Welsh band Those Damn Crows released their debut album “Murder and the Motive” on 26th September. Like many others who have heard it I was full of praise for what is an excellent album. I decided therefore to have a chat with the guys to find out more about the album and have an opportunity to play a few tracks from it on the Show.
I recorded an interview with the band via Skype on 4th October and this, along with 4 tracks from “Murder and the Motive” was broadcast on the Friday NI Rocks Show on 7th October. That Show is available now available on our MixCloud page -https://www.mixcloud.com/NIRocks/interview-with-those-damn-crows-on-the-friday-ni-rocks-show-7th-oct-2016/
The interview has been transcribed and is posted below.
Those Damn Crows are Shane Greenhall on vocals, Iain “Shiner” Thomas and David Winchurch on guitars, Ronnie Huxford on drums and Lloyd Wood on bass.
Check out the band’s website - http://thosedamncrows.com/
NI ROCKS - Hi guys, thanks for taking some time to answer a few questions for Rock Radio NI. Your band Those Damn Crows has just released the excellent debut album “Murder and the Motive”. I wanted to get you onto the Show to find out about the band and to be honest as an excuse to play 3 or 4 tracks from it! Your Facebook page simply tells us that Those Damn Crows are a rock band from Bridgend in South Wales and the website doesn’t add much more. So, who are you and how did you get together?
TDC – Ronnie, the drummer. Lloyd, the bass player. Shane, the singer. Shiner, the guitar player. Dave, the guitar player.
RONNIE – We basically started off jamming; myself and Shiner. Just knocking out some demos in the house and seeing where we’d go. We didn’t rush anything. We just wanted a clear path, playing the kind of style we grew up on and loved. Lloyd was always around us and then managed to commit full time. So we took into a jam room and Shane then came in. We grew up together, myself, Shane and Shiner; since we’d been at primary school. Shane met Shiner in college. We’d always been around each other. Shane wanted me to drum on some tracks, so the timing was amazing. He heard what we were up to, took some demos and the rest was history.
NI ROCKS – Had any of you played in bands together before?
RONNIE – When we were 16, myself and Shane were in a band with Shiner. Then we went off in different angles for years. Myself, Lloyd and Shiner have been in a band together. And I’ve always known Dave through the Bridgend music scene. Dave was an amazing late addition to the band. We’d always wanted an extra guitarist, but we were dabbling for so long that we went in and recorded the record. We were deciding should we have another guitarist and decided just to go in and record it. Then we did a few live shows and felt it was missing, so Dave was a perfect addition.
NI ROCKS - What were your own musical influences and did you have a firm concept of what you wanted Those Damn Crows to sound like?
SHANE – Me personally, I was brought up on the country legends back in the day – Johnny Cash. And songwriters like Bruce Springsteen. That was my foundations, but growing up and hearing bands like Nirvana, Green Day and the stuff that you grow up with as a teenager, were massive influences. Then the Foo Fighters and basically any band with guitars. As far as the band is concerned, there’s a mixed bag! Grunge was huge when we were growing up as kids. There’s elements of the old school rock like AC/DC and Led Zeppelin. Lloyd like bands like Aerosmith; well we all do, but Lloyd in particular. So it’s a collaboration of all that really – a big mix of everything.
NI ROCKS - The debut album was self-funded I believe. Was there a pledge element to that or was it just purely, do-it-yourself?
SHANE – Yeah, basically. The bank manager isn’t happy with us. It’s just us (laughs).
NI ROCKS - Is the Pledgemusic approach something you’d consider for the next album?
RONNIE – It’s hard to do a pledge when you’re new. We’ve been in bands before, but we never really got the break that some bands get, so we didn’t have a fan base to fall back on. And some of us were inactive for a few years we’d lost any support that we’d gathered. So we’re all starting from scratch on the same page. Maybe in the future, but I don’t really want to tie the fans down to something. I’d rather just put it out and if they like it they’ll buy it and come to the shows, but it’s something we’d not rule out.
NI ROCKS - The album was recorded at the legendary Rockfield Studios in Wales. Why did you choose there and when was the album recorded?
RONNIE – Basically it was Padge and Ginge, who both wanted to get involved with the album and they suggested Rockfield and we’re so glad that they did. It was a great experience. The history of that place is phenomenal. We were all up for it. As you as you got in that recording studio you just wanted to do your best work.
NI ROCKS – And when were you there?
TDC – It’s two years ago now. It’s been a long time coming!
NI ROCKS - The first single “Fear of the Broken” was released back in the summer of 2015 and premiered on Kerrang. I take it that it was recorded at the same time when you were in Rockfield?
SHANE – Yes, it was.
NI ROCKS - We’ll play another track from the album now. Which one would you like to play and tell us a little about it.
