[Interview] Across the Bows – Crows
by Emīls Vilcāns
Delighting their Prelaten audience with a dash of sunlight back in December, the Tromsø based 70’s rock trio Across the Bows have finally stirred up to releasing their first recorded groove – Crows. With other tracks underway, the bluesy, a tad morbid piece builds up a trembly cabin fever and Handstoapplause had the chance to exchange a Q&A on the whole process with the Bow’s drummer Magnus Tornensis.
Setting forth with a delicate jazz guitar tone, Across the Bows head for a quickened blues theme that manages to chemically transform into a delusional light psychedelic trip of it’s own. Whilst rather remote from the start with a gently stricken cymbal and cowbell ushered tambourine rhythm, the moody lyrics of Magnus L.K. place things into perspective of a paranoid loner barred in the woods. Ultimately startled by the ghosts of the past, the guitar ditches it’s warm tones for a more crispy distortion as Christo’s bluesy bass keeps it’s creeping nature. With all of the bandmates joining in for the vocals on the chorus parts, we are soon enough introduced to the lurker outside as the bass absorbs the main-riff mid-song and shortly after breaks the whole thing into a rhythmically stripped-down psych’y heaviness.
Bluesy in it’s core, moody and paranoid in the brought up scene, Crows is a decent psychedelic track that creates more questions than answers. Portraying a shattered state of somebody in the midst of the woods, the instrumental interaction between the guitar and bass is somewhat intriguing. Whilst the song is an actual camp on one riff, making it rather minimalistic, I get the notion that it is a cyclic battle between the startled guitar and the creeping bass, both serving as a separate narrative, setting the single apart from anything I remember hearing at the Prelaten gig back in December. With the guitar right out in the front, the press on the pedal still reminds me of the tones found on Dead Meadow’s song deck, only lacking a tad more guitar expression on the heavy outro. Nevertheless, Crows form to be a catchy sing-along, hopefully, making the live audience keep up to the grim lyrics. Continue reading below to find out more about the tracks to come in a brief interview with Magnus Tornensis.
Since I last saw you guys mid-december, for starters, happy new year! How have you guys been these past few months? Has the 2017 started off on a good note?
Thanks, same to you! Things have been good lately, we’ve been doing a lot of work with the band. And there´s more to come!
Just to take a quick dip into history, how did you guys end up jamming together and how did you arrive on the 70’s carpet?
The first time I heard about this was at our beloved Bastard Bar when Magnus L.K. told me that he and Christo were working on some songs. At the time they obviously used only guitar and bass, but they were wondering what the songs would sound like in more of a band setting. So I came along for a little jam, and we all immediately felt that this had some serious potential. The next time we met I believe that we more or less wrote seven or eight songs in a weekend. We were so inspired.
The reason for the 70´s sound is pretty simple: We all love many of the bands from the golden era of rock, as well as newer artists that also share a similar sound. We´re not trying to copy anyone, but our goal isn’t to completely reinvent music as we know it either. If it´s got the groove and it makes you feel good, or at least feel something, then it’s all right!
What’s the creative process like behind your songwriting?
It mostly begins with Magnus L.K. or Christo having an idea for some chords or a riff, or even an entire song structure. We’ll start piecing it together and come up with melodies, and arrange it to our mutual liking. Sometimes the songs end up sounding close to the original idea, sometimes it’s completely different.
Lately you picked-up on sharing the process of recording your newest works, how is it coming together and how’s the experience thus far?
We’re not talking about an album at the moment. It’s more about getting a few songs released so that people are able to hear what we’re all about. We definitely want to have a full album out too, but haven’t set a date for that as of now.
The first single we are about to release is one of a few that were recorded between Christmas and New Year’s eve of 2016. That whole process was so nice, and quite perfect for this band. We set up recording equipment in Christo’s family cabin in the woods outside of Harstad and recorded almost everything there. Sivert Henriksen was there with us, engineering and co-producing it. A few minor things were added or re-recorded in another studio later, but what you hear is basically the band live in the cabin.
What can we expect from this batch of tracks? Any wacky song titles?
What we have recorded so far definitely shows some of the diversity in our songwriting. The song Crows, which we just released, is kind of moody. But we’re not fans of over-analyzing things and coming up with lots of different sub-genres, so let’s just say that it’s all in the name of rock in one way or the other.
The song titles are not especially wacky I think. Working titles on the other hand… Like with any other band there are some strange names and words floating around before the lyrics come together, so some of the working titles can be a little weird. My favorite would have to be Chorizo, a tasty title!
Where would you say the recorded material’s overall sound lay?
The sound is really dirty and organic. Very low tuned drums with practically no muffling and in-your-face guitars with just the right amount of effects. With a lot of harmonies too, recorded Queen-style on one mic.
The bell sounds good in the mix, doesn’t it? How did that element find it’s way into your drum-set?
Haha! The bell is great! That whole thing was very spontaneous. I just found it backstage at Prelaten when we played there, and Arthur who runs the place insisted on hanging it above the drumkit. It did sound awesome, but I don’t think it will follow us around. That thing is seriously heavy!
As a band, do you think you could nail composing a soundtrack for a feature film? And how would you imagine the movie?
That’s a very good question, and something I think would be a lot of fun to do. I imagine we would sound good in a movie set in the wilderness. Maybe something about an old timer with a big white beard living in the woods or something like that. Like Into The Wild 2. We also have a lot of references to the ocean in our songs, so maybe Cast Away 2? Or anything by Tarantino.
Where do you see the band in 5 years?
Working on our third album, inbetween tours in Norway and the rest of the world. Regularly posting pictures online with rock stars and famous actresses at pool parties in the Hollywood Hills and other glamorous locations.