Wednesday, December 11, 2019

interview: Tanith

To this publication, in 2019 the U.S./British band Tanith seemed to come out of nowhere with an awesome debut album called In Another Time, featuring a mix of 1970s heavy metal filled with the atmosphere of classic and progressive rock for an experience that is a bit different from contemporary metal music yet also very approachable due to the on-point songwriting. When you hear the music, you notice the difference, but you notice that the musicians must come from a heavy metal and classic rock background due to how smoothly it all works. Check the following interview to learn more about Tanith and its music.
In Another Time is warm, memorable and interesting to hear for repeated times. Where is the band based? Who are the members? Is this a side project?
Thanks very much! So we are based in New York, mostly because three of us live here and it’s easier for Russ to come to us. But the band is a band wherever we are and we have rehearsed in both Newcastle and New York. The lineup is the same in 2019 from when we first formed: Russ Tippins (from the British band Satan –Ed.) - guitar and vox, Cindy Maynard- bass and vox, Charles Newton- guitars, Keith Robinson- drums. This band is not a side project at all - we are definitely in the works for a new release next year.
Tanith formed in 2017, right? How did the relation with Metal Blade Records come up? through Satan? Tanith is different from the other MBR bands!
Yes, we are very new! Bart from Metal Blade Europe came across our music on Bandcamp and that’s how we connected with the label. Satan was already on the label, yes, but they weren’t really interested in hearing early versions of the songs until Bart found us. It is different than a lot of other music the label puts out but that’s what makes Metal Blade interesting.
What sparked the original idea for Tanith’s music and sound?
(Cindy) Probably the original idea was for Russ to have work when he came to the States and realizing that venues only put on bands that wrote original material. So he decided to put a band together, and he and I worked on a couple of songs. Charlie and I were clear choices since we both already spent so much time with Russ playing music. We liked the sound of Keith’s drumming and invited him to play with us on the 7” single that came out in 2017. As far as the recording and exactly what it would be, we didn’t really have a goal per se, but what we ended up with was exactly what it was supposed to be, with all members contributing.
What in particular did you want for the guitars, and what roles for the bass and drums? Did you all have opinions about the modern-day plague of sampled drumming/sound replacement technology?
(Cindy) We played the only way we know how- with real instruments. The guitar sounds of Russ’ Les Paul and Charlie’s SG complement each other and using twin leads was always an idea we wanted to go with. As far as the roles of the bass and drums, the bass moves a lot and uses harmony when possible or incorporates interesting lines. The drums are super grounded and always tasteful, not busy just to fill up space. We wanted it to sound like the music we grew up on so we used all vintage gear. The modern sound of sampled drumming has no place in our music whatsoever.
What did Tanith do to make sure the album didn’t set you back thousands of dollars? By doing things the old-school ways, did you want to make a statement about the current state of metal and rock music?
(Russ) Actually, there was no attempt to save money. Having decided upfront to record and mix entirely onto magnetic tape (analog) we accordingly spent around double what it usually takes to make an album. Why? Because we like the sound of all our favourite LP records that were made that way before even CDs existed. I guess it was a statement of sorts, but the response we've had specifically about the sound of IAT has been justification enough for us. Also, we were curious and didn't know if we'd ever get another chance to do it - we'd found a studio in NYC with an operational multitrack tape machine (there aren't many left in the world), so we thought fuck it, let's go for it!
Your band has two vocalists like The Beatles, Cream, 1970s Scorpions and others. How did you all hit upon the idea of having two singers?
(Cindy) Russ and I have always liked how our voices sound together, and really neither one of us wanted to take on the role of exclusive front person. Taking breaks from singing allows us to give our instruments more focus and to keep things dynamic.
Did you have an inkling that the album itself would sound like this? What are some other things that you want to do on future albums?
We made demos before recording, so yes, it sounds similar, but of course the finished product is always greater than something knocked up at home. Some of the vocal lines ended up different and we added different things on the spot in the studio as well. For future albums, hmm... well we are exploring more of the otherworldly aspect to the music currently.
What type of satisfaction do you get after the finished album? Are you ready to move on or do you hear the little things that you want to “fix” for next time?
We are proud of the album! It was a lot of work, and of course there are things we would have liked to have done better, but that will probably always be the case. You do your best in the time you have and keep moving forward. We aren’t the kind of band to spend an eternity obsessing over “perfectionism,” much rather get the ideas down in as spirited a performance as we can at the time.
In Another Time’s artwork recalls a distant land and ancient time. Are the lyrics based on particular literary works?
I suppose the idea for the story of “Citadel” was inspired by Neil Young’s “After the Goldrush.” In turn that song had been inspired by his friend Dean Stockwell’s screenplay for an end of the world movie which never got made. Other than that, “Dionysus” is our take on Homer’s story of Zeus’ illicit union with a human woman resulting in the birth of his half-human son - the eponymous Dionysus. “Cassini’s Deadly Plunge” is based on the true story of the Cassini-Huygens unmanned space mission to Saturn. The rest of the songs, well we just made them up ourselves. Russ probably writes the bulk of the lyrics, then Cindy and Charlie.
It seems that streaming services provide very little income (percentages) to many rock bands, but do you recommend that your fans buy the album instead?
(Cindy) The absolute best way to support us is to come to our shows and buy the album and merch directly from us.
What is the situation with touring?
(Russ) Because Tanith is such a new name on the scene, we haven't had the opportunity to really tour until now. As I write this, Tanith is half way through a tour of Europe. We've been on the road for two weeks and have another week left to go. Just four of us in a minivan with guitars & combos. We've been to England, Scotland, Greece, Belgium, Netherlands & Germany and the response has been fantastic. Prior to this it had been mostly isolated shows in the US and a spot at Muskelrock (Sweden).
What would you like to say to potential fans about what is a bit different or unique about your band?
(Russ) Well you already mentioned how “warm” our record sounds. This is down to the analog recording technique I described above. Unlike digitally produced music, this LP will bear repeated listening and will not fatigue your brain cells. Even the CD version has been mastered from the vinyl acetate. We know that Tanith isn't the only retro band out there but, sound wise, we stand out with our male-female harmonies, our original songwriting and our musicianship. Thanks so much for the interview!

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