“The Punk Rock Kids Of Post-Rock”- An Interview With The End Of The Ocean

The End Of The Ocean dunk
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I befriended some of the members of The End Of The Ocean at dunk!USA  when I was touring with the band Ranges last year. Their set was standout for a variety of reasons, but I’ll share a story of my personal connection.

I was at the front of the stage in the photo pit, taking pictures. Trish and Tara were both head banging as they played and I was trying to capture some shots of their hair flicking about. Tara got a bit too into it, and somehow lost balance, knocked her keyboard over, and fell over herself. I jumped up to help her reset her instrument, at the same time worried that I’d get in trouble for going onstage.

Tara was super grateful, and bought me a lot of drinks when we came through her home town of Columbus a few nights later. In all honesty, I can’t remember the all of exact details from Columbus, but I think I became a bit of a handful after too many beersies. I’m told that I got kicked out of a pizzeria, with someone from one of the bands carrying me away over their shoulder, quoting Lord Off The Rings while doing so.

So anyway, I think that The End Of The Ocean are pretty cool. Their music is great, and they’re fun to hang out with. After a long break, they’re back with two new singles, an upcoming album put out through the label Equal Vision, and an upcoming tour with my friends Tides Of Man.

What follows is an interview that probably contains too many stupid in-jokes, but I hope it illuminates who The End Of The Ocean are, and gives you insight into a great band with a great sense of fun.

The End Of The Ocean dunk!USA

The End Of The Ocean at dunk!USA 2017. Image: Will Not Fade

Joseph (Will Not Fade): What inspired the video clip for “bravado”? Slipknot’s “Before I Forget“?

The End Of The Ocean: We compiled a list of wacky ideas and randomly selected three elements that we liked. Our original idea for the video was to have a food fight in our animal masks whilst blowing firecrackers at each other (firecrackers are a normal staple in our van when we’re on tour.) Kris Herrmann, the videographer and director for the “bravado” music video, had a less messy vision in his head with a lot of fantastic suggestions, including a stylistic nod towards Slipknot’s “Before I Forget” video. We are very pleased with how the music video ultimately turned out.

Does your music have a message?

Of course. And it’s up to each individual to decide what that message might be.

What sets this new music apart from your previous output?

During the writing process we accepted that we could not bear the burden of fans’ nostalgia from our previous releases, which left us unafraid to probe our inner space and musical capabilities more freely. Individually, we were all dealing with a series of blows that life threw our way. The emotions and growth we all experienced forged a different fury and wonderment that we hadn’t tried to express musically before. Our new album is a bit more straightforward in some parts, angry, hopeful, even a little playful, and peppered with enough blast beats throughout for every man, woman, and child.

Tell me about working with Mike Watts. How did this partnership come about?

Mike is the man. His previous work speaks volumes on it’s own (producer for The Dillinger Escape Plan, Glassjaw, As Cities Burn, Hopesfall, etc.) and we were lucky enough that Equal Vision could hook us up with him. Mike was super intuitive to how we wanted this new album to sound, and he hit it out of the park.

The End Of The Ocean dunk!USA2017

The End Of The Ocean at dunk!USA 2017. Image: Will Not Fade

I’m intrigued by the album name -aire, could you explain the meaning of it?

The concept of our album stemmed from examining and discussing our humanity, what a strange trip it is to be alive, and the intense elements of our experiences that make us who we are. -aire is a suffix that forms nouns denoting a person characterized by or occupied with that named by the stem. We thought this suffix communicated all of these questions we were asking ourselves beautifully and abstractly.

Also, one of our bandmates is obsessed with the John Wick series and got part of the inspiration for the album name from one of those movies.

How have fans reacted to the two singles (“Bravado” and “Desire”) so far?

Our fans have always been ridiculously generous and supportive of our music. The response so far has been super. (Thanks, dudes!)

How has your approach to writing music changed since you started The End Of The Ocean?

This is the longest held lineup we’ve ever had in this band. So, basically, we argue less during practice and writing?

Generally speaking, we write most of our music together and historically that’s how our band has always done it. Not much has deviated from that.

I think that it is so awesome that you have two women in the band. What message have you got for any girls wanting to get into music?

Trish: Go for it. Just do it.

Tara: There’s nobody holding you back but you.

Do not enter this musical world with a victim complex. It’s boring and will only make you a sorry sack of excuses for not putting in the work.

If you’re a woman, you already know how many opinions and stereotypes with which you have to contend on a daily basis. Transcendence is harder than resigning yourself to other people’s’ opinions, but it makes you mighty. No wilting. No whimpering. Jump in head first and get ready to laugh at yourself often!

From Tara and Trish: If you’re a woman at one of our shows, please feel free to approach us if you’d like. We’re constantly in the midst of a sausage party when we’re doing band stuff, and it’s nice getting small breaks from all that. Sisterhood, unite!

I remember hearing that you’ve signed to Equal Vision when I was in Columbus last year. Has it been hard keeping this a secret?

We pretty much told all of our friends immediately. The only thing we didn’t do was post about it online until the label gave us the green light for the official announcement. Heh.

The End Of The Ocean dunk!USA

The End Of The Ocean at dunk!USA 2017. Image: Will Not Fade

In the past you’ve done DIY packaging for making your CD’s. Do you think this has helped you forge a closer connection with your fanbase? Do Tara and Trish really kiss the tshirts and CD’s?

It was a cool feature, but we aren’t aware of it making a deeper connection to our fans. Ultimately, the DIY packaging set the stage for us to develop minor carpal tunnels syndrome, watch cool movies together while folding and stamping the sleeves, and for Tara to make fun of Kevin for how much Type O Negative he listens to on a regular basis.

Tara and Trish do not kiss any merch. Sorry, guys and ghouls. They have, however, accidentally sneezed on or briefly worn some of the merch. Who doesn’t like laughing hysterically at a child-sized woman trying on a XXXL shirt? (Obviously referring to Trish. Tara is sizeably more like an average-sized man.)

Are we ever going to hear a split release with The Ocean Collective? Or We Lost The Sea?

Who?

