Having won last year’s Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses Northern Irish chapter, THE CRAWLING’s appearance at the festival generated quite an impressive amount of interest from legions of new fans, as well as getting tongues wagging withing the inner sanctums of the highly coveted media circles.
Guitarist/vocalist Andy Clarke took some time out to talk to Overdrive about the band’s plans for the remainder of 2017 as well as the circumstances behind their new video ‘The Right To Crawl‘ which is making its debut below.
OD – Let’s talk about the last 12 months! The Crawling seemed to have burst out of you local scene with winning M2TM N.Ireland last year and have been keeping the momentum flowing ever since. When you look back, do you find that the Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses platform was an important opportunity for you guys?
ANDY – The last 12 months have been pretty busy for sure! Yeah, the metal 2 the masses was a huge opportunity for us, and it’s really paid off. Obviously, we got to play Bloodstock, which was amazing, but it also put a lot of attention onto The Crawling that we didn’t want to squander. We had the album written and ready to go, so we used the spotlight to focus our efforts. We got Future PR on board for the album lead up, and concentrated on quality output, on a regular basis.
It was working really well, and then we were picked to represent the metal 2 the masses at Metal Days! It just kept getting better! Ha, ha! Again, it made us focus on maintaining our presence, online and via shows. Overall it’s been amazing; we had been working hard coming up to the M2TM, but it really escalated at Bloodstock.
OD -There is an extremely vibrant and rich metal scene in Ireland, (both North and South) do you think that a lot of it is still an untapped resource?
ANDY – Metal seems to be huge in Ireland at the moment. I mean, I’ve been playing live since 1996, but I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen so many active bands; not only on a local level but achieving great success in their own right further afield. It’s pretty motivating to me.
There are certainly bands that are exceptionally good and may remain untapped, but I think most bands realise now you have to put that extra bit of work in to make things happen, and it’s showing. My social media feed is full of bands playing foreign countries, big festivals, hanging with rock stars, all manner of cool shit! I’m jealous as fuck half the time! But, I know it’s not easy, and there always going to bands that slip through the cracks.
OD – Speaking from your own personal experience and that of the band as a collective entity, would you like to see any changes in the way the media react to metal and all of its sub-genres in N.Ireland?
ANDY – I think the only problem in NI (and throughout Ireland) is it’s so small that bands have to rely solely on releases to get media attention, more so that of larger mags. I mean in contrast, UK and Europe, are able to sustain festivals of different magnitudes. Festivals get way more media coverage than your average show, and in larger countries, lesser known bands often get a chance to play second stages etc. We don’t have that resource in Ireland, so I guess I just wish the media would dig a little deeper into the Irish scene.
Daryl Smith from Metal Messiah Radio did an amazing feature on Irish bands not long after we played Bloodstock, and it really helped get some tunes out to people who would never have heard them otherwise. A tonne of Irish bands got on board, and it really paid off. It would be great if more followed suit.
OD – The new video for ‘The Right To Crawl’ is quite an epic project- visually speaking. Did you have an outright concept from the beginning, or did it take shape when consulting with the team who were behind the making of it?
ANDY – We can’t take credit for that one, it was all down to Fullscope films. They had received a copy of the album way early on by default, and from day one they came to us and said they wanted to shoot a video for ‘The Right To Crawl,’ and had a vision. We were given a brief outline, and it all sounded good, so we just went with it. We’re very pleased with the way it turned out as well. It really captured the cold, bleak outlook of the lyrics.
OD – Although, you guys have a few videos under your belts, was this your first time doing something such as this (outdoor performance video)?
ANDY – We have done a few videos, but it wasn’t until our first single ‘An Immaculate Deception‘ that we got into them properly. It was a bit trial by fire, but it made us understand the principles of shooting an effective music video.
The outside location of ‘The Right To Crawl‘ brought its own challenges. For a start, it was fucking freezing! It was really difficult to play with ice cold fingers, not to mention so uncomfortable! Ha, ha! Playback outside is tricky as well. It was pretty much a public place, and we didn’t want to draw too much unwanted attention, so we used a small battery-powered guitar amp. Guitars weren’t too bad, but I don’t know how Gary was able to play the drums to it – I could barely hear it growling along to the track! Overall it was really good fun, I’ve enjoyed the video stuff so far; it’s a new experience for me.
