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Friday 28 September 2018

The Spotlight: Interview With Andy From The Crawling By Paul H

The Crawling

MoM: You come across as a right miserable bunch. I’ve been to Lisburn many times and I think I’d be miserable too if that was where I came from. Are there any cities in Northern Ireland where so much concrete has been used?

Andy: Ach, i grew up in Lisburn so I’ll probably always have a bit of a soft (concrete) spot for it; I’ve  a lot of fond memories of prowling the streets as a teenager under the influence of cheap cider! That said, no, probably not too many cities with less concrete.

MoM: I’ve drunk in the Tuesday Bell which is a Wetherspoons pub in Lisburn. God, that was depressing. Where do you guys hang out?

Andy: Wouldn’t entertain Wetherspoons at the best of times … as for Lisburn? … not a chance. We tend to hit Belfast for a night out, as that’s where most of the metal happens. Every Saturday The Distortion Project runs RocKD, which features at least 3 local bands, and often touring acts. It’s held in a great venue, and always gets a good crowd. Aside from that we play as many free weekends as we get, and we always make a weekend of it where we can; so that’s our fav place to hang out - gigs!

MoM: Okay, enough of the Lisburn discussion. Let’s get some background about The Crawling. You’ve been together since 2014. How did the band form?

Andy: All down to Stuart on that one. I’ve known Stu since i was 15 years old, and we’ve always kept in touch on and off over the years. He messaged me out of the blue and basically asked did I fancy playing a bit of guitar and jamming out a few death metal covers with some mates. I figured it would be cool as I hadn’t played in band for 3 years. We had a few jams and it was sounding pretty good, I then decided to write a couple of tunes and see how that went. It started to sound strong, with great potential, so i figured ‘fuck it’ - let’s do this. We altered the line up a bit and it started from there. It’s been a great ride so far.

MoM: I can hear everything from My Dying Bride to Behemoth in your music. Who are your main influences?

Andy: My Dying Bride are my favourite band, and my first experience of “doom” metal as I recognise it. They totally changed my life and set me on a path of discovery into bands in that genre. My biggest influences are Peaceville bands; MDB, Anathema, Paradise Lost, Katatonia and 90’s death metal bands like Entombed, Bolt Thrower and Morbid Angel. That said I listen to a fair bit of black metal too, Forgotten Tomb, Marduk, Satyricon, Behemoth, Tribulation, Dark Throne. I guess it all filters through into the stuff I write.

MoM: Anything you grew up listening to that you really wouldn’t want us to reveal? Which one of you has a Beyonce album?

Andy: I don’t think so actually. My early listening was pretty respectable - Status Quo, Motley Crue, Iron Maiden etc. No Beyonce fans that I know of anyway! ha, ha!

MoM: I must admit I wasn’t over enthused about Anatomy Of Loss when I reviewed it last year but on further listens it is a solid debut. What was the response like to it?

Andy: That’s cool. I guess it’s not exactly a party album that instantly grabs everyone; but I appreciate you coming back to it. The response to Anatomy Of Loss overall was very good, i was quite taken aback if I’m honest - it certainly got our name out there and gave us a solid foundation for getting more shows. The media seemed into it, which was much appreciated and very helpful. The most important thing is that it worked well live. We have been using predominantly AOL material on stage, and people seem to dig it, plus the album and merch still sells well at shows. Totally thrilled reflecting back on that album actually.

MoM: The new album, Wolves And The Hideous White is a natural progression and is an impressive second release. Congratulations on a fine piece of work. You’ve turned it out quite quickly after the debut. Why was this?

Andy: Thank you - pleased you enjoyed it, that’s our first media feedback so far! Yeah, it was a quick enough turn around, and whilst mostly organic, there was part of me that was very focused on getting another album out. The debut was about 14 months old, we had done a reasonable amount of shows, fests and trips outside Northern Ireland, plus we released 5 videos to go with it. It’s not lost on me that the music industry moves very quickly, and while we were doing great things with the debut, I felt we needed to capitalise on its success and get some more music out there. We had the tracks written, so I got to work and finalised the album. In this day in age, as an underground band, you have to keep releasing content, either by touring like fuck, or through new music, videos etc. We don’t really have the option to tour as much as we’d like, so we opted for more music.

