They say: “DAWN RAY’D is explicitly anarchist, but we don’t solely sing about political issues” and considering their previous work as WE CAME OUT LIKE WITH TIGERS it is no surprise that their offerings and stories require a bit more than just an urge to destroy everything in a moshing pit. Still complex in narrative and execution, the debut recording from DAWN RAY’D is a nicely refined record with tortured screams, punishing drum work and some tasty violin licks that properly portray a dark atmosphere. “A Thorn, A Blight” is a gloomy soundtrack to thought provoking stories by one of the most ambitious and confrontational bands of thue recent years. Therefore, it is my pleasure to give you the official premiere of their new record accompanied by an interview with the band’s vocalist / violinist Simon Barr. Enjoy!
Top photo by Bild-in-grau photography.
Hi Simon! Thanks a lot for taking some more time with IDIOTEQ! Obviously we won’t run from the WE CAME OUT LIKE TIGERS subject, so please drop us a few lines about the decease of that project. You broke a lot of hearts with this decision. Was the break-up planned before or did you just decide to part your ways because of some specific factors?
Hey! Ollie who played bass got a new job which meant he wouldn’t be able to tour anymore, and WE CAME OUT LIKE TIGERS was always a band that toured a lot and we didn’t want to change that. If we had toured less I think the band would have slowly faded away, and if we had replaced Ollie then it wouldn’t be the same band anymore; Ollie, Fabian and myself had been in the band from the first day, so it could’t have existed properly without all three of us. It also would have been odd for him to see us carrying on something he had started, but me Fabian and Matthew wanted to carry on, so the only fair decision for everyone was to put a dead stop to it, and those that wanted to then had the opportunity to start again.
Did WCOLT achieve all its goals?
I don’t know, I think everyone has different ideas about what they think is possible. For me I just wanted to play in a band within the Liverpool music scene, and once we achieved that we wanted to tour the UK, then mainland Europe, and every time we took another step we focused on what was one step ahead, so we never had an end point or goal. We did some things I’m super proud of though, releasing two 12″ LPs and two 7″s, we played Fluff twice (once on the main stage which was so frightening!), we played a lot of shows and got pretty far away from home, we got to meet and play with bands I had previously looked up to… So we got a lot further than I ever thought we would (but I am a huge pessimist!).
What are some of the best memories from the time spent developing WCOLT?
I’ll name all the ones I can think of now, Thursday night at Fluff was insane, and I’ve never been so stressed about anything, then coming back the following year, playing New Noise fest too fucking ruled, then there was Fiducia fest in Mullhiem, getting to play with CIRCLE TAKES THE SQUARE in Brighton, driving from Bologna to Barcelona and going from snow in the Alps to being super hot in Spain in one day (actually I think that was a bad memory…), the insane party that didn’t seem to end at Kuzeb fest in Switzerland (thanks to HUMAN HOST BODY for the ‘Mind Eraser’), swimming in a million places including: the sea in Ireland and Spain, the late night pool party in Lembourg, the diving board 2 days running in Kremsmunster in Austria, the water park in Belgium… the show for Stockholm Straight Edge, running under the Eiffel Tower at night with TWIABP, spending hundreds of hours in the van with RUINED FAMILIES over various tours, all the time recording with Tom Dring at Vagrant (because he is the worlds funniest man) and a thousand others that I will remember later and be annoyed I didn’t mention. Also seeing peoples response to us breaking up was really nice.
Ok, so let’s introduce the new project to our readers. How did you form this new entity and what can you tell us about your experiences with DAWN RAY’D so far?
We started DAWN RAY’D the same day WE CAME OUT LIKE TIGERS finished. As soon as we decided to end it I rang Matthew to see if he wanted to carry on, and he did so we just carried on the same as before. It has been a cool start to this band, we have toured twice and will tour again in September to promote our first record, and because we have toured together before it is pretty easy. Touring with THRAENENKIND was amazing though, we were really stoked on those guys.
Has your studio practice and working methods somehow changed with this new project?
Not really, we have had to work hard to get going so quickly, we realised if we had taken a break we would have lost our momentum and maybe just never really gotten going, so we have had to be pretty focused this year, which will continue until December then we will have a break for a few months.
Photos by Bild-in-grau photography.
Apart from the more metallic direction, you are sticking to the previous formula of blackened crusty aesthetics spiced up with your recognizable violin sound. Tell me more about your decision to leave the bass out and define the musical structure this way.
We wanted to go more in the direction of Black Metal, and have a very guitar led, trebly sound. We also work well as a 3 piece and are all in agreement about what direction this should take, and all want to play a lot of shows, so it just naturally went this way, it never felt that anything was missing. These songs could never have been written or taken seriously as WCOLT, because we always had a background in emo, so it is nice to have a fresh start to do something heavier and darker.
Content-wise, what do you write about this time? How do you embed the anarchist message in your lyrics?
On the EP we are about to release, of the 6 songs on there, 2 of them are explicitly political. Black Cloth is about how defeatist liberal reformism and electorialism is; and when people ask you to be more moderate, to be pragmatic, or to make a few sacrifices in what you believe to protect the status quo, the real sacrifices are always made by the poorest or most vulnerable, to protect the middle class from any upheaval. We don’t believe capitalism will ever work and are committed to anarchism. Another song called A Colony Of Fevers is about why we hate the police, not just individual officers, but the concept of police as a whole. There is a lyric in there I’m pretty proud of:
“Every time you turned your gun’s on civil rights / Every time you told a rape victim she lied / Every single pig, every single time / Is the guardian of privilege and an enemy of mine.”
So yeah, the rest are about more personal, emotional things, but we haven’t stopped singing about issues that are important!
What goals as an artist do you have with DAWN RAY’D?
To write music that is heavier than before, hopefully more atmospheric and to move away from screamo; I love that music, but I don’t feel I have anything to add to it any more. I’m also trying to write lyrics that rip off Voltairine De Cleyre as much as possible.
Haha, ok guys, in closing, what’s the timeline for your debut release and who at live shows can we expect from DAWN RAY’D?
Our record is being released on the 10th of September by Moment Of Collapse, it will be an EP of 6 songs, 5 of which we play live. As for the live show, I think it is more extreme, the quiet bits are darker I think, all the hope is gone from the lyrics, but it feels to me to have a more uplifting feel to it, rather than the sadness and melancholy of WCOLT. We will do our third mainland tour to release this record, then hopefully we will play some UK shows at some point…
Photo by Rob Adamson.
Alright, so is there anything else you would like to say about your projects or other local bands and music related undertakings? Is there any cool local stuff worth mentioning that we might not know about?
Matthew does two other projects, PENNINES and a DSBM band called ANAKRONISTISK which are both really cool, but myself and Fabian can only manage one thing at once I think! We have only played one UK show so far, so we have been out of the loop in the UK a bit, but we have got an exciting tour planned for the UK later in the year and there is talk of a UK anarchist/antifascist black metal fest too…
Thanks so much for your time and, again, let’s keep in touch. It’s always a pleasure. Cheers from Warsaw and good luck with DAWN RAY’D!
Artwork by Rodrigo Almanegra.