Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Pretty, pretty good.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Ancient Baby”?
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
Just getting older and, while feeling wiser sometimes, also feeling perpetually young and inexperienced and tantrumy. The song investigates how I am, and we probably all are, a mixed-up combination of a sweet baby Dali Lama and an infantile, unevolved oldster.
The single comes off your new album Dad Jams – why did this new album take so long to come to fruition?
Child-rearing and $ earning takes some time and effort. And music at the level TMS exists has never paid enough $ to build a life around – but it has always required great effort and focus. So I set it down and focused on building a life, which took a decade. And just lately I have been able to turn some of my energy back towards creative expression, which feels really cathartic. Interestingly, my old bandmate Tadas has been doing the same – and making some really cool stuff. I just think if you’re not lucky enough to have your creative endeavor be fully monetized, creativity can sadly take a back seat during certain seasons of life.
How did time serve as an advantage on this album?
I’m not sure it did. I work better with urgency, manufactured or otherwise. While over the years fans would write and ask if there was going to be another album, and that helped for sure, overall there was no pressing need to finish anything. So it didn’t get finished. Time was a disadvantage in most cases.
What’s the story behind the title?
The title is part of an ongoing conceit in TMS’ record titles where it can be read for both a hoky lifestyle compilation of Spotify Tracks, and a human condition. More Deep Cuts, Book of Bad Breaks, Dad Jams.
How was the recording and writing process?
Writing it was fairly quick, in that I’d have 90% of a song and its lyrics written in a day. But then finding time to polish, produce, and finish songs took the better part of 5 years – picking things back up when kids were visiting grandparents, or between jobs. Wow, that’s embarrassing to say. The active time was much shorter than 5 years. But it took that long. Entire music genres were born and died during that time. I missed EDM entirely!
What made you guys want to take a more experimental approach for this record?
To my mind we’re always experimental, in that I always just try to figure out how to orchestrate and record any given song. A song asserts its own style, which I learn about through experimentation. Jason, on drums, takes way less time. He’s a more gifted musician, and can fairly quickly intuit his parts.
What aspect of fatherhood did you get to explore on this record?
I tend to think of most things in an abstract way. And that goes for fatherhood as well. I suppose being overly abstract can hurt imagery in poetry and songs, but it’s how my brain works. So there are very few specific themes of fatherhood being explored. I just sort of marveled at waking up as a father, and very much being in a state of life where that’s paramount. My oldest kid just became a teen, so them needing me less has started to change my definition of myself back to an individual. And releasing this album is part of that process.
Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
The practice of Buddhism, body issues, relationship challenges, and the passive witnessing of an emerging all-digital reality, the afore-mentioned weirdness of just being a dad on earth.
What else is happening next in Thee More Shallows’ world?
Getting fan feedback after all these years of not having a unique creative outlet has been really inspiring. More songs, more faster (than 14 years? You’d hope so).