Crank up your volume, we're jammin' out to Two Eights' "Together In A Dream" this Fresh Music Friday.
I talked to one Two Eights founders, Tyler Lott about the his poetic, eclectic journey of creating "Together In A Dream," what his dream album looks like, and if Rock music is dying. Enjoy!
MUSIK !D TV: Hi Tyler, thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview!
TYLER LOTT: TIAD was actually the first song I had written in years. The feeling that I was trying to portray with it had been kicking around in my head for some time though. During that time, I had been going on adventure after adventure with a small group of very close and very special friends. The freedom that I felt with them was the inspiration that led me to write again. I wanted to create something that felt natural, calming, welcoming, loving but at the same time be a furious force, unmatched and overpowering.
One image that sticks out in my mind is being with my friend Adrian, looking out over the coastal cliffs of Santa Barbara at around 4am, watching the dense black pulsating waves roll up to the rocks then pull back, over and over for hours, without ever really breaking or crashing and without ever seeing a beginning or an end. I wanted to capture that calm power. Those slow, subtle yet unstoppable movements. And so I came up with the chorus of the song. Two main chords (BM,CM7) separated by a short pull back to AM. The only line of lyrics there is, “believe me or don’t” referring to that situation you find yourself in when trying to explain to someone that you saw witnessed divinity in something so mundane as waves at the beach.
The Bridge of TIAD has the same concept applied to it. Simple, very little movement from chord to chord. I remember being in my garage and just jamming on the bridge for days. It just pleased me. So I recorded the two parts, put some drums and bass on it and just put that one line of lyric that I had (believe me or don't, I’ve seen the unknown) over the whole thing. That was the original demo of the song. The verse didn’t come until a little later. Not until I had a reason to write more lyrics. A new love. Haha. A little cliche but true. There had been a long tension between me and one of that group of 4 close friends I mentioned and when that tension finally found a release is when that F# heartbeat of a verse came to be.
The lyrics talk specifically about Claire and the way I felt about her (fact: the album cover is a photo she took on one of our adventures). I felt like I was in a dream and so the first verse of lyrics are about a man entering the dreamland through two of our favorite doorways. Weed and wine. The second verse is about playing around with a beautiful creature within that dreamland and finally the bridge is the farewell and the acknowledgment of a life forever changed by the simple human gesture. Which also happens to tie back into the reasoning behind “believe me or don't” seeing divinity in a something seemingly normal. After that I just went to the garage and recorded the first version of the song, which was later re-recorded, still in my garage, when I was finally convinced to put a band together.
MIDTV:Tell us about Two Eights - how did the band get started?
TL: OK, perfect follow up question. This picks up right where I left off. So I finished the first recording of TIAD while I had been jamming on and off with a drummer from a band named, Richard Ray. AKA Papa Good Boy, AKA Pantless Hammer. Neither of which he realizes yet... I was fairly content just getting together and freeform jamming for hours just me and him. I loved it. No rules, just pure expression. Uninterrupted thought. It was my happy place. But then I made the mistake of showing him TIAD one day. Haha. He liked it and said that we should start crafting songs to be a legitimate “band”. I was hesitant based on my last experience with being the singer/guitar player/song writer of another band called The Glitch. Lord have mercy. I agreed.
We stayed as a two piece for a good while before we found a third. Recording some demos and stuff like that. One of those demos was Manifest Destiny which caught the ear of a friend of ours who manages bands and works for a label called Innovative Leisure. He sent us to the studio to record the two songs we had so far and they ended up come out on Innovative Leisure as a custom 8’’ vinyl. Manifest Destiny and Gemma where the songs on there. But while all that was happening, we realized that we where going to need a bass player to pull of our tunes live. So we set off looking for one who could fit the vibe of our jams. I didn’t want the freedom of being the only chordal/melodic instrument to go away so I knew that whoever we got would have to be a better musician than I was. They’d need to be able to follow me wherever I’d like to go and almost be able to predict where I’d end up before I got there.
