What are your names?
Adrian Chalifour – lead singer/songwriter (I’m the one doing the interview today 🙂
Dave “Shredlinsky” Zellinsky (we like to call him Shred) – lead guitar/vocals
Jesse Bland – drums/vocals
Dave Arter – bass
What is the band’s name?
Towers and Trees
How did you come up with the bands name?
We live on Vancouver Island in Canada’s Pacific Northwest. A lot of the songs on our first album are about moving around, searching, being stuck or running away to different places. I had no sense of home back then so I named the project ‘Towers and Trees’ because to me that sounds like a place I’d want to live.
What is your genre of music?
We were quite indie-folk when we first started (who wasn’t in 2013 really) but our sound has continually evolved towards a bigger, brighter pop-rock sound. We are still indie in the literal sense because we have no label 🙂
Give us a little bio about you as a band and individuals.
T&T started in 2013 as a solo home-recording project back when it was trendie to be a solo act with a band name (think Iron & Wine, Bon Iver, etc.) But it quickly ‘grew up’ into a full band when our first single “Montreal” became a surprise local radio hit and we played our first live shows. Those early performances were electric with raw energy and chemistry, and we all quickly realized there was magic in the collective. My favourite part of our story is that both Shred and I had already quit music once in our 20’s and T&T was the project that drew us both back to music. I also love that we almost got back to that point when we put this project on hiatus but have once again picked it up. I love the redemption in it, and on some level I even love the falling apart that happens first, at least in hindsight I do. That’s some of the truest stuff in life.
Are you a signed?
Nope, but I think we’re ready to be (hint hint to any labels out there)
You have released your new single ‘ Head Down Heart Up’ , tell us more about the song.
That phrase “Head Down, Heart Up” started as my mantra of sorts during a time of change and uncertainty: we had just decided as a band to go on indefinite hiatus; Jesse (our drummer) announced he was moving across the country; literally days later my girlfriend and I found out we were expecting our first baby; and meanwhile the entire world seemed to be going a little bonkers with Brexit, the refugee crisis, the Trump presidency, etc. It was a lot to process at once, and my head became a very unpleasant place for awhile. “Head Down, Heart Up” was my reminder to turn the damn volume knob in my head down and trust my heart to take the wheel. I hope in these noisy, uncertain times that’s a message that resonates for a lot of people.
TAKE A LISTEN HERE
What was the writing process like?
Head Down Heart Up was one of the magical ones that just poured out onto the paper in one 45-minute sitting. I feel like I can barely take credit for it because I wasn’t thinking, it just wrote itself (which is fitting I suppose).
Will we see a album or EP this year? If so what can we expect?
We recorded three songs with our producer Ryan Worsley in Vancouver BC, all of which feel very strong. We chose to release HDHU first to give our fans a sense of where we’re going and hopefully make a few new fans in the process, but we don’t necessarily want to rush releasing the other two out before we’ve firmed up plans for finishing the record with Ryan. That could look like finding a label, or in Canada it could mean securing grant funding. That said, we do have a pretty clear vision for the next album, which is about picking up on some of the most anthemic moments of our last album “The West Coast,” and chasing that bold, bright sound further, even if lyrically I continue to explore the more challenging aspects of life. Head Down / Heart Up is kind of that in a nutshell.
Do you have any live shows coming up or a tour in planning?
Just domestic dates in Western Canada and Toronto for now, but one of our biggest goals is to hop the pond over to continental Europe and the UK. This is partly because we’ve seen so many Canadian indie peers do really well in Europe (places like Germany, Holland and Belgium in particular), and partly because my partner is German and my daughter is half-German so we’d love an excuse to start laying more of a foundation over there 🙂
What else can we expect from you this year?
I’m hopeful we’ll find a way to finish recording our album this year, and if that’s the case then I’m hopeful we’ll be able to release at least one more new song before 2018 is done. I’m also hopeful we’ll perform in some places we’ve never played before, and find some new, fresh ways to creatively engage with our fan community.
Do you have any collaborations coming up with any up coming artists? Would you be up for collaborations if other musicians wanted one with you? and who would they have to contact?
We don’t but we’d love to! Personally I’d love to collaborate with DJs and/or producers to remix some of our songs, especially the new ones. Anyone interested in that can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?
Hopefully a little further, a little older, possibly wiser but no less hungry than we are right now.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians not about the industry and just as an artist?
The sooner you can define the ‘why’ of music for yourself, the better because once you understand your ‘why’ with music, you have the power to define the parameters of your own success. I lost a lot of years in my early 20s because I let my success (or lack thereof) be defined externally instead of internally and it crushed my spirit. Towers and Trees only became possible when I gave myself permission to define what it meant to be successful as an artist. That definition was “to find joy in creating and sharing great music,” and its a metric I still come back to today.
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
Well right now it’s “turn your head down, heart up!” (actually)
Where in your hometown is a must go to visit?
Oh gosh too many to name. When friends visit Victoria I basically draw them a food/coffee/beer map and send them out on bicycles. But once you’ve had at least one great coffee, one great local beer and one great meal, then the true ‘’must visits” are 1-2 hours out of town, up the west coast of the island past the last bar of mobile phone reception to the remote, rugged beaches along the Juan de Fuca trail: China Beach, Mystic Beach, Sombrio. Our song “West Coast” is about heading out there to make peace and forgive. It’s where magic happens.
Your coming off tour;
1/ Where do you go first?
2/ Who do you see first?
My girlfriend Jenni and our beautiful daughter Violet
3/ What do you eat first?
A spicy, neapolitan-style thin crust pizza from Pizzeria Prima Strada paired with a chocolate porter by Phillips Brewery, and we eat it in our underwear while watching Netflix. The perfect lazy evening 🙂
When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
An extra guitar stand, but it’s too late because I guarantee we’ve already forgotten it.
Extra strings, because I will break a string at the worst possible moment.
Water. It gets very sweaty up there.
Vocal warm-ups: gotta keep those pipes lean and mean! Plus it’s a fun group exercise to relax and get in the zone.
The band huddle: the last thing we do before going on stage, no exceptions. What’s said in the huddle stays in the huddle, but anyone nearby will hear us do our special cheer at the end 🙂
Do you have social media accounts so your fans can follow you?
(I’m bad at Twitter though, just warning)