Friday, May 27, 2011

WAY THROUGH: Interview!

It's very exciting to be able to present an interview with London's WAY THROUGH. The duo have just finished their debut album and answered some questions for Gilded Gutter to tell us a little bit more about themselves.

As a new band there’s not a great deal written about you currently, so tell us, did you land from another planet? Are you body snatchers? Were you conjured up by some mystical warlock? Who is WAY THROUGH and where are did you come from?!

Way Through is Claire Titley and Christopher Tipton. We come from the same village in Shropshire and this informs a lot of our music, as it is akin to coming from another planet compared to London where we now live and work. Way Through in all intents and purposes is a pastoral punk project, and we are trying to capture a genuine experience that relates to inward territories.

Have you been in any previous bands – if so which ones? How would you say WAY THROUGH differs from your past projects?

Hands On Heads and Haunted Fucking (H.F.) were our two most recent projects. Way Through is a more ragged and internally informed project for both of us, dealing less with songs and more with feelings and sound. Way Through (for us at least) is linked more to personal geography and collective memory, whilst skirting nostalgic trespasses we try and recall our next step forward like we’re following a map that we’ve partially forgotten.

You’ve just finished your debut album I’d love to hear about what informed your sound, did any favourite bands or artists inspire you?

Yes, we really wanted to write a whole album first, as we suddenly found ourselves with a lot of songs that felt happier together forming a narrative arc. ARROW SHOWER works more in terms of a cycle rather than a start or end and hopefully bears repeat listens.

When we started Way Through we wanted to keep things particularly undefined so we could find our own sound. I suppose we owe a debt of gratitude to Eyeless In Gaza, Shadow Ring, Sun City Girls and perhaps the Englishness of XTC for our musical consciousness when starting Way Through but these are just some of the waves we can remember. I think equally importantly we have been immersed in a re-exploration of English art and literature from the 1890s until the period immediately following the second world war, much of which has been discarded in favour of the postmodern and the “new”. We have a slight obsession with artists that record the everyday and the minor in radical ways, and with what John Piper described as “pleasing decay” which is found in the graffiti on garage doors of suburbia as amongst fallen trees in woodland.

Chris, I like how your voice is captured on the album, the vocals stand out because it sounds like you're in the room when listening – Arthur did an amazing job, how was 'Arrow Shower' recorded?

The recording was done in Deep House, our shared rehearsal space in London. The process was basic, with a handful of borrowed microphones and a laptop and the assistance of Arthur Swindells. This was during a blizzard just before Christmas 2010. We kept stopping to go and look at the great accumulations of snow and the buses stranded in it. I like to think some of that insularity that we experienced when we could see London at a standstill as a result of the unexpected has been captured on the record.

All the tracks were recorded live on drums and guitar, and we added everything else afterwards. It was a swift process, trapping the spontaneous energy of the tracks. Everything was recorded in a space of 2x3 metres, I suppose we’re a band happy with confines!

What's behind the name 'Arrow Shower' - how did you come up with it for the album?

The name comes from a heavily annotated copy of The Whitsun Weddings by Philip Larkin, which we picked up in a second hand bookstore in our hometown. The Arrow Shower piece on the record is inspired by the observations of a 13 year old boy from Much Wenlock trying to understand one of England’s greatest poems. There is something incredibly straightforward and moving about his analysis. We also like the visual image of each song side by side, as arrows hitting the ground.

WAY THROUGH just played a show opening for Deerhoof, how was that for you both?

We are long-standing admirers of Deerhoof and it was a privilege to be asked to play by them. It was our biggest show to date, so it was an exercise in controlling the nerves to some extent, but we were overwhelmed with the positive response we had from our peers and strangers who were there!

I know you both like to go on adventures around the UK to see all these cool historical and cultural sites. You inspired me to go see Kensal Green’s Catacombs (best fiver I ever spent!), what have been some highlights?

I knew you’d like the catacombs!

We enjoy seeing ancient sites (like the Neolithic stones at Avebury for example) and the way they have been shaped/and shape the environment around them. Also, we love exploring places, and heading out with a map to find something. We have only recently started exploring the South of England so we have been fascinated by the coast and the towns along it, especially Romney Marsh and the Isle of Purbeck (Shropshire is a land-locked county!). A great deal of the inspiration for our travels has been from some of the art and writers that we mentioned earlier, and we have been following their negotiations between the country and the city.

Have the places you’ve visited inspired any of your songs? If so, spill the beans! Where and why?

Not really but I’m sure they will. There is a lot about maps and mapping in the record more than actual places. I think we are still stuck in Shropshire in song-writing terms.

For anyone not from around here how would you describe London’s music scene? How would you change it?

At the moment it is in pretty good shape. There are more genuinely interesting London bands around now than I can remember in the past and it feels like there is a community of peers that are supporting each other to an extent. I am very aware that the current scene (like all scenes really) feels quite insular and cliquey to outsiders. I hope that the work we do in Upset The Rhythm goes some way to open things out to new audiences, to forge connections between bands and to promote the very best of what is going on, either through the shows or through the label (though actually the number of London bands on the label are pretty small compared to the number of bands from other parts of the UK).

What do you think of the venues in London currently?

London is crying out for a flexible community-run arts space with a focus on music that is kitted out appropriately. These spaces exist in every city in the US, in Europe and in other places in the UK but the exorbitant level of property prices in the capital means this is unlikely to happen unless someone decides to invest intensely in such a concept. Most venues (of course there are notable exceptions) put the sale of alcohol above all else, in order to survive financially. The last few years have been very tough, we’ve lost Bardens’ Boudoir and the Luminaire who both allowed us to experiment and get away with things other venues wouldn’t. Things will pick up, I’m sure and we’ll get more imaginative as a result.

You both also put on shows and celebrated your 7th year of being music promoters in December, what’s the future for Upset the Rhythm?

I think we have been moving towards more special one-off shows in unconventional locations for some time.

Any special events you’d like to tell us about that are coming up? (I’m psyched about R. Stevie Moore!)

R. Stevie Moore is going to be amazing! I’m excited about Greatest Hits and Ut, and looking forward to seeing Tune-Yards drive an audience wild.

“I’m full of dust and guitars” – Syd Barrett, if you were cracked open what would be inside?

Just another way of life, that when written down looks like the words wrong when its different.

Official music video from the forthcoming album, track 'W.B' by Charles Chintzer Lai.

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