Kidding. We’d bet $5 they’d probably respond the same way about us.

How about a HIM or CKY split, yeah?

I remember during your soundcheck at dunk!USA you promised Nickelback covers. Have you ever followed through on such threats?

Don’t be afraid. Keep coming to our shows to find out. Maybe we’ll throw in some Creed too.

It was a fantastic set that really stood out. I loved the extra touches, like throwing beach balls into the audience and the Walking Dead sample. At a post-rock festival like dunk!, many of the bands sound similar, and struggle to appear unique. How do you come up with ideas for making your shows interesting?

Thank you for the generous compliment. We just like to have fun as a band and don’t take ourselves too seriously. Most of our ideas come from us joking around in the van because we’re bored. The props for dunk!USA were a fun idea until the smokers in the band realized the joke was on them and they had to blow up all the beach balls by themselves. Yadda, yadda, straightedge revenge or something? Thanks a lot, Wes and Kevin.

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We made @rangesmusic a traveling companion. #faceoff

A post shared by Man Mountain (@man_mountain) on

Shown above is one of the beach balls from the dunk!USA set. The guys from Man Mountain added some creative touches and gifted it to their tour buddies Ranges.

 

Tell me your coolest nautical related story.

That ferry we took to get to dunk!USA in Vermont was pretty siq.

Wes, what is the secret to keeping your flesh beautiful?

Pringles. Red Bull. And the most diverse array of gas station delectables you could possibly imagine.

(Joseph, it’s hilarious you remembered us mentioning this while we were all hanging out at dunk!USA. Side story to fill everyone else in: When we were on tour a number of years ago, our drummer Wes was sitting outside the venue we were playing in Tempe, Arizona. We didn’t realize the adult bookstore next door was also a known glory-hole hot spot. So, as our sweet little Wesley was killing time by himself before our set, a suspect man approached him from the aforementioned adult bookstore and said with a thousand yard stare, “You have beautiful flesh.” The man, while creepy, isn’t wrong. Wink wink)

The End Of The Ocean dunk!USA2017

The End Of The Ocean at dunk!USA 2017. Image: Will Not Fade

I remember hanging out with Tara and Bryan in Junius’ hotel room after dunk!USA. A few of the guys from Caspian were there too. That was a big moment for me, realising that my small music blog had been a catalyst for travelling around the world and hanging out with some musicians I held great admiration for. Do you ever have moments where you have to step back and take stock of how far you’ve come?

That was a fun night! And yes, we have those big picture moments all of the time. Band life is absurd, so when you approach this lifestyle with a spirit of humility and gratitude, it isn’t difficult to get smacked squarely in the face with awe when stuff gets really meta.

You frequently do the “hardstyle” pose in your photos, and this has begun to spread within the post-rock community. I’ve been in a bunch of said photos with the likes of Ranges, Man Mountain and Cloud Shelter . Do you know where the hardstyle pose originated, or how it became popularised?

Prison. Hardstyle posing was also known as a “prison pose”. The tough guy hardcore scene is a sub-group that adopted this photo pose. And we took it from the hardcore scene and brought it to post-rock.

Our very own Kevin Shannon is also the originator of the #dailyhardstyle hashtag on Instagram. Bless.

What rules do you have in place for staying sane/healthy on tour?

Headphones. Sleep whenever it’s possible. Drink lots of water and juices. Bring a good book and keep feeding that noodle so it doesn’t turn to mush.

What is the best pizza flavour?

Trish – Pineapple

Kevin and Wes – All pizza is good pizza. No slice left behind. (Only it it’s vegan.)

Tara – Your dad’s b-hole

Crazy riders belong in the pantheon of rock mythology, with hilarious stories from the likes of Ozzy Osbourne and Van Halen. That said the greatest rider I’ve ever seen was yours from dunk!USA. Where did you find such inspiration?

One of us was bored one night and just started compiling the list. We wanted David Zeidler [the dunk!USA organiser] to know what he was “in for” when we rolled through town for dunk!USA. If you aren’t laughing, you ain’t living, my friend.

David Zeidler called you the “punk rock kids of post-rock”. Do you think you deserve this title?

We love it. We’ll take it.

The End Of The Ocean dunk!USA hospitality rider

The End Of The Ocean dunk!USA hospitality rider

What have been your career highlights to date?

Definitely playing the main stage at dunk!fest in Belgium. We still talk about it almost every single time we’re all together jamming or hanging out. It’s one of the best festivals out there to date.

And how about the worst moments?

Not having AC in our van for a six and a half week tour in the summer of 2012. Vinyl seats are no bueno in that type of scenario.

As you know, I talk funny because I’m a New Zealander, and Jakob are one of the best bands from my country. Did you befriend them when you both played dunk!festival 2015 in Belgium?

Unfortunately, we never had the pleasure of meeting them. Jakob is great, though!

Which bands are your faves for playing/touring with?

In most cases we’d say the heavier, the better. Our live performance is a bit of a tempest, and we just love performing with other bands with similar energy.

Some fantasy tours: Kevin – Bruce Spingsteen, Type O Negative, Bush Wes – Behemoth, NIN, Sigur Ros Trish – Thursday, Thrice, The Story So Far Tara – Bjork, Die Antwoord, The Misfits

Usually a new single signals an upcoming album, and then a supporting tour. What plans do you have in the works?

Our new album “-aire” is coming out January 18, 2019 through Equal Vision Records! We are also hitting the road for a headlining tour with Tides of Man in tow. Check the dates below and we look forward to seeing you guys soon!

