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INTERVIEW: Callow

Photo credit: Alanso Cat, Betty Dupree

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

Things are good. Thanks for asking!

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Always About The Ones Who Have It All”?

This song is about the world being ruined by greed. This one’s personal and poitical, and it’s influenced by what we’ve experienced. The title says it all.

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

Yeah. We watched some sad shit go down between a couple people who were at different “class levels”. All sad…in the name of greed. It’s too personal to talk about.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

Yes. Jordan Perkins-Lewis made a video for this song. It’s on youtube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sf443kcyGE

The single comes off your new album Mothdust – what’s the story behind the title?

When we were on tour for Blue Spells, we talked a lot about future albums we’d like to create. We especially liked the idea of a concept album inspired by the night and its creatures. When we got home from tour, we were ready to dive into new material, some of which we had begun to write and play on the road. We knew we wanted to take our time with the process – as much time as we needed. So we returned to playing music with no particular goal or deadline. We’d go down to our dungeon-like practice space, and without any recording devices or note-taking, we’d get lost in the experience of singing and playing our instruments. At some point, while practicing in our dark space, the moths began to gather and spin their cocoons on the ceiling. There were too many to count, as if they had heard our talk of night creatures, and came to be our muses. This got us to talking about moths, and the different ideas/stories/notions we had about them. It became a fascinating curiosity, so we decided to name the album Mothdust.

It took four years to create Mothdust. Four years of growing up, getting real with ourselves, and grappling with the imbalances and injustices of the society in which we live. Mothdust is not a concept album per se. It’s a collection of songs from the period of our lives when we decided to just keep going, and to play music for no other reason than because we love it.

How was the recording and writing process?

The writing process took a long time, but we wanted it that way. We wanted it to breathe on its own. Beside one song (recorded in our studio), the entire album was recorded live with Sammy Fielding (Ancient Owl Audio). Two songs were recorded in his Oakland studio and the other five songs were recorded in his mountain cabin/studio in the Sierras. This was a great experience for us.

What was it like to work with Brandon Eggleston and Pall Jenkins and how did that relationship develop?

They’re both really cool. We’ve worked with Brandon Eggleston before (he produced a couple of the songs on our previous album – Blue Spells). I think he stumbled on our song/video for “Alone” (from our first album – Orb Weaver) on YouTube or something, and he reached out to us. We met Pall through a mutual friend who guessed we were in to The Black Heart Procession (correctly). We ended up playing a show with him (with his project ‘Paolo Zappoli and the Break’) and I think we asked him if he’d play saw on the track over lunch. He was totally down to do it, and was super chill to work with.

How much did they get to influence the album?

Brandon’s mixes are always great to get. He adds an atmosphere without us having to record extra tracks. We definitely mixed “Always About The Ones Who Have It All” with Pall’s musical saw melody as the movement for those moments. The song wouldn’t be the same without it.

What role does San Francisco play in your music?

The entire Bay Area has changed a lot in the time that we’ve been here. It’s gotten so outrageously expensive to live here, and there are way more tent cities than ever before. The disparity of rich and poor is extremely hard to miss. I guess this fuels our frustration, honestly.

The cultural diversity continues to be one of the reasons we stay in the Bay. The creative energy is massively inspiring – everything you could possibly imagine or want to experience or learn about exists here, in some form or another. It’s pretty amazing.

…And the fog is every bit as magical as it’s always been….

How Nick Cave and Swans has influence your writing?

They influence us because we like them as artists. Their music seems to come from an honest place, and we respect that. Musician’s create songs out of thin-air – we find it inspiring to be able to help carry the torch.

What aspect of our society did you get to explore on this record?

We’ve played a lot of these songs out on the road, so we’ve been able to see how people react to them. One of the most frequent comments we get is that our songs made them cry – in that good, emotionally cathartic way. We’re happy that our music can enable people to feel emotions they’re not necessarily “allowed” to feel in our culture. Especially for men, it seems. Being touched by a song is one of the few places where it’s “okay to cry”.

Any plans to hit the road?

Yes. We’re planning a couple Western US tours for 2019. Probably more.

What else is happening next in Callow’s world?

We’re planning to get back to Canada for a tour next year. Europe’s looking pretty good too.

Watch here

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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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