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AS FAR AS THE NARRATOR'S SOUND is concerned, they've had a tendency to waiver somewhere between emo and punk. But on their latest record, Such Triumph, the band is aggressive, unrelenting and, above all, powerful; sounding better than it ever has. And the band's shows bring them to a new level to boot. Right before the Narrator left for tour in support of Such Triumph, I had a chance to sit down with the Chicago-based quartet (Jesse Woghin, Sam Axelrod, James Barron and Nate Heneghan) to discuss all things band-related.

How long has Narrator been around?

Sam Axelrod: In summer 2002 James was working at Reckless Records in Chicago, and I went in one day and asked James to play sometime. Jesse and I met through ex-girlfriends and after a few months, James, Jesse and I had what we call our "back porch sessions," with this girl Elizabeth on drums. James then moved back to Detroit, but eventually came back. We had a guy Dave playing drums then, replacing Elizabeth, but then Nate came here and replaced Dave. And then in Lansing, MI, we had the first worst show on July 31, 2003. It was a metal show and we were the only non-metal band and there were maybe seven people there.

What's the story behind the band name?

Jesse Woghin: There isn't one. It is what it is.

How does the songwriting process work?

Sam Axelrod: For the most part it's a communal writing process. Jesse or I come up with a rift and go from there. Basically, whoever writes it, sings it.

Who are the band's collective influences?

Jesse Woghin: It's not so much bands that influenced us. We're drawn to bands with dissonance and melody, but also bands that refused to compromise anything and did things their own way; bands like Sonic Youth, Pavement, and Archers of Loaf.

Nate Heneghan: We don't want people to hear us and think we sound like our influences.

What are the future goals for Narrator?

Jesse Woghin: We don't have huge goals for world domination. We just want to play good shows, make good records and have that be our living.

Nate Heneghan: We just want it to be a working band that makes good music. We want to be able to spend all our time on the band.

What are you listening to right now?

Jesse Woghin: We're listening to a lot of local Chicago bands and other people doing the same thing we are. It's great because everyone helps everybody else out. Lately it's been the End of the World, Oxford Collapse, Lying in States, Low Skies.

Favorite city or venue to play?

James Barron: Our favorite cities are Chapel Hill, New Haven, Omaha, New York, and playing at the Empty Bottle in Chicago.

Any specific ideas behind the new album?

James Barron: The title of the album, Such Triumph, sums it up. Everything from writing songs to how we choose to live, we're always looking for something great. What else would I rather be doing besides writing music? Even if it sucks there's a triumph.
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Author:Morrison, Maureen
Article Type:Interview
Date:Oct 1, 2005
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