On your recent album, I noticed the first few tracks are fast ‘n’ furious (like the unrelenting “Absolute Betrayer”), but then there’s a change by “Greenland”, which features buzzing noises, industrial clanging, and Dave’s distanced and distorted vocals, before the screaming guitars come in. Other songs like “Final Mass” have an even more measured pace. When you went into the studio to record this album, did you have it all mapped out or did the different types of songs evolve during the recording process?
Dave: For this recording everything evolved in the studio. We had a few skeletal riffs and bits and then just worked with Matt Bayles to put together the jams. It was hectic and stressful but ultimately pretty raw and brutal.
Most of you are based in Seattle and California, while Jodi is located in London. How did you make that work for recording in the studio?
Dave: We passed around recordings on email with Jodie who recorded his bits in London. Sam and Rob knocked out their parts and they jammed back down to San Diego, and Ryan and I had the most time with the songs to really spread on the frosting.
Your debut album, New Distances, came out in 2009. How would you compare your two albums in terms of sound/style and themes? I read that you wanted to change direction with Painted.
Dave: We never specifically talked about changing direction but we for sure wanted to stay true to a more straight ahead sound. Really it’s always just been whatever comes out of us at the time.
The cover art for Painted is eye-catching and awesome, in my opinion. It looks like a tribute to the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead, with the painted face image. Who posed for what I’m assuming is a snapshot? Does the cover relate to the album’s lyrics and concept?
Dave: One day Ryan and I were drinking vodka and whisky, respectively, and we spoke about the lyrics and the direction of the art because we had like 1 week until the deadline. He had plans for a stark white cover and maybe solely B&W… We also spoke about being influenced by some of the cover art from Factory Records and how a sole figure may be cool… Make- up came into the conversation and by the end of the night we had our friends Christie and David on board to model and photograph and found a friend’s friend to do makeup.
Your album has been garnering stellar reviews on both sides of the Atlantic, from AP to BBC Music. What’s it been like for you during this post-release time period?
Dave: Exciting I guess. On tour it feels good to get comments or reviews and feels like you really made something, but then when you are home it’s kinda just like very little is going on… Good reviews are always nice.
At the time of this interview I think you may be in the middle of a U.S. tour. How is all that going?
Dave: We are on a break between our East Coast (tour de hot dog) and West Coast (tour de burrito) sections. The East was great. SXSW was a lot of fun and all the shows were really, really good.
You’ve all done time in other bands before this one. How did you each make the decision to leave your previous band and forge ahead with Narrows?
Dave: I had nothing going so it was a chance to play music again. This band is supposed to be stress free and kind of at our convenience as opposed to constantly pushing forward.
What’s on your iPod (and/or iPad or other device) these days are far as music and/or movies/TV go? I’m currently into the new Blood Red Shoes album and I dug up some early Cranes songs from the band’sFuse cassette. As for movies/TV, I recorded Great Expectations (the one with Gillian Anderson as Miss Havisham) and have to find the time to watch it.
Dave: I am actually watching Great Expectations as I’m answering these… It’s good but Downton Abbey is better. I am into Game of Thrones (although season 2 better pick it up), Curb your Enthusiasm, and just watched The Wire again…. Listening to Black Breath, Nails, Watain, Russian Circles, Municipal Waste, Jesu, Sunn0))), Spider Fever, The Men, The Coathangers…
Sam: Game of Thrones, Psychoville, Also Watain!!!, Ghost, 1349, The Smiths, At the Gates, Queens of the Stone Age…