Thursday, 26 March 2009

ASIWYFA Rock Sound Feature

Here's Tim Newbound's feature on ASIWYFA from the new issue of Rock Sound magazine, in newsagents now.

They defy pigeonholding and have no respect for your eardrums; Belfast’s And So I Watch You From Afar share their mission statement with Rock Sound.

“Music is number one, we don’t sit around discussing what sort of feeling we intend to evoke or any other new age bullshit with our tunes,” says And So I Watch You From Afar guitarist Rory Friers. “We want to push boundaries with what we’re doing and put across that we care so fucking deeply about the music we produce; we really hope that comes over when you listen to it. Most importantly, we wanna RAWK.”

The Northern Irish four-piece are certainly following this manifesto with their self-titled debut full-length: as emotively atmospheric as it is devastatingly overpowering, it’s an album that demands to be played loud. Although this sonic assualt is administered through largely vocal-free songs, the quartet refuse to be dubbed ‘instrumental’ – and they strongly reject the ‘post-rock’ tag.

“Post-rock is all about building textures and timbres within the music, and when it’d done right it’s incredible; I just think we have too many riffs and changes of tempo to be in that particular bracket,” reasons Rory. “There are some fucking amazing instrumental Fugazi tunes, remember – I don’t think anyone would call those legends post-rock. We certainly wouldn’t.” He adds: “We were borne out of jamming and we have never once stated that we were strictly instrumental – we herded in 40 of our friends from the Northern Ireland scene to record a huge choir on [album track] ‘Don’t Waste Time Doing Things You Hate’, and it turned out amazing, even if we do say so ourselves. Plus, the album is littered with ‘Whoops!’ And ‘Heys!’. Are those the actions of an instrumental band? We think not!”

Given their class, journalistic superlatives should be rightly flying these guys’ way soon, although they have experienced the downside of dealing with suspect media types already. “The most disgusting thing we’ve had to endure while on tour had to be this fraud journalist who turned up at a London show and proceeded to give you lovely people, professional journalists, a bad name,” says Rory. “He stuffed his nose full of coke, drank the majority of our rider, ate our food, didn’t bother watching us and went on to pretend he did, while contradicting himself constantly. He came up to us and said, ‘It was an awful show, nobody was watching’. I interjected and pointed out the place was near capacity, we’d had an amazing reception and went down really well, to which he responded, ‘Yep, it was great, the place was rammed’. The final straw was when he said, ‘Your singer was out of key the whole time!’ Huh?! The guy was an ex-pat from Belfast and also bad-mouthed a lot of people we really respect from home. I think his name was BALLBAG.”

Formed a couple of years ago and with mini-album ‘This Is Our Machine And Nothing Can Stop It’ already under their belts, the band now intend to “tour the fuck out of” their self-titled debut, as they contine to push those boundaries and set about writing album number two. Here’s to the RAWK.

Sounds like: Your most beautiful dreams and worst nightmares spliced and translated via the medium of intense volume

Tim Newbound

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