The End Of The Ocean

Image: Bee Gats

THE END OF THE OCEAN -AIRE TOUR

WITH SPECIAL GUESTS TIDES OF MAN

JAN 18 COLUMBUS, OH AT ACE OF CUPS

JAN 19 CHICAGO, IL AT BEAT KITCHEN

JAN 20 DETROIT, MI AT EL CLUB

JAN 22 TORONTO, ON AT LEE’S PALACE

JAN 23 MONTREAL, QC AT CASA DEL POPOLO

JAN 24 NEW YORK, NY AT SAINT VITUS

JAN 25 ALLSTON, MA AT GREAT SCOTT

JAN 26 PHILADELPHIA, PA AT MILKBOY

JAN 27 BALTIMORE, MD AT OTTOBAR

The End Of The Ocean Tides Of Man Tour Poster


The End Of The Ocean links:

Pre-order link to the album: https://theendoftheocean.merchnow.com

Website: http://theendoftheocean.com/

Bandcamp: https://theendoftheocean.bandcamp.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theendoftheoceanband/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/endoftheocean

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/theendoftheocean/

Spotify: http://open.spotify.com/artist/4AXRViJcT2cJ0x1CxSSldW

 

Joseph James

 

Stayin’ Gold: An Interview With Lookin Up’s Luke Cooper

Lookin Up
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New York hardcore legends Gorilla Biscuits came to New Zealand back in 2015. A group of us from Wellington all pitched in to rent a van and drove up for the gig. It was a great trip, with positive vibes and fun times all round. The show was a total blast. It was also where I first saw Lookin Up play, who had a supporting slot.

Lookin Up also played at Declaration AD’s final show, which was also an amazing night. It was bittersweet, because Declaration AD had been a huge part of my life for the past five years, and this show signaled the end of an era. But it was also the best night, with so many people coming together to celebrate their legacy.

And I’m sure I’ve seen Lookin Up a few other times – sometimes with a line-up of smaller NZ hardcore bands, and sometimes opening for bigger names like Turnstile. But those shows I just mentioned are the two that stand out for me. Every time I saw them, I remember being impressed by the intensity, positivity, and the sheer fun nature of their sets.

Lookin Up are releasing their second album, Gold, on Friday 5th October, so I had a chat with Luke Cooper to hear about recent changes the band have gone through, the new album, and touring around the world.

Will Not Fade: Lookin Up have dropped off the radar for a while. Now you’re back, with a new album and a different lineup. Talk me through what you’ve been up to.

Luke Cooper: Oh man, we have been up to so much. A few days after the Rise Against show in December 2015, Rowan and Levi told us they were leaving, so we knew the Turnstile tour in January 2016 will be our last shows with that line up. Jamie and I were thinking about whether or not we wanted to carry on and decided to take the rest of 2016 off to reset. I continued to write and by the end of 2016 we were ready to go again. We spent most of 2017 building the band up again in the rehearsal room  and at the start of this year we had over 20 songs that we were proud of. We were ready to get back to playing shows again, so we booked the NZ tour and then headed off to Europe to record the new songs and play a bunch of shows.

Are you still playing Reborn material, or did that era of the band finish when Rowan and Levi left?

Yeah definitely, we still really like that album and all of those songs are fun to play, so I don’t think we will ever stop playing at least a few of them. We wrote the new songs to intentionally integrate the 2 albums into our set and all the new songs are a natural progression from what were we doing in Reborn.

You’ve been through a number of lineup changes over the past few years. What were the key things you were looking for when trying to find new members to join the band?

Yeah, we had a really good dynamic and understanding with Rowan and Levi. When we first started the band, we set some goals and achieved every single one of them. This got us to a point where we either had to start investing a lot more time and finances into international touring or to just call it a day. Rowan had already been there with a bunch of other bands and he and Levi both didn’t want to commit in the way that they knew they needed too. Jamie and I still believed in what we were doing and saw potential in it, so they encouraged us to keep going.

Since we had already done over 4 years of ground work, we needed to find people who were ready to take the next steps with us. This has taken a few different combinations of people to really work out, but with Chow on board we are good to go.

Dylan’s nickname is Chow Ming. I remember this being super confusing when I first met him. Have you got any funny stories about this?

Haha yes it was very confusing. I remember when Chow changed his name on Facebook and lost hundreds of friends because no one knew who Dylan Stubbins was. Back when he was in Blameless and they toured with my old band Punisher, we played in Christchurch and took the ferry down. On the ferry ticket I listed his name as Chow Ming, because I was so used to calling him that, and he had to get a note from his mum saying that he although his ID says Dylan Stubbins, he is Chow Ming also hahaha

Do you ever dress the same to be cool onstage? Just wondering if a Brave Sons influence rubbed off.

Oh yeah man, Brave Sons are the reason we started playing music. 

You recorded Gold in Norway. Why Norway?

Once we had an albums worth of new songs, we started looking at recording options. I have a studio at home and it would have been really easy to just record it there and do what we have always done. But we wanted to try something new, so I typed into google “Cool recording studios” and a picture of Ocean Sound Recordings popped up. It was one of the most insane things I had ever seen. I contacted the studio manager, it turned out to be affordable and we started to plan our year around that. Since we were already in Europe, we decided to play some shows so I reached out to a bunch of promoters and booking agents and made it happen. 

How long are your sets? I have 23 minutes of Lookin Up music on my computer. How much music do you need (duration-wise) to warrant touring?

Haha with Rowan and Levi our sets were about 15 mins of pure carnage but that was enough for those sorts of shows. With the new album we have built more of a sustainable set and can play up to around 45 mins if we need too. I think that if you are supporting a show and can cram 9 insane songs into a 15 min set, it helps people remember your band without burning everyone out before the headliners come on.

What happened to the 2017 demos? (“Break” and “Proud”).

Oh yes, we got restless for a month or so and with the line up we had at the time, we recorded those 2 songs and booked a few shows. That line up didn’t last very long so we took them down and re-worked them. A new version of “Proud” is on Gold 

I’ve tagged along with bands on tour around NZ, America and Europe. All offered vastly different experiences. Can you tell me about your favourite places to play, and why?

My favourite place to play was Aarhus in Denmark. The venue was a youth building, a lot like Zeal and we had driven 6 hours from Netherlands to be there. We weren’t expecting much but it was one of the best responses we have seen as a band. We ended up getting about 100 Euro for the show and didn’t have to eat stale bread and apples for dinner again hahaha 

I’m sure that you have played a wild range of venues. Are there any unusual ones that stand out?

