On True Widow’s third album the Dallas heavy ‘stonegaze’ trio hone in on their trademark syrupy simplicity with absolute perfection. Equal parts drone, post-rock and shoegaze, Circumambaulation is the band’s most, controlled, concise and realized effort yet. Simultaneously True Widow’s darkest and poppiest record, it is a moody triumph of a record perfect for both super late nights, and early Sunday mornings. Rarely does a band capture the vibe of dreary haze together with sticky male/female harmonies so infectiously. It is an easy top contender for record of the summer, if not all of 2013.
Ghettoblaster caught up with TW drummer Slim TX to discuss their recent album, label changes, handling the stonegaze moniker and recent live exploits. This is what he told us…
I read that Dan and Nicole met for the first time at a karaoke bar. Did either of you sing that night? What was your jam?
Dan and I don’t really karaoke, Nicole is a champ. I wasn’t there that night so I’m not sure if/what she sang, but she’s got a few closers that will floor you!
When did you guys begin writing from Circumambulation? After six years together did it come together easier than previous efforts or were there past challenges or pitfalls you were struggling to avoid here?
A couple of the songs we brewed up while in Europe. That was towards the end of 2011. We had a few songs at that time we wanted to demo once it got cold out, but ended up going to Europe/UK for the first time, and then coming home to hit the road with Boris. After that there was a pretty long break, but by March we started jamming again and new riffs were flowing. A few months later we hit up Matt and headed back to the Echo Lab. Come November it will have been a year since we recorded it.
All three records were done with Matt Pence, right? What did he lend to that process?
An awesome place for us to do our thing and the intuition to know when to when to work a mob or lever. He’s a fun guy to be around with a lot of interesting ideas and passions. We love the studio set up so continuing to work with him there has been a no brainer. He doesn’t like to be called a producer and from what I can tell doesn’t fill that role in the traditional sense. He’s got an incredible ear and unique ability to turn ideas into sounds. I’m pretty sure it come from the fact he’s a master warlock but nobody believes me!
Are there methods he uses to challenge you so that you don’t get complacent in that creative relationship?
Always. Yet do to the comfort level between everyone it never feels that way. Each record has played off the last but been unique unto itself.
Is there a theme or idea that ties Circumambulation together? What is the record about?
There’s not a single unifying theme necessarily. More like a life’s worth of experiences spread out over an albums worth of material. It’s is however supposed to be a response to the ideas and issues we presented on As High As.
Are you guys religious or spiritual at all or are they just literary elements that are fun to play with in heavy music?
I don’t know that you could call us religious but I feel everyone is spiritual to some degree. Even if you deny there’s something larger going on you have to acknowledge it and make the decision to deny it. That in itself is a spiritual act. And yes they are fun elements to incorporate into heavier music!
So for this one you’ve gone from a 16-word title on the previous record to a one-word title. Was that to avoid having to remember a mouthful during interviews for this album cycle?
We tried to cut y’all some slack this time around ha ha. Like I mentioned earlier it is somewhat of a response to the last album and we wanted to show that in a few ways. Long titled became long word for title. Primary album color went from white to black. Still went with a single image for the cover and while this one tells just as powerful a story it is a much more personal one than what was shown on AHA. Single vinyl instead of double, and more gray areas when it came to song titles.
I read an interview where someone described you as “stonegaze”. Do you feel like that moniker is accurate or is it just good for a chuckle?
Both. Labels start getting thrown around as soon as people start to talk about you. First it’s they sound like this or that, then it’s time to place a label. At least we came up with stonegaze so we had a little control over what was being said. Originally it was less of a genre term and more of a description word for our crowds after we got done playing.
You began working with Relapse in January, right? How did that relationship develop?
We’ve been familiar with each other since before AHA. They dug our s/t and guys come out to shows when we’re up that way. They approached us shortly after we parted ways with Kemado (a couple of weeks before we were to start recording) and asked if we would be interested in letting them do the next album so we said sure. For us it’s never been about the label, but more about getting the next album out.
Was Kemado cool about giving you up?
The timing left us a little raw but these things happen. They went through a lot of changes around that time and unfortunately we ended up being one of those changes. They put out a double LP and EP for us, and did a lot of other good things to help out along the way. We still see them at shows when we’re up that way.
Teaming up with Baroness seems a natural fit for True Widow. How was that run?
Short and sweet! The shows were a blast every night and we had a real good time with the guys.
How was Chaos in Tejas?
Chaotic! For real though, the show was our last with Baroness and the first for Coliseum so everyone was pretty excited. Didn’t get to see much else, but then again didn’t really need to.
Are you guys ready for a headlining run in support of the record, or will most of this album-cycle find you supporting other bands?
We’re trying to do a little of both. We’ll be out supporting Chelsea Wolfe all of September, but after that would like to head back out on our own. We’ll just have to see how things pan out. Maybe get back over to Europe before the years over?!