Saturday 21 June 2014

Interview with TILTS

I originally featured today's guests back in 2012 when I reviewed their superb S/T début album which I give a very positive review. It's blend of infectious Hard Rock/Stoner Rock vibes has won them a loyal following within the Hard Rock/Stoner Rock scene. It also helps they know how to write catchy as hell tunes such as Mexiqo, Whatever Happened and Hot For Pizza.

I am honoured to be interviewing – TILTS – today who are about to release their highly anticipated new album - Cuatro Hombres – which was made possible by their hugely successful Kickstarter fund which reached their set goal in double quick time.

With a band that features ex-members of Shame Club, Riddle of Steel, current members of Torche, and Blind Eyes among others. You know there is some highly talented people behind this band.

So lets get down to business with the mighty TILTS.

Q1 – Hi guys. Thanks for doing this. How are things with you today. As you know I am a huge fan of your band.

Tilts: Things are rad. Super stoked on the new record and currently rehearsing for our upcoming Tilts Tiny Tour.

Q2 – Can you tell our readers a brief history of how Tilts came about and where it is today.

Tilts: Yes! Ken and Andy left Shame Club in '09. They wanted to continue raging in a new band. We all go way back, played in bands together before. Ken and Andy called Andrew E, asked him to jam, we later hooked up with Shawn Hart on bass and started getting serious.

We're all such good friends man, so it's been a crazy blast.

Andrew later joined Torche in January 2011, but we've been continuing on during down time and it's been awesome thus far. Currently on Robotic Empire and couldn't be happier!

Q3 – How would yourselves describe your music as you have a lot of crazy stuff going on.

Tilts: Andy White says, "An '84 Camaro with hi-tops on and Oakleys for a windshield. Like, if Brian Bosworth was a car that would be the car and that car would be our music." Hahahaha!!

Q4 – It seems Tilts music is all about having a great time. Would you ever consider writing a much more serious song now or in the future.

Tilts: Nope. Though we may do a straight up dance record. No joke. As stated before, we've known each other for about 18 years and have been tight friends the whole time so when we get together it's laughter until crying. No interest in furrowed brows, plenty of other bands for that.

Cuatro Hombres cover art

Q5 – You're about to release your new album. - Cuatro Hombres. Can you tell us what the album is all about.

Tilts: Well, of course the title is an obvious tip o' the hat to ZZ Top. For us, it's our 4th release as the prior full length is actually a collection of 3 ep's. It's a continuation of our original plan, to have a good time all the time. It's about a wizard getting fitted for Air Jordans at a Footlocker in Middle Earth.

Q6 – Was it an easy or hard album to write and record for.

Tilts: Easy on so many levels. We love writing together and can crank em out by the truckload. Life gets in the way as always, heavy stuff tries to darken the vibes, divorce, people moving away, hell Ken was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer in January, 2012. I mean, holy shit. Ken is a beast and has been steady fighting, refusing to let it change much if anything at all in his daily affairs. It gets tough but spirits are high as ever.

Q7 – Both of your albums were funded by Kickstarter Crowd-funding projects. And they have both been extremely successful. Was that an easy decision to make to ask your fans to fund the release of both of your albums.

Tilts: We were super happy with how both campaigns turned out, and lucky to have Robotic Empire largely running the show. "Fans funding the record" isn't quite right though since we ran both Kickstarters basically as a big pre-sell. So it wasn't any more "fan funded" than any other release that any band would do except that the records were pre-ordered. It was awesome all around. No one had to go into debt, people got to participate, and we've been able to release two records.

Self-Titled cover art

Q8 – Crowd-funding seems to be very controversial at the moment. A lot of bands and musicians are for it but a lot are against it as well. Can you tell our readers your experiences using Kickstarter. Good or bad.

Tilts: Well, see above. But yeah, it's an interface where our fans can pre-order and get behind the release. So really, to say we aren't down with it, would be like saying we aren't down with the fans putting into it, which we aren't gonna do. The idea that it's more honorable or whatever to go heavily into debt or be forced into some shitty contract is the least DIY thing we can imagine.

Q9 – The Vinyl Record is being released on Robotic Empire Records. How did you hook up with them. Great label doing excellent work.