We played a café in Prague where the show was free and the café was open to members of the public. People brought their dogs and children in to get dinner and had to deal with some of the loudest most aggressive music you can imagine. The toilet was right next to the stage and I remember young kids and old people walking right past me terrified and blocking their ears all night. No one spoke English either so it was really interesting working out what to do in between songs.

A world tour of 100 shows is a big commitment. What strategies do you have in place to stay sane on the road?

There will be a whole lot of kick boxing sparring, a whole lot of jiu jitsu a whole lot of bombs [I assume Luke means jumping into water here] and a whole lot of Astrid S and Sigrid in the van. If everyone in the van gets in a routine and eats well, its pretty easy to stay sane on the road.

Lookin Up

Image: Dylan Gerschwitz

Luke, are you and Jamie brothers? How does this affect the band dynamic?

Oh yes we are, its one of the worst things you can ever imagine. I definitely would not recommend it.

 Is music a viable career in 2018? Can you break even – or better yet – make a living as a musician? I know that you are an engineer, and do recording and mixing for a living, Luke. What about the other guys?

I think a career in music is more viable now than ever. Bands definitely aren’t selling as many albums as they used too but they are all making way more money touring than ever before. Like every industry in the world, you have to work hard and make wise choices. At the moment we all have other jobs that enable us to pay our bills, fund the band and generally be functioning members of society. But we wont need to do that for much longer and we have every intention of making this as financially viable as possible.

What has been your highlight to date? And what are you most looking forward to?

That trip to Europe on the whole was an incredible experience. We learned a lot about our selves and what is actually possible as a band and we came back from it with a defined sense of direction. Writing and recording an album is a massive strain on time and energy so we are really looking forward to playing as many shows as possible in as many places as we can.

 Tell me about Gold

Gold is 11 bangas that we have been working on for the last year. There are some songs that will confuse people and some songs that are reminiscent of the Reborn era. We got our friend Greg Haver to help produce the songs, his engineer Brendan Davies came with us to Norway and was an absolute wizard. Tom Lord Alge mixed the 3 singles and helped me out with the remaining songs and Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound mastered the album. Everything sounds exactly as we intended and we couldn’t be happier. We can’t wait for people to hear it.

 I really dig the two singles I’ve heard so far. “Don’t” has a mean groovy riff. And I love how the vocals on “Enough” alternate between sounding strong and distant. It’s quite moody but at the same time direct. Neither song is as heavy as your early material, but I am thoroughly enjoying them.

Thanks man, we spent a lot of time working on structured song writing and arrangement of those songs and wanted to record them as well as possible. Recorded, they aren’t as trashy as Reborn but live they are some of the heaviest songs we have ever written.

 What is the key message that you hope people hear as they listen to your music?

We just want people to leave our shows feeling better about their lives in general. We focus on positive messages with our lyrics but everything is open to interpretation.   

Do you ever get the urge to have Joel Little produce you so you can become the next Lorde? [Rowan who used to sing for Lookin Up was in the band Goodnight Nurse with Little]

Hahaha absolutely, watch this space…

Can you please list your favourite dog breeds?

Bonobo Chimpanzee


Lookin Up are releasing Gold on Friday October 5th, with a NZ tour taking place in October and November, and international tour to follow.

Lookin Up Gold Tour Poster

Lookin Up are:

Jamie Cooper – Lead Vocals / Bass
Luke Cooper – Guitar / Backing Vocals
Dylan Stubbins – Drums

Lookin Up links:

www.facebook.com/lookinuplookinup
www.instagram.com/lookinupnz
www.youtube.com/channel/UCcr6h3zhC8ojBAfLZET5z6Q/videos
www.lookinup.bandcamp.com
https://open.spotify.com/artist/54bc4MYPlOY1WdwmiAbfGS?si=r4kRMnh_QIqixWO-e8e1DA
https://itunes.apple.com/nz/artist/lookin-up/1406543174

 

Interview by Joseph James

Photos by Dylan Gerschwitz

Infinite Ceiling: An interview with Tides of Man

Tides of Man soundcheck dunk!festival 2018
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I befriended Florida-based Tides of Man last year when they played a handful of shows with the band Ranges, who I was on tour with. We fast became friends, and hearing them play unreleased songs every night raised my expectations of upcoming album, Every Nothing.

They called me by my nickname of Baggins – a New Zealand/ Lord of the Rings reference that Ranges started – and we shared some great times on the road. It was a ridiculously fun week involving lots of beer, Taco Bell, sleeping in tour vans and listening to great music. I was fortunate enough to see them again half a year later, when they played dunk!festival in Belgium this May.

Their last album, Young and Courageous, stands as one of my favourites. And Every Nothing follows suit as a well-crafted, emotionally charged masterpiece.

I interviewed guitarist Spencer Gill to find out what Tides of Man have been up to in recent years, and to learn a bit more about the new record coming out.

Spencer Tides of Man dunk!festival 2018

Spencer at dunk!festival 2018

Joseph James (Baggins) – Will Not Fade: First up, congrats on the new album. I know you’ve put a lot of time into Every Nothing, so it must feel good to see all that effort coming to fruition.

Let’s go back a bit to start with. Tides of Man started off as an entirely different sounding project. To me, your earlier albums sound like Coheed & Cambria. Then Tilian (vocals) left, and after failing to choose on a new singer, you decided to continue without one. How did your old fans react to Young and Courageous being an instrumental album?

Spencer Gill – Tides of Man: Our old fans were very open to our new sound. We had overwhelming support on our crowdfunding campaign from our existing fanbase and a lot of people were very happy with the transition. Of course there were people who didn’t appreciate the transition, but that’s completely natural in any big change I think.

How does writing instrumental music compare to writing music that features lyrics?

It’s definitely different. You can’t rely on a Verse/Chorus structure, and you have a lot more space to fill than if there were vocals there. I think each part has to be chosen carefully and you have to keep the melody interesting. The feel of a build, or the tone of an individual instrument suddenly becomes very important when it’s not sitting back in the mix underneath vocals. 

Does your music have a message? What inspires the songwriting process?

We like to be subtle with our message. We feel that music (especially instrumental) has a lot to do with the listener’s personal connection to it. We definitely have a certain theme in mind for each album, but we like to leave a little interpretation there for the listener.

Inspiration for us comes from so many different things. Dan could be listening to a new record and really like the tone of some guitar and then we kind of pull from that and write a whole new song. We could be jamming in the practice space, and all of the sudden Alan and Josh just lock into some cool groove out of nowhere. A lot of our songs start off like this, then we quickly record them and rework them until we are completely happy.

I know that a lot of people I’ve talked to discovered Tides of Man through Audiotree. Tell me about the experience of recording an Audiotree session.

That was full-on nerve racking. But the guys at Audiotree made it so smooth, and were very nice to us. They guided us through the whole thing. 

We thought it turned out great, and the recording quality was unreal! We are super thankful to Audiotree for having us on there, and we have definitely noticed that as one of the top ways that people have discovered our new music.

It has been four years since you released your last record. Talk me through what you’ve been doing since then.

Writing, jamming, re-writing, scratching everything all together, fully second guessing all of our ability to write anything again, then re-writing again. In the end, we are finally happy with our new record and proud to put it out. We have put a lot of late nights into this album and we made it a point to never compromise if we didn’t like something. We kept working at it until we were happy.

Dan Tides of Man dunk!festival 2018

Dan at dunk!festival 2018

This is your fourth studio album. How have things changed since you released your first EP ten years ago?

Ha! We are better musicians for sure. We know our way around a studio now, and can really focus on getting great tones and making the studio make the song even better. Before, we were scared of the metronome, and had no idea what we were doing as far as amp selection, drum selection, production, etc. But I think every band goes through that transition of getting familiar with the studio and then using it to their advantage.

Are emo fringes ever going to come back in fashion?

Did they ever go out of fashion? Is this because we used to rock that haircut? 

Haha maybe…

You used crowd funding when recording Young and Courageous. Why didn’t you opt to do that again for Every Nothing?

The last crowd funding campaign was awesome, but we always intended to make the band support itself as a business. Putting out Young and Courageous on our own without a label allowed us to make that a reality. We wanted to make the band do Every Nothing on it’s own dime. It forced us to make decisions with our money and be responsible not only as musicians, but as a business.

Alan Tides of Man dunk!festival 2018

Alan at dunk!festival 2018

On a related note, how does recording and releasing an album independently compare to when you were signed to Rise Records?

There’s a lot more work involved to be short. When you are on a label, you get booked in a studio and show up to record your album. They take care of marketing, packaging, design, distribution, etc. That’s all on us as an independent band. 

We are involved in every aspect of the release of the record, right down to arguing about what exactly should be on the center label of the vinyl.

A Thousand Arms are awesome, and I love those guys so much, but is there an easier option for ordering the record for those of us who don’t live in America?

We are in the works of setting up European distribution of vinyl.

Every Nothing sounds a lot heavier than Young and Courageous. Was this a conscious decision you made when songwriting?

I think it was a natural progression that just sort of happened. The quiet parts are quieter, and the loud parts are louder. That’s how we felt at the time of writing these particular songs.

Tides Of Man setlist from their US tour last year

Tides Of Man setlist from their US tour last year

I notice that the song names written on your setlist from tour last year differ from the new album track names. Have you renamed them, or are there some b-sides in the works?

We have horrible working titles for our tracks, and we have them for so long that we tend to remember them as that title rather than the actual title on the record. A B-Side or two may be in the works, but no promises.

Joel Frieders discovered that on your last album, the track “Hold Still” starts like the Yo Gabba Gabba song by the same name. Have you hidden any Easter eggs like that on the new record?

Ha! That was an absolute coincidence. Someone told me the other day that it apparently has a train noise in a section of it too. 

As far as we know, there are no similarities to any children’s tv shows in our music, but we would be happy to find out after the fact that we accidentally ripped off Barney.

Many of you work as studio musicians. Which has more pressure: playing for other musicians, or working on your own project?

Playing for other musicians is definitely a job in and of itself, and we always want to deliver exactly what each client wants, so there is pressure for sure.

But writing your own music has so much more. It’s hard to explain why, but it feels like you are laying your identity on the line with each note, and if you mess it up you’re done for.

I know that the artwork was one of last things that you sorted out for this album. Would you care to talk about the album cover and general art direction? I know that Dan does design, and Alan is a photographer, so the visuals must be important to you.

Design is definitely important to us. As an instrumental band, all we have to communicate the feel of the record is the design and song titles, so we spend a lot of time throwing ideas back and forth on the direction and how it fits the album. On this one we wanted something that showed mundane everyday existence against pure nothingness. The album is really about the interplay between our fixation on mundane, meaningless things and the bigger picture that we forget to look at.

I should also add that the video for “Static Hymn” is great.

Thanks! Stephen Mlinarcik brought that idea to life! He was awesome to work with.

Tides of Man is based in Tampa, Florida, but Josh lives in London, and last I heard, Alan lives in LA. How do you make it work with such big distances between you all?

Luckily we all enjoy traveling. We always have a home base in Tampa, and Josh and Alan never hesitate to fly in and stay for a while. We’ve never had a problem with the distance.

I’ve seen you play at dunk!festival in both the US and Belgium and you have Arctangent coming up. Does your approach change between playing festivals and standard shows?

We try to simply play our music well and feel it with the crowd. I don’t think that should be any different between festivals and standard shows. 

You’ve played with some great bands during your career. I can imagine that the Karnivool tour would have been incredible. And you were all buzzing when I last saw you in Europe after playing with EF and aswekeepsearching. Which bands have you most enjoy playing with, and who do you still to aspire to share a stage with?

Karnivool was definitely a treat to watch every night. We also really enjoyed playing with Rare Futures (formerly Happy Body, Slow Brain). Of course, touring with Covet and Vasudeva was awesome! Those guys are super talented. Ranges was also awesome to tour with. There’s too many good times to pick and choose which tour we were most grateful for. We have made amazing friends from all over the world because we are able to go out and tour. It’s just been amazing from the get go.

