interview: tidal arms (2011)

We’ve been all about this band as of late. we introduced them to you not too long ago. They recently stopped by Houston, TX to perform to about 1000 people as support for Glassjaw. We were excited, they were excited. We arranged to meet these guys up at a friendly neighborhood bar across the street from warehouse live (shout out to Woodrow’s and that really corny waitress who kept interrupting us!) and they were nothing but awesome, friendly and lively. The dynamics of all three of us and the band seemed to mesh well, as you’ll see in this fairly entertaining interview.

The guys talked about touring, their new album and their future plans for the year. Hit the jump for the goods, and be sure to check out their website, for the latest and greatest in the Tidal Arms camp.


Roshan Bhatt, Let’s get started. For the record, what’s your name and position in Tidal Arms?

Tom Tierney, Tidal Arms: My name is Tom Tierney, I play guitar and sing.

Patrick Southern, Tidal Arms: I’m Patrick Southern, and I play the bass.

Francis Mark, Tidal Arms: I’m Francis Mark, and I play drums.

WWM: As a jumpoff, you guys are a relatively new band for our readers. What’s the most proper introduction for your band and your sound?

Tom: [Pauses, Laughs]

WWM: Already stumped, huh? [Laughs]

Francis: I think that video we put out was a solid introduction, right? Ideally, we now have a full length record out, so we’d like people to check that out. But if you’re listening for the first time, we do have that live video for our song “Hair and Teeth,” which I think is awesome because it’s a live performance as well. I think that’s what people should be looking for in our band.

WWM: I actually had a question about that video, but later on. That video was a part of the DOGMA series, and I really love those.

Francis: Aw, I didn’t mean to jump to it!

WWM: [Laughs] All good. It’s literally almost at the end, too. Anyway, I liked all of them. Glassjaw did a handful of em, and a few other bands too. But as far as I remember, you guys had the first one. How was that whole experience of recording that?

Tom: It was really fun and cool. We went to this big warehouse and they just set up these huge lights behind us. It was just one take, one camera shot, and basically we brought a bunch of mics. They wanted to have everything be about the band and the song, and it was all really fun and turned out well.

WWM: There any more videos?

Tom: Well we played a few others for shits and giggles, but that’s the only one they finished.

WWM: You guys have all played in other bands. You know, Warship, From Autumn to Ashes, Kiss Kiss, whatever. What influences did you bring from those bands to Tidal Arms or start fresh?

Patrick: I’ll answer that. Even though I wasn’t in Warship at the time Tom and Fran were, but when we met up, we could’ve been ostensibly been writing for this band or [Warship], we just didn’t know at the time. After I came on board, it became clear that it wouldn’t be another Warship record, so we wanted to start fresh. In terms of influences, it’s not a conscious influence.

Francis: Yeah, I suppose so. In terms of influences, we’ve never intentionally brought over our previous bands as influences. It’s also not possible to completely negate those things. I mean it’s not like a “Well, I want to make music like Radiohead” type thing, but there’s always a clear shot of what you want to do. I feel like I couldn’t have possibly been an extension of Warship because I was playing drums, you know? That happened because I was basically forged. It was originally gonna be just me singing and Tom playing guitar, but things worked out differently. I ended up on drums. So when we started jamming, it was immediately a new style of music.

Tom: I remember when we were jamming and we came up with a bunch of riffs. Fran just flat out said, “I’m not singing, by the way.” [Laughs]

WWM: I guess being from New York and Brooklyn has really worked out for you guys. You’re on this huge tour, opening for Glassjaw, and it’s their first national tour in like 7 years. How’s it feel to be on this tour?

Tom: Oh, man. We feel honored, it’s such a privilege. We’ve only been around for a year and a half, and sort of fell into it. It’s surreal to go from 0 to 60. It’s a beautiful thing that they enjoyed what we were doing and wanted us to come out. Surreal is the best word for it. I mean, we’ve been playing in Brooklyn to small bars, you know?

WWM: Of course. The tour’s been going for a week. How’s the response been so far?

Tom: Really positive.

Francis: It’s cool because they say Glassjaw fans are not really having any part of opening acts.

[WWM collective laugh]

Jerome Mendoza, WWM: We were JUST talking about that 10 minutes ago.

Roshan Bhatt, WWM: The best thing about this is that the next question deals directly with what you just said. And I was really excited because I was all “Yo, this is my best question yall!” And you just fucked that up for me!

[All laugh]

Francis: But seriously! So here we are. At the same time, it’s not something you should be afraid of. If you’re in a band, you should welcome that challenge. Who wants to be in a band that plays to a room that’ll clap for any crap that you throw down on the stage? I don’t. I’d rather play for some picky, snobby bastards. If it’s not any good, maybe they’ll heckle me for it and make me better, you know?

WWM: Definitely. So the QUESTION was…

Francis: I swear I’m not reading that thing, man!

WWM: [Laughs] You totally are. I’ve seen this band so many times, though. The crowds generally just don’t want anything to do with the opening bands. I saw em last year in Austin. Two opening bands were scheduled, and both canceled the night of.

