Florida’s Tides of Man are no strangers to change. Once an excellent progressive rock act, the band have since gone full instrumental post-rock. They are responsible for one of the best albums so far this year in Young and Courageous, which we enjoyed quite a bit, and now they’re currently embarking upon their first headlining tour. Before they took the stage and delivered a phenomenal performance at Tremont Music Hall in Charlotte, NC on June 8th, I had the pleasure of chatting with the band in it’s entirety and asking them a few questions about the new record and the future of the band. Here’s what they had to say:
Thanks for taking the time to do an interview with us! How has the tour been so far?
Spencer Gill [guitar]: It’s been interesting. These are smaller shows than we’ve played in the past, and probably our first time ever headlining outside of Florida. It’s been fun, it’s been cozy.
Josh Gould [drums]: We’re just doing weekend runs right now, so we’re going to do this weekend, next weekend and the weekend after, and then a home show after that. Just testing the waters and getting out there, headlining and promoting the album.
How did the decision come about to write a post-rock album as opposed to the style of your previous work?
Spencer: Well I guess it started with Dreamhouse, if you listen closely you can hear some atmospheric stuff in the background of that record. My main influence as a guitar player has always been post-rock. When Tilian left we started writing a little bit softer music, a little more atmospheric but with a singer in mind. Then after trying out a lot of people but not really finding a fit we were like “okay, we can break up, or we can just release a record and see how it goes” and it’s gone pretty well so far I guess. It’s been pretty surprising actually, I thought we were going to lose a lot of fans, [laughs] and maybe we have but the comments and the reviews and stuff that we’ve seen are very nice.
Alan Jaye [bass]: Yeah it’s pretty amazing to see how the transition has gone and to see the fan base being really supportive of the record and helping to get it out there, it’s pretty awesome.
Spencer: I think we kind of hit a lucky spot because the age group of fans that we had in 2010 all grew up 3 years, so they’re all moving on to some degree. I know that when I was like 19 years old in college I started listening to instrumental music and post-rock, that’s my own personal experience and I don’t know what it’s like for other people but it seems to be that way. You know, growing up in the scene and listening to a bunch of bands and then they all progress as you progress, so I think we kind of just came out at the right time with this record.
Josh: Yeah it’s opened up more doors for us as well. It’s more acceptable and even though it’s instrumental, it can appeal to a lot more people.
What does the writing process look like for you guys? We saw a video you guys posted earlier today of you messing around with some music on an iPad.
Spencer: [laughs] We were just testing that thing out because we were bored in the van.
Alan: We literally wrote a song on the iPad.
Josh: That’s how we write everything.
Spencer: We write all our music on iPads exclusively, we’re sponsored. [laughs] Nah, what’s the writing process like? Well it’s kind of changed through each album. This last one was the first time we really had full access to Pro Tools, and really knew how to use it. So it was a lot of demoing out a lot of songs, like guitar parts first and then we’d bring the drums in and the bass in and just write off of a computer rather than like just jamming them out.
Daniel Miller [guitar]: We still jammed a lot of parts out though too.
Alan: We did, when we were focusing on the new material at first we just sat there writing and writing, and then we started using Pro Tools more to demo the songs out and I think that’s where things really started to develop.
Spencer: Yeah I can’t write without Pro Tools anymore, [laughs] I’m spoiled.
Daniel: It’s nice to be able to hear back your ideas and critique them, step away and then come back and see if you still like it.
Josh: We probably wrote 30 songs
Daniel: At least skeletons of songs.
Josh: Then we just sat down and listened to all of them and chose the ones we liked best.
Alan: I think there’s 2 or 3 songs on the record that we kind of just wrote in the studio.
Spencer: Yeah we wanted to do that this time too because there’s that certain magic you get in the studio. You’ve got great gear and you’ve got great tones.
Daniel: You have a deadline, a strict deadline.
Spencer: Yeah that’s the other thing that I noticed, not having a deadline is bad. Because as a musician I start to second-guess all of my songwriting if I don’t just put it out there so it’s done, I’ll scratch it at some point. But yeah that’s what we do normally, we write at the computer and we do a lot of layering.
Daniel: Kind of refine it.
Spencer: A lot of looping, stuff like that.
When you guys write new music in the future, can we expect more post-rock, or another genre change?
Alan: We don’t know! [laughs] There are so many different ideas we keep throwing out there, like some days we want to write a rock album and some days it’s like we want to write this crazy techy album.
Spencer: Yeah, we’re in the middle of an identity crisis, that’s what we say anyways. One specific idea we’ve had for our next EP, and we may or may not do it, is we wanted to have really really atmospheric guitars but with hard bass and drums. So to have that kind of juxtaposition in the music I think would be pretty cool to do. But you’ll definitely see a lot of post-rock elements in it, as well as some progressive elements. Probably try to get a little riffy-er.
Daniel: Yeah, try to up the technicality a little bit.
Alan: We might not make it so simple, because this record is pretty simple. It’s fun and I love it, but sometimes a little more technicality is nice.
Daniel: We want to keep growing.