In the future we’d love to tour with This Will Destroy You, Russian Circles, Mogwai, Circa Survive, Thrice, and many more.

Vinny with Tides of Man dunk!festival 2018

Vinny Capitani playing with Tides of Man at dunk!USA festival 2017

We’ve all spent our fair share of time sleeping in vans. Do your wives/girlfriends get jealous that you sleep beside Vinny Capitani on tour?

They were absolutely jealous until he removed his beautiful locks. Now, not so much.

What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learnt about touring as a band?

If you don’t constantly try to improve as a band, and tackle something bigger you end up nagging at each other over stupid shit. We’ve learned this from personal experience. You always have to be pushing yourselves towards being better as a band, and you can never get stuck on the losses.

You’ve all eaten a lot of taco bell in your time, having been sponsored by Taco Bell through the Feed The Beat program. What are your top tips for making the most of the Taco Bell menu? I’m happy to hear vegan options too, seeing as a few of you are vegan.

  1. Order anything grilled “extra crispy”
  2. Add a lot of Fire Sauce
  3. Get that creamy jalapeño sauce too
  4. If you’re vegan, get on that Fresco menu. It’s great.

    View this post on Instagram

    Exploring the Gates Of Hell in Clifton, NJ

    A post shared by Dan Miller (@tidesofdan) on

My favourite memory of the times spent with Tides of Man was when we went on an adventure in New Jersey, exploring the “Gates of Hell” during the time between load in and sound check. What are some other memorable adventures that you’ve been on as a band?

So many amazing memories as a band! Driving all night to see Moab, Utah at sunrise. A day off at Cedar Point Park back in 2010 when we rode coasters all day with the entire tour party. Sky Diving at sunset on the coast of California. No A/C in the van for 5 days in Texas. Holding up signs at shows to find a place to stay for the night. Seeing Europe and the UK for the first time. Taking shots of “Red Death” in Tours, France. These are just a few.

Every Nothing is due out in August. What upcoming plans do you have for the band?

We are playing Fete De Lion festival August 3rd, and then ArcTanGent festival August 18th, and we plan to do a Europe/UK run in-between the two. Later in the fall we will be doing a US run.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions. I’m enjoying the new record and I’m sure that you are excited to share it with the rest of the world shortly. Is there anything else that you would like to mention?

Yes, thank you Baggins. Only other thing to mention is that you can pre-order our album now over at A Thousand Arms website. Check it out.

Tides of Man pre-order options at A Thousand Arms: https://athousandarms.store/collections/tidesofman

Josh Tides of Man dunk!festival 2018

Josh at dunk!festival 2018

Tides of Man links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tidesofman/
Bandcamp: https://tidesofman.bandcamp.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/tidesofman
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tidesofman/
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGu5lp7dVJNbsYCEjN2Mk_A

All photos by Joseph James (aka Baggins) except a few embedded from Dan’s instagram.

The Great Silence: An Interview With OHGOD

OHGOD Great Silence Tour Poster
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Hailing from Cape Town, South Africa, instrumental prog-rockers OHGOD have just released a stellar début album, The Great Silence. Following from the success of this release, the quartet are about to make their way to Europe to play dunk!festival (Zottegem, Belgium) and Pelagic fest (Berlin, Germany), as well as supporting metalcore giants Jinjer on a German tour.

I’m planning on making a very similar trip myself, so I reached out to the band for an interview.

Bassist Mark Woolfrey was super stoked to hear that his music had reached my ears as far away as New Zealand, and chatted with me about the recent album, upcoming tour, and plans for the future.

OHGOD. Image: Laura McCullagh

Image: Laura McCullagh

Will Not Fade: I really enjoy your sound. It is a hybrid of progressive metal and post-rock yet isn’t depressing. Who are some of your key influences?

Mark Woolfrey (bass): Wow New Zealand so rad! Thanks man glad you enjoy our music, it is always cool to know our music is traveling around. Influences are always a tough one to answer. As a band, we have a very eclectic range of music. It’s also hard to answer because a lot of the time we pull fragments from all over the show, not even just bands, sometimes a single song if that makes sense. If I had to pick one band. Pick or die type vibes, If These Trees Could talk was certainly a huge influence when we started writing together.

Sorry if this question makes you groan, but did you always set out to stay as an instrumental act when you started the band?

No worries! When OHGOD was born we started just writing and at the time we didn’t really even consider having a vocalist, not an intentional choice or anything,  we were just focusing on the music. Then as things started coming together we kind of all came to the same point of “do we even want vocals?” It sort of gave us a whole lot of freedom as a band without a vocalist so we stuck with it..

Tell me about the South African Metal Music Awards.

The South African Metal Music Awards is a rad initiative here in South Africa that really tries to recognize specifically metal bands for their achievements. It’s also a great concept to bring together a growing but niche scene in SA. At the end of the day it’s just great to acknowledge bands for what they put in . We have found despite not being “metal” we have managed to find ourselves  accepted in the metal scene which is pretty awesome.  In short it is a really cool group from across the industry who run & organise the awards, each year they grow and improve things. We are pretty stocked to have taken a few awards home through the last few.

You have an amazing European tour coming up. South Africa and Germany are a long way from each other. How did this tour come about?

There is rather a lot of ocean and land between them haha. Well a long story short our manager Calvin does a great job at networking and talking to the right people. We have worked with him for long now, we kind of let him just do his own thing and he runs with it. He did what he does and got us on the lineup for Dunk! in Belgium and Pelagic in Berlin. Then we were super happy to partner with Turning Tricks Entertainment as our international agents who did what they do best. They came back to us with a number of dates through Germany supporting Jinjer on their Cloud Factories EU Tour 2018 with the rad dudes from The Dali Thundering Concept. So it was a great combo job of a great team and agents. Both move mountains for us.

Which acts are you most excited to see at dunk! and Pelagic festivals?

How long have you got?? haha. Can we just say both festivals and all the acts. Pretty much all the bands at both are on our playlists. We are all frothing over the headliners though.

Any guesses as to who the secret headliner for Pelagic fest is? My money is on The Ocean.

