Crows: Band Of The Day

By on 22 January 2015

Crows

The problem with end of year lists is that most critics have finalised theirs long before November rolls around, meaning anything that gets released in the last month or two of the year tends to get left by the wayside somewhat. December’s release schedule is full of great records that curiously don’t tend to show up in any music magazines, and Crows’ ‘Better Off Dead’ is a fine example. The Dublin hardcore act’s first full-length is a damn sight better than most of the toothless punk bands that found their way over to us during the past twelve months, so it’s be a crime if this thing didn’t get some more attention.

Whilst their 2011 demo ‘Severance’ was a solid slab of gnarly, pissed off punk (not to mention their 2012 split with fellow Dublin hardcore troupe Drainland), ‘Better Off Dead’ finds Crows really coming into their own. This time round, they rage like vintage His Hero Is Gone, swagger like Cursed and sound almost as strung out as Dystopia. Combine that with some acerbic, articulate and darkly humorous lyrics, a guitar tone that sounds dirtier than a landfill and a furious, vitriolic energy and you’ve got a recipe for success.

Of course, this is kind of stuff that’s best experienced when the band themselves are screaming it into your face in some tiny, sweaty DIY space somewhere – so it’s just as well that Crows will be playing a show tomorrow in Seomra Spraoi on Belvedere Court, Dublin. If you like what you hear and happen to be in the area, get yourself on down to witness these songs firsthand. Support comes from Bacchus, Putrefaction, The Whole Sick and Seizure, and tickets are priced at €8. Click here for more info.

WHO ARE THEY: Crows
WHERE ARE THEY FROM: Dublin, Ireland
FOR FANS OF: Cursed, His Hero Is Gone, Trap Them
LATEST RELEASE: ‘Better Off Dead’ (2014)
WEBSITE: Facebook & Bandcamp

Could you tell us briefly how you all met and formed Crows?
“Crows started as a two piece between myself and our old drummer. We wrote and recorded a 7 song demo which was essentially an early Ceremony-ish rip off in the space of a few weeks towards the end of ’09 and put it up online. We got a full line up out of it and we recorded our first physical release, our ‘Severence’ tape, in 2011 after myself and Andrew finished school. We then got Sos on second guitar and put out a split 7” with Drainland on Suburban Mayhem records. We were on the edge of breaking up for a while after that, but through various member changes, we wrote and recorded our debut LP and we’re excited to finally have it out. ”

Did you have a specific sound in mind when you formed the band, or did that grow and evolve as you played together?
“We’ve always had a darker feel to our music compared to some of the other bands we used to play with in Dublin. So I suppose even though our sound has changed over time, we’ve kept this aspect of it throughout our releases. I don’t think it was intentional as such, it’s more that we naturally write this kind of music in this band. We’ve definitely evolved though. If you compare our earlier releases to this LP, you can tell we’ve gotten a lot better and more comfortable with our music.”

What kind of stuff are you and the rest of the band into? Who would you cite as influences?
“We all do our own thing outside of Crows. I’ve been mad into skateboarding since I was a kid so between that, playing in bands and Uni, I’m kept busy enough. Our drummer Aidan is doing his PHD in conservation biology. Anto is into MMA and teaches it along with working as a really good chef in a restaurant. Him and Sos play in a band called Chewing On Tinfoil. Sos also works in a Coffee shop. Andrew works in a supermarket and is nearly finished his degree. We all like hanging out and acting like weirdos.

“Musically, we’re into loads of stuff from UK dubstep to doom and I think we take ideas from various aspects of different types of music. In terms of who we sound like, we’ve been compared to Cursed quite a bit on the new record. It’s a very overused comparison but I guess it’s not too wrong. I think fans of the bands on A389 records might be into us.”

How does your writing process normally work out? Will you meet up with song ideas pretty much fully formed beforehand, or do you tend to jam stuff out a bit more?
“Usually myself or Sos would come to practice with an idea for either a full song or just a part of a song. If it’s just the part of a song, we’d try and think of what would sound good before/after it and work on that. Most of the time we’d have full songs written coming to practice with a pretty solid idea in our heads of how we want it to sound and usually it translates well to full band. I wrote the last 9 minute song on our record in a few days and we literally had one practice to get it down before recording. We tend to be productive when we do practice.”

Lyrically, what inspires you to put pen to paper?
“The lyrics for the album were written over a long space of time, from around 2012 to right up until we we were tracking the album, so the subject matter is as broad as you would expect with that time frame. That’s age 20-22 for me, and the way I think about things, and the things I write about, has changed dramatically. These 10 songs represent a learning curve of some sort – the album itself is more like a directionless stream-of-consciousness – although there’s songs with explicit subject matter like racism, surveillance, police, commodity fetishism, they should be take more as working ideas than me stating absolute truths.”

You’ve just released your new album, ‘Better Off Dead’, what can you tell us about that? How do you feel it compares to your ‘Severance’ debut?
“Some of the songs on the record are new, as I mentioned, we wrote the last song at our last practice before going to the studio. Some of the songs we had written in 2012, so we’ve been sitting on them for a while. As an album, we’re definitely very proud of it. With the member changes, there was obviously going to be a shift in the sound, and I think it’s safe to say we’re really happy with the direction it’s going in. I can fully understand when a band talks about getting bored of playing the same kind of stuff. ‘Severence’ was relevant to what we were listening to and trying to get across at the time and we think this record portrays what we listen to and how we feel right now.

“Musically ‘Better Off Dead’ has a lot more diversity in it. ‘Severance’ was very much fast/slow orientated where as this album has fast bits, slow bits, breakdowns, stoney riffs and more lead guitar bits. I think it’s fair to say we’ve all improved on our instruments and we’ve definitely gotten more comfortable with our writing on this release. We recorded it over a few overnight sessions last Winter with our friend Cian Murphy in Windmill Lane studios. We then got it mixed by our friend Mockie and it was mastered by Jack at Enormous Door.”

Do you have any plans to tour the record outside of Ireland?
“We’re hoping to travel to mainland Europe in June or July. We’ve toured the UK twice and I definitely think touring is an essential part of any hardcore band’s existence. There’s only so much you can give on record, but seeing a live band is a totally different story, especially with hardcore music. We’ll be looking into Europe more in the coming months. ”

How is the hardcore scene in Ireland at the moment? Any other bands we should be keeping an eye out for?
“The hardcore scene in Ireland is great right now. There’s lots of diversity but the main flaw is lack of venues. There’s a few places popping up like the Tenterhooks which is a social space ran by a bunch of people we know. Musically, it was going stale for a little while (just my own opinion!) but in the last year or so there’s been a surge of bands popping up.

“Some of my favourite current Irish bands are New Gods (Poison Idea kind of thing), Gaze (Noisey D-beat), Chewing On Tinfoil (Weezer-y punk rock), Disguise (Noisy Japanese-sounding hardcore), Putrefaction (Deathcrust), Bacchus (Crust), Slomatics (Doom), Swine (Raw hardcore) Sodb (Black metal), Slidhr (Black metal) and ZOM (Death metal).

“Two bands who’ve broken up and are worth the mention are Crowd Control and Drainland. Both are what I’d consider to be two of the best bands I’ve seen in Irish hardcore.”

What’s been your best moment as a band? And on the flipside, what’s been the worst thing to happen to you in music?
“We printed an offensive tshirt about an Irish radio broadcaster which made it to the front page of a bunch of newspapers. This spawned a serious outrage all over Ireland for a few days, with radio shows discussing their views on it and we got to talk about our band on national radio. We agreed to let them interview us if we were allowed to play a song on their station so that was pretty funny. People still talk about it and my parents still get so annoyed about it but they can appreciate it. That, along with having people like Mark, Alex and Kunal who willing to invest money and effort into the band are our best moments.

“We haven’t had much bad stuff happen to us to be honest. We nearly got arrested in Glasgow on our last tour but thankfully were let go with a warning. That’s probably the worst thing that’s happened. Maybe previously having shitty members in the band too.”

What does the future have in store for Crows?
“We’re going to play as much as we can in Ireland for the next while, as we’re pretty tied down with work and uni. Hopefully tour Europe in June or July and possibly plan another release for the end of 2014. I’ve already got new material written at home so hopefully it surfaces in 2015, maybe on a split with someone. If any promoters are interested in booking us, send us a message on Facebook or email crowshardcore@gmail.com

About Kez Whelan

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

%d bloggers like this: