RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW CALIFORNIA BAND THE COWLS
Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
What made you decide that music is a thing for you?
I grew up in a musical household and was always making music of some kind as a kid. It always seemed like a natural progression to join bands in my late teens, and I never seemed to grow out of it.
Introduce us to the members and your musical history.
It’s just me – Damion Jurrens. I started playing in indie rock bands in New York City in the early 2000s. Got to tour the US and the UK a bit, mostly playing guitar. Now that it’s just me, I’ve had to get a bit fancier with my drum programming, keyboards, and singing. It keeps me out of trouble.
What’s one question you’re sick of being asked when interviewed?
Can’t really say I’m sick of any questions at this point. I’m pretty chatty, and always happy to answer.
We set up RGM USA and many other countries in the world to share music with america and the UK, good idea?
Great idea, for sure. There are music scenes all over the world, and people need help finding the good stuff. That’s where you come in.
Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories?
Not the last I checked.
Did you buy anything you don’t need in the pandemic?
Oh, of course. For example, I bought a couple of guitar pedals that are absolutely ludicrous and were fun for about 20 minutes total. Oops.
What useless party trick do you have?
I can juggle a little. That’s a pretty useless party trick. I’m also good at leaving parties without anyone noticing, though that is a useful party trick.
What was the most fun you have had on stage?
Last time I was in the UK, I got to play a couple of shows in Manchester. It was my first time back on stage in over ten years, and it was a lot more fun than I remembered. Also a lot more terrifying than I remembered, but in a good way.
What was the worst experience on stage?
Years ago I played guitar for a band at a sold-out venue with 2,000 people and my hands shook the entire show. The monitors gave out and I couldn’t hear myself playing during the last song, and only at the end did I realize I was playing it completely wrong.
Tell us something about you / each member that you think people would be surprised about.
Though most of the music I make is relatively poppy and eccentric, the music I listen to most days is very straightforward American hardcore. When it comes time to write new songs, I switch it up with something different to scramble my brain a bit.
If you had to describe your band/music to an alien how would you describe it?
I would be too weirded out by the fact that I was talking to an alien to form cogent thoughts. I’d probably just gasp and stammer, which is as good a description as any of my music.
What makes you stand out as a band/artist?
I’m actually much more comfortable being sneaky good than standing out. But I do think I can put on a good live show when the time comes, and that it all comes together when people hear it in person.
Right now, what’s pissing you off the most?
As an artist, what’s pissing me off the most is my inability to settle on a configuration for live shows. I’m constantly reinventing my setup. As a human, bigotry in its many forms (anti-choice ghouls, anti-trans bullies, racist shitwits) continues to find new ways to piss me off.
What’s your favourite song to play live and why?
I like to play “Time Is On My Nerves” from the first album because the guitar and vocal parts are very satisfying to play loudly.
I hear you have new music, what can you tell us about it?
It’s an EP built around the theme of being a ghost haunting an abandoned house. The songs come at it from a number of different angles and sounds. It’s a fun ride.
Talk me through the thought process of the single/album/ep.
For this one, I decided to listen to nothing but dream pop for a couple weeks before recording anything. So my mind was focused on Cocteau Twins ambiance, but my hands just kind of did whatever it is they do. The songs came together very quickly, and the theme of haunting emerged as I went. It wasn’t really planned and wasn’t at all forced. It just kind of happened.
What was the recording process like?
It was fast, and it involved layering a lot of samples from old demos with new instrumental tracks. It was a challenge to line up some of the samples, but I was able to move quickly and accept miscues rather than laboring over them. Those miscues led to new ideas and new little touches that made the songs come together beautifully.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the single/album/ep?
At this point, I’ve been writing songs for so long that it’s not so much a learning curve as pushing my boundaries and doing things that are a little uncomfortable just to see where it takes me. I have a few very fast proto-metal songs that will never see the light of day, but they brought a couple of the songs on the EP to life by inspiring other ideas and melodies.
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
No, my policy is to accept and embrace it as-is. There are albums I recorded years ago that I can no longer listen to, largely because I got to perfectionist in making them and failed to embrace imperfections. Those albums taught me that the perfect is the enemy of the good, and a little flub here and there makes it that much more human.
What are your plans for the year ahead?
I’d like to play some more shows locally, maybe a Livestream or two, maybe some trips out of town. I’m always working on new material, which keeps me pretty busy.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
Go see live music! Bring your friends. Wear earplugs. Approach band members after the show and let them know you appreciate what they do.