interview with Narrow House

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What´s the name of your band? It’s Narrow House. Despite the odd sound it actually means “the last retreat”, in other words – grave.

How was the band formed? Narrow House was born on the ashes of our previous band called Funestum. Now there only a few people left from the original line-up.

Can you tell about your band? We don’t play live much due the incomplete line-up, so we were mostly focused on studio work which might change in the future.

Where are all band members from?/Who does what in the band? We are all from Kyiv, Ukraine. Me, Yegor “Bewitched” (guitars, vocals) who runs everything band related after the departure of a few key members with the eventual help of both ex-drummer Petro Rogutskiy, the current one Artie Cardanov and Ekaterina Romanova (keyboards). 

What was the ambitions of the band when you started? At first we wanted to continue developing funeral doom scene in Ukraine as at the moment there weren’t any left to perform live. Now we don’t play funeral doom and just want to create original and interesting heavy music without any specific boundaries.

Could you explain your music to someone that haven't heard you? It’s pretty hard, I would rather give this person an opportunity to hear the music instead. I would call it “experimental doom” as it’s a blend of many genres including symphonic metal, traditional doom, stoner, epic, funeral, ambient, gothic, trip-hop, jazz, instrumental, martial with deep atmosphere.

Where was your first gig? As Narrow House our first gig was in Lutsk, Ukraine back in 2009. It was a very nice experience, as we were treated like never before. Those people who organized the gig rented us a separate flat, fed us etc. I know that this sounds like an obvious thing for most bands that go performing to other cities but this isn’t that common in Ukraine regarding local bands.

Where was the latest gig? The last three gigs we had were organized in the same club in Kyiv which is closed now. It was in 2012 and we felt a it discouraged to give live shows any further. Working on the next album seemed like a far better idea at the time.

Who writes your songs?/Who writes the music who writes lyrics? The first our album “A Key to Panngrieb” was a collaborative effort of the whole band, while our latest work “Thanathonaut” was mainly created by myself with help of Petro Rogutskiy, Artie Cardanov (both are drummers) and our sound producer Max Morton.

Who has the best since of humor in the band? We all like to have a good laugh from time to time. For good example of that you can check out the episode #20 of the Withered Hands Podcast that was hosted by one of the band members.

What's good/bad with the band?/What genre do you feel you are?

Having a full line-up is always great as you can actually play live gigs and tour thus making a name for a band. However people tend to have their own opinions and it’s hard to have a compromise that will please everyone. So being alone most of the time helps when you know exactly what you want to do.

Talking about genre – I have always been into doom metal, so it might always be the part of Narrow House.

Why did you pick that particular style?/What are your songs about? There are not much bands that play doom metal over here. In fact with our new album we don’t really play “pure” form of doom metal, it’s more like one of the elements. First album was mostly about death (surprisingly) and self-destruction. The second one has only three songs with lyrics and they are about apocalypse and self-sacrifice.

Do you write your own material or mainly covers? Most of our stuff is original music but we tend to play and record covers from time to time. Each one of our albums had one.

Have you made any albums?/If yes what are they? Yes, the two ones I’ve mentioned above. The first one was published in 2012 by Solitude Productions and the second one was out just a few months ago. This time BadMoodMan sublabel of Solitude took care of it.

Do you have any clips on YouTube?Yes, we’ve got a YouTube channel with many stuff including music videos. We are going to publish a brand new one in support of “Thanathonaut” in a month or so.

How old are you?/What got you started in music? I’m 25, I started at age of 13 when I was give my first guitar. I got serious a few years later with my pagan black metal project Necrolatry. I suppose that as some point I was inspired by watching some music videos on TV. Might be the first time I ever got idea I want to be a musician.

At what age did you start playing? Well, I started to do something that could be related to music at the age of 14-15. I was mostly into black metal those days, so my first creative efforts were about creating something similar. I still believe that I should release a black metal album at some point ha-ha.

How old were you guys when you first stood on stage? Most of the members were 19-21. Not super young but playing funeral doom at this age sounds a bit obscure to me now.

What year was the band started? As Funestum we had a great gig in Lviv, Ukraine back in 2009 with Cemetery of Scream. As Narrow House we played with Skepticsm later that year.

What places will you be playing in the immediate future? We have no shows booked, so the next big thing for us presenting our next music video this Fall.

Where have you played from then till now? We never performed outside of Ukraine, unfortunately. Here however we were able to visit 4 other cities during our active times with most gigs played in Kyiv though.

Witch band is the best you´ve seen? Talking about metal acts – Skepticism have stolen my heart. They gave roses to ladies, and looked like they were at funeral just a few minutes ago. Brilliant.

Is it always the same songs live? We never played the same set ever. Some of the songs we played were performed just once.

How big crowds do you usually play for? Few hundred people I suppose.

What are the plans for the rest of the year? Hopefully to complete the line-up and play live again.

How do you get psyched up for a gig? The best way is to be confident in that you’ve worked hard enough to bring all who is coming the best show you are capable of.

What are your goals with your music? I always try to come up with something new and fresh. I don’t care for music boundaries anymore and I believe that there’s always a room for originality. Sure, I want more people to hear Narrow House, to get inspired with it and do their own creative stuff.

