BY MORAG FARLEY
Interviewed By: Naomi Jeremiah & David Lydiard
Photo Credits: Morag Farley Photography ©
Down The Front Media jumped at the chance to have a chat with South Wales rockers Those Damn Crows straight after their high energy set at Winters End 2018. The Crows are a tight group of friends from South Wales and are keen to spread their infectious love of rock to anyone who will listen… and watch.
I’ve been lucky enough to see them in several small venues, and it was a real treat to see them make full use of the huge Winters End stage and engage with the enthusiastic Planet Rock crowd. Having watched the set from the back of the room I saw with my own eyes how Shane drew the crowd in, interacted with them and the whole band enjoyed it as much as the capacity crowd did, obviously delighted with the crowd feedback he said: “It was wicked man – the response was incredible, …when the song ended and the crowd lit up it was like shit! Awesome!…, the response was just incredible and a lot of people wearing our merch!” It’s clear that the whole band had thoroughly enjoyed their set, and seemed genuinely surprised that many people know the lyrics (Which is more than Shane did, they joked!).
In the build up to Winters End, the band have been busy with several gigs, including supporting Bad Flowers at their album launch. We asked how it had gone. With typical Welsh enthusiasm they said “Banging...It was packed - sold out and all three bands (including us!) were brilliant...all the bands were class”. The feedback they got from their ever growing fan base confirmed that they “just keep getting better”.
It’s not just about live gigs though. It’s been a while since Those Damn Crows released their debut album ‘Murder and the Motive’ and the guys have been hard at work recording a new EP as a follow up. They took the opportunity during their Winters End set to showcase one of the new songs, which was really well received by the audience, despite Shane getting in a tangle with the lyrics… More practice needed!!
Unusually, the new EP has been recorded ‘live’, rather than each part being laid down separately. They said “Last time we recorded in Rock Fields, it was a case of I went in and kind of played to pre-guides so this time we were in a room so we could interact a bit better, so it was cool. It was just a great jam wasn’t it; great to get the energy across on the tracks and the overall feel of a great rock record.”
It was also a great opportunity for them to work out how they would play each track live as they recorded it, “When we are writing a song we are always thinking where we could go live with a bit in the song, we can have part of the song which is going to have crowd interaction. So we always have that top and forefront of our minds when we are writing stuff now”. The EP has been recorded with Mike Exeter at Woodworm Studios. Talking about the recording process, the band described what it was like working with Mike in preparation for recording, and it’s clear that the band have developed a great relationship with him, “When Mike decided to come on board it was the only option really, he just looked at us, heard us and said that’s the way I want to do it. I think he did it great as well because he didn’t only come down to Wales and he spent time in the practice rooms and stuff like that, he came to watch us play, so he did the full pre-homework, pre-production. He gets the band, what I loved about him was he wasn’t just for the new songs, he wasn’t .. ‘play the new songs and see what he could do with it’... he needed to hear the album first. We sat there and played that album just to get an identity of the band, cos even he listened to how we played live and said ‘Oh you do that different and that different’ and you could just tell that he was like ‘ok, that’s the way we want to go’, as it is capturing that energy but it’s the little things we do off the album.”
Those Damn Crows have a busy year ahead of them so the timing for the EP is brilliant, “We had just been bagging some good festival slots with Ramblin’ Man, Steelhouse, Winters End, Giants of Rock, HRH Ibiza. I think the timing is awesome because it will be out for the summer festival run”. The band feel that recording has gone really well, and it will be fantastic to hear the EP when it’s released, which will be in the next few months.
The Ramblin’ Man slot came as a bit of a surprise to the band. They will be appearing on the ‘Rising Stage’ along with other bands who are looking for a decent break. They have been selected from around 600 applicants and are all really proud to have made the cut, “We were dead proud of that because nobody was acting on our behalf.... Getting that phone call was just off the back of what we’ve done live, so it was an amazing feeling”. When they applied, they didn’t expect to be selected.“Its a good job we didn’t book a holiday or something!” They are clearly delighted at being one of the 8 bands selected for this prestigious festival slot.
One of the other slots they’ve got in the diary for the summer is Steelhouse. This is the most local festival for the Crows, being on the top of a Welsh mountain, and they are very excited about it. Ronnie explained “We were in the van when we got the message that we were playing Steelhouse and we had to sit on it for ages which was frustrating, but as we’ve watched the line-up grow now, we are like oh my God! What a year to be on it especially Wildhearts and Dead Daisies, it’s a great line up.” If the last time they played there is anything to go by, they will be guaranteed a great reception.
The Crows were a bit tight lipped about other things in the pipeline but they did share some great gigs they have lined up - Viking fest, supporting Hand of Dimes, and Dan Reed Network. We know there is more that they haven’t been able to announce yet, but it certainly looks like 2018 is shaping up to be a great year for Those Damn Crows.
Those Damn Crows are:
Shane Greenhall - Vocals
Ian "Shiner" Thomas - Guitar
Lloyd Wood - Bass
Ronnie Huxford - Drums
David Winchurch - Guitar
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