SCAD Radio had the chance to speak with the band members of Tides of Man, an instrumental post-rock outfit from Tampa, right after their set at 2017’s A.U.R.A. Fest in Savannah, GA. Their festival set really proved that a band doesn’t need a vocalist to convey emotion and energy with their music.
Tides of Man’s first release was a self-titled EP way back in 2008, followed up by a full-length release known as ‘Empire Theory’ in 2009. The band transitioned to the post-rock outfit we see today around 2010, after the release of the album ‘Dreamhouse’. The band continued releasing singles for some time, up until their latest full length, ‘Young and Courageous’ dropped in 2014. A busy tour schedule keeps them occupied, but with musicians this hardworking, new music is assuredly on the way soon.
We sat down with Alan Jaye (Bass), Josh Gould (Drums), Spencer Gill (Lead Guitar), and Dan Miller (Rhythm Guitar) to talk about Savannah and their lives as musicians.
Kush as SCAD Radio: So Savannah is supposedly the most haunted city in America (so they say, anyway)-
Spencer Gill of Tides of Man: Oh, is it? We’re f—ed. [laughs]
Kush: Is there something that scares you half to death, for like, no reason?
Spencer: Oh, yeah! I’ve got a thing. Have you ever seen The Ring? That movie scared me, f—ing, half to death. I could not sleep for a week. I mean, obviously I was a kid at the time, so I was sleeping at my parents house and had a walk-in closet. Every night I’d try to go to sleep and just stare at the closet, thinking that the girl was just gonna come out.
Dan Miller of Tides of Man: For me it was the Chucky movies, that doll was super creepy.
Alan Jaye of Tides of Man: Poltergeist was, like, the worst thing forever. I couldn’t stand in front of mirrors at night, like, at all.
Spencer: Alan showing his age over here. [laughs] So I guess we’re basically scared by movies.
Kush: Turning it back to music. You guys are really underrated, in my opinion anyways. For people who haven’t heard of you, what would you say is a good song to serve as an entry point into Tides of Man?
S: Off of our instrumental record? I’d say either “Mountain House” or “We Were Only Dreaming”. They’re a good starting point for anyone who wants to hear our sound.
Dan Miller: “Mountain House” definitely has a little bit of everything, so I think that’s a good pick.
SG: It’s hard and soft. It’s tight, concise, and it gets the point across.
Alan Jaye: Agreed. [laughs]
K: Outside of music itself, do any of you have a hobby or anything that influences you musically?
AJ: Well, I’m a photographer, so my life is really about art all the time.
Josh Gould: Well, uh, I like swimming. In the ocean. So….Tides of Man? [laughs]
DM: I mean, we like visual art a lot. Like, design work and graphic design stuff. I mean, we definitely utilize that a lot with shirt designs and flyer designs and all that.
SG: Or even just conceptually, we often try to sort of visualize how the song is going to feel or convey the feeling of the band.
Ashton at SCAD Radio: Who are some of your guys’ favorite graphic designers?
DM: Charlie Wagers does really dope work. LAND design really does all sorts of stuff that I love. I really love Pentagram Design too.
K: Awesome, so what has been the biggest change, either as a band or personally, in transitioning from post-hardcore to this new post-rock style of music?
AJ: I think it really goes back to what we were originally. Like, even before Tides of Man, we were mostly instrumental, so it’s really just going back to what we love.
DM: I think the transition from, like, the ‘Dreamhouse’ era into ‘Young and Courageous’ was a gradual change. We initially, had meant for a lot of what’s on ‘Young and Courageous’ to become songs with singers. We had tried to find a singer for like a year or two and nothing worked out. We all dug instrumental music, so we just said “f— it let’s go play a show” and it all sort of grew out from there.
SG: I think that the hardest change, musically speaking, is trying to fill out a song without vocals. Creating a melody line to keep our audience, or even ourselves, interested is pretty tough and we overthink it almost all the time.
DM: It’s definitely less riff oriented and more focused on the melodies and making the feelings sort of flow into each other.
K: Are there any major differences in songwriting, like besides the vocal stuff, between the old style and the newer instrumental music?
SG: I mean, we definitely play around with effects a lot more. I think we also don’t get the luxury of writing a song that’s just verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus, with some transitions thrown in there. It’s like, when we were writing before we had a formula that we’d kinda stick with and now we’re in a sort of open field. You start and then you end, ad in between something happens. So that’s probably the biggest change for us in terms of songwriting. With regards to the rhythm section, we’re kind of taking a small step back to really let Josh and Alan guide the song to the next place too.
DM: We really opened our boundaries a lot, so it can be hard to know if a song is on the right track with so much freedom. There’s definitely a lot less rules for what were ‘supposed’ to do.
You know what I mean?
Josh Gould: It’s really a process. We go back and forth on everything. It’s almost more of a marriage. You really have to agree and make everything work perfectly.
K: Do you think the emotional content of your more instrumental work different than the emotional content in your older, vocal, work?
JG: With instrumental music, it relies a lot more on the listener. When they listen to it, they’re gonna imagine whatever it means to them. With the old stuff, there’s a story in the lyrics for the listener, there’s room for interpretation, but your already being guided. Instrumental stuff really means whatever the listener wants it to mean.
K: So where would you say Tides of Man is headed in the near future?
AJ: I mean, we wanna get more rhythmic, more atmospheric. In terms of what we wanna do? We wanna play festivals.
SG: Like this one! [laughs]
AJ: See that? We’ve already achieved our goal. [laughs]
SG: We’d really love to do TV placement or movie scores work as well.
JG: Really, I think we just want to collaborate with other creative people and do cool things, visually speaking. I mean, also I think we’d all really to push what we do to another level, just try and get better and play out more.
K: Fantastic. To wrap it all up, who would you guys say you are looking forward to seeing here at A.U.R.A. Fest?
SG: Oh, Sleeper. We toured with them in 2010. Watching them play really made me want to get better. Shane kills it on stage. Microwave was really cool too, we just saw them play. The second band, Attalus, was pretty cool too.
JG: I think Zao and Unearth will be insane. Old school stuff for sure.
K: Great guys, thanks so much for your time.
AJ: Of course. Thank you dude.
SG: Thanks, yeah, anytime.
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