Seemed like we where looking for God himself. Craigslist was the main source I was using... we jammed with a few dudes and it just didn’t work. But one good thing about that was that we actually wrote a few more tunes that eventually ended up on the record (Proof of Existence). We didn’t play any shows during this time and after going through all the Craigslist bass players we could, The Pantless Hammer (Richard Ray) invited his friend from Berkeley over to vibe with us for a bit. His name was also Tyler. I did NOT vibe with that. And on top of that... he wasn’t even a bass player... he was a guitar player playing the bass... I did NOT vibe with that... There’s a very big difference if you don't realize. But on the other hand, I was technically a bass player playing guitar.
I had been playing bass more seriously than guitar for school and such and continued for about 8/9 years so I felt like I was being a hypocrite if I didn’t at least give this other Tyler a shot. He came by we jammed a bit and I did NOT vibe with that either! Haha but after him we really couldn’t find another person we invited him to join our “band” temporarily until we found a better suit for us. He just wanted to help get the tunes out there which I really appreciated. Temporary became permanent pretty quickly after that. I saw the chemistry that he and Richard had and it was powerful. They were a fat combo that I couldn’t deny. So after playing a few shows around town and booking our first residency at “Little Joy” in LA we started recording Proof of Existence. That’s when the other Tyler.... I’ll give him a last name now. That’s when Tyler Mccarthy really started understanding the important role he played as the foundation upon which the drums and guitar and vocals all played. After that it was all rainbows.
MIDTV: Though rock is the foundation of Two Eights' sound, you guys grab a bit from other genres. Who are your musical influences/inspiration?
TL: Yes! You have to. If you only listen to the music you play then all you become is someone who’s keeping a flame lit. Why not strive to take that flame and start a bigger and better fire? All three of us are music lovers and listen to music from all over the globe from all different eras.
The first band that I listened to was The Beatles. They are what introduced me to music, as far as I can remember. They’re still a huge inspiration to me of course. But what really got me on the path of exploring music was listening to the legends of music and diving into their inspirations. Led Zeppelin is a perfect example. Not only are they considered one of the greatest bands of all time but their influences are all over the map. Same with any great band or artist. They, along with Jimi Hendrix and The White Stripes inevitably landed me in delta blues. And from there you can get to almost any modern American influenced music you can think of.
It might seem strange but I don't really have any new favorites. I’ve never really listened to much current music other than the local bands that I grew up with. Lately I've been getting into the old Rocksteady stuff: Alton Ellis, his sister Hortense Ellis, John Holt. Other than that, I’ll list a few that are some regular listens lately. Blind Willie Mctell, Ebo Taylor, James Brown, CAN (of course), The Heliocentrics, Louis Prima, Mulatu Astatke, Karl Hector, Bert Jansch, John Fahey, Patto (self titled album, Blind Faith, Eddie Cochran, Flying Lotus... Blah Blah Blah. In the end it’s all a product of me hearing this perfect vibe in my head that can almost grasp and just writing music and seeking music that caters to that. Now if i could only wrap it all up into a perfect little album... my life would be complete. Haha
MIDTV: I recently read an article by Digital Music News which discussed if Rock is dead. The report shared that Spotify’s rankings are now dominated by Hip Hop, Pop, Latino, and EDM. And the most significant musical trend of the past decade belongs to EDM. What are your thoughts on this and where do you see rock music in the next ten years?
TL: Well. To me, Rock has always been a feeling/attitude/mindset type of thing rather than an actual style of music. Meaning that Rock can never die. Maybe I’m a minority but I can hear that energy in so many other styles of music than just Foo Fighters, for example. Let me just hop on this train of thought for a second. I feel like EDM is so popular because they are less of a risk for labels while still bringing in cash money. They don't have to worry about a band breaking up and losing an investment like that. They don't have to buy 4 or 5 plane tickets when they tour. The artist doesn’t have to split their pay with the rest of the band and in the end you're still making music. If I was a label I’d want to work with those odds, too. So I’d push that to the public. Make that the popular music and people will listen to it. If it keeps working then why stop? And if its been working for 10 years and people are still selling out stadiums to see a dude on stage with his laptop and a hell of a lot of tripped out flashing lights... then why stop? In fact, why not push it harder? But I still feel like theres nothing that compares to hearing and seeing a live band at their best. There are plenty of people who feel the same way. It’s that human aspect of it.
