Interview & Photos by Harlen Cruz
Listening to your latest record, is there an overall theme for the album?
Hard to talk about overall themes, I think that when we started it wasn’t like a specific theme, it sort of came off the back of where we finished with the first album. In that time we played a lot and wrote, getting to know ourselves as musicians and how we play. Some of those foundations were how some of the songs were written, weird guitar lines and drum beats and stuff come out of playing live and also writing a score to a Cohen brothers movie, and just experimenting with some weird shit. In terms of a theme, retrospectively maybe it’s sort of similarly apocalyptic as the first album. In some ways, the first album was like a real freak out response to the times we’re living in but this one is a bit more like weird, it just gets weirder…
When it came to writing the album, did you begin with creating sound before lyrics?
Yes, the music definitely came before the lyrics, for this song I sing on the album, we were swapping back in forth different sounds and ideas, had rough demos of songs and then narrowed down to some sort of narrative and lyrics later.
In regards to sound patches and effects, how complex would you consider your choice
Having a home studio we were live, it’s a blessing and a curse. It’s a luxury to not have time limits, apart from deadlines on when you want to get stuff out and filing with tour schedules and stuff like that. We really went to town with ordering weird shit off the internet and then hooking it up like DIY electrically and then getting to experiment with different sounds. Finding a different drum beat and then try to emulate that in a live way using techno software to find the drumbeat then try to that on the drums. We do the guitar setup in a weird way as well, throwing some old crap, ghetto blasters, tape machines, this is really the playful aspect to recording the songs, very chill, fucking around with a lot of gear.
What’s your experimentation process like?
We do get technical, we have a whiteboard that we write these insane song structures on. On the track Braindrops, I remember the point where the song changes to ¾ and we really liked it, we found this sort of fucked up drum beat that really worked but we had to work really hard at bass and guitar to get really awesome riffs that matched that change. it was a fucking nightmare but it was really fun as well. We had huge diagrams on the really big whiteboard on how we were gonna piece everything together to make the songs.
How do you go about keeping track of all these experimentations?
There’s a danger that no one stops you, you just keep going and going, sometimes you lose the initial cool nugget that made you down that path in the first place. Same with Braindrops, part of that started with like a weird sample, it was recorded, we sort of forgot when that was the inspiration for the beat of the song, it almost got lost. There is a sort of fine line between pleasure and pain when experimenting forever.
When it comes to experimentation, is it done as a band or individually then shared
It starts as an idea, then we’ll get together and workshop it in the same room. He brings the ideas to the table mostly, then we’ll just fuck around. Few of the tracks were recorded live as well, all the experimentation came first like for example Maria 63, we played, we recorded it live, it was really organic.
During the recording process, were there new sounds that weren’t originally planned
added into the songs?
Because it was at our home studio, we don’t go to a rehearsal room and rehearse then go to a studio, we just get together and it happens.
Would you consider NYC your favorite place in the U.S.?
Yes, definitely, I love LA too but it’s for the food. I haven’t been to many cities, I
love Atlanta, Dallas & Austin.
Their show was met with incredible energy from the audience, from several moshpits to stage dives it became very very clear that the band is all about bringing out very heavy and creative sounds. The patches brought onto the floor gave us a quick look into the complex and custom patches that help them achieve their sound. Towards the end of the show, guitarist and vocalist Gareth Liddiard experienced a technical issue, however, the damaged amplifier did not prevent Tropical Fuck Storms closing their show strong.