INTERVIEW: The Narrowbacks

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

SeamusHey, thanks for having us! We’ve been great, its been a busy year for us from opening for Dropkick Murphys in March, playing after Flogging Molly and Frank Turner at Stone Pony a few weeks ago and now our single ‘Shannon’ and a brand new record in October! 

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Shannon”?

Barry: I wrote Shannon in my apartment on avenue a in the east village. Lyrically it was a composite of personal experiences and a few stories I had overheard in bars around the neighborhood. Definitely was heavily inspired by Ramones and Rancid, I kind of just wanted to write a song that would always remind me of those hot summer nights around the village hopping between bars.

Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?

Barry: Wasn’t really a particular event that inspired the song. It was just me telling a story of a point in time and a person or 2 that I knew.

How was the film experience?

Seamus: It was a blast. We kind of brainstormed and decided we wanted to make a quirky video with different characters a la Beastie Boys and Foo Fighters, featuring a guy trying to find the girl he met last night and eventually meeting her at our show. It was a funny day, in and out of bars and business’ in the Woodlawn section of the Bronx. We got our friends Tamara Lee and Sean Smith to shoot and edit the video and it turned out great. Had a lot of fun. The next video we do won’t be as quirky and comedy driven, not saying we’re getting too serious on you guys but I think we’ve gotten that out of our system now.

The single comes off your new album Arrogance and Ignorance- what’s the story behind the title?

Barry: The title Arrogance and Ignorance came out of a phrase in a book I was reading, Malachy McCourt’s “A Monk Swimming.” He describes the combination of the two and the effects on his life, and I couldn’t help but see some parallels in some of the lyrics and stories told. It just seemed very fitting for this albums title.

How was the recording and writing process?

Barry: The writing process itself wasn’t an exact science. Each song kind of came into its own in unique ways, whether we all wrote it at practice, Seamus came with lyrics and chords or whether I sent around finished demos from GarageBand. Some of the songs have been around for years, like the song “Home” which predates most of the guys being in the band, whereas a song like “Out on The Avenue,” was written and put together in the last month. “Ole” started out as a improvised live song we used to do to rile everyone up and then Seamus wrote out actual set verses for it. Just a lot of different ways the songs came to be. We  recorded the songs sporadically over the passed 16 months with Rob Freeman from Hidden in Plain View and Dave Dones over at Rob’s studio in Boonton, NJ. Working with them was such a pleasure and privilege, they know how to get the best out of the songs and out of each of us musically.  Can’t say enough good things about them.

What role does The Mahones play in your music?

Seamus: I’ve always been a huge fan of the Mahones, we even got the chance to open for them at Webster Hall a couple years ago. Great live band and they truly are road warriors. US Tours and European tours on their own or with Dropkick Murphys they’re one of the hardest working bands around. In terms of sound I’m not sure how much of a direct influence they have on us, though I can guarantee we probably share influences. Their song ‘Streets of New York’ is one of my favorites. In terms of hustle and when and where to play and where you can take this type of music they are 100% an influence. 

What aspects of both arrogance and ignorance did you get to explore with this record?

Seamus: Arrogance and Ignorance are two traits that haunt every guy in their twenties, from working and spending all your money at the bar to exhausting relationships that drive everyone involved crazy…..and eventually growing up somewhere between 28 and 80.

Any plans to hit the road?

Seamus: We have a packed schedule coming up in September and October and we’re hoping to add an Asbury Park date and Boston date.

9/10 Gaelic Park Bronx, NY


9/17 Irish 2000 Festival Ballston Spa, NY


9/24 Hudson Valley Irish Fest Peekskill, NY

9/24 Jersey City Irish Fest Jersey City, NJ

10/2 Quinntoberfest Mount Vernon, NY


10/7 Nutty Irishman Farmingdale, NY

10/8 Gavin’s Guinness Fest East Durham, NY

10/15 CD Release Party – Mercury Lounge New York, NY 


What else is happening next in The Narrowbacks’ world?

Seamus: World domination, making the accordion cool again and double denim.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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