When did you decide to go all in for the music? I feel that music is one of the best ways to express myself since I mastered to play the guitar at my early years. Anyway I always had to do other things to have an opportunity to bring it to other people. If you want your stuff to be heard these days, you should invest time and money, and money should be earned first. 

Is it easier to get your inspiration from older bands or from bands more modern? Inspiration comes from everywhere not only music no matter how old or modern it is. The last time I felt inspired was my visit to doctor who had that great Magnetic Resonance Imaging machine. It sounded just fantastic!

What are your sources of inspiration? Movies, books, video games and music of course.

What's the first step when making a new song? Creating songs is not a strict science. It’s always different. Sometimes it’s just a track name that pops up in your mind, most of the times it’s some catchy riff or other piece of music that builds the whole song around itself.

How do you feel about the downloading of music instead of buying albums? I download music, my music is being downloaded. This is the modern situation and one shouldn’t be fighting this. People who would never buy music will still ignore doing that whenever they downloaded something or not, but they might get interested someone who will actually make a difference. 

What would be your dreams for the band? To achieve mainstream success and still create great material that will make music evolve.

Besides your own music, what genres and bands do you listen to? The latest thing I discovered is a band called Cold Comfort. They are from Ukraine and I was literally amazed with this fact. They play really old school sounding music that has some gothic rock touch to it and I keep listening to their stuff each day.

What do you hold most dear? My life and life of my family members. I think this is the greatest asset of any person. Well as long as it used well.

What would be your greatest fears for the future? World War III with the usage of nuclear weapons. That will make music and bands playing it a long forgotten thing. The only thing that we will do – survival.

When you are on stage, what do you fear most then? The rig to stop working correctly and sound being shitty.

What songs and what years were they released? Well, most songs for the first album were created starting from 2009 I suppose. 50% of the second album uses stuff I came up with since I was 16 and this would be 2004 as a starting point.

Have you been part of any other projects?    Just my own. This might change in the nearest future as more people get to know what I do and want me to be involved in their music.

Have you been in any other bands? There were some attempts but this never resulted in something serious.

What do you work with outside of the band and the music? I’m an IT specialist which actually helps me promote the band.

What would you do if there was no music? I would be a writer.

How important are your fans? Having fans is always important. Without their support it’s really hard to motivate yourself to move forward.

What's the funniest/most memorable thing a fan has done for you? I hadn’t much experience communicating with fans, as band started to gather serious attention just recently. I love when people take photos of them smiling and holding our latest album. That is always so heartwarming.

How often do you rehearse? Haven’t been doing this for quite a long time. Usually I rehearsed two-three times a week.

Where do you rehearse?When we were playing funeral doom we used to rehearse in a place that was located in an industrial area. This was a territory of old factory before. It was cold in winter and hot in summer. Got loud and powerful tech over there though. After that we’ve moved to more comfortable place with small rooms and weaker rig. This is where we go whenever we feel to rehearse these days. 

Name 2 of your own songs you like at the moment? Each one of them has that something special. Love them all, otherwise wouldn’t release them. However, Furious Thoughts of Tranquility and Midwife to Sorrows probably one of the best.

What drives a band that isn't all that famous and renowned to try to make a living on their music and to keep playing?I’m not sure that this is even possible when we talk about heavy music in Ukraine. It must be the faith in success.

Do you have any webpages? Sure. http://narrowhouse.net/ is the place to go if you want to know the most important things about the band. It has links to all other sources of information about Narrow House.

Any pearls of wisdom for all other bands out there? Work hard. Follow your dream. No, really.

Describe your show, visually and musically We started to use supporting video early in our stage performances. I’ve browsed the web for atmospheric movies and usually streamed them in slow motion during the gig. I know this is nothing new and people done that for ages worldwide but seems like this wasn’t that popular on the local scene before. I used to address to public generally and to some people in the crowd individually talking dark philosophy etc. This was heavy psychological stuff paired with funeral doom if you know what I mean. Some girls were even crying haha. 

How do you view the music industry of today? For all I know it have changed significantly in terms of how music is delivered these days. We have more opportunities but the competition is much stronger. It’s not enough to play heavy music to get recognized anymore.

What are the biggest obstacles for a band? The first one is to have first gig. If the band survives that – good start. The second one is to actually record something. If bands survives the publishing of the first album – nice! If it goes even further and does not get disbanded to record the second one – there are good chances it will last long enough. The next thing to consider – keep the music interesting and try not to copy yourself.

What is best/worst with playing the clubs? The sound engineers are not always very friendly and experienced. They don’t always let your own engineer to do stuff with mixing equipment to meet your needs. The stages are too small sometimes as well. The best thing about them is the comfortable atmosphere.

What is your favorite crappy instrument? My first acoustic guitar.

What was one of the most quarrelsome times for you in the band? When we got rid of Funestum and became Narrow House. Up to that moment we had arguments for most of the time.

Whats your Pre-show ritual? I have a little toy-elephant my wife made for me. I call him George. I pet him to get relaxed before the show haha.

Do you have anything to add? I wish everyone to be as open minded as it is possible. This will make your life great.

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