“Let’s go upstairs and also make certain we can watch the entirety city while we chat.”
That’s Tyler Williams, drummer for The Head And The Heart, speaking to fellow band also member Jonathan Rusmarket and also myself in the lobby of The Quirk Hotel almost instinctively after the initially music question was asked.
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This short article was featured in muzic-ivan.info #27: Winter 2016. You deserve to read all of issue #27 here or pick it up at neighborhood shops around RVA right now.
We had actually arrived here in the heart of downtown Richmond to chat about the band’s brand-new document, Signs Of Light, their time apart from the band the last few years, and also the maturation of their people rock sound, yet after just seconds of talking, it was clear the band’s attention was on somepoint else that evening.
“Can you tell we’re excited to talk about the record,” Russell joked shortly after we grab a table at the roofheight bar. “Don’t get me wrong. This brand-new document is very necessary to both of us, but we’re only halfmeans with the album cycle and also all the promotional stuff for it. You simply discover yourself talking about the exact same things over and over aget and also you simply want to talk around something else. Like The Shins. You simply end up wanting to talk around The Shins instead of The Head And The Heart.”
So we did. We pumelted The Head And The Heart aside and debated The Shins for a while, particularly their second document Chutes Too Narrow. From tbelow, the conversation moved to Bat For Lashes’ brand-new record The Bride which Williams had end up being enamored via recently. The topic jumping continued as the duo disputed Wilco, Santigold, and also finally The Band also, which resulted in Rusoffer smiling around driving on Route 5 at night through a Dylan record playing in his vehicle. Before lengthy, the conversation had actually ventured its means earlier into Head And The Heart region as the two questioned the attitude behind the brand-new direction on their own record, something they both admit was organic, yet scary at times.
“I had to have friends calm me down because it didn’t sound like the initially record,” Rusoffer revealed. “You obtain used to what you think your band sounds favor or also what your very own voice sounds choose so it’s jarring as soon as it changes.” Rusmarket continued by describing it as an amazing time as he kbrand-new they were making an honest representation of that they were and where they were in life, but it did adjust the means he regarded the remainder of their music. “That initially document finished up sounding like a demo to me which is crazy,” Rusoffer sassist prior to his co-hort conveniently mentioned that the album was designed to be specifically that.
“That initially record was simply expected to be this point that we supplied to book mirrors around tvery own,” Williams revealed. “It just took on a life of its very own and prior to we kbrand-new it, we were lumped in with this ‘people rock’ motion even though I never before felt favor we fit in with them. Our record sounded like it did because we had limited recording time and also we were all limited musicians. It was bound to change and grow as we used much better resources and also ended up being much better at our tools.”
That jump didn’t occur with their second record though, 2013’s Let’s Be Still, as the band discovered themselves travelling additionally right into a roots rock rablittle hole, but to both Williams and also Rusmarket, this was as a result of the circumstance. “We had actually 2 months after our last show prior to we were intended to be in the studio to document our initially fuckin’ song,” Rusmarket lamented. “That’s insane. It was no time to live so what happened was we just made a record about being in a band that travels. It’s a total cliché for a reason and also we dropped into it bereason we didn’t have actually time to gain out of this bubble from being on the road so much.”
Popping that bubble came to be a priority for the band also and also as the touring began to wind down in 2014, all six members of the band also made plans to take a break and get some perspective. “We simply had actually to go back to doing our own shit and living our stays for a while,” Williams added. “Otherwise, we don’t have actually anypoint to talk around and also I don’t just intend in music. We didn’t want to stay the exact same human being on the road annually, never before flourishing.”
For Russell, he invested time travelling to obtain perspective. He bought a van, travelled to California, and finished up composing tright here in a rented home that quickly ended up being a maketransition studio. Following that, he went down to Haiti to do work through Artists For Peace And Justice, an suffer he defines as an “overwhelming,” before ending up in Mississippi to visit family.
“I just maintained travelling,” he sassist, “yet not through the very same eleven perkid troupe day in and day out. I simply went out and lived life wherever before I could and it really assisted me realize exactly how much I had grown considering that we had actually developed the band. It was eye-opening and also frankly overdue.”
Williams found solace throughout the break in Richmond, particularly the local music scene. He formed regional supergroup Avers and also invested plenty of hrs at Montclimbed Studios not only cultivating the band’s sound, yet likewise finding out even more about the procedure of music. “Doing those two records in the break really helped inform me just how to make a record,” he stated. “I learned how to prioritize sounds and also components, and what creates unique tones and different styles of music. It was such a motivation for me. Being able to make a completely different document through a various band also.” In addition to a fully brand-new band, he likewise began a monitoring company via local personality Brandon Crowe after helping to guide a young artist in town.
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For Williams, Richmond ended up being a area to discover all facets of music and also research the various ideologies and also ideologies that each artist made use of, whereas for Rusmarket, Richmond came to be a area for him to collect his thoughts after a human being of travelling. “It was nice to just go house and go for a walk in a familiar area,” he defined. “It could be a 5 minute walk just around the corner of my area, but it’s so refreshing and also there’s nopoint favor it in the human being.”
