Posts Tagged ‘ASIWYFA’

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On ASIWYFA and the advantages of meeting your interviewees…

September 12, 2010


All photographs: ASIWYFA, photographed in Portrush for AU by Carrie Davenport

I had a few post-work pints with AU writers Francis Jones and John Freeman yesterday. Fra was the editor of the mag before me, and we’ve both been involved with it for about five years. His day job has changed but he still contributes regularly and is a good friend. John is from Manchester and found out about us through a mate of his who is obsessed with Duke Special – when we had Duke on the cover a couple of years ago, this guy got hold of a copy and showed it to John, who got in touch, pitched some work and soon became one of our main feature writers. However, he had never in his 40 years been to Northern Ireland so after interviewing Jeff Tweedy for our Wilco cover feature he took the opportunity to fly over for the band’s debut NI gig, at the Open House Festival. After innumberable phone calls and emails it was good to finally meet him.

Anyway, we were chatting about the mag and music writing in general, and got on to talk about the interviews we do. Being based in Belfast, most of our interviews are done on the phone – we are normally either previewing a gig to be played here, or the artist is promoting a new album. Either way, the interviewee is unlikely to be in Belfast. On certain occasions it does work out (sometimes we interview bands when they are here to play a gig, especially if they are about to release an album soon after) and of course we often interview bands from Northern Ireland.

Any music writer will tell you that a face-to-face interview is always preferable – there is only so much you can do with an interview based solely on words down a phone line. When you meet up with an interviewee, however, there is so much more to play with. Context, geography, even something as simple as facial expressions and body language make a huge difference.

With that in mind, and because I haven’t posted it up here yet, here’s an interview I did with And So I Watch You From Afar in March last year, just before their debut album came out. The photographer Carrie and I went to their own patch – Portrush – for the day and chatted to them in Barry’s Amusements, the Harbour Bar and on the beach. It was a fun day. Read the rest of this entry ?

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ATL: And So I Watch You From Afar live review

February 2, 2008

This is the first review I did for ATL, and I ended up writing most of it the morning after, hungover, in work. ATL deadlines show no mercy! It’s up on their site here.

ASIWYFA Limelight
Pic by Graham Smith

AND SO I WATCH YOU FROM AFAR
LIMELIGHT, BELFAST

These four destroyers from the Causeway coast sure know how to create an event. Following on from their ‘Tonight The City Burns’ collaborative gig and EP late last year, they’re curating four more major Belfast shows in 2008. This, the first, sees them joined by Frenchmen Papier Tigre, north coast hombres Panama Kings and Derry’s finest, Fighting With Wire. All are excellent, and the excitement is palpable as the lights go down for ASIWYFA‘s headline set. They’ve come a long way in the last couple of years. When they first appeared, their four-piece post rock drew just a little too heavily from Mogwai and Explosions in The Sky. Fine influences of course, but ASIWYFA lacked a little in individuality and the art of putting on a show. That’s all history now though, as the last few shows the band has done have been nothing short of breathtaking in their power and showmanship.

Strangely enough the gig starts a little flat, almost as if the band is too willing to impress. ‘Clench Fists, Grit Teeth… Go!’, sounds frantic and ragged and a new song doesn’t quite hit the mark. As they head towards the meat of the set though, it all starts to fall into place. Another new song sees the band head further into the math rock direction indicated by ‘Clench Fists…’. Beginning with guitarist Rory Friers tapping out a melody, the rhythms and guitar work recall Belfast’s We Are Knives. All neck-snapping, clean riffs and Chris Wee’s virtuoso drumming, it’s another step forward for the band. Thereafter, ASIWYFA launch into a triple whammy the like of which no other band in Northern Ireland can match. ‘I Capture Castles’ – the first track on the mini-album – is monumental, and it’s followed up by the equally seismic ‘The Machine’. And then to round things off, the glorious ‘The Voiceless’ slays with Tony Wright’s beautiful picking holding the whole thing together.

The band shuffle offstage and the still-large crowd (at 12.45am) bay for more. As they return, Rory sheepishly says that they hadn’t planned an encore, but would play a song again so we can all “fucking rock out”. It’s ‘Clench Fists…’ and this time they absolutely nail it. With grins as wide as the Bann, Rory, Tony and man mountain bassist Johnny thrash around the stage to the crushing riffs and time changes, sounding for all the world like they won’t be long for this scene. This band is already massive in sound and presence. Trust us, this is only the beginning.

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