Their most recent single may have been ‘We Are all Going To Die’, but 2015 has seen something of a rebirth for the Glasgow-based quintet. Since recording EPs ‘Palomides Vol I’ and ‘II’, the band settled down as a five-piece and late in the year toured with Titus Andronicus on the dates below. The single will feature on their first full length, album due later in 2016. So, the time is ripe for a Casual Introduction to Washington Irving…
Joseph Black – Vocals, Guitar
Chris McGarry – Drums
Rory MacDonald – Bass/ Mandolin
Kieran Heather – Guitar/ Bass
Martin Anfirled – Guitar
Chris and I first played a show together when we were 12 years old in Oban. Washington Irving formed when we moved to Glasgow and began writing and recording with the other dudes. We played our first show on the 29th of February 2008.
We’ve always tried to play live as much as possible. It’s important to us musically and as people. Over the last 8 years we’ve been writing, recording and playing and organized our lives to do as much of that as possible.
After our first record came out in 2013 we knuckled down and began writing our biggest and baddest thing yet. We released the first song of this new project in November 2015 and went on tour with our favourite band Titus Andronicus from New Jersey.
Now we’re at home nursing our colds and plotting our movements for 2016. We want to release the whole record and keep touring with musicians we respect as much as Titus. We’ve had the good fortune of touring with the likes of Three Blind Wolves, Wintersleep, Other Lives, Frightened Rabbit to name a few. You learn something new from every artist you spend time with.
Our music has always been uncompromising. I think the group of dedicated fans we have respect that. Palomides was a dark and difficult folk rock album that was hard to write and hard to access. Making this new record was a much outward looking process. The album is about a specific month in my life when my uncle passed away and the relationship I was in fell apart. The album charts the recovery process. Our band couldn’t write an album as simple as that though. We go through this stuff by widening the lens and looking at 20th century conflict to unearth the really nasty subjects we wanted to look at. There’s a lot of metaphor on the record but it’s not just allegorical. I think coming out of the dark place I was in made me appreciate other people’s problems in a different way. The album is ultimately sympathetic and positive in its conclusions. The more I looked at myself and humanity round me the more I saw the goodness in people despite what life throws at them. I was really impressed with people, about the shit they have to deal with. The first song We Are All Going to Die sums up the solidarity we wanted to express as a band. That’s a word that says a lot about us actually. We try and keep things equal. We are there for each other in the way families are or should be. Being in a touring rock band throughout your youth is tough but the intensity of the relationships that develop is something most people don’t get to experience.
All I ever wanted to do is be in a touring rock band. From the age of 12 I wanted to do what I’m doing. I remember saying I’d do any job if it meant I could keep playing music. That idealism has definitely gone but that’s basically what has happened. What scares me is the amount of control decisions I made when I was 12 still have on my life. Maybe that’s the same for everyone. I think most of us feel like that in the band. If we did choose this it happened a long time ago. Why we keep doing it is for a different reason maybe. I love writing songs now more than ever. The more you do it the more you want to push the boundaries of what you can create.