OD – The debut album ‘Anatomy of Loss’ was released in April of this year and has been generating a fantastic amount of coverage and winning the hearts of both the media and the metal-loving punters alike. I’m sure this is a very rewarding experience for you all. Do you find that there is a certain amount of patience/dedication and a small dose of endurance when it comes to the current music industry landscape – regardless of genre?
ANDY – The album has been received very well, we are absolutely thrilled with the reviews and feedback from the metal community, both at home and further afield. It’s been an amazing experience of course, but as you say it has required a degree of patience.
The music industry is a strange place, and we are only getting to experience it, for real, now. From what I can gather it’s all about the long game. For The Crawling, it’s all about just keeping going. We need to keep writing, playing shows, producing merch, doing the social media thing and maintaining high quality in everything we do. It feels like a marathon, and it often seems like it’s more a test of how much we can endure. Not to mention, having just released our debut album, we’ve only started the race.
I presume it’s the same throughout the industry, but I think extreme metal is a different animal, there are only so many ‘famous slots’ available in the field, whereas the pop world can support many more bands I imagine.
OD – We’ve noticed that there have been some live dates announced recently and get the sense that more are on the horizon. Are there currently plans set in place to tour the UK mainland and possibly Europe in the coming months that you can talk about?
ANDY – Yep, more dates are coming. We were struggling to get suitable dates for a while there, but finally, we got shows booked over the water. We can confirm we have a couple of UK dates with Strangle Wire and Sodomized Cadaver booked; 18th August in Wales, and 19th August in London. I don’t have any further info as yet as they have literally just been sorted. We’re also playing in Cork and Galway alongside our Irish brothers Ten Ton Slug, 22/23 September. Again these shows are just confirmed, so I’m not sure of the finer details.
We haven’t managed to secure euro dates a the moment, but we’ve been in talks for October time for a long weekend or something. Keep an eye on our website/bands in town/facebook for updates.
OD – The Crawling have recently signed to Grindscene Records, who are now carrying the “Anatomy Of Loss.”. Can you tell us about your relationship with the label and how your signing came about?
ANDY – It’s a family thing actually, so we were in a lucky position. Peter Clarke, who runs Grindscene Records, is my wee bro; so I basically bullied him into signing us! Ha, ha!
All joking aside, Pete has been behind us since we started, but he’s not keen on signing anyone if they don’t match up to the level of bands already on his label. GSR are currently working with Desecration, ENT, Man Must Die, and in the past Cerebral Bore; so we had to ensure we were operating at that standard before he would even consider taking us on. It’s been beneficial though, as it made us focus on getting solid songs, strong production, professional photos, good videos; basically getting everything in place to make sure we were presented as professionally as possible so GSR could work with us.
OD – Although, ‘Anatomy of Loss’ was released earlier this year, are you the type of band that is constantly writing and if so, do you have any new material that we might be hearing on these up and coming scheduled shows?
ANDY – I like to keep writing as much as possible, as it makes me better at it, it’s like flexing a muscle – the more I write the more the creativity flows … eventually! High output also gives us more options when it comes to putting an album together; rather than simply recording the last 7 songs we wrote. It can be challenging from a time frame point of view, as it can be a slow, painful process.
No new material ready for live yet. We took about 6 months off writing to record the album, then the lead up to its release kept us really busy, plus getting as many shows in as possible, and making sure the live set was proper tight. It didn’t feel like time off at all, to be honest, more just the focus shifted from writing to releasing the album.
We have literally started a new track, which is coming together well, and I’ve another few demos waiting; but only one of those will probably make it to the rehearsal space.
OD – Finally, are there any plans for another single/video being released from the album as we head towards the second half of the year?
ANDY – Yes, there will definitely be another single and accompanying video released before the end of the year. We did ‘An Immaculate Deception‘ in March, and now ‘The Right To Crawl‘ is out in June, so we will be aiming to release our next single September time; probably to tie in with the Irish dates with Ten Ton Slug. I’m not 100% sure which track yet; we’ve a few ideas to thrash out and see what sticks.
For more information on The Crawling – Click here.
© OVERDRIVE.IE 2017
Photography – © Kerri Clarke – Exposing Shadows Photography 2017