Rock the festive season with brilliant ASIWYFA

And So I Watch You From Afar.
And So I Watch You From Afar.

Groove Tube with Jimi McDonnell –

It might feel a good bit away yet, but New Year’s Eve won’t be long coming around. Anyone wanting to catch some sensational live music on that night would be well advised to see And So I Watch You From Afar in Róisín Dubh. Playing a brand of instrumental rock that has established them as a live tour de force, ASIWYFA are currently on a European tour. Guitarist Rory Friers is parking a van and a trailer in Freiberg, Switzerland when the Tribune calls him. Parked up, he is ready for the interview.

“The sun is beating down and we’re surrounded by the Alps,” Rory says. “In Switzerland, we always get good crowds, plenty of people come along. It’s good, Europe’s always been very kind to us; we’ve been very lucky.”

The instrumental band have built a loyal following on the continent, something Rory puts down to their dedication to putting on a good gig.

“I think we were lucky in that we established ourselves as a good live band early on,” he says. “We were fairly ambitious, we didn’t shy away from doing something because it didn’t add up financially. We established ourselves as a band that wanted to build a reputation behind our home town.”

Rory’s bandmates in ASIWYFA are Niall Kennedy (guitar), Johnny Adger on bass and Chris Wee on drums. Their most recent album, called The Endless Shimmering, was released this year.

Do the guys write in the studio, or do they show up with material that’s already written, rehearsed and ready to go?

“It differs from album to album,” Rory says. “The last couple of albums were studio albums, but this one that we just did was very rehearsed – it was written in our rehearsal room. All four of us playing together, really just playing the songs, subtracting bits that weren’t working. We let the songs came to life and when it came to recording, we felt so prepared.

“The music was ingrained in our muscle memory,” he adds. “We spent the best part of a year writing the record, then we recorded it in five days and mixed it in four. Then it was all done and dusted.”

Are this instrumental outfit ever tempted to put vocals over their music?

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.