Prog Blog: Tangled Thoughts Of Leaving Interview

Perth’s Tangled Thoughts of Leaving are heading to the East Coast of Australia for 2 eagerly awaited shows in Sydney and Melbourne this weekend, before returning home to share stages with Dead Letter Circus and The Ocean. The band dropped one of 2011’s most creative debut albums ‘Deaden The Fields’ and have inspired a bunch of new fans across the world to get into their sprawling jazzy post/prog/experimental rock instrumentals.

Live, they are a super-tight unit and essential viewing. I dropped a few questions to their keys player Ron Pollard to find out what they’re up to this time round.

Prog Blog: It’s been a while since you toured the East Coast of Australia; what’s taken so long?

Ron Pollard: It has been a while! Last time was so great and in so many ways saved the band from the inner turmoil that was getting us down at the time. The creation of our album ended up taking a pretty heavy toll on everyone, and in all honesty, it took us a while to fully recover. Over the summer we really started to gel and reach our potential. That’s why we’re so excited to get back over now, at the top of our game.

PB: Congratulations on the success of Deaden The Fields in 2011. It seems to have brought a whole new level of attention to the band. Has the response been what you were hoping for?

RP: The album has done fairly well considering our limited touring, and it’s something we’re all proud of. The response has been great, but everyone in this band knows we have a better album in us, so the focus is very much on achieving that. The best part is getting to play good shows, because Deaden the Fields has turned into such a monster live. There are a lot of improvised passages and alternate endings.

PB: There’s been much talk about how, despite its isolation, Perth continues to churn out a bunch of innovative and successful artists. What are your thoughts on the current state of the music scene?

RP: Perth music is incredibly healthy right now. Every month another worthwhile band pops up. That said, although we’re happy to be a part of it, we do tend to stick to our own devices. Our studio space is an hour from the city in an open field, and that’s how we like to work.

PB: What are the challenges in promoting your music in Australia and to the world from Perth?

RP: The biggest problem is that it’s a lot harder to tour the East Coast of Australia. As much as we’d love to get in a van and listen to dirty hip hop for a week, we need to hop on the plane and fork out all of our glorious internet money. As for the rest of the world, blogs spread records like wildfire.

As a band we strongly believe in the quality of our live performances, but so far things haven’t timed out to tour extensively overseas.

PB: It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly a year since the album was released. Any plans for new material soon?

RP: I personally think I’ve written the best song ever heard by anyone: man, woman, child or pet, but we’re yet to dig in and start thorough, full band writing. We’re actually just about to do so, and there’s a surplus of material and ideas. I have a great feeling that this next record is going to fly out. Everyone knows where they’re at now, and the band seems to really have an identity and sound.

PB: You recently signed to Sleepwell Records in Japan, which boasts an impressive roster. Tell us a bit about how that came about, the label, and what your plans are for pushing TToL in Asia.

RP: We were pretty excited to get an initial email from Sleepwell about releasing our album. Essentially it came about from us getting the Perth support for Japanese experimental heavyweights Boris. Their manager, who also runs that label, saw that we were a support, gave the album a spin and decided it was right for their roster. We do plan to promote the album in Japan by doing what we do best: playing live. That said, if we’re going to do it, we’re going to get some incredible shows and make sure it’s a big one.

PB: Are there any plans to head overseas to the US or UK/Europe?

RP: We really do want to take our music overseas, just because playing live is what it’s all about. Money is always an issue though.

PB: A question I ask most bands is how they finance their work – do you have day jobs? Do you sell heaps of merch?

RP: Everyone in the band works or studies full time right now. Thankfully, we do really well in Perth, so all of that money goes into our band account and that pays for touring costs etc.. Merch sales don’t hurt either; it’s good to have awesome fans.

PB: You’ve supported pretty much every major progressive act to play Perth: Boris, Nadja, Russian Circles, The Ocean, Dead Letter Circus, Karnivool – do you feel like you’re the go-to band locally for these supports? Why no love for the East Coast supports? And any interesting stories to tell from your support experiences?

RP: For the longest time we missed out on all the big support slots in Perth. Now we get so many incredible ones, but constantly miss the national slots, hah. It’s just the way things go. This band isn’t the easiest to promote, but every time we’re given a chance, we make the most of it and give 100%.

All of those bands were incredibly well behaved by the way. I can’t always say the same about us. We really do love to party and devour riders like lost souls. One thing I remember is a horror story from Russian Circles about getting smashed for excess baggage whilst touring Greece. It was an insane amount that I won’t mention that literally gave me a financial anti-boner.

PB: Your bromance with sleepmakeswaves is well-known since your split EP that came out in 2009. Will we see another split release with those guys, or are you looking elsewhere to collaborate?

RP: We do love those boys and if they attempt a split with anyone else, we’re taking that shit straight to the divorce courts. We would love to do another split with SMW if all things time out. I think we should have one number where every member plays on it. Both drummers could work creatively within different limitations, not unlike Cult of Luna. Being the only pianist in both bands means that I have free reign on that 26-minute solo I’ve been working on too.

PB: Are there any side-projects going on?

RP: Ben (drums) and I have an improv side project, which is pretty wild. It really strengthens our chemistry for TToL shows, which is a perk. We’ll be releasing a nearly completely improvised album pretty soon. Other than that, Luke plays in Eleventh He Reaches London, who are going well. They’re recording a new album soon and I’m lucky enough to be engineering that in the same studio Deaden the Fields was recorded in.

PB: What are the band’s plans for 2012 and where do you see TToL over the next 12 months?

RP: In the rest of this year we plan to tour again, and to get balls deep in writing another record. We’ve agreed to write it in the way in which DTF was recorded. We went in totally underdone and pieced together a 62-minute record, but if that was just the pre-production process, we could really accentuate our best elements and try to capture more of that live energy. In 12 months I see us either as starting to do really well internationally and posting regular studio updates from our new album, or as drug addicts who hate each other. I’m hoping for the first, but I will film either.

You can catch Tangled Thoughts of Leaving at the following dates:

Fri 4th May @ The Bald Faced Stag, Leichardt NSW w/Meniscus + Hawkmoth + Adrift For Days + Nihilore

Sat 5th May @ The Espy (Gershwin Room), St Kilda VIC w/Xenograft + Mushroom Giant + Anna Salen + Jarek

Sat 12th May @ The Capitol, Perth WA w/Dead Letter Circus + Fair to Midland + Twelve Foot Ninja

Sun 27th May @ Rosemount Hotel, Perth WA w/The Ocean

Watch my favourite TToL track ‘Deep Rivers Run Quiet’ live

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