Melvins and Motorcycles with Slim Wray

Words by Nadia Dar

The infectious and gritty sounds of Slim Wray have been turning heads since the release of their 2013 debut album, Sack Lunch.

Since then, the boys – Howzr (guitar/vocals) and Chris Moran (drums/vocals) – have been quite busy. They’re preparing to launch their new EP, Post No Bills, and have added a new member, Brian Lawlor (bass). On top of that, they had a surreal hotel experience while touring in the Midwest.

We heard about all of this during our recent interview with the guys.

TheWaster: Both Chris and Howzr were in previous projects which lead to the creation of Slim Wray. How did that happen, and how have you guys evolved since then?

We first met in a punk/grunge band called Ten Pound Strike.  After that lineup disbanded, we took a break. We got back together to jam on some new material and ultimately decided to go forward as a two-piece until we nailed down our direction.  Chris later met Brian while doing some session work at The Vault studio.  He’s been stalking us ever since.

Let’s talk influences. We all love grunge, but I notice that’s a genre you guys are particularly impacted by. What is it about grunge that gets you so hyped up and how do you incorporate that energy into your music?

We grew up with bands like Nirvana and their direct influences: Pixies, Sonic Youth, Melvins, Husker Du. We always loved how those bands could mix dirty punk rock energy with a “pretty” pop sensibility. We also listen to a lot of old records by The Kinks, The Sonics, Dick Dale, The Seeds, The Remains and 13th Floor Elevators. So even though we write songs inspired by those sixties forms, our music just naturally takes on an amped-up, noise-rock energy from our years of playing punk rock and grunge.

You guys have a very distinct sound, but is there any genre of music you wish you could integrate, but haven’t yet?

Chris – I’m a really big fan of Southern Rock and I think it could fit in some unique way.

Craziest tour story?

We were in the Midwest and threw a party at our hotel room. The next thing we know, the party is so out of hand that a guy rode his motorcycle into the room and parked it between the two beds.

We woke up in the morning to sheriffs at the door. When they looked in they started laughing because the motorcyclist was the chief’s son. That got us off the hook with them, but the hotel was a different story.

How important is location to you guys in terms of recording? What kind of influence did Brooklyn have on the album?

One of the recurring themes is a reverence for retro gear and old-school recording techniques. There are a lot of bands and producers here that do things the “old fashioned way,” with old pedals, amps, drum kits, keyboards, tape, and consoles. So we get a lot of inspiration from that.  And we’re really lucky to have access to studios like The Bunker, which is preserving the old analogue techniques and allowing us access to the gear used by bands that inspired us.

What is it that sets this EP aside from your previous releases?

I think Post No Bills leans a little more retro and soul, while still keeping that gritty rock vibe from Sack Lunch. The direction is more focused. The live set is a major influence on the direction of our recordings. We wanted a little more connection between songs like “I Gotta Girl” and “Gloria” in our live set, so we wrote some more songs in that spirit.

You guys were a two-piece band for a while. What inspired the decision to add a third member, and how did you finally decide on Brian?

To pass time on the road, we needed someone new around to haze. Someone to do all the loading-in, to blame for bad PA sound, etc. So far, Brian is killing it in those areas.  Plus, he can play bass.

What’s next for Slim Wray?

We’re excited for the Post No Bills CD release party on July 9th at Rockwood Music Hall. It’s free! We are also planning another video and are touring around the Northeast during the summer and fall. Come and join the show. | Post No Bills