JM, WWM: Same with Ft. Worth in 2006. They had that terrible radio band they just tacked on because the real support canceled.

RB, WWM: They were really, really bad. They got booed hard. It was a radio thing, though. I mean they were probably just like “Deal with it. Get heckled.”

[Band laughs]

WWM: So how is it to play before that type of band with a die hard fanbase?

Tom: It definitely makes us better, and rise up to that challenge we have every night. Some of the shows, Atlanta for example. They’ll heckle, like “Ahhh yeah, Glassjaw!” But then we’ll play a song, and it’s kinda, “That’s…sick.”

Patrick: It’s always been pretty positive for us. Sometimes they’re almost waiting for it to suck.

Tom: Yeah! This one guy was like “If this next song rules, I’ll see ya at the merch desk!” [Laughs]

Patrick: It’s always great when someone’s into your band. We kinda have that element of surprise on this tour, though. At best, they don’t know us. At worst, they’re just not having it at all. So when someone likes it, it’s that much more of a jump from skepticism. It’s just a good feeling to know you’ve won over someone skeptical. It’s just more of an uphill battle.

WWM: You guys just dropped your album this week on tour. What was the writing process like for you all? What went behind the decision to drop the record on tour?

Tom: We’ve been working on the osngs for many months. The ywere really starting to come together, sort of right around the time we heard the tour was on the horizon. That really kicked us into gear to try to get it done before the first show.

WWM: So it was self-funded and self-released, right?

Tom: Absolutely.

WWM: I love the production on it.

[Aloof cocktail waitress interruption]

WWM: I guess we’ll take a pause!


Tom: Well, I recorded it. Andrew Schneider mixed it and Josh Bonati mastered it.

WWM: Yeah, Schneider. I looked into him and he’s worked with some great bands like Cave In and Pelican. How was it working for a guy like Andrew?

Tom: It was awesome. He’s really great.

WWM: How much of a creative input did he have?

Tom: Well, it wasn’t as much on the recording process as it was the mixing process. We have a studio called Spaceman Sound, and that’s where we recorded our whole album. When we were done, we took it to his studio, where we mixed it. It was pretty wild working in two completely different spaces. He just did a great job overall.

Fran: This is completely unrelated, but this is the first time I’ve ever heard Rodriguez in a public place. So if anybody reading this hasn’t heard Rodriguez, the album Cold Fact is like ooooooh. Get down with that. It’s randomly playing at [Woodrow’s].

Tom: That’s fucking awesome. You guys are into that? That’s sick.

WWM: Apparently, you’ve never discussed it? This is thanks to us, by the way. We’re bringing you guys closer together. That’s just what we do! So after this tour, what do you guys plan to do for the rest of the year?

Patrick: We don’t totally know. We just put this record out and hit the road immediately.

Fran: We’re trying to set up more touring for the spring and summer time. Back to Andrew real quick though. We hit it off really well and everything, he liked my playing and Tom’s playing and uh…

Tom: And Patrick’s playing, of course!

Fran: [Laughs] But we’re playing a tour with Andrew playing bass, and Julie Christmas, who sings for Made Out of Babies, so we’re playing with them for two weeks.

Tom: But not as Tidal Arms. Julie is just going on tour Europe.

Fran: So we’re just like music mercenaries for a while. Then it’s back to Tidal Arms.

WWM: Anyone you want to tour with?

Fran: Yeah. I think that Torche and Russian Circles should tour again, except this time, take us with them.

[All nod in unison]

WWM: Nice, we’re all fans of Russian Circles. That was like a collective wood right there.


Aloof Bartender: I kinda heard that, but I didn’t hear it.

WWM: It has to do with collective wood. A group boner, if you will.

Fran: Sadly, over music.

Tom: It’s a bundle of…

WWM: Boners.

Aloof Bartender: So the band’s called Collective Wood?

Jerome Mendoza, WWM: No, but my next band is.

Roshan Bhatt, WWM: Anyway, back to the bands, Russian Circles and Torche.

Fran: Crazyfest, in Louisville Kentucky. They should call us for that. Let’s see…Coachella should probably call us too. I mean we’re not at a label and we funded this project. We just want to play shows and be the type of band that we can listen to. We want to put on our own record and love it.

WWM: It works out, too. Glassjaw’s the same way. This tour has a very collective sense of morale and the same mentality.

Fran: And we really appreciate those guys, you know. There’s hundreds of bands that have been around longer and probably wanted to be on this tour, but they chose us. It’s really cool that they liked our tunes and wanted to help us out.

WWM: Definitely, guys. That’s about it for us, though. Anything you’d like to add to the readers? You guys were awesome.

Fran: Thanks, man. Well, be sure to check out The Sun Exploding; our new album. It’s not in stores, but when we get home, we’ll be doing mail orders, band camp, that sorta thing. And!


That’s it folks. Don’t sleep on this band!

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  1. Pingback: weworemasks presents: top 10 live shows [year-end lists] (2011) « weworemasks.

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