INTERVIEW: Octopus Tree

In a year that has seemed to halt our lives, it allowed us time for more self-reflection than we thought it would. Over the course of 2020, we’ve seen many people evaluate their professions, where they live, personal values, and relationships with others (for better or for worse). Who would’ve thought this “pause in time” could be so beneficial? Some people needed it for their own growth; tying into the theme of the debut album from Denver, Colorado-based group,OCTOPUS TREE.

Formed in a Durango, Colorado basement then relocating to Denver, OCTOPUS TREE got their start as a bass guitar/drums duo playing and honing their dirty, punk, and metal influenced sound in small bars and clubs on the east side of Colfax Ave in Denver. While writing their debut album, the music began to expand beyond the limits of a rock duo. Chordal and harmonic ideas were replacing the “bludgeoning riffs” of the band’s time on Colfax. The two founding members Spencer Church (Bass/Vocals) and Joe Colomb (Drums/Backing Vocals) started writing “Every Light Is A Sun” before rehearsing with and eventually bringing in long time friend and fellow Denver musician Nick Valdez (Guitar/Backing Vocals); thus making the group a trio. 

“Every Light Is A Sun” was recorded in a secluded cabin in the snow-covered Rocky Mountains, not far from the band’s birthplace. The album’s theme ties in with the feeling of letting something

go for the purpose of growth. “Every Light Is A Sun” captures the beauty and complexity of love lost and found. The actualism of realization of one’s self is laced in the eleven song album through poetic lyrics and haunting melody while harmoniously integrating educated composition to tell the story entirely. The album was a step-forward for the three members; stepping back from eight-minute songs riddled with meter changes and boasting their technical prowess (as they put it). 

“Every Light Is A Sun” kicks off with the track “It’s Becoming You” featuring a syncopated drum intro as the rest of the band fades in with rising dynamics. Followed by “Funky Now” which, indeed, brings the funk along with punk-influenced call-and-response vocals. The album concludes with “Desert Babe”, a droning and atmospheric track that showcases the group’s experimental side and love for all things heavy. 

OCTOPUS TREE uses their debut album “Every Light Is A Sun” as a showcase for how they’ve grown collectively/personally as musicians and individuals. Letting certain musical nuances go for the sake of crafting relatable songs to listeners is a form of growth. Which can relate to how any of us need to let some things be in the past in order to move forward. However, this doesn’t mean the group held back. “Every Light Is A Sun” showcases advanced musicianship and songwriting for an expressive and experimental journey that grooves, slaps, soothes, moves and guarantees a unique OCTOPUS TREE experience.

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

We’ve been doing well. Keeping safe during the pandemic, so not a lot of shows but we’ve been using this time wisely. We have a music video shoot coming up.

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

Musically speaking cliffnotes comes from the bones of a track we were working on that never went anywhere. The “metal” section at the end came from an extended jam if I remember correctly. One of those moments where everyone just sort of stopped playing and went “whoa”.

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

A series of events I suppose. The song is sort of a reflection on a relationship that ended and I was thinking a lot about how to move on from it, how to grow and overcome. There is some bitterness in the lyrics. I think this song was a way to let that bitterness air out and get angry in a healthy way.

Any plans to release any sort of video for the track?

No video plans for this track, for now at least. We are releasing a video for another track off the album called Spinning Out.

The single comes off your new album ​Every Light Is A Sun – what’s the story behind the title?

I remember reading about why moths fly around campfires and porchlights. How their guidance system is based on following moonlight and sunlight. They’ve been screwed by all the artificial light and are constantly buzzing around in circles because of an evolutionary mix up. I guess that resonated with me haha.

How was the recording and writing process?

Recording this album was an incredible experience! The band was fortunate enough to have access to a cabin that we could disappear to for a few days. We recorded almost everything over a 3 day weekend. It was exhausting but well worth the effort.

What role does Durango play in your music?

The band started in Durango so in a way it’s kind of Octopus Trees childhood home. It’s a very creative community with beautiful mountain vistas. The cabin we recorded the album at is just outside of Durango and I think to have these autumn mountain views outside the window certainly influenced the sound and feel of the album.

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

This was our first recording with Nick on guitar. Having him join the band and play on this record pushed the music to a whole new level. Nick brings such subtle and nuanced ideas to the table while still retaining this raw energy to his playing. We changed how we approached writing this album compared to previous records of ours. These tracks are more chordal and introspective.

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

A lot of these lyrics are about my personal journey with anxiety and depression. I set out to explore that by looking through the lens of past and current relationships with a few people in my life and how they’ve affected who I am.

What else is happening next in OCTOPUS TREE’s world?

OCTOPUS TREE World Tour 2021 Baby!!!!!! We hope so at least haha. We’re nearly finished writing our next album. Really all we want to do right now is get back to playing shows, getting back out there with our fans and playing the kind of music we love to play.

Thanks!

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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