One of the highlights of the FOCUS Wales festival this year was the no wave noise created by a pair of musicians who seemed to pin their badge to the noisy Black Flag stylings and chaotic sounds of an underground post-punk movement. Whatever their influences, the music speaks for itself with its energy capable of throwing you back against the venue wall and even clearing it of people who are not quite sure what is happening. It's time to meet Furrow and they deserve your attention.
(((o))): So, first and foremost, who are Furrow and what are your musical backgrounds?
Richard: We have no musical background at all. I only started playing the drums when we started Furrow. I’m still learning now how to play. We keep things very simple just drums and a bass guitar and see how far we can go with that.
An area that we are learning more in is self-recording. We got our hands on a few cheap four tracks when we started and worked out how to use them with our friend Ben Sawin from Mowbird. We record anywhere we can; namely in the caravan where we practice, the local village hall and more recently our kitchen. Times New Viking are a huge influence on us by the way they recorded just using four tracks and simply getting on with it without the use of a studio.
(((o))): How did the band come together?
Richard: both meet in college doing art before we went our separate ways to uni we would often create art for local exhibitions for our good friend Jamie Davis.Making and creating art is all we really wanted to do. Once we both finished art school we got stuck in shitty jobs and the creativity just died so we moved back home. My art has always been influenced by music and surrounding so we just brought a cheap drum kit and my old bass guitar that I got when I was 14 and thought lets work on another art project. We are not musician at all we learn by mistakes and add that into the creative process.
(((o))): Please describe your sound in poetic form.
Thom: This Question is pretty cool because we’ve been really into concrete poetry recently, it was a bit of a challenge though (our friend Jamie helped us out a bit).
(Ed’s note: This is the BEST ANSWER EVER)
(((o))): Do you think your local music scene has had any impact on Furrow as a band?
Richard: We seem to know more people that make art instead of music. Band wise Contact High and Wrexham’s Mowbird are great.
(((o))): What do you think is the most difficult challenge facing new bands starting out today?
Thom: Balancing band and work is a pretty big one I guess, if you’re travelling to a lot of shows you need to work to fund it and if it’s a big distance sometimes it’s hard to get time off to make it, then there’s getting back at stupid o’clock and having to get up for work again a couple of hours later. It can be pretty wearing.
Richard: It’s up to you as a band I guess. Some bands want the fame and others just do it for the joy of it. We look at The Fall and think we hope to just keep on doing what they do. Just create and keep on creating. It’s like anything in life, you have to put the effort in to make it work you can’t expect people to do all the work for you.
(((o))): Every band has different aims, and sadly very few decent ones get proper fame and recognition. What would have to happen for you to feel like you have ‘made it’ as a band?
Richard: I feel just picking up instruments and actually playing shows of your own material; then I think you have ‘made it’ even if it’s playing to an empty room. When you actually write a song for the first time it’s quite an accomplishment. I remember we were amazed out how all the parts of the first song we wrote fitted and trying replicate that live and the way the song involves the more better you are at playing. For bands today they seem to focus attention on how many likes on Facebook or plays on Soundcloud they have, what label you’re on and if you have a booking agent. All that is irrelevant to us. We prefer to do just do everything ourselves and not force our music onto people some people will like and some wont. We just keep our heads down and work at it and if you like us then thank you.
(((o))): Where did the band name come from, it's almost classic in a sense, do you like to plough?
Thom: I suppose it depends what you’re ploughing. I thought Furrows to start with then we realised it was also the name of a car dealership where we live but our friend Wills dad said ‘just take the s off’, so I guess he should get the kudos really.
(((o))): We have another column called Echoes of the Past in which we get people to talk about albums that strongly influenced their musical outlook. If you had to pick a single album that strongly influenced your music then what would it be and why?
Richard: Two records that I admire are R.E.M’s Reckoning and Murmur. I have a really soft spot for 80’s R.E.M. Growing up in the country those records depict my youth. I would play them while waiting for the bus to go to college and sound tracking my journey on the long bus ride.
Thom: I don’t think there is a single band or albums sound that consciously affects everything we do. People hear things differently though, we get told a lot we remind people of The Cure but I can’t hear it and they’re definitely not a conscious influence, I can’t remember the last time I listened to them. When we started we were listening to a lot of stuff like Thee Oh Sees and No Age so I guess it would be something like ‘Help’ or ‘Nouns’, not so much sonically but their ethos is what made us start Furrow and being inspired to start something must be the strongest influence you can have.
(((o))): This is ostensibly a column for introducing new bands. Who do you think we ought to include in it in the near future?
Richard: Shopping from London. They’re an amazing band made up of Rachel from Trash Kit, Billie from Wetdog and Andrew from Goldbars selling post-punk hits for the consuming lost pop generation and it’s all buy one get one free.
Thom: Beta Blocker & the Body Clock, Playlounge, Mowbird, Fawn Spots, there’s too many great bands to list really.
(((o))): What are the band’s plans for the near future?
Richard: Just record everything we have written throughout the summer and try and put it all out for people to hear. Make more art and finish my PGCE so I can teach art.