Tilts: Andrew's old band Riddle of Steel had a release on Robotic. We kept Andy Low at Robotic in the loop as to what Tilts was up to and eventually all parties decided to work together. It's been an awesome fit and Andy Low has been super supportive and a big believer in what we're doing.

Q10 – What is the song-writing dynamic with Tilts. Is it a group collective or down to one individual. Plus what influences you when writing a Tilts track.

Tilts: The songs are 98% collaboration. Occasionally someone has an idea or two to bring to the band, but it's always a group thing. As to influences, the bands we like are obvious. I mean, we have a song called "Hot For Pizza." It's a fun and shameless time influenced mainly by laughter.

Q11 – You're all involved with different bands and projects. How hard is it for you all to get together to record new music and tour together.

Tilts: It can get tricky. But we're all down for the cause so it's no sacrifice. We want to be doing what we're doing and we're all deep bros willing to commit the time needed to do what we love to do.

Q12 – You're début album received a lot of praise within the Stoner Rock community. Did it surprise you the response you received for your début album.

Tilts: Hmm, surprise maybe isn't the word we'd use. But happy for sure. It's always nice to be appreciated, no matter who's doing the appreciating. The stoner rock scene, is largely well informed on good classic rock: Truth And Janey, Buffalo, Iron Claw, etc. so it makes sense that scene would latch on to what we're doing.

Q13 – How big of a help has BandCamp and the Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal community been in promoting your music.

Tilts: Bandcamp has been awesome as far as ease of getting music to people. It's a great site. And any love we get, from anyone ever, from any scene ever, is always appreciated.

Q14 - What is your musical set-up when playing live or recording your music. Any hints and tips would you like to give to the budding musicians out there.

Tilts: Andy says, "We face our cabs to the ground to communicate with the eternal spirit." When we record, the approach is very plug-in-and-play without trying to be contrived or force some kind of vibe. It fits the music we write and is super satisfying as opposed to sucking all the life and excitement out of our tunes with 600 takes of guitar or whatever.

Q15 – Which bands and artists influenced you as musicians. Any particular band or album that stand out.

Tilts: As a group it's pretty obvious: Van Halen, ZZ Top, Devo, Sabbath, BOC, Zeppelin and the like. Individually, it would be a list 100 pages long. We work together where the common loves occur.

Q16 – If you could change anything within the Hard Rock scene. What would it be and why.

Tilts: Wow. Hard to say. Shawn wants to bring back funk metal (probably). Andy wants less guitar solos, more Bit-o-Honeys. Ken wants world peace and Andrew wants a nice cigar in the evening.
Otherwise, we'd be cool with less bullshit. But who wouldn't?

Q17 - We are massive Vinyl Heads here at Sludgelord. Are you vinyl fans yourselves. And if so what are your favorite records you currently own.

Tilts: Huge fans of vinyl but we may not own as much as we'd like. Current faves, Deep Purple - Machine Head, Richard Pryor - That Nigger's Crazy, Glass Candy, Herb Alpert, Paul Simon, old Leo Kotke, Zeppelin III, Sabbath IV, Brant Bjork, Nektar.... Could go on for ages.

Q18 – When Tilts do tour, do you guys perform a lot of gigs in your home town or do you have to travel further afield to perform regularly.

Tilts: We wish we could tour way, way more but life has a way of fudging up the plans. We play St. Louis more than anywhere else, but always hoping to hit the road and do whenever the stars align. Touring overseas for Tilts is still a dream. One day!

Q19 – If you could give any advice to someone wanting to start a band. What would it be.

Tilts: Do it for honest reasons. Set goals. Practice at home. Find like minded people you get along with and play as much as you possibly can. Stay rad, stay hopeful and expect nothing.

Q20 – The last thing before you go, Do you have anything else to say to your fans.

Tilts: Thank you, everyone, everywhere. Though we'd be playing together regardless, it means an awful lot that anyone gives a shit. Always humbling.

Well guys thanks for doing this. All the best with the new album. Can't wait to hear it.

Be Excellent To Each Other.

Thanks to Tilts for this great interview. Our review of their new album - Cuatro Hombres – will be published soon. You can buy the album from here.

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Written by Steve Howe