SHANE – We’ll go with “Rock n Roll Ain’t Dead”. The concept of the song is about how the industry has changed. There’s not as much money in it anymore. Everybody wants the fame. I was driving along in the car and had to search for a rock station – they’re not preset into your car radio. You’ve got to go looking for rock songs that you enjoy. That was the concept and we certainly believe that “Rock n Roll Ain’t Dead”.
(Check out the MixCloud page to hear "Rock n Roll Ain't Dead")
NI ROCKS - I know it’s a bit of a lame question, but I’m going to ask it anyway, because I was curious. Your name, Those Damn Crows, where does that come from?
RONNIE – We all did the usual, throwing out ideas left, right and centre. I went around to my dad’s house one day and caught him shouting at the birds in the back garden. That kinda gave me the inspiration for a song. I sent the song over to the boys the next day. They laughed at it and they only line that came out was “Those Damn Crows” and it kind of stuck. It was just one of those things. We had loads of names in the bag and that was the one that stuck. We always say it’s not about the name, but the band that is going to make the name.
NI ROCKS - In terms of song writing, were most of the tracks on the albums songs that had been around for a while or were there focused writing sessions ahead of the trip to Rockfield?
RONNIE – It was a bit of both really. There were late additions to the album and there was stuff that was knocking around for years. Some songs were pretty much there, but needed tweaking. Shane is really creative and he brought fresh ideas to the band. Lloyd has a really cool style to his bass playing so he had free reign on the bass. So it was mainly ideas more than anything else. That’s the cool thing about this band – everybody is bringing something to the table. If anything, it’s what makes it to the table is the hardest decision for us. We’re never hanging around with there being nothing there. Yeah, there was some stuff there, but stuff was tweaked, Shane came into the band and had loads of ideas that we started working on and I think we went into the album with a clear idea of what was being recorded. We ended up adding “Rock n Roll Ain’t Dead” and “The Fighter” which were two great additions.
NI ROCKS - With the band being more established now do you think the way you write songs will change at all?
SHANE – Yeah possibly. Obviously Dave is on board now and he is brilliant with riffs and bluesy sort of rock riffs. So that has immediately made a big impact on song-writing. We are about four or five songs into the second album already and you can see where it has evolved, but keeping that Crows sound. So I’m excited about the second album. We’re already writing it.
NI ROCKS – A question I’m sure you’ve had a few times! Those Damn Crows of course aren’t the first rock band to come out of Bridgend in South Wales and there is a family link to Bullet For My Valentine. (BFMV drummer Michael “Moose” Thomas and brother TDC guitarist Ian “Shiner” Thomas) Have the guys in the band been able to offer any good advice along the way?
RONNIE – Yeah, they’ve always been there. We’ve been in bands before and they’ve been around. When myself, Shane and Shiner were in our first band we were on the same path really. They hadn’t got the break and we hadn’t got a break. It happened for them. Obviously Shiner being Moose’s brother, there’s a connection there. We went to school with them, so it’s a really hard question, they’re more mates than peers if that makes sense. We completely respect what they’ve achieved, but we also know people in Skindred, people in Funeral For A Friend and we could keep going. It’s cool to have those people to ask questions but none of them have the right answer, because the music industry changes daily.
NI ROCKS - Your bio mentions that the band played Camden Rocks and Hard Rock Hell in 2015. Have you been playing many gigs this year?
SHANE – We’ve signed with UTA (United Talent Agency) and Paul Ryan is going to be looking after us. We’re waiting for labels to come on board and then Paul can do a lot more for us. So basically, that is the situation at the moment. We’re hopefully going to be doing a lot more festivals and shows next year.
NI ROCKS - The album has been released for purchase on your website and is available on Amazon, iTunes etc. Has there been much interest in the band outside of the UK so far?
RONNIE – Yeah, one good thing about the industry is the whole technology side of it. You can see who has bought what and where they’re from. There have been a few – the latest were France, Russia, Singapore. It’s quite vast really.
NI ROCKS – Is there anywhere you’d want to target first to expand into?
SHANE – America, just for the sheer size of it. There are people interested there. A lot of people have said that they can hear that American style in our music, so possibly. If there was one place you’d want to break, it’d probably be America.
NI ROCKS – We’ll play another track from the album now. Again, pick one and tell us a little bit about it.
TDC – 7 Days? Yeah. Trying to think what that was about! (All laugh) It’s about chaos really. It’s a driven song about being angry. When shit happens, face it head-on!
(Listen to the Show on our MixCloud page to hear "7 Days"
NI ROCKS – The debut album is now released, so have you started giving some thought to album number two?
SHANE – Yeah, we rehearse twice a week and we have pretty much 4 or 5 songs nailed down and another 4 or 5 in the mix. We’ll probably short-list 15 to 18 songs – pick the best. We are very lucky. We’ll go into practice and go over the songs that we have on the album. Then we’ll relax and a riff will come from somewhere and we’ll have an idea for another song – pretty much every week.
RONNIE – It’s really good that we’re all so creative. We all have studios at home, so we’ll take stuff home and work on it ourselves and bring it back next week. Before you know it our song library is getting bigger.
