Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Interview: Kevin Lawry of Crowned In Earth Tells Me About Things...

Crowned In Earth is a progressive rock outfit based out of the  United Kingdom.

Kevin Lawry is the leader, principle songwriter, and the one who effected their change. See, before they were a Floydian prog rock band, they had a previous life.

Crowned In Earth began life as a doom metal band. So it seems to be quite a jarring change to go from doom riffs to progressive rock, but is the change really all that drastic?

Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath, the creator of doom metal riffing was the master of the guitar riff. Consider any great Sabbath tune and those songs were very progressive, well the majority of them.

Dio joked about asking Dio for a riff and getting back 15. "We just need one, Tone."

So, how in the world does he get inspired? Where do these very long and airy songs come from?

What about this or that? Let's find out.

Glacially Musical: What albums do you listen to in order to get inspiration for writing?

Kevin Lawry: I listen to a lot of early Camel, Pink Floyd, Genesis and Mike Oldfield for inspiration. I like these musicians as they rely on strong melodies rather than being overly technical.

This is something which has always been familiar with my own guitar playing.  Although, I do take some inspiration from the great Jazz fusion bands like Return To Forever and Mahavishnu Orchestra.

GM: How do you turn an idea into one of your songs?

KL: For me, it all starts with a defining melody.

I then build counter melodies around it and further develop chord sequences on the guitar. I end up with lots of small pieces of music and then when I feel I have enough to begin forming a record I will start putting all these pieces of the jigsaw together to form longer compositions. This is a process I really enjoy as the individual songs often go off in lots of different styles and feels. A good example of this is the song ‘Travelling Road’.

GM:  Explain how you switched from doom metal into esoteric, Pink Floydian rock tunes.

KL: This change happened when I began trying to write a follow up to ‘A Vortex of Earthly Chimes’. I  had lots of doom riffs which I’d written (almost an albums worth of material) but when I started to work these into songs it all felt tired and I didn’t feel inspired by the music. I’d grown
musically bored and I knew my heart wasn’t into making that style of music anymore.

It was during this time that I had begun listening to a lot of music which I listened to when I was
younger such as Pink Floyd, Mike Oldfield etc. I really connected with these bands again and I
was thinking about how exciting it was to play the more proggier parts of the ‘ A Vortex…’
record and decided I would pursue that direction more and leave out the doomier elements. I
always knew that Crowned In Earth would grow more in this direction and I think you can hear
the transition between the records.

GM: What are your current touring plans?

KL: I have been looking for session players to play live but so far I haven’t been able to find anyone
to play the drums here in the UK for me.  I’ve been contacted by other musicians but without a
drummer there are no plans to further pursue an active live band.

GM: When you hit the road, how do you stay sane?

KL: I’ve actually never done a proper tour! I’d imagine that I would find life on the road quite
difficult. I’m very quiet and like my own space so being stuck for hours on end in a tour bus
would be very taxing for me!  I imagine you’d probably find me with my head in a book sipping a
cup of tea! Yeah, I’d be very rock n roll!

GM: What are the chances we see you over here in the States any time soon?

KL: Unfortunately, with the state of the current music industry, I can’t see it ever happening. I can’t
see many labels, except for majors, putting a band out on the road now. I’ve seen the difficulties
that other bands have had with trying to self-fund tours with little help from labels and it’s a

GM: Going back to the switch up…how much trepidation did you have making that switch?

KL: I didn’t feel any trepidation about making ‘Metempsychosis’. First and foremost, I make music
that I personally want to hear. I’m trying not to sound pretentious here but I believe the
moment you start worrying about what other people are going to think and try to write to
please others is the moment when you start losing your artistic vision and making compromises.

GM: Was it easy to explain to everyone?

KL: I mentioned to Darin (who has played drums on all three CIE records) that the next record was
going to sound very different to ‘A Vortex…’. I sent him some early demos and he was equally
enthusiastic about the songs I was working on.  I invited Pug, who at the time was playing in
Beelzefuzz with Darin, to play bass on the record and he was also extremely excited to be
playing something in a different style. I think on ‘Metempsychosis’ we’ve all really pushed
ourselves as musicians to make a very special record!

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