Several years back, They Sang As They Slew was known by a much more docile, almost timid name: Canary. Why "Canary"?
"Canary" was a truncated version of my original "side-project": The Canary Islands. "Islands?", you ask, incredulous at the implications of having such a word in a rock band's name ("It sounds like a name for a reggae band, or something" as one person has said).
This name itself originates from my first foray into solo recording. After my main band at the time, Luxury (from Tooth and Nail Records fame), went on hiatus after a horrific car accident in 1995, I was forced to pursue my own course for several months. I wrote about the accident, about mortality and death, and through this made the attempt to deal with what was becoming a major sea change in my life. I recorded a few songs with now well-known producer, fellow musician, and friend Andy Lemaster (from Now It's Overhead, Bright Eyes, and Chase Park Transduction Studio) in his tiny project studio in Toccoa, Georgia. This project came under the name "Oceanic", and the cassette e.p. that was created was called the Trans-Atlantic ep, of which a handful are still possibly in circulation.
But why "Oceanic" and all of this other tropico-nautical reference? Most likely, it can be attributed to two of my favorite books: Hawaii by James Michener and Kon-Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl. There is something more to "islands" than the stereotypical grass skirts, neon lights and touristic commerce. Michener presents a Hawaii that is appealing in its nostalgic, time-gone-by , '50's and '60's era veneer. It is an historic island, much deeper than it seems to those who simply see it as a stop off on a vacation.
Thor Heyerdahl's adventure in Kon Tiki is the sort of thing that men used to do, but which the internet and the endless pursuit of convenience has nearly killed off in modern culture. People used to do things. The ocean was a place that was deadly and beautiful, and islands were isolated pockets of peace in the middle of millions of square miles of untamed chaos. The ocean could no more be conquered than God could be tamed, but one could ride its waves and cross its face. This inspired, and still inspires, me.
TSATS has released two albums with Northern Records ("Get Well" and "The Resistance"). You can find both of those records on iTunes, Emusic, Rhapsody and a plethora of other download services. Be sure to visit Northern Records and familiarize yourself with all of our fellow Northern bands.