Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Thanks for having us! We’ve been well; enjoying the post-release life.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Wisconsin”? Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
“Wisconsin” is about a breakup I (Dillon) went through recently. We were together for quite a long time and it left me not knowing what to do with all the plans and dreams we had that never came to fruition. In a weird way it felt like this person had suddenly died and left a lot of little ghosts in her wake. Wisconsin was a place we had visited often and both loved dearly, so to me it pretty clearly represented the loss of my past, present, and future with her. But it was (and still is) a very happy place for both of us so having it as the center of the song helped me to sing about all those memories and dreams with great fondness.
Any plans to release a video for the single?
Yeah, we’re currently working with a friend of ours on a lyric video. There are lots of words so it’s taking some time!
How was the recording and writing process?
Long! Difficult! Writing, arranging, recording, mixing – it was all challenging and really pushed us as a band. I knew as I was writing the lyrics that I wanted to capture the nuanced ways I was feeling yet keep it as straightforward as I could when the moment called for it. There was a lot I wanted to say but it was most important to me that the lyrics – especially in the choruses – landed with a lot of impact and felt really conversational and inviting to the listener. To me, that tends to mean using poetry to make my meaning clearer, not obscure it.
Recording/mixing was also a challenge, as both this song and its B-side “Getting Used to Getting By” were the first songs we recorded and mixed all on our own. Our guitarist Riley engineered the whole thing. It was a really exciting time because he’s quite good and really has the ear/patience for it, but there was also a lot we simply didn’t know so it was slow and required lots of trial and error. But hearing the end result is so satisfying – all of Luke’s percussion elements gently peppered in behind the rolling guitar and piano, Riley’s dancing pedal steel guitar work, the shining golden vocals in the choruses. I think we all met the challenges well.
What role does Iowa play in your music?
In an existential sense, it kinda feels good to know we’re a little bit far away from the really hot and happening scenes. Like if you asked a group of people to think of what California music sounds like, they may all come up with different sounds, but they would likely all come up with something accurate. But no one would be able to tell you what Iowa music sounds like, or Michigan or Nebraska or whatever. So being in the Midwest has a degree of built-in freedom to it that’s cool. The landscapes are also really directly musically inspiring to me. It is true we have a lot of corn fields, just like you would expect, but we also have some gorgeous hill country and consistently stunning sunsets. Not to mention we get very snowy winters, magnificently glowing summers, and weather that tends to change at the drop of a hat, so there’s always the excitement of getting striking new visuals on a somewhat regular basis. I find it makes just as much sense to listen to Sufjan Stevens or Neil Young driving through parts of Iowa as it does Gustav Holst or Ralph Vaughan Williams.
Practically, living in a place with less distinct “scenes” has really made us want to write the best music we possibly can, knowing that no one is going to dig us simply by virtue of the fact that we belong to their scene. We go into just about every show knowing that we have to work to earn the audience’s ear. That certainly isn’t to say that that’s not true for every band in every scene, but I think that reality is augmented in a place like Iowa where you’re just sort of doing your thing and people will either care or they won’t.
Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
We knew we wanted these songs to be more personable and down to earth than what’s on our 2018 debut album, which contains many orchestral arrangements, big narrative concepts, and almost no choruses. For these singles, we embraced our influences from artists such as Dawes, First Aid Kit, Fleet Foxes, Leigh Nash, etc., aiming for a folkier and more accessible sound than what we’d done before.
Any plans to hit the road?
We’ve got some fun stuff planned for the fall and winter, including getting out to Minneapolis and Milwaukee, but no extended tour plans as of yet.
What is happening next in treesreach world?
We’ve been writing a lot and I’m really excited about all of it! No details are set in stone yet, but folks can certainly be expecting more new music in the coming months.