During the pandemic, Merry-Go-Round Magazine has been hosting Dime in the JQBX, a fun event where artists from across the musical spectrum come and hang out! During these events, Editor-in-Chief CJ Simonson attempts to navigate a short and often spontaneous interview in the chat with the artists! We figured why not save those and publish some of them, along with the songs that the artist played that night. This edited transcript is from April 30th with Tyler Asay of the band The Tisburys! They have an excellent album out right now called SUN GOES DOWN, which you can check out now on Bandcamp, and you can see a selection of the spins from that night below!
So the prevailing thought I have every time I listen to SUN GOES DOWN, the album The Tisburys released last year, is that it’s very like, the modern definition of rock and roll. Like, no frills, a hint of Americana, a hint of Thin Lizzy, but this is like, rock ‘n roll in a textbook way, and I think that’s neat, it’s so straightforward in a way that’s refreshing. I feel like we’ve gotten a peek at the influences behind The Tisburys as a project kind of in you DJing, but elaborate on your sound.
Tyler Asay: Thanks! It definitely came from studying the textbook, from the Beatles and Dylan that I grew up on to the indie rock I fell in love with throughout high school and college. I’ve also worked at a record store (Main Street Music In Philadelphia) for the past four years or so, so I’ve gotten a second education in classic power pop which has definitely influenced the music we’ve worked on recently *Big Star starts playing in JQBX* Which 100% includes Big Star too ha.
Yeah, there is for sure a kind of classic rock study in some ways happening across the album that isn’t obvious but is rewarding, if that makes sense.
TA: A little Petty/Bruce, that classic power pop and college rock (Big Star, Replacements, R.E.M.), and general BAR rock. Music that you sing really loud along to after a beer or two.
What, to you, is bar rock as it relates to indie rock bands?
TA: I’m a huge Hold Steady and Titus Andronicus fan, those bands from the mid-aughts who brought Springsteen worship into a new century with a new millennial mindset. You can’t just get in a car and drive away anymore, everyone is on the grid, so the contexts and emotions have shifted. I would even consider The National or Phoebe Bridgers in that same vein, the volume knob is turned a little down but the same themes are there.
Have you had a chance to play these songs in front of anyone yet or not really? They feel like they’re built for that kinda raucous bar setting.
TA: Yeah, we had been playing about half the record for about a year before quarantine hit. It was originally going to be an EP, but when everything shut down three or four more songs were written and we recorded them mostly remotely.
So at least they have a bit of a life in front of a crowd.
TA: Oh yeah, I miss it dearly. We have a couple neighborhood bars we would play pretty frequently (that have luckily made it through the pandemic), so I can’t wait to play the newer songs for crowds once we can.
Spotify tells me it’s out via Sacks of Phones, is that a self-released thing or one of many tiny Philly labels I’ll plead ignorance to not knowing.
TA: It’s our “personal imprint,” so yes, self-released ha! Maybe it will be a real thing one day, who knows?
You all seem like you’re in a lot of bands, like, it’s not JUST the Tisburys, everyone affiliated is in several other bands, which feels very Philly indie rock in its own way to me.
TA: Absolutely. Doug and I also play in Riverby (SMART MOUTH out now on Take This To Heart Records) and it’s like that all over the city. There’s these little pocket scenes all over town (punk, folk/Americana, jam/psych bands, etc.) but everyone seems to know each other and roots for one another. It’s an incredible music city to be a part of.
So having put out records in the last year, one largely self-released, one with a semi-noted indie label like Take This To Heart, what’s your thought on going at it alone vs. having a team and a label in place? It’s a convo I’m sure anyone here who has been in the industry on any side of it has discussed, but you’re close to it, so you probably have fresh thoughts.
TA: Well it’s definitely tough to gage because they were both pandemic records and we couldn’t go out and play them to promote. But T3H helped a ton on the PR side of things, which is really tough to do when you’re going it alone. But I’m very excited for the next phases for both bands and moving forward. And playing gigs! Hopefully they’re coming back for real!! Remember gigs?
Any lined up yet?
TA: Some smaller outdoor things for the summer, but nothing official or indoor. Just working on more records!
Check out all the tunes The Tiburys played during Dime in the JQBX below and be sure to check out SUN GOES DOWN, out now!