I am the hugest fan of death doom, or doom/death if you like. So when the chance to interview THE CRAWLING appeared I wasn’t late at jumping on the gun. Answers from Andy Clarke Anders Ekdahl ©2017
You have a new album coming up. What can you tell us about that one?
-It’s our debut album entitled ‘Anatomy Of Loss.’ It features 7 songs, spanning across 45 minutes of doom/death metal. The album is focused around the genuine experiences of the band over the last 12 months, and explores how people are affected by death, what the coping mechanisms are, and ultimately how successful the outcome. Simply put; it ponders if anyone ever progresses after great personal loss.
Now that you have been around a bit and built up a reputation do you notice that there is a sort of anticipation for your next step(s)?
-Our reputation is still work in progress, but i think there has definitely been some interest in what we are doing at the moment. Progressing as a band is a slow process, both in output, and the painful procedure of getting exposure in this saturated music industry. We have being doing our best to maintain output, through shows, interviews, reviews, photo shoots, videos, vlogs and various social media outlets. I believe this has helped create anticipation of not only the album, but also what’s coming next. We have adopted a long-term plan, so there will always be more to come from us. People are slowly beginning to pick up on it, and there is definitely increased engagement on social media, and more importantly, when we play live.
We all carry baggage with us that affect us in one way or another but what would you say it is that rubs off on the music that you write?
-Misery. I am fascinated how people constantly focus on the negative aspects of their lives. Don’t get me wrong, i’m not surrounded by miserable people, I think it’s simply part of human nature to hone in on the low points. It’s easier to dwell on unhappiness than look on the bright side, or try and spin things in a positive light. I am guilty of this as much as anyone, maybe more so. Misery is a very strong emotion, and very infectious. It’s much easier to agree with someone constantly gibbering about how unhappy they are, than to demonstrate all the good things that are going on in their life. I like to translate that message in the music we write. I want to create atmosphere, and instill an emotion into people that listen to our music, the same way that when you focus on negativity it enthralls you, focuses you, and drags you down, to the point where you can’t see anything around you. I like our music to be immersive.
What is the scene like in your area? Is it important that there is some sort of local scene for a band to develop or can a band still exist in a vacuum of no scene/no bands?
-The city where we are from has a few bands, the odd venue that holds occasional gigs, but ultimately there’s not much happening. It’s amplified by the fact the capital is only 8 miles away, and houses the best venues, clubs and is the centre of operation for a ton of local talent; basically everything happens in Belfast, rather than the city we live in.
I think you need a scene of some sort to support the growth of a band in terms of learning to play live. It’s also hard to put on your own shows in an area with no other bands, promoters, or metal fans. I think new bands need to see how veterans play, present themselves, behave and respect others in the circuit – it plays a huge part in forging a reputation in my eyes. However, with the internet being what it is, you can become very popular without ever doing a live show. In some ways it’s maybe easier? You can make mistakes playing live, be let down by poor sound, gear failures, poor turnouts, all that sort of stuff. Whereas, if you are producing music purely online or via CD or whatever, it’s always perfect. Some people are excellent at presenting themselves on the internet too – which can lead to a good following and sales.
Something I have often wondered about is if you feel that you are part of something bigger and greater when you play in a band, that you are part of a movement sort of?
-I don’t think it’s necessarily being in a band that gives me a feeling of being part of something; I think it’s more to do with simply being a metal fan in general. I mean, i have been in bands for years, so i understand there is something unique being a band member, but when i attend a festival in a foreign country as a fan, i still feel part of something. I always feel instantly accepted watching a gig, and fellow metal heads always chat amongst each other, to effectively complete strangers. I do feel part of some sort of movement at time, but i see it more as social advance, the willingness to accept people because they are part of the same tribe. I don’t think there are many other things that create that environment — I mean, take sport; they all want to fucking kill each other half the time!
When you play the sort of music you play I guess you cannot have birds and bees on the cover of your album? What is a great album cover to you?
