Interview with vocalist Mike Kilker | By Stephen Sigl
Just one look at the marble face on the cover of Los Angeles band Tidemouth’s new album Velvet and Stone—released in June through Melotov Records—gives you an idea of the melancholy that lurks within the ostensive rage of its 10 songs. Tidemouth’s ability to translate the intensity of these emotions is not only geared towards crescendos, but also revels in avant-garde static agitation. Velvet and Stone is a creative breakthrough for the band that showcases their wide breadth of influences and multifaceted approach to songcraft.
How did you come up with the title Velvet and Stone?
We wanted to show that there can be beauty and comfort in the harder, colder parts of life. We hoped our music would reflect similar ideals.
Your music combines goth, metal, and punk with post-rock. What are some influences that might surprise your fans?
We really wanted to create a diverse and dynamic album. I feel like the juxtaposition of soft and heavy parts can help facilitate that. Post-rock bands really love building their energy and creating an emotion, so in that vein, I could see similarities.
Some influences that might surprise people would be Moby, Danzig, The Smashing Pumpkins, and Doves.
“Black Lung” is the track you’ve said comes closest to approximating the “heavy Cure” style. How did you come up with that genre, what constitutes it, and what about that particular track exemplifies the style?
A while back, we recorded a cover of Echo And The Bunnymen’s “The Killing Moon” for a Toxicbreed Compilation. During that process, we realized that it was the best thing we had ever done as band. I think that had a huge influence on the new direction. We decided to write songs in a completely different formula than we had before, and then turn them into Tidemouth songs. Prior to this album, we had never really had a chorus or melodies whatsoever. We had always liked darkwave and deathrock stuff, but in a way, I think we felt like we couldn’t pull it off.
Where do you draw your lyrical inspiration from? Do you ever fell you’re painting too dire of a picture with your music and try to inject something hopeful or redemptive into it?
I have a tendency to compartmentalize my life. I focus a lot of negativity into my writing, but I’ve never really felt like a negative person. I feel like if you focus it all into one place, it frees you up to not feel like that in others. Hopefully, when people listen to it, they will feel the same, like they got it out of their system.
What was the music scene like in Santa Clarita when you guys started in ‘08? What’s it like now?
We had a really thriving hardcore scene around the time when we first started. I could go to a local show every week that had amazing touring bands like Ruiner, Life Long Tragedy, or Ceremony on the bill. Shortly after we started the band, the few local bands I really loved broke up and moved on. They were the people really driving the scene here and without them, it died off. I really feel guilty for not carrying the torch through that time. We selfishly started touring and didn’t really play locally, because the community was in such a bad shape. It’s just now starting to get better. Fingers are crossed.