still try to play a good mixture of our old stuff and our new stuff, even though we’ve been a band for like 17 years. So it’s really hard for us to make set lists that can reach out to everybody, and get every song that everybody wants to hear, because we only have a certain amount of time, you know. So we struggle with that every time we play a show. Putting in old stuff and new stuff. But we definitely – You and I is still part of the lineup.

AL: How did you see your fanbase grow and change after working on Scooby?

SE: It was funny because we never really had any younger kids come to our shows, but after the Scooby Doo thing we had like, I’m talking like toddlers, like three year-olds, four year-olds, five year-olds, coming to our shows. And I think that kind of threw us off a little bit, because we’re a Phoenix rock band, you know, we’re just out of high school. We’re kind of just kids, we’re kind of rough around the edges you know. So it was cool and also a little bit weird for us to see little kids coming to our shows. But we loved it, you know. I personally enjoyed seeing kids light up singing You and I. I think that’s great, I love the fact that kids like that song. It was definitely a shock and definitely a little bit weird for us, but you know, it just took a little bit of adjustment, and we figured it out.

AL: What was it like to have people come up to you and say they found out about your band through Scooby Doo?

SE: Happens a lot! And I’m more than grateful of it because honestly, the more people that hear our band the better, through Scooby Doo. I’m still shocked that people still to this day say they found us through Scooby Doo, it still blows my mind. Scooby Doo is such a staple in my childhood, and I guess apparently everybody else’s childhood too that people are still watching it. Like I said, my three-year-old still watches Scooby Doo. So I am just honoured to be a part of it honestly. I’m so honoured. And if I could do anything more for Scooby Doo I would.

AL: So what was filming the You and I music video like, what was the process?
SE: So basically we showed up on a day off on our tour, we showed up, it was just the five of us. I think in the video, or no, sorry there’s four of us. We had a girl bass player, but she had left the band, and I took over the bass. So I was still pretty new to the bass, but. It was cool. Like I said, there was a lot of people there. A lot of makeup, we had to go through a whole makeup process. After the makeup they had all these different scenes around the warehouse set up for us and they’d be like “Okay. Slade, you’re up.” And then I’d go up and they’d freshen me up with some makeup and then they’d put me in my costume and then I’d go and then they’d call somebody else up after I was finished and then they had the whole band scene at the very end where they gave us all makeup and put us all in these cool costumes, and you know, pressed play and we kind of just did the performance shots and then we finished it. But it was kind of an all day thing. It took literally from the morning to the night.

AL: Where did the idea come from to have it be Scooby Doo-esque, was that from people involved with the movie?

SE: Yeah, I think Cartoon Network. They already had the treatment written up for us, and we just kind of were like “You know what, whatever you guys want to do, we’ll do.” So we signed on to their contract, it wasn’t us that wrote the contract, they had somebody else go through and do it so. It was more of a Cartoon Network side of things.

AL: Near the end of the video, you guys are playing while wearing the ghost costumes, were you wearing them for the other shots that the ghosts are present?

SE: Gosh, it’s been so long. So I think the main point of the video is we are the ghosts the whole time, I think. Or like one of us is the ghost and we’re just kind of playing a joke on Scooby, so. We are the ghosts the whole time, or the monsters, and then at the very end it kind of reveals us as the monsters so. I think there’s little hints in the video that yeah, we are the monsters.

AL: So there’s two versions of the video, one on the bonus features of the movie, and I think that’s the one that would’ve aired on Cartoon Network with shots from the movie interspersed in. Did you actually see that air on Cartoon Network at all?
SE: I think I might’ve seen that on Cartoon Network a couple times, but I didn’t have any kids at the time and I was traveling all the time because of the band so I wasn’t watching a lot of TV, but I would get a lot of texts that were like “We’re watching you on Cartoon Network right now!” And I would just be like “Wow,” It’s just nuts, you know, it’s just crazy.

AL: What was it like to have people texting you that (they were watching you on Cartoon Network?)

