Interview: Tiny Empires
Thu, 08 May 2014 10:59:52
Boasting past members from the ranks of O Pioneers!!!, New Bruises, Senders, Mid Carson July, and The Grey AM, Tiny Empires really hints at the shape of punk to come!
The group artfully expands musical boundaries with a punked-up energy, elegant sense of melodicism, and impeccable songwriting. At the same time, they leave enough room for experimentation, creating an utterly unforgettable ride within their new collection of jams—Weird Headspace. [iTunes link] This is indisputably the rise of an empire.
In this exclusive interview, Eric Solomon of Tiny Empires talks Weird Headspace and so much more.
What threads these six songs together on Weird Headspace?
When we were putting this record together, the writing was split between myself and Bryon Lippencott who plays guitar and sings in the band. I was going through some weird things. My wife and I run a business, and we were going through a bad business relationship with another partner we had who was involved with it. That was weighing on me a ton. Bryon was sort of having marital issues that were about to lead to a separation. We were both really stressed due to relationships. On top of that, the band is something we both want to do really badly. I run my own business, and Bryon runs his own business. Everyone else in Tiny Empires works for Bryon. I feel like all of us had such tight time constraints on everything whether it was band matters or personal. That bled into the writing and a little bit of the recording. Listening back, I feel a little bit of a weird tension in the recording because of those types of things.
That push-and-pull adds a dynamic energy to it.
That was something we strived to capture. It was an intension of ours to write something like that. It actually came out better than any of us had expected. I'd say half of the record was written at one point in time, and I'd say the other half was written in a rush to get into the studio and record something. Originally, when we recorded this, it was meant to be a demo to shop around to labels and see if anybody was interested. We were all taken aback though. It came out way better than we had honestly expected it to. So, we said, "Fuck it, let's use this as the record and move on from there". It was definitely an interesting time. Things have calmed down in Bryon's life and my life things have calmed down a bit. It's a bit more stable and positive now. It's cool, but it lends to writing new songs that are definitely a little strange.
What's the story behind "What's the Plan, Phil?"
Well, the name of the song is actually from an episode of that show Modern Family. It's an intense song. Basically, in that episode of the show, they're looking to one character for a plan, but they realize he's not necessarily in charge. People can make things up as they go along as well. I thought it was appropriate to name it that. Going back to strange relationships, getting burned out on things, but having to work at it to make sure everything else doesn't fall apart, I started feeling numb after a bit. After talking to Bryon and seeing he was going through the same thing, we came up with this arc. There's a line in the song that's like, "I'm not being down. I'm just being realistic". Shitty things happen, and you just have to roll with it.
Which song resonates the most with you at the moment?
I really like "What's the Plan, Phil". Then, I feel like "Air Conditioning, Full Blast" is great. The way we wrote it was spot-on. I'm super proud of it. As far as lyrical content goes, that one always resonates with me. Whether it's a person or something, you're so angry or frustrated, but it comes to a point where you have to do something and you just let it go. You're over it, but it's still irritating.
It's personal for you, but it's relatable for anyone.
Exactly, a lot of it goes back to my surroundings or people I'm friends with and issues they're having—whether they involve personal or substance relationships. That does come across to be very relatable, yet everyone can make it their own with their own struggle.
Hear "Air Conditioning, Full Blast" by Tiny Empires