Speak, Memory guitarist Tim about their new EP
Speak, Memory describe themselves as "Somewhere between the limitless world building of early Explosions in the Sky and the mathy noodling of American Football". Sounds pretty exciting, doesn't it? The band from Oklahoma City is planning to release their new EP soon. Time for an interview!
With their songs, Speak, Memory want to send their listeners on a journey that is as spiritual as it is grounded in reality. I talked to guitarist Tim about the new EP "Adirondack" and the band's development. The interview turned out into a highly sympathetic and exciting conversation that we will surely continue someday.
Anne: Thank you very much for making contact! I am pretty excited about getting to know you! How are you doing today? I hope all is well during these crazy times? You are about to release a three-song EP entitled "Adirondack" on May 7. Are you excited?
Tim: Hey, thanks for taking the time to speak with me! All is well with myself and the rest of the fellas today. 2/3 of us are fully vaccinated, so that lifts some of the worries away! We're really excited to release "Adirondack"! We haven't released any music since 2014 (a long story for another time), so it will be nice to unleash this onto the world.
"Escapism is one of the major themes of 'Adirondack'.
Anne: "Adirondack" focuses explicitly on varying elements of nature and how the volatility of it all often reflects our current economic and political climate. It sounds like these are topics you've been thinking about for a while. Is that so?
Tim: For quite some time! Escapism was also a major theme when recording the EP. What's interesting is we recorded the EP three months before COVID really took hold of the United States, so in a way, you could say the recording was meant for these times. It's wild in hindsight.
Anne: Are you happy with the outcome of your work?
Tim: We're very happy with the outcome! When I listen to the EP with headphones on, I hear new sounds that weren't present during the recording, and that's pretty cool! It reminds me of some of my favourite records where you hear everything with headphones. We're happy to be part of such a club.
"We are very happy with our new EP"
Speak, Memory – "Adirondack"
Anne: None other than Bartees Strange mixed your EP. How was it like working with him?
Tim: It was great! Bartees is a close friend to the band. He was our very first bassist prior to his move to the east coast. He's continually supported us and wanted to know what we were up to any chance he got. How he got involved was quite organic. When I played him the rough mixes, he really wanted to contribute in some way and offered to mix them. I couldn't be happier with the results, and I'm so glad that he got to contribute in some way to Speak, Memory. We never got around to recording anything official (though there are some rough practice sessions we recorded that he's on) when he was in the band, so this is nice. It feels great!
Anne: You are also working with Clerestory AV, who recently put out a reissue of Ester Drang's Goldenwest album. It must feel amazing to know your work in such good hands. How did you make contact?
"In some cases, sending a message is all it takes"
Tim: I've been familiar with Clerestory AV for a couple of years due to their involvement with Ester Drang, who I have been a long time fan of. We're also friends with some of the bands/artists bands they've put out and heard nothing but good things about their experiences. When things were going underway with the EP, I sent Chris (owner of Clerestory AV) an email asking about the possibility of working with each other, and he was super down! And the rest is history. That was pretty much it. Sending a message and asking a question is all it takes in some cases.
Anne: How are you planning to promote the EP? Are you planning on any special events online?
"I hope there will be a future for online streaming after COVID"
Tim: Word of mouth, really! The biggest thing is to raise awareness about the EP and let as many people know about it. I hope being able to speak with you here will help win over some readers. We actually had a premiere for the song "Trails" over at BrooklynVegan, which left us speechless. We haven't planned anything online, though I have a unique idea for our release show to incorporate the live stream. Whatever happens, we'd love to do something online! I hope once things calm down with the pandemic, live-streaming will be here to stay. I have many friends who have enjoyed the experience, so I believe there's a future for it beyond this dark period of our lives.
Anne: You told me you identify yourselves with more midwest emo and math-rock sound, and you are also a primary instrumental project. After having the possibility to already listen to your new EP, I think this all fits together very well. Is this the kind of music you've always wanted to make? I mean: Does it combines all the influences and musical preferences of your band members?
The drums on "Lakes" sound a bit like The Police
Tim: I think the more we write and evolve, all of our influences shine through more and doesn't seem as inclusive. What inspired us to start Speak, Memory was the emo revival (with bands like Algernon Cadwallader, 1994! and Snowing) around the late 2000's/early 2010s. When you combine that with what everyone else in the band is into, we came out with "Value To Survival" and managed to develop a sound that put us in the position that we could play with whoever. With "Adirondack", the midwest emo sound is there with some other influences that came through, as well as some curveballs.
The drums on the last part of the song "Lakes" has a Stewart Copeland (drummer for The Police) vibe as that's what Jonathon (drummer) is a fan of and what he was listening to heavily at the time, as well as jazz and metal (and, of course, math-rock, emo, post-rock). The beginning has this punk rock energy that hearkens back to stuff you'd hear from Fat Wreck Chords or Revelation Records. With all that said, I feel not only did we get to a sound we've always wanted to achieve on "Adirondack", but this might be a glimpse as to what could be next with our evolving sound!
"Snowing and Algernon Cadwallader are two of my biggest influences"
Anne: You named Snowing and Algernon Cadwallader as two of your biggest influences. Which of their songs/albums do you like best?
Tim: Oh, this is a tough one! For Snowing, their song "Pump Fake" gets me in the mood. For Algernon, I would say their album "Parrot Flies" is my favourite. It was the first thing I had listened to from them, and it remains in heavy rotation all these years later.
Anne: Speaking of favourite songs: They sometimes have the peculiarity of throwing us back to times and places that we enjoy to think of again from time to time. Do you want to name one of these memorable songs and the occasion that you've listened to it for the first time?
"Further Seems Forever's Song 'New Year's Project' put's me back to 2001"
Tim: Each time I listen to "New Year's Project" by Further Seems Forever, I think back to the summer of 2001. That's around the time "The Moon Is Down" (the album the song is from) came out. It was just a great time. I am making new friends, travelling to different parts of the country, healing from traumatic events.
Anne: After the release of "Adirondack": What's up next for Speak, Memory?
Tim: At the moment, we don't have anything planned once we're done promoting this release. Eventually, we'll get back into the groove of things. New music for sure, though! Something was being discussed concerning the EP that, if everyone's still down to do it, would be amazing! Hopefully, if it happens, we can share it with you and your readers.
Anne: Thank you very much for this interview! All the best for your release! Stay safe and take care!
Speak, Memory live in Hamburg
Tim: Thank you for taking the time to interview us! Hopefully, we can travel to Hamburg one of these days and perform. Stay safe, take care, and for everyone else: get vaccinated as soon as possible! Let's get back to going to shows again!
"Adirondack" is Speak, Memory's third official release after "Selfish" and "Value To Survival" from 2014. The EP will be released on May 7. You can place your pre-orders on their Bandcamp page. The band consists of Timothy Miller (Guitar, vocals, effects, bell), Cody Fowler (bass) and Jonathon Thomas (drums).