SE: It was honestly, really, really cool. I watched Cartoon Network growing up, it just felt like we had finally accomplished something that was you know, that our parents would be proud of. That was like our first staple in the music industry for Anarbor, to like actually show what we’ve got. And for a while we were like the Cartoon Network band or the Scooby Doo band, but obviously that kind of faded off because we have so many more songs, you know. So we didn’t mind it. We took every grain and we ran with it, we loved it.

AL: Was there ever any negative impact from hardcore rock fans who were like “Oh, you’re the Scooby Doo band”?

SE: Of course. We had people like “You guys sold out,” and it was like how can we sell out when we haven’t even, we have like no listeners, no followers. If anything, Scooby Doo completely helped this band get to where we are now, you know. And it still is helping us every day, by everybody that watches it, so. We got a little bit of negative feedback that was like “you guys are now the Scooby Doo band,” and it was like “Yeah but, is that a bad thing?” We still have other songs, we still have great songs, you know. So we didn’t let that really get to us and we just kind of kept going and obviously it’s just kind of a staple in our history that we’ve done. It’s just a cool thing that we were able to be a part of.

If anything, Scooby-Doo completely helped this band get to where we are now.

– Slade Echeverria

AL: Although your songs were used in a live action movie, if the chance arose, would you want to be animated into an episode of Scooby Doo?

SE: Oh my god, that’d be so awesome. That would be so sick! Like I said, we watched the What’s New Scooby Doo with Simple Plan and they had an episode where Simple Plan is actually in it, and I’m like “Oh my god, that would be so sick if they did us! That would be so epic!” So yes, please hook us up. That would be amazing. I’d love to be a cartoon.

AL: What would you want the plot line to be like?

SE: Oh man. Oh god, I haven’t even thought about this. It’d have to be like a haunted… I don’t know, I like haunted houses so maybe like a haunted house, but it would have to be more than that. You’re getting me on the spot here, this is crazy, I’ve never even thought about that. I love the idea though, now I’ve got to think about that.

AL: Moving a bit more broadly, why do you think that a cartoon series about a talking dog solving mysteries has been able to stay popular throughout various incarnations for over 50 years now?

SE: I think it’s just so relatable. I think everybody can relate to Scooby Doo because it’s just like, it’s a hungry dog, it’s like a stoner series, you know. They might be hungry or whatever but they kind of solve mysteries and it’s kind of scary, keeps you on your toes. It’s just like a classic cartoon that just never faded. And you can always just keep writing scary stories, you know. There’s like no end to that. So, you put a gang of kids in it with a dog, like it’s just perfect. It’s just a perfect storm. I love it, I feel like it’ll never die, I hope it never dies.

Anarbor – Tangerine

AL: I wanted to chat a little bit more about Anarbor, because you guys haven’t released music in a couple years, so how does it feel to have your new single out?

SE: Oh my gosh, it feels great, thank you for asking. Yeah, it’s been a couple years. Me and Danny have been working. We kind of put the band off for a year just to kind of recoup with ourselves, and there’s a lot going on with personal stuff. We let that happen and then we came back, kind of recouped ourselves and getting ready for this new release. We have new management, so everything’s going really good, you know. We just kind of take it one step at a time, we don’t have a record label, it’s all released by ourselves, so. It’s all a learning process, honestly. It’s like I’m the boss of my own company. It’s all a learning curve and it’s all really interesting, I’m learning a lot, it’s great. I couldn’t be happier.

AL: So you guys are going to be releasing songs one at a time from the EP. Why did you decide to release it that way?

SE: They’re going to be spread out between like six to seven weeks, and then the whole EP will be out by July. Since it’s only three songs, we just wanted to get the maximum exposure to each song. So we wanted to make sure that everybody’s got a couple weeks. We don’t want to release them too soon, we want it to take up your summer. So put that song on repeat until the next song comes out, and by the end of the summer, everything should be out. And we’re going in to record a record July 27, so yeah. We’re onto the next move already. Everything should be out by 2021, we’re really excited. It’s been a minute so we’re super pumped, it’s really exciting.

