Welcome to the latest version of Aframp! Each month, rock writer Corbin Reef will feature some of the most dynamic artists and projects running in music today. Throw turn signals, crank up stereo and enjoy the ride!
Heaven means a lot to many people. To some, it is a physical plane; The ultimate reward for living a good life. Others view heaven as a state of mind or a deep place within us where we can enter and visit, even for a short time. Then there are those who find pieces of heaven in the small flashes of happiness that enrich our lives every day. For Tim Schwalter, the main creative mind behind the Strand of Oaks, heaven is all those things and then some.
“I like to survive,” Schwalter says with a light smile on the phone. “I like this existence thing. I don’t know if I could say it with confidence for a better part of my life. I’m not outspoken about it, but I think it’s something that makes it stand out.”
Schwalter has long used music as a cathartic space to work through some of the more traumatic events in his life. Her groundbreaking, 2014 album Healing A horrific car crash was created in the wake of the wreck that almost killed him and his wife in an icy interstate state in the middle and west. The follow-up song is “Acid Acceptance and Talking to My Brother” Hard love He touches the tragic side of awakening with his brother, who was in a medically induced coma. She literally has the word “survival” tattooed all over her hand.
“I had a lot to say Healing It took me two more records to figure it all out, ”he said, referring to Hard Profits and its 2019 follow-up. Eraserland. Sadly, it’s time to dump her and move on In heaven, Showalter was again confronted with a new tragedy. His wife’s mother died tragically in a fatal car accident. Then, shortly before moving from Philadelphia to Austin, Texas, where he now lives, he was forced to drop off his favorite cat, Stan. It was a time marked by personal turmoil and almost indescribable grief.
This time, however, when forced to deal with such brutal trauma, Schwalter’s attitude changed: “I wanted to make this album feel like a New Orleans funeral,” he said. “My wife’s mother is gone. The best friend in the world. She’s gone and I can’t change it. Faced with such permanence I decided to pivot and celebrate … I was so lucky that I was able to love this person and have them love me again. Or my cat. I don’t want to say goodbye to them. I want to say goodbye to them with a fireworks show and just say, ‘Thank you for being there.’ ‘
This is an ambitious goal, to say the least, but as a self-described, “surfing the waves of existence in the cosmic space cowboy,” Showalter felt the task up. He tapped deep into the cavity of his own mind and then with the spiritual plane while making this special suite of 11, Synth-Slatherd Church. He has no idea where the music came from. “I can confidently say this album was almost 98% subconscious,” he said. “Even [my last record] Eraserland had a will. It had no purpose. It has revealed itself. I don’t want to be the 100th billionaire lyricist that I pulled something from the ether, but I did it.
Take the opening track, “Galacticana” as a prime example; Memory and together a fleeting meditation that eventually explodes into an electric guitar parabola. “I will sing in this fabricated language,” he explained. “I would do it in the morning and then at night I would just dig into these things. I would open my computer. I just heard this fake language. I heard in that fake language [the opening line] ‘I believe in ecstasy / I believe that ecstasy happens when we all get together.’
Originally, “Galacticana” was the guidepost shoalter where he would instruct where he wanted to take things, golden and otherwise. “This is the only reference point,” he said. “It’s not like America. It’s just galactic music. The only way I can give it any idea. ”
It was his close friend, Chris Swanson, the founder of Secretly Canadian Records who helped him finally recognize where he was going, spiritually and musically. “He’s been one of my mentors since I started sending him demo tapes when I was 19,” Schwalter said. “He was in the studio with us in LA when we showed him the songs. Chris looked at me and he said, ‘This record is called heaven.’ I like, ‘No. Galacticana. ‘She’s like,’ No, dude. This is called the record In heaven. ‘We all had that fog-eye joint asthma and we are like that,’ it is called heaven. The name of this album. ”
Heaven means a lot. On dynamic Healing The single “Goshen ’97,” Showalter once puzzled about “singing pumpkins in the mirror”. On his latest record, he actually quarreled with one of those Pumpkins, guitarist James Eha from a look he had imitated so many years ago. “This album represents everything about how it happened,” he said. “Writing, making it, musicians; This is a perfect encapsulation of it. “
You can practically hear the shadows of heaven in his voice as he describes how it descended. “My manager James works with it and like a completely innocent person, I was,” Well, James should be on the record. This song sounds like The Cure and I know James loves The Cure. ‘
The cure-sounding song that Schwalter sent was called “Easter”. He had no idea if it would be in it, but decided to go for it anyway. “We sent him the track and he said, ‘Well, what do you want from it?’ I was like, ‘You’ve had the most fun making music.’ “I just wanted him to just play some guitar and he sent back the vocals, the glucanspil, the synthesizer; like a whole song opinion.”