MoM: Your vocals seem more guttural than on Anatomy. I’d say that there is more focus on the death growl, whilst still enunciating to the extent that the lyrics can be understood. Is that fair?

Andy: When it came to sorting the vocals for the album I knew it had to be an evolution from the debut. It can be very hard to differentiate a death metal vocal, melody isn’t really an option, so i looked hard into what I could change. I worked hard on word choice, elocution, and structure to maximise the impact of the lyrics. Focusing on all of that perhaps accentuated the guttural, and yes - i’m a big fan of enunciating as much as possible, again, not as easy as said in death metal style. I listen to loads of bands that have a pure guttural that’s practically incomprehensible, Tomb Of The Mutilated is one of my fav DM albums, but i really dig bands that get the words out.

MoM: Tell us about the recording process for Wolves in comparison to Anatomy. What did you learn from the first recording which you were able to change this time around?

Andy: It was easier that’s for sure, but still had it’s challenges. We record everything ourselves in my portable/home studio, which always presents problems as concentration levels can falter and it’s easy to get caught up in small details that ultimately don’t matter; i suffered from that during Anatomy on more than one occasion. When it came to recording Wolves i made a point of making big decisions quite early on, and preventing myself from fucking about later. For one, i didn’t re-amp the bass this time. We used the dark glass pedal, and that was it. I didn’t even take a DI (which was perhaps a bit mental), but it made me really listen to what i doing and think about what we were trying to achieve, rather than recording a heap of stuff and building something from there. I applied that to the whole process, and ended up using less guitar tracks than usual as well. It streamlined the experience, made it more enjoyable and i got to the final destination more quickly.

MoM: The artwork is interesting. What can you tell us about it?

Andy: The art came out GREAT! It was created by Travis Smith, he’s done album artwork for a ton of Peaceville bands and more, and I’ve always enthused over his work. It was a goal of mine to have him do one of my albums, and now he’s done two! It’s such a cool thing to have! It’s so easy working with Travis. I sent him an email, explaining we wanted him to do the art again for the next album, gave him a synopsis of what it was about, along with a few demo tracks so he could get a feel for it.
It works so well, the ‘couple’ on front thinking they hold the key to each others happiness, the tongues like daggers, the keys of previous attempts scattered beneath in a pool of blood; time and energy down the drain. The man is a genius. It looks great on the disc, and even better on a shirt!

MoM: I’ve read the press release for album. An evolution of misery into disgust. Elaborate on this a bit for us.

Andy: The debut was written pretty much about sorrow and loss, concentrated on the misery held within people; the inability to move on, despite many efforts. All the songs are sad tales of lost hope. By the time Wolves came into play I noticed a lot of people (after time) cannot be around those that spend their lives dwelling in misery, and whilst initially empathetic and compassionate; it wears off, and often becomes an entirely different emotion. It’s not deliberate, or vindicate, but simply an evolution.

MoM: Do you hold out any hope for humanity?

Andy: I think the world is in a process of re-setting itself. I don’t think it’ll explode, or everyone will die, but I think changes are coming. I touched on the topic on the track ‘Still No Sun.’

MoM: The scene in Northern Ireland seems to be improving. The Oracle were great at Bloodstock this year. How would you assess the scene now?

Andy: The scene over is really good, Oracle are a particular highlight - and yes, they played a stormer at Bloodstock. Overall I think it’s really strong. I mean, we get a weekly showcase via The Distortion Project of at least 3 NI metal bands on a Saturday, plus whatever is going on elsewhere. Not to mention we are getting more and more touring bands playing Northern Ireland, and on occasion have a NI band as main support. Good time for metal over here.

MoM: Apart from the great expanse of water between you and the rest of the UK, which presents a huge challenge, what other difficulties do you face in getting your music out and heard?

Andy: Ultimately, there are a lot more bands out there, that now have a voice when they previously didn’t, and it’s heavily linked to the improvements in technology and communication. I mean, there have always been bands in garages that no one ever heard, because they weren’t able to organise a gig, or even complete a line up. Other bands weren’t able to afford studio, or tape/cd duplication. That’s been steadily changing. It began 10 years ago with the introduction of CD-RW in computers, that was a real game changer for underground bands as anyone with a recording could put a release out.
 Nowadays you don’t even need to have a drummer, bassist or second guitar, as backing tracks have become widely accepted, which wasn’t really the case, or an option, when i first started. You don’t need to worry about pressing records or CD’s - you can stream on the major platforms without it. All these factors allow more bands to put their music out there. More competition just makes it harder to get heard, get shows, get noticed. Bands are being forced to be more creative and find ways to get out there. It’s not easy, but i don’t think it ever was.