AL: What can fans expect from the rest of the songs on Tangerine?

SE: So, we’re keeping it upbeat with this, we’re not doing anything too crazy. We’re keeping it, basically just me and Danny who wrote these two, me Danny and Matt, so we’re just trying to keep it simple, nothing crazy, nothing out of the realm of Anarbor. Basically just good pop rock for now, until the record comes, you guys will get a little bit more of a, little more experimental stuff, but the EP is real nice easy pop, you know, nothing too crazy.

AL: What’s your personal favourite on the EP?

SE: My favourite is the last song Tasty. I love Tasty, it’s one of my favourites. That will be the last song released. So we released Find a Way, next we’re releasing Tangerine, and then the third song is gonna be Tasty. 

“Tasty” – Anarbor

AL: What’s your favourite Anarbor song of all time?

SE: Oh man. Let’s see, can I give you two? I love an old one called Always Dirty, Never Clean. Because that’s just like the root of the band, you know. We’ve always been kind of punk rock, even though the music may not be super punk rock. We’ve always just been kind of kids just kind of do what we want, you know. And when the record industry came about and took us seriously, it was hard for us to take it seriously as kids, you know. So we were just writing music that was about not-conforming, not wearing you know, these deep V-necks and neon clothes, you know, just kind of being yourself was the main part of the band, so I just want to make sure that we spread that through the music and what we got coming out, just keep that vibe, you know. Just be yourself, don’t let anybody tell you what to do.

The second song is, I would say, Take My Pain Away. Just because it’s about being away from the people that you love the most. And when you’re on tour for a certain amount of time it’s hard to, it’s hard to keep relationships alive when you’re gone for so long. Even when it comes to family and of course when it comes to being a girlfriend or a boyfriend, you know, it’s just hard being away for a long period of time so that song is just kind of like how we really felt. We were on tour for so long, so we wrote that song when we were on the road and it just really hits home whenever I listen to it.

AL: I was on your Instagram and… can you just tell me a little bit more about the tortoises?
SE: Oh, yeah! So I have four tortoises, me and my girl. They’re sulcata tortoises, and basically, we just spoil the crap out of them. They’re super interesting, they’re like little dinosaurs that you have in 2020, and they’re very friendly, they love water, they love to eat grass. We love to give them fruit. But I started that whole Instagram for them because I feel like, I don’t know, I feel like they need to get more exposure, you know. People love watching – or at least I love watching them eat, so I feel like maybe people would too. They’re super cool and yeah we had that photoshoot, and I was like “Let’s just get them involved,” you know. So we did. It actually worked out really well.

AL: Do you have any recent projects besides the EP and the upcoming album that you want to promote?

SE: Right now I’m basically focused on Anarbor, we’re getting ready for this new record, so keep a look out for the new Anarbor stuff. I always am doing music though, so if you go to my personal profile, I have a YouTube series that I did with Rudy, I have another band that’s called WLFPCK that I’ve been in, and we just have music coming all the time. But right now Anarbor’s got new music so I’m focused on that, we have a new record coming out by the end of 2020, and a new EP out by July. Just keep a lookout on streaming, on our Instagram, on our Facebook and all that cool stuff.

AL: What are your social media channels?
SE: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, just search Anarbor, if it’s not Anarbor, it’s either Anarbor or Anarbor band, you can find us anywhere, we’re on all platforms, including TikTok. Which we need more followers on, so if you have a TikTok go follow us. We’re also on Twitch, we do live streams every Thursday, where we play live songs, answer any questions. And people that tune in on Thursdays get a little extra love just because we play them new music and we played the EP for people so if you’re bored, come jump on our live streams on Thursday and hang out with us but yeah, besides that, listen to Anarbor and stream us, and we’ll love you forever. It’s great.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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