Hmmm yeah that’s a tough one we have also been trying to figure that one out. Not sure where we would put our South African Rands on that one.

It looks like you’ve been earning lots of slots for festivals. Do you approach festival sets differently to a standard gig?

We have been focusing a lot more on festivals recently as a band. It is the kind of shows we want to focus on more. We have also been given so many great opportunities in both SA and overseas, we are constantly looking to take our shows to the next level or stage. I think we do spend a lot more time in selecting a set. We have been focusing on building our set with a lot more additions outside of just our instruments though. Quite excited for that!

I’m super jealous that you’ve got to play with Karnivool multiple times over the years. I’ve only ever seen them once. My friends in Tides of Man have toured with them in the past as well. Tell me about opening for them!

We have actually only ever played with Karnivool once. Again mad props to Turning Tricks for bringing them over to SA.  What can one even say after watching Karnivool haha. What a band, they know how to put one hell of a show they break you brain and they’re just sonic architects. We are all huge fans of them, so without sounding cliché jamming with was like a dream.  Tides Of Man you say? Now that is another band we can’t get enough of.

You crowdfunded your recent album via Thundafund. How did you find that process, asking your fans to front up money for an album before you made it?

Yeah that was mind-blowing! We received such a big response and help with our Thundafund. It was actually quiet intimidating to be honest, it really puts you out there.  You start questioning it like would we hit it would we not. It really felt like a gamble.  It was kind of  humbling to see so many people who believed in us though,  some people went all out and donated crazy amounts. Thundafund really allowed us to focus on putting out the best album out that we could. We have some of the best fans from all over.

Obviously you should be super stoked on The Great Silence. How did his recording process differ from Forest Feuds?

Well the major difference was we recorded Forest Feuds as a live multi track where as The Great Silence we did the more traditional approach of recording.  We certainly learned a lot from Forest Feuds and with The Great Silence we just felt it was time to crank it up things to the next level. We wanted to put out an album that we could be like yes we are happy with that.  We also had the means to put out a better album with funds and being able to work with the people we wanted for different aspects of the album. Our own guitarist David really spearheaded the recording process and Dylan Ellis from Canada took care of the mastering. Both stellar dudes who know their stuff.

What made you decide to include cello on the track “Avalanche”?

Ah man there is something so awesome about a cello. It is just a majestic instrument. We would jam “Avalanche” and just be like we need to feature something in here. This track just needs something . A little musical salt and pepper. Then it was decided, it need some cello spice and that was it haha.

The track “Axiom Falls” featured in both your 2015 EP and the album you put out last year. Why did that song in particular get revisited?

It was just a song we really enjoined as a band, we kind of felt like we never really got to give it justice as a track on the EP.  We ended up changing some bits here and there but it was still such a relevant track to all of us. Plus it kind of tied in perfectly with the album concept.

Which band member spends the most effort on his hair?

I don’t think anyone spends much time on their hair to be honest. We are just wash and go kind of dudes haha. Most of the dudes rock caps these days.

I see you posted about Star Wars on May the 4th. Which Star Wars film is your fave and why?

In all honesty, none of us are like crazy die-hard Star Wars fans (Unless you ask to see our managers leg – he’s another story).  Episode I – The Phantom Menace is up there though for me!

How long did you take you to make the Bob’s Burgers “OHGOD!” montage?

OHGOD…OHGOD…OHGOD… just when you think you have heard your band name enough. Such a rad series that one. Surprisingly not as long as one would think we have a fair amount of help on that one to be honest.

 

You’ve just dropped a killer album and have an incredible international tour lined up. What can we expect next from OHGOD?

Well we want to focus on playing more festivals and start crossing more oceans as a band. Then when we get back from the EU we are going to start looking at writing some new music. We have some ideas of our next moves but we are going to sharing those quite yet.

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer these questions. I look forward to meeting you at dunk!fest in Belgium!

Awesome we look forward to meeting you there!!

OHGOD. Image: Laura McCullagh

Image: Laura McCullagh

OHGOD European tour dates

11 May – DUNK! FEST –  Zottegem (BE)

15 May – MUSIK & FRIEDEN, Supporting Jinjer – Berlin (DE)

16 May –  ROCKPALAST, Supporting Jinjer – Bochum (DE)

17 May – JUNGLE CLUB, Supporting Jinjer – Cologne (DE)

18 May – NACHTLEBEN, Supporting Jinjer – Frankfurt (DE)

20 May – PELAGIC FEST – Berlin (DE)

OHGOD is:

David Houston – Lead Guitar

Stefan Steyn – Guitar

Mark Woolfrey – Bass

Danny Harris – Drums

OHGOD links:

Website

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

YouTube

Joseph James

Lost Between The Sound: An Interview With P.O.D’s Marcos Curiel

POD 2018 NZ Tour Poster
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Marcos Curiel has lots to be grateful for. He’s the founding guitarist of P.O.D (Payable On Death), the San Diego nu-metal crew formed in 1992 who boast three Grammy nominations and over 12 million record sales. He strikes me as modest, downplaying his achievements and humbly attributing any success he’s had to his fans and “the beauty of music”.

When I ask him about the longevity of his band, he deflects the focus away from the band and towards his fans.

We are very gracious and thankful for this and to fans that are so loyal. Whether in South America, Europe, here in the states or even Australia or New Zealand. People still come up see us doing our thing and we are still riding that wave until that wave stops.”

But he’s also quick to credit his band members and crew for P.O.D’s success as well.

“I think a lot of it comes from our upbringing – having the same sort of background – basically coming from nothing. And just aspiring to want to play music for people and just doing it, acting out on it and building a following. We were independent before we signed to a major label and kept saying that there was an audience there for what we were doing. It encouraged us to continue to do it and encourages us to keep doing it today even though we are 25, 26 years deep. 

“We are definitely a second family on the road. We were basically teenagers when we started jamming together. Now we are full on grown men with kids and families of our own. P.O.D is our second family, you know what I mean? We’re probably together more as a band then we are with our own family sometimes. You know, we travel the world together. We are in an airplane, we’re in a bus… we are always travelling together as a band and with our crew”

Curiel is also a fan of New Zealand, having come several times in the past decade. Last time they co-headlined with NZ act Rapture Ruckus. Before that they’ve toured with Disturbed and played Edgefest. He begins the interview just gushing about our country.