MoM: You played at Bloodstock but also at several festivals across Europe. Did you get to go swimming at Metal Days?

Andy: Bloodstock was awesome, and yeah we’ve got to play some cracking fests over the last year or so. We’re heading off to Germany to play Full Metal Mensa Nov 17, alongside Napalm Death which should be a cracker. I had kinda planned to go swimming, or least paddle, but I’ll be honest - the water was fucking freezing. So no, I didn’t. My bad.

MoM: How was Bloodstock in 2016? Tell us a bit about the day and your experiences of the festival. Have you been back since?

Andy: It was a phenomenal experience. The fest itself is always great, playing the big stage was fantastic, all that kinda thing - but ultimately, it showed me the inside workings of being in a professional band. I got to see the top bands at work, how they operated, and how to use such exposure to help the band move forwards. I guess it made me appreciate the music ‘industry’ a lot more, and encouraged me to work harder, and not squander the amazing opportunity given to us.
I go to Bloodstock every year. I first went in 2007, and it improves so much every time I go back. It’s a great festival, and i’ve made a lot of friends as a result of it.

MoM: The New album is out in November. What are your plans for its promotion and for your world domination?

Andy: We’re working closely with Enso management for this one. We’ve constructed a very strict timeline for getting stuff out in an organised fashion, backed up with strong content and support from online mags/radios/blogs that have worked with the band before. We’re still an underground band, so we’ve limited finances to work with, but we have weekly ‘making of vlogs’ on our YouTube channel released every Friday up until the release, we just had a radio premiere of the upcoming single last night via Metal Messiah Radio, another mag will be streaming the single, and a music video for “Wolves and the Hideous White” will follow. We plan to release another video or two around the release date. We have a big release show planned for Belfast - 15th November in The EMPIRE with Conjuring Fate, Neahmni and Disconnect; it should be excellent! We’re planning more shows in Cork, Dublin, and heading over to the UK in 2019 to support the album, plus a whole new line of rather fancy merch to go with it.

Now for the random ones.

MoM: Game of Thrones? Are you fans?

Andy: Me? No. Stuart and Gary - very much so.

MoM: Which is the best Star Wars movie?

Andy: Empire. (Correct Answer -Ed)

MoM: Who would win in a fight between a bear and the singer of Trucker Diablo?

Andy: Tom. He’d talk his way out of it.

MoM: Which is the better Airport? Aldergrove or George Best?

Andy: George Best - closer.

MoM: Duncan Goodhew or Adrian Moorhouse?

Andy: Duncan. Always liked him

MoM: Batman or Superman?

Andy: Batman. Superman can’t be real

MoM: Do you carry a water bottle?

Andy: Yes. Environmental reasons.

MoM: Cheetah or leopard?

Andy: Cheetah - they’re faster right? (Correct - Wildlife Ed)

MoM: I’ve got a glut of crops on my allotment. Which is the more versatile? Courgette or Cucumber?

Andy: Cucumber - not fussed on courgette.

MoM: Are Tayto crisps as good as the advertising states?

Andy: Nah. I’m a ‘Space Raiders” fan.

MoM: Chips, baked potato, roast, new, mashed or boiled. You can have only one option with your dinner. Which one?

Andy: Chips. Grew up being force fed shitty boiled potatoes (sorry mum!), so can’t have them at all now.

MoM: What was the last album you bought – either CD or vinyl?

Andy: Marduk - Viktoria. Belter of an album

MoM: Thank you so much for putting up with this shit. I wish you the very best with the album and check our page for the review. Hit us up if you are in South Wales or Bristol anytime.  Cheers. Paul

Andy: Thank you so much for taking time to speak with me, review the album and help spread the word - we really appreciate it. We’re playing Eradication Fest in Wales May 2019 - but my geography is shit, so not sure how South it is. If you’re about we’ll get you a beer!
Thanks again, Andy

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