NI ROCKS – Early days I know, but would you go back to Rockfield to record?
RONNIE – Yeah, I’d go back tomorrow, but it’d also be nice to try other places. You don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket. I do love it there and it’ll always be special for me personally because it was our first album and the people we met there while recording. It’d just be nice to have that somewhere else now.
NI ROCKS – If you’re looking back in a years time, say at the end of 2017, what would you hope to have achieved as a band?
RONNIE – A few tours for me personally, with bigger bands to get the band the audience that it deserves. Just play as many shows as possible and see where that takes us.
NI ROCKS – Any particular festivals that you’d like to target during 2017?
TDC – Obviously, the bigger ones. To be honest there are a lot of smaller festivals like Steelhouse that are wicked – really, really good festivals. You get people that actually want to watch bands. I think there has to be a lot of that next year. There are loads of smaller festivals scattered around.
NI ROCKS – You mentioned touring. Would there be an ideal band to land a support slot with?
TDC – There would be loads! (All laugh)
NI ROCKS – Realistic and bucket list?
TDC – Bucket list would be Foo Fighters everyday!! Aerosmith. Biffy Clyro. Realistically, I wouldn’t mind Black Stone Cherry. There are so many really good bands coming up through the ranks - Stone Broken, Massive Wagons all seem great. We just did a show with The Amorettes and The Treatment – they were two great band and we got on really well with them. It’d be great to do a few weeks with them. Black Star Riders!
NI ROCKS – We talked earlier about musical influences, but what music are you listening to now?
TDC – Biffy, Foo Fighters, Royal Blood for me. Guys? / Bon Jovi, AC/DC, Aerosmith, classic rock stuff for me / My tastes vary so much I couldn’t say – that’s a question I can’t answer./ I’m the same – I was listening to Cream earlier, but then I had The Damned playing before I came here.
NI ROCKS - And sticking with the music theme, can you remember the first album you bought and the last?
TDC – The first was “Americana” by The Offspring in Virgin Record Stores in Florida / Mine was “Dookie” by Green Day / Gotta be Nirvana – “Nevermind” / Queen – “Night at the Opera” but that was acquired. First album I bought was probably Nirvana – “In Utero” or something like that / The first was “Dookie” and the last was probably Royal Blood.
NI ROCKS – And first gig you went to and the last?
TDC – My first gig was actually The Bare Naked Ladies supporting The Beautiful South – the last was actually Steelhouse Festival which we were playing / I think Oasis was my first and the last was Muse at Wembley – they were phenomenal / Mine was Stereophonic s maybe around the time of the first album, before they broke - I was about 14. I was never the biggest Stereophonics fan, but it was the rock concert to go to and I remember thinking the speakers were going to make my heart explode and that was it then / Manic Street Preachers for me and the last was the same as Lloyd, up at Steelhouse.
NI ROCKS – Do the band ever include any cover versions when you play live or do you stick to your own material?
TDC – We’ve had a little dabble with some covers and it might be something that we’ll introduce to the live show in the future. At the minute the main thing is to get the album out there and play it to as many people as possible.
NI ROCKS – This is one of those questions – a bit like Axl Rose and AC/DC. If you had the opportunity to be in any rock band for a year which would it be?
TDC – Which band gets the most girls? (All laugh) Whatever band that is, that would be it! Led Zeppelin in the 70’s / Guns n Roses in the 90’s / The Wildhearts for me / I’d like to drum on a come-back tour for Nirvana with Grohl leading it – that would be really cool. / That’s a tough one for the front guy – I’d love to say Nirvana but there is no way I could do what Kurt does! Foo Fighters maybe – duet with Dave Grohl.
RONNIE – We’ll go with “The Fighter” I think. This was a concept that we had of Ronda Rousey of UFC or someone walking into the ring with our song playing in the background. What they’ve got to go through and getting the mind set for walking into that ring. That’s where “The Fighter” came from.
Playlist for the Friday NI Rocks Show on 7th Oct
GASOLINE OUTLAWS – Breathe Again
THOSE DAMN CROWS – Don’t Give A Damn
Interview with Those Damn Crows Part 1 (6 min)
THOSE DAMN CROWS – Rock n Roll Ain’t Dead
Interview with Those Damn Crows Part 2 (6 min)
THOSE DAMN CROWS – 7 Days
Interview with Those Damn Crows Part 3 (9 min)
THOSE DAMN CROWS – The Fighter
BLACK ACES – Girl Like You
Interview With Myles Kennedy (Courtesy of AC Promotions) Part 1
ALTER BRIDGE – Poison In Your Veins
Interview With Myles Kennedy (Courtesy of AC Promotions) Part 2
TREMONTI – Dust
HEAVEN BELOW – Running Under Satan’s Hand
POP EVIL – Take It All
NICKELBACK – Dirty Laundry