Getting the fruits of his labor was almost a dream come true. “The first memory of my music was‘ James on the ice cream truck ’seeing it in the‘ Today ’video,” Schwalter said. “It simply came to our notice then. I am in sixth grade. ”
The “Easter” it took part in was a lot of icing on a very well-baked cake. In many ways “Easter” serves as the emotional heart of the whole record. It was a song that Schwalter wrote a glorious one specifically for his wife Sue, and Sonali tried to convey to him how much he meant to her. “I say she’s my Easter, and that’s it,” he explained. “She is my hope. He is like a resurrection for me. She survives as an example of how I want to live. He knows he’s here, and he has something to do, something to be fascinated with. I can live with that person. It’s an absolute diamond landing for the crazy Indiana guy. I do not know. It’s pretty incredible. ”
This does not mean that heaven is the happiest place to live forever. “I cried a lot while making this album,” he said. “We all did. Lots of catharsis. There was a funny incident in the studio where I was talking to Kevin one day and told him, ‘It’s a celebration. This is the album. ‘He’s like,‘ Tim, you’re literally singing “This world isn’t for me.” ‘I’m good,’ shit. Yes, there are some peaks and valleys in this album. But I had a mindset when it came to making it. ”
The horns were enhanced by the presence of guitar player and keyboardists Carl Bromel and Bow Coaster, respectively, in Schwalter’s favorite band, My Morning Jacket. “Carl had to stay in his laboratory without any rules. Like Bo. We had three days to laugh, talk, and drink coffee every day, and spend 12 hours a day playing the synthesizer, ”Schwalter said. “When we were doing ‘Horse at Night’ and I was playing a synthesizer called The Selena – a string synthesizer they used on the dark side of the moon – I got really emotional because I realized I had to try it. I was doing what I thought I was doing then. ”
Where the “horse at night” is the first example In heavenIts patron saint, Jimmy Hendrix, has made an appearance. He later showed up again with the song “Jimmy and Stan” hanging out with Schwalter’s departed cat. Schwalter doesn’t know where the Seattle guitarist came from. “I thought to myself, I just needed Jimmy to be like some kind of angel. I needed someone to talk to, ”he said.
“September September, 1, 0,” Schwalter practically whispers in the opening line of the last verse of that song. This date marks the final performance of the guitarist in Germany before he died a few weeks later. What seems like a trivial reference actually serves as a window into Schwalter’s view of the world. “Jimmy, 50 years ago, made that sound. And that light reflected from him and went into the universe.
This idea led the way to more comfort. “Maybe 50 light years away aliens, who are having a bad day like me, get to hear Jimmy Hendrix?” This is a nice thought to consider. An unknown species, billions of miles from our small rolling rock and completely obscured by Hendrix’s electric brightness, the “Purple Hedge.” The light of humanity shines beyond our own comprehension.
Somehow, Schwalter found solace in the vast, seemingly empty void that is our universe. He snatched hope from eternity. “I don’t know why it’s so emotional to me but it’s the only way I can go through it.” “I had to be huge. I had to get really big to make this feel. That’s what heaven means. It’s not a religious paradise. It’s the hope that feels good … Jimmy is with my cat.”
Nowadays when talking to Timothy Schwalter, two words seem to be more than any other word. “Grateful” and “Grateful.” As people themselves explain, “I feel this energy that tries to focus my life on positive things,” he says. “Are we escaping from the intense darkness? Maybe, but at least we’re running. We are active, and we are trying. What else can we do? “