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Afar beyond driven
And So I Watch You From Afar have established themselves as one of the most exciting and technically sound acts in the world. Guitarist Rory Friers talks influences, electronics and pays homage to a slightly unlikely guitar hero.
Dave Hanratty, 14 May 2012
It might sound casual enough, but as anyone who has witnessed ASIWYFA in full flight live will attest to, mistakes and flubs are very much in the minority. Rory admits that they are especially hard on themselves and that everything has to be absolutely note-perfect. No room for improvisation then?
“There wouldn’t be many points where one of us would go off on a sonic adventure, ad-libbing jazz style, but there definitely are little bits and pieces,” he considers. “There’s quite a nice thing that happens with the band as a collective in that we’ve been playing so long that a tune will come down or maybe we pause for longer so there’s a kind of sixth sense about what we’re going to do. It’s funny in that one day’s ad-lib will be tomorrow’s permanent part of the song. We just discover little things. I always laugh because I listen to old recordings and they’re always so different from what we play now.”
ASIWYFA’s methodical set-up is one thing, but has Friers ever been left mesmerised by his contemporaries?
“Last time we played with Battles was pretty full-on,” he nods. “Sometimes with those guys it can go wrong, but we played with them in Luxembourg and it was the first time I’d seen them since Tyondai (Braxton, ex-frontman) had left and it was fucking unbelievable. It’s so regimented and John Stanier (drums) has no in-ear monitors, no click track… he’s got two fuckin’ 8x10 cabs behind him and he’s just listening to the bass and it’s loop upon loop upon loop. It all has to stay in time and not start fading and then next thing some vocals start and the screens turn on and there’s a girl singing on the screens behind them. It’s just like, ‘Wait, what is going on and how is this not all falling to shit?’. That floored me when I saw it. John Stanier is definitely part robot!”
Gangs is out now on Richter Collective.