No doubts there's some great EDM out there. I just think there's something to seeing someone on stage, giving it all up while standing on the edge of failure and success the whole time while actually making, with actual instrument, all of the sounds that you're hearing come together perfectly. I love seeing that and knowing that, at times, these dudes are just being taken on a ride themselves, they don't know what the hell just happened but it worked and the crowd reacts to that. Most of my favorite records are live recordings of bands. Back to Led Zeppelin for a second, once you’ve heard the recordings, go listen to the live versions. Each performance is different and beautiful in its own way. You can hear when someone fucks up and you can hear when John Bonham has to reel jimmy page back in after a solo and its magic. It’s them dealing with the human condition right at that very moment.
I also don't think that Rock was ever trying to sound how it sounded. I think that they were just pushing as hard as they could with the technology they had at the time. They didn’t have massive PA systems like we do now. They needed to turn their amps up so the people in the back of the room could still hear them. The drummer needed to smash because.... the people in the back needed to hear them and the singer needed to yell because they had to compete with their band. A lot of the time there really weren’t even monitors for the guys so you also need to be able to mix yourselves on stage as a band.
All of those hardships are things that helped make that music what it was. Now people with the same attitude and similar ideas that they’d like to portray on stage or through recording have more flexibility. Our technology is much better and because of that our music is changing. Music and art evolve with the times and nobody can really stop that. That’s why i said that I think of rock as more of an attitude than an actual style of music. Of Course its going to change and turn into something new. All anything is is an endless cycle of people creating things that are inescapably influenced by everything that has ever happened to them or influenced them in any way. I mean, rock music itself has the same fate as art. It’ll never die but in 10 years we might not like it. In 100 years we wont even recognize it unless you can understand the reasoning behind its creation. Do you think Jimi Hendrixconsidered himself a rock guitar player? I dont know but I’d like to think not. I think he just felt what he was playing and took what he dug from the artists he listened to while doing his best with everything the modern world could feed him. I’m excited for the future of rock music. I dont know what its going to sound like but I hope its not the same old stuff.
MIDTV: What advice would you give a new band about the music industry?
TL: Wow, I’m still trying to figure all that out myself. There’s so many paths to get to where you want to be. Of course the fastest way anywhere is to know someone. 70% of the job is being a good hang. Go to shows. Be where people are. Don’t be afraid to say hello to people. Surround yourself with people you trust and who have good work ethics. Above all dont try to be anything. Take what comes naturally to you and explore that, master that and people will take notice. Also.... learn how to market yourself....
MIDTV: What can listeners expect from your project Proof of Existence?
TL: Hmmm. Well they can expect to hear something that is attempting to take from the old and bring it into the new. It’s not perfect by any means but I really do think there are some great ideas that deserve to be expanded upon and I’m working on that now. They can expect to read lyrics that deal with the idea of simple human equality and if you read into it a bit more you might see that the songs are arranged in a specific order to tell an underlying story of a character being put through their paces by the world and its expectations and eventually reaching “enlightenment” or “freedom” whatever you want to call that. I see it as a great starting point for me and that maybe, hopefully, someone will understand it and have some interest in what might come next. What I will suggest though is just listening to it from front to back. I think its a better picture that way. Of course I do. Hopefully you do to.
MIDTV: Any current/upcoming projects you'd like to share and where can we find your work?
At the moment, I’m just starting to piece together ideas for the second record. We’re on Instagram @twoeightsband@tylerkaleolott and SoundCloud and Spotify and anywhere that music is streamed. Thanks for checking the music out!
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