-Perhaps if the birds were mourning over the final extinction of the bees? Ha, ha! I’m kidding of course, but i know what you mean; you must have a suitable album cover. I have a very distinct, and limited taste when it comes to album covers. I like an understated approach, nothing too obvious, and i like being able to investigate the cover and see things i didn’t notice the first time. Or, i like something that instantly provokes an emotional reaction. It’s not even genre or band specific either; there are plenty of bands where one album has a great cover, and the next is abysmal.
I’m a massive fan of the Travis Smith artwork, and i think he does an excellent job of combining the types of cover i like. Personally, i think the Kataionia – Viva Emptiness artwork is pure genius. It immediately creates the feeling of loneliness and isolation, and then when you start to look closely you can clearly see the small details of what the child is carrying in her bag and stuff. The inside sleeve is the same, so much going on and so much detail to peruse.
What is your opinion on digital verses physical? Is digital killing music?
-I don’t think it’s killing music completely, i mean we’re all still here; but it’s certainly killed the magic of finding music. As a wee lad i used to go into the city and search independent music shops for the next cool album that no one else had, the more extreme the better! It was an amazing journey; you knew you were on a mission to find something new, select one album that stood over the rest (usually picked because of the wicked artwork!), and then read every inch of the tape sleeve on the bus home, and finally listen to it intently from start to finish with mates, or alone, reading the inlay along with the ghetto blaster blistering out the tunes. It was class, we did it for years when we were younger. Nowadays, with digital so freely available, music is disposable, people don’t invest the same time in it, and everyone is busier doing nothing. People listen to maybe 2 minutes of one track and if it’s not instantly “awesome” the band is completely disregarded forever; soon to be posted on the ’top 10 bands I hate’ on some boring Facebook post. Some music requires a close listen, and we all have those bands or albums that grow on us. I don’t think that happens as often anymore.
On the plus side, it’s allowed band to reach millions of listeners that would never have happened otherwise. When i was in a band in the late 90’s, you had to tape trade to get your music into a foreign country. It was a long process, and the reach was very limited. Now, you can send an album around the world with a click on a mouse.
What kind live scene is there for bands like yours? When you play live is it a happening or do you see it more as a party?
-We’re in a good position i think for playing live. Our music is a mixture of doom and death metal, so we have the luxury of being able to play alongside purely death metal bands, or more doom-laden bands. Of course it’s never a perfect match, but a little diversity in a line up can work well in creating dynamics.
When i play live it’s no party, it’s 100% happening. I am totally immersed in the music when i play. My intention when playing is to engage an emotional response, but it won’t work unless i’m getting something out of it myself. I adore playing live, especially when i see people in the crowd becoming engrossed in our sound.
After the show? Oh, it’s a party – i do enjoy a beer after i play!
What state is metal in today? Where do you see metal going next?
-It’s a strange metal world out there. I think metal is pretty healthy in that it’s more accessible than ever, and there’s plenty of it, but i sometimes think it’s lost the magic. I used to think it was an age thing, i’d just grown out of the enchantment of metal music; but then when i see bands like Mayhem live it just feels awesome again. I do feel there are a lot more metal bands out there, which in turn means there is an awful lot of shit around, which is detrimental to the health of heavy metal; but these things are usually cyclical, so hopefully the natural balance of things will return.
I suspect ‘metal,’ as it stands now, will venture further into the mainstream acceptable culture, and become something else. This in turn will allow the metal to retreat back into the darkness and evolve into something darker, more extreme. I don’t know how or what will come from it, but there are already sub-cultures within metal that i find too extreme for my ears, so i think it may be underway.
What would you like to see the future bring?
-I would really like to see ‘Anatomy Of Loss’ do well, and reach people that understand what we are trying to achieve. I’m not expecting to sell a million copies, but I would love for it to allow us to do some cool shows. I really enjoyed the festivals we got to play last year, particularly Inferno Metal Festival in Norway and Bloodstock UK; if we could get doing more shit like that I’d die a happy man!