* (Due to the ongoing issues surrounding the legitimacy of what is the true Northern Irish flag, GMA has instead placed a map of Northern Ireland in, instead of the theme of the national flags)
Usually when you think of Northern Ireland you think of the political and religious history shared with the bordering Republic of Ireland or on a more historical-majestic note RMS Titanic of which was built in the Belfast dockyards. However Northern Ireland also plays host to a vibrant metal scene as Andy from The Crawling explained to GMA, the topics of Brexit, the band's second album and sights / attractions there are in the capital Belfast; although the band are from Lisburn.
"We have a ton of bands, probably too many for what the scene can support"
For those who have not heard of The Crawling, could you give us a history of the band, what the band name means and why you opted to play Doom/Death Metal?
"We formed late 2014. It was all our bass player, Stuart’s, idea. He wanted to get together with a
few mates and jam out some death metal tracks, but it kinda escalated into a ‘proper’ band at some point - arguably once i got involved! ha, ha! We secured a line up and got to work. We released a single almost immediately, played some shows, released an EP, played a couple of fests, the debut album followed, played some more cool shows and now the sophomore is en route!
The band name was created by my younger brother (vocals from Strangle Wire). It was originally
one of his song titles for one of his more doom-ire tracks, but once i let him hear what i was doing
he was like - you have to use this name for that shit! I loved the name, and the fact my wee bro named us was even better; he’s always been so supportive of everything I've ever done. It suits the style perfectly, slow yet menacing.
The doom/death thing was a no-brainer for me. I’ve always written music in that vein, but my last
band had a clean vocalist. Once it folded i decided i would only do exactly what i wanted, and as a die hard fan of the early Peaceville bands i adopted the guttural vocal. Combined with the slow death, doom guitars i write, it kind of made itself."
You're due to release your second album 'Wolves And The Hideous White' in November, what will be different to your debut album? It seems there is a concept story going on?
"We’re still the same band, so it’s always going to have the same underlying vibe to it, but it’s
certainly got something else going on. It was more focused than the debut, as i had a very clear
vision as to how i wanted it to be this time. It’s more venomous, a much angrier tone, and I worked longer on the song structures to create a different type of listen from the debut.
I’m not sure if it’s a concept so much, but the album has a common thread throughout. Over the
last year i became fixated on people’s relationships. I watched how individuals behave in their effort to connect with others, and remain connected. As animals i think we are programmed to find a “mate,” a person that you can always be with; but society has fucked the natural process and people are forcing themselves into relationships as a form of expectancy, rather than just letting it flow organically. Each song on the album is a view of a certain type of connection, how it is created, developed, and subsequently fails; and they always do - people simply don’t realise.
Could you give us the meaning behind the album title and a break-down of the song titles?
"The title is simply my view of society’s acceptance of a “normal” life, and so many seek such a
thing without realising that’s not even close to what they wanted originally. Just because you get older doesn’t mean you have to forgo dreams, aspirations and life goals. You only live once, and no one is getting out of here alive; we don’t have to accept anything in life. Even if it goes horribly wrong - we’re going to die and it’ll all be over; but at least you tried.
The title track is a story of a man who comes home every day to a spouse that despises his existence, and children who don’t acknowledge he even breathes, draining any joy from an otherwise meaningless life. The children are Wolves, and spouse the Hideous White (bride).
I’m loathed to go into too much detail about every track, as i don’t want to ruin a listening experience. I recall reading a review of our EP, and the journalist got something totally different from what i was writing about and it was fantastic. I don’t want to interfere with that experience by giving a step by step critique if you follow me? Not to mention that’s a really long conversation! We’ll meet for beers and I'll talk you through the whole thing! ha, ha! :)"
With Brexit, are you concerned or not about what will happen? Both generally and of course regarding the Northern Irish/Irish border?
"I’m embarrassed to admit I'm really crap with politics, but yeah Brexit will have an effect at some
point I'm sure. I’m certainly concerned about how it will affect me economically, health care and that sort thing. From what i can tell currency has really taken a hit - my British pounds aren’t going as far as they used to when i travel.
Ireland wise, I'm not sure what will happen. I grew up in an era when there was hard border, and
it’s not something I'd like to see return. I can’t see it to be honest, but if there’s money involved ... and there always is, you never know."
Will there be a tour or release gig for the new album?
"Release show is all in hand, and a real big deal for us. We’re working with Shizznigh Promotions
and playing a release show in The Empire Music Hall, Belfast.
Thursday 15th November / Support from Conjuring Fate, Neahmni and Disconnect.
9PM / £3 in
No tours as yet, but we’re working on shows all the time.
Any music videos?
"Yep, we love our videos; it’s such an enjoyable creative outlet and experience. The title track
“Wolves and the Hideous White” is completed, and we are moving onto the next story board right now. Expect 3 at the very least."
Do you feel metal music tends to speak out against world and societal issues than any
other music genre does?
"I don’t really listen to other genres of music really, so I'm not sure i can comment, but i reckon rap would be more in tune with that kind of stuff. I don’t listen to any metal that has political undertones."
What is it that seemingly makes metal music rebellious or open-minded?
"Ultimately metal music doesn’t make as much money as other forms, well, certainly in comparison to rap or pop music. As a result i think it allows artists to be artistic, which allows an
unopposed voice or opinion as it’s not financially driven. Of course a record company will find a way to make money from it, but i think the original sentiment isn’t as affected as other forms of
music, if they even have a message."
Can you tell us about the state of the Northern Irish Metal scene, is it currently vibrant or in
"Northern Ireland music is a viscous beast right now. We have a ton of bands, probably too many
for what the scene can support, but it’s definitely vibrant. We have underground shows on a weekly basis, and touring bands playing in between. We’re also pretty lucky to get local talent supporting the touring bands, as tour support often remains on the mainland. It’s a great time to be playing in bands in Ireland right now."
For metalheads visiting Belfast, what sights / attractions would you recommend to them to
"Easy - head immediately for The Limelight, Belfast on Saturday afternoon as The Distortion Project runs show every week from 5PM - 9PM. Voodoo, Belfast is the other main venue for metal related pints and live acts. It’s an amazing venue and has recently had a re-vamp so well worth a visit. Touristy wise, i highly recommend the Titanic quarter for all their exhibitions, and get a look around HMS Caroline; it’s a decommissioned light cruiser from WW1. It’s a fantastic experience."
Finally are there any greetings, hello's or thanks you wish to send out?
"Thank you for chatting with us, and thank you to everyone that continues to support The Crawling, check us out live, and buy our stuff - we really appreciate it!"