Do you want to remain an instrumental band, or would you consider working with a vocalist again in the future?
Daniel: I think Tides of Man is going to stay instrumental.
Spencer: Yeah I’m pretty sure Tides of Man will probably be instrumental. We might release something else under a different name with the same members.
Josh: And maybe have a singer on that.
Spencer: I think we’re all kind of on the same page, like we’re more into the creation of the music and the recording of it, than the going out and playing it over and over and over. We’d like to just constantly release music if we could, and we all have a bunch of different influences so we want to cater to those influences at some point or another.
Josh: Kind of like Cloudkicker.
Alan: He’s a huge inspiration to all of us.
Spencer: Yeah like you know when he came out with Let Yourself Be Huge, and you’re just like”What?”, but it’s so good, and it’s totally acceptable for him to do that. I love that he has that much leeway, and I’d like to have the same in our music.
After successfully crowdfunding Young and Courageous, would you guys want to work with a record label, or remain independent and crowdfund again in the future?
Spencer: Honestly, I’d like to not crowdfund again, and still remain independent.
Daniel: That’s our goal, to make the band self-sustainable, to be able to put music out without any outside help.
Spencer: We don’t make any money personally off of the music, we just try to put it all back into the band. We took some money that we made from recording to buy a new computer and we’re going to buy Pro Tools, and we’re going to try and do the next record pretty much all on our own except for drums in a real studio. We’re going to try to cut the cost down enough to where we can just constantly release music. Honestly we’re so thankful for the success of the crowdfunding and it’s awesome, but it’s a lot of money and none of us like asking for that amount of money.
Alan: Truthfully it was super impressive to receive all the funds that we did, and we can’t thank the fans enough for getting us to where we are now, I mean it’s amazing.
Spencer: Yeah we’re totally thankful for it, but we’d like to not put them through that burden again.
Do you each individually have a personal favorite track off of Young and Courageous?
Alan: Mine’s probably “Eyes Like Strange Sins” because it’s the most technical for me to play, and it’s not only that, but it’s got such a cool groove for me. In the beginning it’s really moving and then it kind of rotates around and then the guitars start picking up. Super cool, I like that song a lot.
Josh: I’d say “We Were Only Dreaming“, it’s a really drum focused song and it was really fun to record it.
Daniel: I’d have to go with “Hold Still“, because it’s got a little bit of everything there that’s on the record. It’s hard though because I like each one.
Alan: Personally the first time listening to the record, because I sat in the studio the whole time we mixed it, you know sending them feedback and helping them tweak everything. It was awesome to come back after a couple of weeks of not hearing it, and then be able to listen to it for the first time fully mixed and mastered. It was like that was the first time I ever became a fan of the music where instead of being like “Oh we’re awesome, look how cool we are” it was more like “Holy crap, this is amazing” you know?
Spencer: I think my favorite track right now is probably “Measure Your Breath“. It used to be “Eyes Like Strange Sins” and before that it was “We Were Only Dreaming“, so it’s probably going to change again.
“Capes” is a great song, I love how the album was already amazing, and then you come out with these quality bonus tracks that make it even better.
Josh: It was supposed to initially be on the album, but we needed bonus tracks! It was actually one of the first songs we wrote.
Spencer: I think that song is probably around 3 and a half years old or something.
Alan: That’s also one of my favorite songs, and I’m pretty sure it was the first “real” song we wrote.
What are the plans for the band after this tour?
Josh: We’re going to go to Europe for 3 weeks in August, and we’ll also be playing a festival in England. We also want to start writing the next record in July.
Alan: Yeah, we’ve been working on this record for a long time, with all the transitional stages. I mean, some of the stuff is still new, but some of it is a little bit old, so we’re kind of ready.
Spencer: We’re itching. We’ll do the tour, we’ll do more writing, we’ll probably really start buckling down and try to finish up another record before the end of the year. That’s my goal at least, it’s not set in stone but I’d like to release a record per year at least, and maybe some stuff in between. We’ll see.
There are some keyboard elements on the album. Do one of you guys play keyboard?
Spencer: No actually, Spencer Bradham, he recorded the record at Clear Track Studios, and he also is our unofficial/official keyboard player. He’s basically in the band but he’s a recording engineer so he can’t really come out on tour with us. So like tonight you’ll hear the keyboards, but there will be nobody playing them. They were all actually played on the album though, he’s a phenomenal keyboard player and he brought a lot to the record.
Daniel: Yeah, without a vocalist carrying it we wanted to really layer in the piano to make it more musical, that way the music can still carry itself.
Spencer: We already have 2 ideas that we’re working on right now actually in the studio that are pretty piano-based.
Well that’s all the questions we have, thanks again for taking to time to answer them!
Spencer: Of course, thanks for interviewing us!
Here are the remaining tour dates:
West Palm Beach, FL June 21 @ Respectable Street
Gainesville, FL June 22 @ 1982 Bar
Tampa, FL July 18 @ Orpheum
If you haven’t already, but sure to check out Young and Courageous up on their Bandcamp page: