INTERVIEW: TENTS Talks (And Premieres) New Single “Medicine”

Today we are pleased to join forces with the incredible guys of TENTS for the premiere of their new music video for “Medicine,” off the eponymous album.

Medicine sounds like an indie record that was made in the Northwest. The hooks, the production, and the sensibilities are of the fold. The sentiment, however, is not. It is on the front foot. It is brave, celebratory, and intent. In MedicineTENTS departs. All of this is greatly captured on each of the melodies and visuals on each of the track on the record, including the title track.

We get to sit with the band and discuss the behind the scenes the song, video and album!

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

So great! So busy! Pouring all our guts in to making and putting out this record! Also raising our children and trying to take breaks and get enough sleep. It’s crazy!

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Medicine”?

I (Brian) went on a walk with my camera. I was dreaming and imagining and soaking up sunlight on one of the first days of spring. I often go on walks or take my camera places as a way to clear my head and inspire an acute sense of “connectedness” or “awakeness”. I make my best music when I’m feeling this way. The camera helps remind me of the connectedness I felt later on. It’s great because I go home and journey deeper.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

At the time, I was thinking a lot about why being an artist is such a symbolic and important thing to me. I believe that art, by the nature of it’s existence, is meant to be sort of “social medicine.” I was thinking about this a lot on this particular walk I went on, and thinking about how I get so afraid and wanting to let go, be free. This song captures all that for me.

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

It was so fun. In the song, I’m almost like, a pupil. I’m singing about this sort of “calling” that I’m afraid to embrace. In the video, I play that character and Eirlin plays the Guru. She’s drawing me out of my shell. In real life she’s young and brave and full of joy, so she was perfect for the role.

It was a family affair. She choreographed it with her uncle, who is a close friend and former band-mate. Her other uncle was the Director of Photography. It was a special day of production.

Why naming your new record after this song in particular?

The song is really aspirational. It’s about what we want to do and be. It’s us leaning in to what we want to be. Not just escapists but sources of inspiration for our audience. As such it felt like a good title track.

How was the recording and writing process?

Laborious! We scrapped and re-wrote and tried ideas for months on end. The first record was written with more immediacy. On this one we just kept writing and writing until an identity formed. It was mostly me (Brian) and Chris writing this record. We had a few different friends play on it, in particular Remi Aguilella from the band Daughter. Joe Greenetz also played on it, and he’s a seasoned pro. He’s with us full time now. It’s really great.

What made you want to take a sort of departure with this record in particular?

We live in the pacific northwest and we’re pretty entrenched in the indie rock consciousness. It is a wonderful scene and community, but there’s an underbelly of irony and indifference and even pretense. We decided we wanted to feel all the feelings, and so we made a record full of feelings. It’s been great. Letting artists like Peter Gabriel or Brandon Flowers or even just the hyped top 40 scene has really been fun. I guess we were just chasing the muse. Parenthood and life in general pushed us over a cosmic cliff. We are just trying to have fun.

Was it easy to take on this new risks or did you ever have some second thoughts?

We didn’t have second thoughts. We have label support for this record. It’s the second of a two album contract we inked in 2017(ish?) with Badman Recording Co. We are grown ups. Investing this much time in to our art comes at great cost. We can’t half-ass it. We have to play by the rules in our normal adult lives. The band is about finding joy, having fun, exploring, creating. Risks are a part of the whole thing. No adventure, no joy.

What role does Portland play in your music?

Portland is home. It is such a supportive community. It is a wonderful place. What can one say about a place they call home? We are so grateful. It’s changed a lot. The aspects of Portland that drew us here as young adults have mostly changed. It is a very different place. The indie music community here as shaped us indelibly. While we feel like musical weirdos here at times, it’s only by being here we’ve found our identity.

What aspect of nostalgia did you get to explore on this record?

I’d be curious to find out how others feel. There’s maybe one song that feels very nostalgic lyrically. Musically, I think there’s a fair amount of prior influence, but I like the idea of nostalgia as a passing notion vs a resting place. Can’t stay there too long, gotta keep movin.’

Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

Family for sure. We have young children. One experiences a lot of existential highs and lows from parenting, and these energies are of use to an artist. It’s weird to write about parenting all the time, but we didn’t have spontaneous dance parties before we had kids. We didn’t feel this sense of purpose and inspiration before we had kids. They are a big one. Also just, pain haha. Lots of pain and joy and sorrow. Singing these songs, particularly for Amy and I, is very cathartic.

Any plans to hit the road?

We are doing a west coast stint in October. LA, SF, PDX, Seattle. Come say hi <3

What else is happening next in TENTS’ world?

We do this thing on Youtube called “making medicine” where we actually make little home videos and then write music to them. Most of the album was made that way. We haven’t put much content out yet, but on our Youtube channel you can watch a few episodes, with more to come leading up to street date.

Medicine by TENTS (official music video)

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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