Music Interview: Howling shift and change
Somethingyousaid.com’s Addy Fong talks to Howling’s RY X about their new longplayer, about their upcoming European tour and about possessing superpowers:
Hi guys! Thanks for having a chat with Something You Said. First things first, what was the last thing you ate?
Ahhhh… Frank and I love food. We are apples from the same tree in that way. I ate fresh fish tacos with locally caught fish and lemons from the backyard trees.
Can you tell us how the name Howling came to be?
It seemed it was where we began, with the song Howling coming out before we even had a name. So we took that and ran with it. It became an homage to an inspired natural beginning, I guess.
The design behind the album artwork of Sacred Ground is very organic, what is the concept behind it?
A dear friend of ours, Coco, from Studio Elastik, did the art for us. We spoke about our environments to him, of how strongly they influenced us, and this album’s makings. He came up with the concept of a crystal made of photos from our worlds. Then we decided to create a Crystal for each song. Giving each a piece of significance and earth.
Which track was the most difficult to create? What limitations did you find you had to work with in relation to making Sacred Ground and how did you go about adapting to them?
Geography and time were the only tough things we had to overcome. Aside from that, we seem to have an inspired process that has been somewhat effortless. I think if we had more time with gear and studios set up we could have made it a double album pretty quickly, but we are both really humbled and happy to share this as our first full length together. We will shift and change as our days do, into new music, new things and we are looking forward to all of that.
How did you go about recording and producing songs in different environments/locations? How does a change in scenery help with the songwriting process?
Everything we do influences us, naturally and the places we are in, in the same ways. We made this record across continents, producing and writing wrapped into one another. Some of it in California mountains, some in Berlin studios, some in wild open England ranges, By the lakes of south Germany, in sweaty clubs in Zurich in summer heatwaves. Every part of those memories now lives embedded into each of the songs that was born of the environments. It was born of its beginnings and its own unique world’s surrounding.
In relation to sampling audio for music production, are sounds on the album recorded on location/in studio or a mixture of live instruments or acoustics and electronically produced sounds?
It’s such a balance. Wherever the inspiration was, was when and how we captured it. We recorded in beautiful luxury studios through friends, and on the other side of it all, we recorded on phones, and with vocal mics in soundchecks. There are – and should be – no rules with how to capture sound, or how to create art. However the process is inspired is the important thing. Not choking that is key. Get it, make it, capture the essence, then build around it… seems to be an organic modern way to create
Sometimes it can be difficult working in groups especially when views clash or disagreements occur. How do you guys manage when situations like this arise, especially since there is just the two of you working on the album?
We have a very balanced relationship, more so than most I think. Definitely more balanced than some of our other collaborations at times. But that comes down to the trust. Neither of us forces the other to raise voices, or to have to repeat something in terms of our creating together. If someone has a suggestion, we try it, and we decide together if it’s good, or where it should go next. There is a lot of trust in our process, that’s a unique thing actually. The one time we got into a ‘fight’ or solid conflict was in a club in Munich… when Frank wanted the kick drum louder and I wanted the vocal louder. It was a classic front man/lead guitarist, Keith Richards/Mick Jagger style disagreement. Sometimes you just gotta have a little emotional scuffle or two, as long as it’s loving after. We have gotten closer from all the experiences we have had.
Beyond musical collaboration, have you guys thought about collaborating with artists to create music for performance of a more visual nature, be it dance, video art, or a site specific soundscapes?
We are completely open to it and are already doing it in many ways. We love dance, performance art and visual realms a lot. We collaborate with our friends across the board and will keep doing so. On music videos, on live shows and in studios.. cross pollinating between art worlds keeps it all blossoming.
What do you have planned for the rest of 2015? Are you working on anything at the moment?
We are days away from a tour across Europe supporting the album release and we keep moving to play and share the art live this year. We have a beautiful live show designed by friends who made the Darkside visuals for N. Jaar which we are excited to share. We are playing clubs, festivals, and unique spaces throughout the year.. AND hopefully coming down to Australian oceans and lands late in the year or early in 2016.
And finally, if you could have a superpower what would it be and why?
Whatever the power it be, hopefully we use it to construct new paradigms in some of the ways our society structure has led us astray. More sustainability, conservation of our beautiful world, time and space for family and friends to be strong and supportive communities and to raise beautiful kids that are carrying the torch for us as a race and species. More love and peace, less war, more heart, less ego and mind. More solar, less oil, more understanding, less conclusions… hopefully we can help, superpower or none, at least to do our parts.
Keep up to date with Howling on Facebook. New album Sacred Ground is out now.
Interview by Addy Fong.