By this suggest, it was clear the duo had worn down their talking points on the brand-new document and the remainder of the band, conserve going song-by-song in examination. “I couldn’t even execute that if I tried,” Rusoffer exdeclared prior to slamming his drink dvery own on the table. “I create these songs and I just have actually nopoint to say about them five months later bereason I already said what I required to say.” Instead, the conversation took on a new life as the duo excitedly chattered around their love of Richmond.
“Just look approximately you,” Williams directed. “The design and also antiquity that exists here. It’s comforting whether you’re walking a street or sitting on a roofoptimal. Richmond really is this distinct town and also that’s somepoint a lot of people don’t even take into consideration till they’re amethod from the city for a while.”
It’s not just the road that gives Williams this perspective though, but also his days living in Seattle during the band’s nclimb period as well as time spent in Nashville for recording. “I stayed in various other areas long enough to understand that what Richmond has is actually one-of-a-kind and not simply fake heart,” he said. “When I relocated to Seattle for the band also, it was different. Nobody was comfortable via themselves. It’s an extremely uptight area. You can’t rib someone or mess around without them gaining incredibly offended. That doesn’t sit well via me. I desire world who don’t take themselves also seriously and also deserve to learn to connect with people so they can thrive.”
Rusmarket agreed with his sentiments adding exactly how human being are just more secure in Richmond than in various other areas he’s lived. “A lot of those people in other cities aren’t and it’s not an excellent point to be approximately,” he continued. “East Coasters, our humor is partially based in arrogance from being secure. That’s not the vibe over there.” Those thoughts may be surpclimbing to those who remember the band was formed in Seattle by a majority of West Coasters, however Russell was quick to allude out how the difference is somepoint he actually wants in the band. “I’m glad we have that East versus West dichotomy,” he remarked. “It made me a more well-rounded person and I’m sure them as well, however at the end of the day, I’d just rather be earlier in Richmond.”
Williams spoke of the two’s time living in Nashville via a similar outlook, though a lot more concentrated on particular instances. “When you walk into a coffee shop in Nashville, everyone turns their head,” Williams relates. “They stare you down and also wonder if they understand you. They’re judging you and also wondering if they should talk to you or connect with you. ‘That man looks choose someone I have to recognize, probably I must I talk to them.’ You have the right to feel it instantly and also it’s not a comfortable feeling. That would certainly never fly in Richmond.”
In Richmond, the two feel more linked, even though Rusmarket is the first to admit he feels choose he “stays in a tower on the outside of tvery own.” He doesn’t spend long bemoaning his outsider status though for as quickly as Williams tells him brand-new shops are opening up roughly his ‘tower,’ Rusoffer is quick to offer some snark. “Fuck that store,” he laughs. “I’ll picket it. You wait and check out. They don’t should readjust anypoint.”
Of the two, Williams resides the even more connected Richmond lifestyle, constantly weaving in and out of musical circles once he’s in town, yet that’s not to say Rusoffer is holed up and also antisocial. “Tyler’s usually my barometer,” he states as Williams stifles a laugh. “Sometimes, once I’m feeling choose I’ve been too reclusive, I’ll simply text him asking wright here the human beings are and also I’ll meet up with him to gain my social deal with. Richmond’s excellent favor that. It deserve to be really what you want it to be and the people let it be that way which is the best part.” Both are well-versed in the musical scene though through plenty of bands and also artists they admire choose The Wimps and also Andrew Carter. The 2 even spend considerable time, in the conversation alone, pondering what taken place to this-or-that band, some from nearly a decade earlier, prior to collapsing in a chair saying “Man, that EP they put out was amazing! I wish they were still about.”
For almost as long as they disputed the brand-new record, the two went back and forth over bands in the city, and brand-new mirrors coming to tvery own and the growth of local radio stations. Each new topic lugged on a brand-new wave of hurried excitement prior to the 2 exhausted eincredibly topic and also were left rotating their heads to take in the full see of the city. It was clear that Richmond was not only the duo’s house, however additionally their essential lifeblood and their instraight motivation. We won’t view a song entitled “RVA Skyscrapers” anytime quickly from the band also, however that doesn’t expect the city’s colorful atmosphere doesn’t inform eincredibly word and also note that flows out of the two.
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“Ultimately, it comes down to this,” Rusmarket concluded.” We have the right to live almost everywhere we desire, yet we live in Richmond because we fuckin’ love Richmond. We wouldn’t be who we are if I couldn’t take that five minute stroll or Tyler couldn’t spfinish time behind a local studio, and we wouldn’t have made this music if we didn’t have Richmond offering us what we necessary out of life.”
After making his suggest, he looked across the table for an endorsement, yet only found the ago of Williams’ head as he looked around the city.
“Gorgeous day,” Williams interrupts. “Just look at the city. What a city.”