In the run up to the release of the debut album, Rise Ye Sunken Ships, we had the chance to speak with Rob Allen from We Are Augustines.
A sprinkling of The Pixies infuse the opening track, Chapel Song, on the debut album from We are Augustines – Rise Ye Sunken Ships – with its sultry refrain and message of hope it leads you in – but you already want to go – ‘I’m a bowl of bruised fruit Inside a chapel of shiny apples’ Billy McCarthy tells us in reference to witnessing a lost love finally disappear for ever. The sense of finality is subtle yet brilliant. The metaphor simple yet beautiful.
LADIM: During the recording of “Rise Ye Sunken Ships” when did the expectation levels among the band rise?
RA:’To be honest, no one knew what to expect. There was one goal and that was to produce a quality record that we could be proud of! Anything after that was a bonus.’
LADIM: There’s an ache for emotional confrontation / redemption that’s scared across your music – Is it hard to reproduce / emulate that in a live performance?
RA: ‘This record should be looked in a positive light. We are forever championing the message never to give up! In essence, that is us, so when we hit the stage that is what you are getting! Our message is genuine and we love what we do.’
Headlong Into The Abyss has one of the most haunting lines I’ve heard this year as the visually immense lyrics lead us on a tortured chase through childhood and cross country via religion,society and science to eventually, ‘I ain’t gonna wait around for some pill to kick in, Im gonna wait around, gonna wait around for a pill to kick in.’
The beautiful redemption of Book of James – memories of childhood and a system of society that just doesn’t work for the masses. A protest wrapped in moving lyrics with a infectious melody and wailing pleading instruments. A raunchy orchestra of sounds, pulsating, imploring for change and regret at time having passed with nothing to show. It’s emotional and real. Raw Bruce Springsteen like when Springsteen sang from the heart and sang about the real world. ‘I tried the bible, tried the bottle, tried the needle, tried to love people’ is wonderfully heart breaking epitaph.
Throughout this album and especially in tracks like Juarez and Philadelphia you can taste the air, the grime and ashes, smell the cigarette smoke wafting over the Americana landscapes, ‘It’s the city of brotherly love, Soak your scars in the ocean’.
The pounding drums and dirty nineties guitar riff of Patton State Hospital, with its dark drug laced lyric, is my favorite track of the album, but only just – there are so many tracks on this debut that make you question is this really a debut. The sound is so layered and dense and with evocative lyrics that are visceral and poignant.
Rise Ye Sunken Ships has such an aching and a longing, we travel a complex road with many flawed dangerous and beautiful characters, and like the movies we want everything to have a happy ending but the world isn’t happy all the time.
LADIM: Do you feel a sense of worry/euphoria as your success builds?
RA: ‘I think both. It is very important to keep on top of things in this business and not take it all for granted which I feel we do very well but when we get the opportunity to play festivals such as Coachella and tour with bands like the Band of Skulls and the Counting Crows, we can’t help but feel a little proud. It’s been a long journey.’
LADIM: Has (mass) communication weaken the connection between us and you?
RA: ‘I think the opposite actually. Social networking has bought bands closer to their audiences for sure.’
LADIM: What kind of production can we expect from upcoming shows? Are you gonna go Guns and Roses?!
RA: ‘HAHA! We have just introduced a light show which is super exciting, but expect the same passion filled performances as before. We definitely have a few surprises up our sleeves!’
LADIM: If you could be any musician, during any gig they ever played, who would it be and what gig would it be?
RA: Keith Moon of The Who at the Monterey Festival!
Brooklyn indie rock band, We Are Augustines, are guitarist Billy McCarthy, bassist Eric Sanderson and drummer Rob Allen.