By Pamela Sternin

Narrows has bridged the international and technological divide. Their new album, Painted (Deathwish) is consistently heavy and architecturally explicit while retaining what you would expect from the colliding forces of Ryan Frederiksen (These Arms Are Snakes), Dave Verellen (Botch), Rob Moran (Some Girls), Sam Strothers (Makeout Boys) and Jodie Cox (Bullet Union). The workingman’s hardcore, literally. Because if it’s not their front man, Dave Verellen busying himself saving lives and if it’s not the slew of other active bands Narrows’ members are involved in that consume their time, then it’s the geographical distance between one another (Seattle, San Diego and London makes for long distance friends with benefits).  This tricky trifecta leads me to the tip I’m going to give you:  Narrows is a rare occurrence, so do yourself a favor and jump on the opportunity to see them live because this band is devised of five very busy and honorably talented men that forge ahead despite obstacles in order to play music they enjoy for an audience that can’t get enough.

I recently had a chance to engage in some Q&A with vocalist Dave Verellen and bassist Rob Moran at El Corazon on the tail end of their recent week long West coast excursion:

Seattle Passive Aggressive: How did Narrows come about?

Dave:  We were all acquaintances or friends from other bands we did.  When Rob moved to Seattle at that time for work in 2005 we just got back into contact, hanging out mostly and through that talked about doing a band.  The band evolved through a couple of different line-ups to where it is now.

PA: What was it like recording the new album with band members strewn all over the globe and Jodie using Skype as an intermediary?

Dave:  We were on a time crunch with Deathwish and in order to have our record done in time for the East coast tour, we had to have it turned in by a certain date.  We had basically planned on getting to Seattle, recording basics, recording overdubs, getting basics to Jodie in London, him sending us tracks back right away….

Rob: Yeah, the next morning we’d wakeup and there would be emails with mp3 recordings Jodie had done. The basic tracks took 4 days of bass, drums, and rough mixes of Jodie’s tracks.  Vocals usually take longer… because we don’t live in the same city nor do we have time to get together and say, “Okay, let’s write an album for two months” and pick a city and go write, it doesn’t work. When we showed up to record Painted we only had 4 songs that were absolutely completed to record.  It ended up being Ryan, Sam and I going through old mp3s that we have sent back and forth throughout the past year, making up stuff in the studio, sending things back and forth with Jodie and compiling it all together to come out with the album.

Dave: Jodie had hours of music sent to him in London. When he would send tracks back to us there was no like, “Hey, that’s not cool man, let’s scratch that and do this”. It was more like, “That’s what you’re doing, this is what we’re going with”.  Then when we went to the mixing process, that’s when we would edit a little bit because we had to deal with differing recording styles and using Skype cause Jodie worked with a different engineer out of London.  But, Matt Bayles is the man, he really made it work.

Rob: Absolutely. Without Matt the record couldn’t have happened because I can’t imagine another engineer going through that headache.  It was all day, all night. Getting up early, getting files, listening to what was there. The songs were changing as we were recording.  Deathwish had to receive the recording, artwork and everything by the deadline otherwise Painted wouldn’t come out until a month or two after our tour which would defeat the whole purpose.

PA: On a lighter note, what bands are you into as of late?

Rob:  Retox fucking kills it.  Code Orange Kids on Deathwish sound fucking monstrous. Also, the new Black Breath album is incredible.

Dave:  We played with Early Graves in San Francisco, they’re fucking amazing.  One of their guitar players had a broken collar bone so he couldn’t play and they still fucking slayed!