PropertyOfZack had the chance to catch up with Ian Perkins of The Horrible Crowes not too long ago for a great interview. Ian and I discussed the early stages of the band, the environment between Ian and Brian in the studio, and future shows, among other things. Read up and enjoy!
For the record, could you state your name and role in The Horrible Crowes?
My name is Ian Perkins and my role is guitar player. I play bass sometimes too.
Brian sort of unveiled Horrible Crowes to the public in late-2010/early-2011, but when did you two begin discussing the project?
It wasn’t that long before everybody else found out about it. It was probably in late-2010. It literally happened right after that. When you found out about it wasn’t that much after I knew about it.
Were you immediately interested in making the record?
We were just sitting around listening to music after shows and we’d sit around playing guitar just for a laugh really more than anything. It was never about making a band and doing this and that. We were just messing around at the start. We wrote two or three, and we thought it was cool. The Gaslight guys were cool with it too, so we did another two or three. We literally got enough for a record and then we got a bit more clearance. It’s always been a fun thing though for Brian to get something out of his system that he can’t with Gaslight.
Can you just discuss the writing process for the songs on the record? Was it a largely collaborative effort on both of your parts?
Gaslight would have sound check, so I’d be working. Then I’d come back to the bus and Brian would tell me this idea he had and he had a rough idea of what we wanted to sort out. Then I’d throw some bass on it and he’d do more guitar and vocals. It was very much like that. He had a lot more free time then I did obviously. We’d add a little bit here and there. It was mostly together until after the tour when we started writing the songs seriously. We’d send the songs back and forth. We did it in three stages pretty much: The first tour, between the tour, and then the last tour in Australia when the earthquake happened. It was pretty much together though. He’s the songwriter, not me.
Was it a fun environment considering there wasn’t a lot of pressure making the songs?
Yeah, the studio got a little stressful because it was just me and him working out who was doing what. Brian had to literally learn keyboard parts in the studio because we didn’t have them. That got a little bit stressful. The whole reason the band came about was for fun. We did it while everybody else was out having a drink. It’s what he and I did anyway. It’s always fun.
There are organ and string parts on the records alongside a bunch of other selective instruments that you wouldn’t necessarily imagine on the record at first. Was it great to add in those elements to the tracks?
That was the whole thing. If he did that with Gaslight it might come under the microscope a little bit, but he had the freedom without the weight on his shoulders to sit there and do it. Brian knew what he wanted the string parts to be, but we fooled around with the keyboards a little bit. The strings had nothing to do with me, but it was good for me to see that it came so easily to him.
How was it working with Tedd Hutt in the studio?
He’s cool, man. It was good to have another English man in the studio. We’re all surrounded by Americans. We’d sit there and drink tea.
There was some initial excitement about the project in the beginning of the year, but things sort of grew exponentially in terms of hype throughout the past few months. Did you expect there to be such anticipation?
No [Laughs]. We never really thought about it that way, especially me. That is not my world. When I’m on tour with Gaslight, I don’t really see anything happen. Then I come home and people tell me that Gaslight is on the TV and radio all the time. I never get to see this side of it. It was different because our album is getting reviews and we’re doing interviews. It’s crazy.
Are you nervous at all now because it’s grown into such a big thing?
When we’re in the studio I knew that the record was good. I knew the demos were good, but halfway through in the studio I knew it really took shape. Especially when we added the touches of strings and that. We added that magic on top in the studio. I’m just excited more than nervous.
How has the general reaction been so far to the songs that have been released?
People seem to be liking it. I haven’t seen too much negative reaction yet, or people who are Gaslight fans that don’t like it. I haven’t been looking that far, but nobody has told me that people hate the songs.
The Horrible Crowes will be playing two special shows on September 8th and 14th in New York City and Los Angeles, respectively. How excited are you to play this material live?
I’m pretty excited. I get to go to two cool cities. Where I come from, going to New York or LA anyway is great. I get to play two cool shows and hang out with my friends, so I can’t complain.
How have you guys been practicing?
We’ve both been practicing our parts on our own. I play predominately bass on the record, but I’ll be playing guitar during the shows and someone else will be playing bass. I’ve been trying to remember all the parts. I fly out and then all the guys will be there when I get there. We’ll have a few days of rehearsals beforehand. Hopefully it goes well.
Some fans were disappointed that only two shows were announced, but also understanding considering this is not a main project. Are there hopes to play more shows?
When we booked shows we didn’t even know if they’d sell out or if there would be interest in the record. We could have booked a whole tour and nobody could have came out. It’s amazing though to see the reaction. It’s nice in a way that kids are bummed out. If we have time in the future to do more shows we definitely will. It’s a fun thing for us. It’s all been one step at a time. We’ll push on to the next level and we’ll see how it goes. I’ll be on the Revival Tour with Brian. We’re going to do some Horrible Crowes songs on that tour. I’m definitely going to be on it. That’s the next step in that. We’re going to keep building based on that. If there’s still a demand for more shows after that, we’ll figure it out.
There are 12 tracks on Elsie, but it was originally stated that you guys hit the studio with 16 songs. Will we see the other four released sometime?
We definitely picked the best ones. The others probably need a little bit of work. There’s a b-side called “Joey,” which is a cover that Brian did that sounds really cool. That’s on the b-side of a 7” that comes with a pre-order. I
This is obviously a two-man project, but so much of the attention is placed on Brian because Gaslight. How has it been sitting back, I guess out of the main spotlight, through this entire process?
I don’t mind all the attention being on him. I like going in under the radar. It doesn’t bother me. He’s the rock star, not me. It’s nice to have a little attention, but my mom’s just happy that I have a job.
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