Original photo: Mitchell Wojcik, Facebook
Terminally bleak, hardcore supergroup Narrows have just released their new record, Painted, on Deathwish Records and consist of Dave Verellen (Botch, Roy), Rob Moran (Unbroken, Some Girls, Over My Dead Body), Ryan Frederiksen (These Arms Are Snakes, Nineironspitfire), Jodie Cox (Tropics, Rohame, Bullet Union), and Sam Stothers (Makeout Boys, Quarantine).
The members are divided among Seattle, San Diego, and London and continue to take progressive hardcore to new and contorted places. The distances between members is not apparent on Painted, the record is a cohesive and nihilistic assault, and sounds like five men destroying a small room. The upcoming Narrows show at Dickson Theater is on a short tour to SXSW with All Pigs Must Die. Locals Cowards will open. I asked guitarist Ryan Frederiksen some questions and here’s what he said:
Roger Barrett: What are the best/worst parts about being in a band divided among three cities?
Ryan Frederiksen: That we don’t have to see each other every day is a bonus. Naw, it’s been great, actually. It makes the times that we are together that much more productive. We seem to thrive under pressure to get things done so it all works out. When writing we’ll send a few ideas back and forth but it’s mostly when we’re in the same room and about to record or go on tour.
RB: Describe how Painted was written and recorded? How does it compare to New Distances?
RF: We started out doing demos the previous Spring down in San Diego and got a basic skeleton formed of ideas that we liked and maybe a direction to head in. We were going to do another tour in the Fall and write some more and Jodie got turned around at customs due to not having the proper paperwork which in some ways set us back but we feel it worked out for the best. We weren’t really ready to record which gave way to more sending of files back and forth. So we did a short West Coast tour with our friend Mark (Aeges, Undertow, Shift) filling in for Jodie and we were set to record when we got back to Seattle. We did some more writing in the studio while Jodie was sitting in on the practices via Skype so we all still had input. Then after we did initial tracking, Jodie recorded all of his parts in London.
RB: What non-musical influences affect your songwriting, and specifically the new record?
RF: Day-to-day life, really. You can find inspiration in anything so it’s hard to pin down, for me, exactly what that may be. Good things or bad. It often comes at the strangest times so you have to be ready for it when it does. For us, a lot of the time, though, it comes from the pressure we’re under to write and actually come up with something that all of us like. It’s very strange how a song can sound to each person individually but then when recorded you hear the intricacies of each band member that you didn’t hear before and it gets us even more excited.
RB: How do vocals impact guitar? How is it writing with Dave?
RF: Dave sits with us during the writing process and offers a lot of ideas and criticisms which is a great thing. He’ll sit there and come up with themes from what he hears in the music and what he thinks it may be about. Or where he wants to take it lyrically rather. Since so much changes when we actually track the record, it’s best for him to wait until everything is done so he knows exactly what’s going on.
RB: What have you been reading lately?
RF: I brought “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven” with me on this tour, which Sherman Alexie wrote. I also have Che Guevara’s, “The Motorcycle Diaries,” which my lady insisted I bring. I was reading “Game of Thrones” by George R.R. Martin, but that was in my car and it got stolen recently so I’ll have to pick up another copy. Sweet.
RB: How did the tour with All Pigs Must Die come about?
RF: Well, Rob has known those dudes for quite some time and we’ve discussed with them about trying to get on the road together at some point so it’s just perfect timing, really. They were on Deathwish and we’re on Deathwish so it makes perfect sense. I think they’re going to be bummed about the nerviness we’re about to subject them to. Or they could love it!
RB: Any Arkansas stories, dreams, or memories?
RF: Actually yes. In one of my former bands, we stayed at our friend Jorge’s parents on a farm in the middle of nowhere and his immediate family was great. His aunts and uncles were not so much. One of his Aunts drove a couple of us into town doing between 80-90 mph while either wasted or on meth. She was crazy. We’d take a corner while she was pointing out where she lost her virginity which was the opposite way the corner turned. I’ve had some close calls, but I thought I was going to die that time.