Drop-D Magazine Talk To ASIWYFA's Rory

"When we started this band it wasn't really a concious decision to be post-rock it's just that we didn't have a singer and that was just it. None of us sing and none of us wanted to start singing" - Rory Friers

Northern Post-Rock outfit And So I Watch You From Afar have been setting a blaze of glory since they exploded onto the live scene just a short time ago. Their debut EP 'This Is Our Machine and Nothing Can Stop It' gained critical acclaim and the band have just released their first long player, a self titled monster of an album that is set to cement their reputation as the post rock band to watch for 2009. Drop-d caught up with six-stringer Rory “Bonecrusher” Friers to talk about the album, the impending tour and keeping it real when the press are full of praise for you.

Drop-d: I wanna ask about the artwork for the new album. The previous release, 'This Is Our Machine And Nothing Can Stop It' had a sort of Howl's Moving Castle image where as the album has a kind of Alice In Wonderland tea-party affair going on. Who's idea was that and tell us something about the band's love of such imagery.

Rory “Bonecrusher” Friers: Both images were actually done by my Dad, he's an artist by trade......it's funny there you said Howl's Moving Castle because at the time it was one of those types of movies that we were all really into....and we just wanted this big weird machine looking thing to go with the title of the EP. But with the album cover we'd been looking at some surrealist artists, big horrible weird landscape-y stuff. And sure, as you know, some of our music can be a bit weird and that so we wanted a good cover to go with it so that what we went for. We didn't want a mad serious cover but something kind of surreal yet fun too.

Drop-d: The tour is just about to begin (began April 14th in Cardiff) and after a few dates you'll be joined by Leicester's Maybeshewill supporting you. It will be a brilliant line-up. Who's idea was it to tour together?

R: They're a fantastic band...we met these guys when we were on our first UK tour. We were doing a label gig in Leicester and we were supporting them. We'd heard of them but hadn't seen them and they were great, really really good. Anyway we had a few beers afterwards and got on great. Then, a wee while later we did a Rock Sound tour and we toured together for a while and it was really great. So when the chance came up to tour again we all jumped at the chance. We wanted to get them over here and get some more heads into their music and then we'll be touring the UK for a month with them.

Drop-d: The gig in Dublin's going to be in the upstairs bar in Whelan's, will the room be able for such a sonic assault from two up and coming post-rock bands?

R: I think our first gig in Whelan's was upstairs and it was great. Last time we played in the main room with Adebisi Shank and This Town Needs Guns and that was really cool....but yea the upstairs room is smaller but it'll be cool because we'll be really close to the crowd and it'll be very very loud..........I'm really looking forward to getting out touring again with the new stuff and we're going to be playing as many places as possible, I can't wait........

Drop-d: .......Festivals, which one's are you going to be hitting up?

R: Well we're waiting on a few confirmations and being the band that we are we didn't want to hold out for something that might never happen..... we are doing a few in Europe though. We're doing Nova Rock in Austria, Pukklepop in Belgium and one in Devon and another in Enniskillin, so far they're the confirmed ones but hopefully there'll be more. We'd love to do more southern festivals but we're not really well known yet but, you know, we're getting there and...I don't know, watch this space I guess......... We're all really ambitious but we don't want to get our hopes up too high about some of them, don't want to be disappointed, but....anyway we'll see what happens.

Drop-d: I wouldn't agree that you're not well known, the music press loves you. Every single bit of press that you get, especially in the UK, praises you, how do you stop that praise going to your heads and stay grounded?

R: I don't know...It's really quite flattering, and at times it can be over whelming, especially recently......I mean, what are we? We're an instrumental band and we never thought we'd have this good of a reaction to the music. I mean, we're just a bunch of creeps really and it's funny the way that people really “get” the band...... We really believe in this sort of music that we're doing and I think that's what really gets new people on board. Like, you can hear it when we're playing, especially live. But, we're all grounded people. If there's one thing I hate it's assholes in bands that think they're bigshots just because they've sold a couple of records or a hundred people turn up to their show.... The most important thing, though is the music and the people that are coming to the shows because they're the ones keeping you in this situation of being able to tour countries doing something that you really love and believe in. There's no room for anybody who wants to be a pre-madonna.

Drop-d: All members of ASIWYFA used to be involved in punk and rock bands but when you formed the band was it a decision to play post-rock/ instrumental? And what bands were you listening to that made you want to explore the genre?

R: Yea, we get asked this a fair bit...well we were all in kind of punk bands, all with a very DIY type ethos, so we were all into the Clash, Black Flag and bands like that...but when we started this band it wasn't really a concious decision to be post-rock it's just that we didn't have a singer and that was just it. None of us sing and none of us wanted to start singing. We didn't decide that we were going to write in this way but we just wrote whatever came out, whatever felt good...like we wanted to try something different and it turned out the way that it is. We don't want to be pigeon-holed but whatever people get out of our music is fine with us. As far as to what we're listening to then we pretty much listen to anything and everything and with the following records we want to show that too. We want each record that we put out to sound different, a progression from the previous one. Like, we felt that the first EP was a massive progression from the bands that we were all involved with before and that this album is a further progression from the EP. Fundamentally that's the only thing that matters to us, as long as you are progressing with each release and as long as you're happy with the progression. If other people listening like it then that's a huge bonus too. I love bands that can mix different genres and different styles that don't belong together....we're really going to get into some experimentational stuff down the line.

- Paddy Murphy, drop-d