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  • Writer's pictureGoth-Ick/ unscene

Downcity Armory Interview - "I'm pleased to say the album, The New Old World, is complete"

Updated: Jul 29, 2021

Goth-Ick/ unscene caught up with Todd Bowes from Downcity Armory to put together this interview and have them as our very first featured band on the Goth-Ick/ unscene website.

They are no strangers to us here as we had them grace the unscene stage back in July 2017 where they were the opening band for Interface, not to mention that they are also big supporters of our events and can be often seen taking in one of our shows.

Q: Hi, and welcome to being our first Goth-Ick/ unscene interviewed band.

Todd Bowes: Who let you into my home?

Q: So, our first question would have to be, what’s the origin of the band name Downcity Armory?

Todd Bowes: We're based out of Providence, Rhode Island. The downtown area is sometimes referred to as "downcity," such as the Downcity Arts District. There are also many historic armories located throughout the city. When we first got started, I made up some high-concept nonsense about the idea of people as an "armory" against fascism, but the truth is I just combined the two words and thought it sounded cool. Why are you wearing an orange unitard?

Q: What genre of music do you consider your work to be and who are your major influences?

Todd Bowes: For lack of a better term, we call it industrial, though some people might say we're not industrial at all. I called it electrocore for a while, but ever since we brought guitars to the forefront, that didn't sound right anymore. Truthfully, genre means very little to us. We seem to get along with electronic bands, goth bands, metal bands, and the odd klezmer troupe. We're equal parts Wax Trax, Earache, and Metropolis Records. I'm very impressed by your ability to eat applesauce nonstop, by the way.

Q: How many band members does Downcity Armoury front and what inspired you to make music together?

Todd Bowes: Currently there are two: Todd (me) on vocals, synths, and guitar, and Rick on lead guitar. Our friend Jim plays drums with us live. Todd started the band in 2013 as a solo outing that mutated into a full band. That version played some big shows, released three EPs, and did some very light touring. Then, after a few lineup shifts, Rick came on board around 2016 and we went to work on our first full-length album. We suffered some setbacks, some large, some really goddamn large, but we're excited to be close to releasing our next record. What inspired us? The world is a fucking mess, and we dislike leaving it in such a shit state. Your fly is down.

Q: What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?

Todd Bowes: I could go on for days about this, but I think the biggest challenge is just overcoming daily life. Being in a band, especially when you're sad adults like us, is hard when you have so many other commitments to work, family, and not dying in this bizarre, horrifying, Christofascist nightmare world we call the USA. Finding the time to write music, make art, and connect with people meaningfully is almost arcane sorcery in today's world. If you can make art every day and pay your bills, you, my friend, are a witch of unspeakable power and grace. Having suffered incredible setbacks to health, wealth, and sanity over the past seven years of the band's existence has also made it hard for us. Rick and his family have had to overcome personal hardships, and it’s no secret that our biggest setback was when I suffered a stroke at the end of 2017. I was lucky, though. And I owe a lot to Rick and my other friends who have really been there for me while I try and overcome it. When your brain gets rattled like that, your entire world changes completely in an instant. Nothing is easy anymore. Even things like walking are treacherous, let alone playing guitar! Life isn’t the same as it was and you have to find a new normal. It’s taken me a long time just to get the strength to continue, but making this record has been a huge part of my ongoing recovery. I’ve made a lot of changes to my life since then. I’ve been sober over 2 years now, and I’m totally humbled to have had the support of such amazingly talented people like our drummer Jim Schultz and mix engineer Christopher Brown to help bring the record to fruition. Not to mention all the artists contributing to the remix album. Is it necessary for you to get naked right now?

Todd Bowes (left) - vocals, guitar, synths and Rick Rivera (right) - guitar, backing vocals. Photography by Kris Gove

Q: You have an album in the making at the moment, what are the main themes or topics for your songs on this project and do you think these topics will change over time?

Todd Bowes: I'm pleased to say the album, The New Old World, is complete, and we're looking forward to releasing it in May. It's a concept album about the end of American excellence, and the nation's decline at the hands of a Christofascist regime shortly after 2021. At the same time, a young couple's relationship dissolves as they join a resistance movement to try and save the country from itself. The economy has collapsed, poverty is rampant, and the government begins bombing cities that have become the only homes that poor people can afford to live in. Finally, our protagonist is forced to flee the country. The only thing that might change is the album goes from being a work of fiction to a documentary. Is your passport still good? Like our previous releases, we’ll use the music as an opportunity to raise money for charity by donating the proceeds to a non-profit.

Q: Could you briefly describe the music-making process you employ?

Todd Bowes: There's no real plan. It usually starts with a melody but sometimes it's a beat, sometimes it's words, maybe a riff. We keep smashing things together until it sounds like a song. We spend a lot of time in a home studio testing virtual synths and spinning knobs. So many, many faders.

Q: Can we expect any live shows for 2020?

Todd Bowes: That is the plan, but who knows? We might be radioactive dust soon.

Q: Desert Island Discs time! If you were shipwrecked on a deserted island, which two albums would be the ones you must have with you?

Todd Bowes: Todd would bring Opeth and NIN. Rick would bring Church of Misery and Tiamat. Needless to say, there would be no upbeat party music, and the albums would probably get used as knives or shields in no short order. Or do we have mp3 players? Is there electricity on this island? Is it even an island? It's peninsula, isn't it? No, it's my backyard. Where you've pitched a tent, I see. Is that your mom?

Q: Thank you for taking your time to be interviewed with us, any final words you wish to share?

Todd Bowes: One more year on a fiat currency's all we have left.


Like what you heard from this interview and want to hear more of Downcity Armory? Then check out the links below...

Twitter feed @DowncityArmory

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