BELFAST post-rockers And So I Watch You From Afar are celebrating the ten year anniversary of their incendiary debut album with a short tour playing the album in full.
The band’s live show is full-blooded and brilliantly euphoric. The self-titled debut introduced ‘And So I Watch You From Afar’ in 2009, it is one hour and five minutes of relentless and uncompromising instrumental rock that never loses its groove and in the walls guitars there are soaring melodies. Don’t miss this show.
The band has released five albums, now signed to US label Sargent House, the four piece have toured the world many times over, and are preparing a new project for 2020 that will bring together their live set with a string ensemble and a state-of-the-art AV show.
But first they will look back to where it all started in this Irish tour in venues where it all began for them.
Limerick Post chatted to guitarist Rory Friers.
Did ASIWYFA always plan to be an instrumental band?
“The bands we were in had just come to an end. We fell into it! Johnny (Johnny Adger – Bass) and I had been listening to instrumental stuff.”
“I don’t think we ever had a hard and fast rule that we wouldn’t have a singer.
“We just started jamming and I guess there was no singer but if a song needed it we wouldn’t be averse to it – we never seemed to need it.”
Throughout their studio recordings the band have always composed music with great melodies and refrains. I suggest there is a world of songs in the wall of noise and guitar lines?
“People often give us more credit than we are due,” laughs. “People find their own things in there.
“When music doesn’t have a singer you can use your imagination and let go without somebody dictating exactly what the song is about, always leaving room for imagination.”
The ferocious and rabble rousing track ‘Set Guitars to Kill’ is the opening track on this debut studio album. It is arguably among the very best opening tracks on an Irish album.
If someone hasn’t heard this band then ‘Set Guitars to Kill’ with its roaring crowd noise and thumping intro is the very best place to experience ASIWYFA, or even better – hear it in a live setting!
All the more surprising to hear that the track wasn’t even in the reckoning for the album in the band’s early rehearsals.
“I had the riff for ‘Set Guitars To Kill’ but it wasn’t in the aesthetic of what we had been doing. Our stuff was a bit slower and a bit cinematic leading up to recording the debut album.”
A show in Belfast by Canadian instrumental band Holy F*ck was to have a profound influence on the guitarist.
“I had been to see them and they were like instrumental music but it had so much groove, was more dance floor orientated.
“After that (HF) gig I felt encouraged to do the track and brought it into the rehearsal.”
“We had great fun and it changed the direction in which the band was going.”
Soon the track was being recorded for the debut album in a disused record distribution warehouse.
“We were in recording in Belfast. There was a bunch of our friends recording the singing parts – (gang vocals and chanting) for the track ‘Don’t Waste Time Doing Things You Hate’.
“We knew we wanted some sort of epic intro to the start of the album.
“We recorded all the guys all marching in a giant empty hall upstairs and conducted this orchestra of feet. It was funny.
“They are all friends – everybody in that was in a band at the time – it was a snapshot of what was going on in Belfast.”
This tour will bring back all the associated memories with this debut album, with many of the album’s tracks being played anew, updated and rejuvenated.
The group will also be re-pressing the album on special limited-edition four vinyl LP, including bonus audio and new artwork by the original artist Julian Friers. They will also release a live album recorded in June.
The award winning debut was the beginning of a journey that has seen And So I Watch You From Afar play tours from the USA to Russia, Asia to Australia, Europe to UK and everywhere in between.
“It was incredible for the band to play in deepest darkest Russia and have a few 100 kids turn up and lose their minds at the show.”
And So I Watch You From Afar play Dolan’s on Saturday December 28.