“Given the opportunity, if I had to leave the states and go somewhere else to live and I always say New Zealand. . . Maybe I could even retire there.”

In recent years P.O.D have tried new directions, putting out an acoustic record (SoCal Sessions, 2014), and a concept album (The Awakening, 2015). I ask if the latest single, “Soundboy Killa” will be part of any upcoming album and Curiel admits that he isn’t sure at this stage.

“Well that is kind of a transitional single kind of thing  We put that kind of to let our fanbase know that hey we’re working on new music, we’re still here – you know what I mean? I don’t even know if that’s going to make the record. Some people are like ‘That should go on the record!’, and we’re like ‘well… you never know…’ We’ll figure it out.

“Actually, we just signed a new deal with Mascot Labels. And they’ve taken us on, and hopefully releasing the new album in the summertime here in the States. We’re currently writing and working on pre-production which started in November. We were in the studio last week and we’re working through December, but we’re taking time off for holidays and we’re going to jump back in in January and head on tour here in the States. And jump back in and hopefully record that record in March and drop it in the summer.

“It’s been pretty cool, because we usually get one producer to do the whole record and on this album we’re working with different producers and different production crews. We’re working with HEAVY – they’ve done stuff with Sublime, The Dirty Heads. .. Just a bunch of different artists. And we’re working with Cameron Webb – he’s produced NOFX, Pennywise, Motorhead… He’s actually the producer of Soundboy Killer.

“We’re just trying different things, man. We’re at a stage in our career that we don’t really have to go out and say ‘hey, look at us, we’re a band.’ You know who we are and you either like us or you don’t. We have freedom to be able to experiment and do what we want, how we want to do it. Which, quite frankly, is pretty awesome.”

One interesting fact about P.O.D that draws attention is that they collaborated with the then-unknown Katy Perry for their song “Goodbye For Now” back in 2005. This remains a seemingly hot piece of trivia, despite the fact that the band have also collaborated with many other artists from acts like In This Moment, Suicidal Tendencies and Bad Brains.

Curiel wasn’t part of the band during that period, so never actually met her. He tells me what he knows about the collaboration though.

“They were working with Glen Ballard for Testify and she was one of his protegés – so to speak – that he was trying to get up and get out there in the scene. She was always hanging around the studio and wanted to go on a track. The guys became friends with her and she actually performed on the song on The Jay Leno Show, I believe. That’s how that all came to be. She will occasionally tweets about the band, tweet out how much she loves ‘Alive’ and certain songs. That’s pretty cool.”

POD are known as a Christian band, which earns them flack from both atheists and churches. In my experience, non-believers are often quick to condemn anyone of faith. And many conservative churches dismiss POD because of the company they choose to keep, playing along the likes of Marylin Manson and at metal festivals such as Ozzfest.

Marcos virtually scoffs when I ask him about this.  “Do you know what’s crazy about that? I call it scenester stuff,” he explains, “I know vegans who are in hardcore bands, and I’m like, so what… you’re only gong to play with hardcore vegan bands? No, they’re playing with all different types of bands – you know what I’m saying?

I understand, I explain, my friends in Declaration AD used to get similar criticism. People would question their motives, asking things like “Why would a band of Christians choose to play alongside death metal bands? This strikes a chord with Curiel. He proceeds to explain that he tries to write music for all walks of life, not just Christians.

Christian people maybe want to hold themselves to be the poster children, but that’s not what we’re called to do. We want to write music that inspires everybody. And so we took an approach that we’ll play most of the shows, because we want to play for everybody.

“But as far as being caught in the middle – we don’t look at it like that. We are a band of faith. Definitely we have our personal beliefs. We try to write music that connects with multiple cultures and different types of people.

“I think that’s the beautiful thing about being an artist. There’s people who are gonna understand your art, and some that won’t. The thing is, we’ve never really tried to become, at an early age we were a little more – so to speak – old in the faith. We never knew there was metal, or punk rock or any kind of scene that was a Christian scene. The band that we referred to as a major influence was U2. We’ve always look at them as inspiration. They had Christian roots and have written songs that are very conscient of humanity, or being positive in general, and we’re taken that approach – obviously playing a different style of music.

“And when we went to Singapore we found ourselves playing in front of Muslims. And they were singing ‘Alive’! And we were like ‘What the heck!’, we were tripping out at it. But at the same time, that’s the beautiful thing about music – it’s universal.

“What we get our inspiration and a lot of our confidence. First of all, it comes from that Chrstian faith, but we don’t go out and say ‘Hey, we’re this and that’s who we are.’ We’re just a rock band, man, that wants to inspire . We have our struggles and try to write songs about those struggles and we try to encourage all walks of life.

“The Beastie Boys, towards the end of their career they all about Free Tibet, and Jay was a Buddist, and they were playing with everybody, from Pearl Jam to Jane’s Addiction.

“You know how it is. Music should be universal. People have certain beliefs that drive their music, and that just happens to be ours.”

POD

I feel that the way he concludes the interview is incredibly indicative of his character: positive and humble.

“We’re excited to get down there. We love your country and everything about the culture – the energy – and we cant wait to get down there and perform. Bring some Southern California vibes down there!”


P.O.D Australia/ NZ Tour Dates

Saturday 14 April          Auckland The Studio

Sunday 15 April            Wellington San Fran

Buy tickets for New Zealand: https://metropolistouring.com/pod-nz/

Tuesday 17 April          Melbourne 170 Russell

Wednesday 18 April     Adelaide The Gov

Friday 20 April              Sydney Factory Theatre

Saturday 21 April         Brisbane Eatons Hill Hotel

Sunday 22 April           Gold Coast Coolangatta Hotel

Buy tickets for Australia: https://metropolistouring.com/pod/

P.O.D links:

Website: http://www.payableondeath.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/POD/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/POD

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/POD/