Interview with Tacoma Narrows Bridge Disaster

Tacoma Narrows Bridge Disaster - Interview


Progressive band Tacoma Narrows Bridge Disaster have always been a favourite of ours here at Veil of Sound so when we got the opportunity to do an interview with Drew and Andrea from the band, well, we couldn’t really pass up the opportunity now could we?

We all got our favourite bands and whenever they release a new record, we are thrilled with excitement. Our Post-Metal guru Simon has a lot of these bands and gave us several awesome reviews this year on some mindblowing releases. One of his favourite bands was also rewarded with one of his reviews: Tacoma Narrows Bridge Disaster (you can read his review here) and he was stoked when he heard that the Londoners were up for an interview! When we read it, we understood a little bit better, why this band is so close to his heart. Maybe you will be too?

How are you all feeling now that your new album has been released?

Drew: Feeling pretty great. The reception has been amazing, people are really responding to the album and that’s the best thing ever.
Andrea: It feels like a relief to be honest. I’ve been listening to those tunes for too long and it’s healthy for me to stop the creative process otherwise I’ll be always changing things, until the end of time!

What are your overriding feelings on the reactions to it so far?

Drew: I’ve seen a lot of really positive and enthusiastic comments, with people giving us compliments on the production and the songwriting, and after all this time it makes it all feel worth it.
Andrea: People into our music genre have responded well I think and I am glad to see that. I wish I could see/hear more reactions in a real, non-virtual environment. We have only played two gigs so far after the release and our music has always been conceived for a live show.

There seems to be an increased use of synths in the new album, was this intentional or did it happen organically?

Drew: Reasonably organically. It came from experimentation when writing the songs, and then it was a case of figuring out the right sounds we wanted to use. We wanted a Sci-Fi kind of edge to the music, without going too far down the synth-wave rabbit hole. Tricky line to balance.
Andrea: I agree with what Drew said. It’s a very interesting tool for expanding our sound palette. I reckon we’ll be using synths some more in the future but in a different way.

Is there an overarching theme to the album? If so, could you elaborate a bit please.

Drew: I guess it’s age, but we’re all pretty irritated in our ways with the modern world and how it sucks your life away, increasingly demanding more and more from you as an individual. Politically and socially we seem to have forgotten our sense of individuality, uniqueness, and what makes a person a person. ”The World Inside” hints at that thematically, without making it the absolute focus of the music.
Andrea: I agree with Drew.

How have you guys been spending your time over lockdown?

Drew: Raising my daughter, working hard at the day job, but a lot of songwriting, experimenting with gear, guitars, tunings. All sorts. Writing new ideas for the next album.
Andrea: I’ve been writing a lot of electronic music. I improved my music theory knowledge and my guitar skills too. Oh yeah and I worked my office job too.

The pandemic scuppered all touring plans completely, how pleased are you to finally be out hitting the road again with some live shows coming up?

Drew: It’s been great to play the shows we’ve done so far, and we’ve got one more for the rest of the year. Hopefully 2022 will see more shows and a tour; possibly out in the EU.
Andrea: The pandemic seemed only a bad dream when we finally got to play live again for the first time. It was such a relief! I hope everything is going to be smooth and easy on the touring subject.


Do you have a main song writer, or do you all contribute?

Drew: In the olden days, I’d sort of lead the charge on songwriting. I’d bring these mood-boards to the band and we’d work on those and refine them. But with this album it ended up being written much more in a fluid way in the practice room, and then refined later. It’s been a much more collaborative experience, and the drums and bass lock together now in a way that they never quite used to. I don’t think it’s a case or better or worse, but it’s just different.
Andrea: I’d say the majority of our ideas come from guitar parts and then we all work to refine and adjust the composition until we’re all happy. It’s definitely a group work.

How did the artwork for the album come about?

Drew: I wanted something quite spacey but masonic looking at the same time. There are also echoes in there of an album that I saw in my dad’s vinyl collection as a kid. I don’t remember the name, or even really what the image fully looked like. I just remember it being red, had a spooky guy on the cover, and as a kid it really freaked me out. It’s stuck with me for a long time, so I wanted to sort of pay homage to this ephemeral memory I have at the same time. Which I suppose also speaks to the concept of The World Inside in some way.
Andrea: All Drew’s ideas and hard work.

How important are aspects like tuning and effects to you guys? Especially to the guitar players?

Drew: Tuning, we play in drop-C. We’d like to experiment more with that, so we shall see. Effects-wise, they’re hugely important. I’ve painted myself into a corner a little bit with all the gear required to play the songs! For instance, I need two different types of pitch shifting for the song Machinations, that I’ve never used in the past. So I need two effects just for half of one song. Then there are the usual delay and reverb effects we use to get those huge wall of sound guitars and drenched lead lines.
Andrea: I believe the drop-C tuning is something that influences our songwriting quite a lot. C minor is probably my favourite key but that specific guitar tuning sometimes I see it as a limitation. I’d like to explore some more options in the future to see how that really affects our music.

Would you consider doing a split album? And if so, what bands would you like to do this with?

Drew: Absolutely. I’d love to do something with Telepathy and Latitudes. I listen to those two quite a bit at the moment!
Andrea: I’d like that. I am a fan of PSOTY and Upcdownc so they would be on the top of my list.

There are varying attitudes to song-titles in bands: For some the song title needs to really explain the song and for some the title can also contain completely misleading ideas or even humor. What idea of song titles do you follow?

Drew: For me the song titles should just hint at the concept. I don’t want the listener to have to understand anything except how much they like the music. If they want to invent a world for themselves after the fact, I think that’s great. Music is a very personal experience, so I think leaving things open to interpretation is best.
Andrea: Vague song titles really trigger the imagination. I love the idea that listeners can create their own interpretation while adapting our composition to their feelings.

(Photo by Darran Stobbart)

How important is playing live for you? What was the best live experience you had?

Drew: Playing live is such a huge treat. It’s the thing that makes all the work and effort feel worth it. And in many ways we’re very much a live band – I think our music comes across best when you’re in a room with a good sound system and we’re on top of our game.
Andrea: The live show is a crucial moment for me as a musician, despite the fact I tend to be very tense on stage. I remember when we went on small tour in the UK. We had played a bunch of gigs in the previous days and at some point I noticed it became very natural to play the whole setlist. I really loved that feeling.

Do you have a favorite song to play live? If so, what is it? Drew: Off the new album I think my favourite to play is ”Machinations”. I get to have these huge synth swells that I play, and really just stay in an ambient-mode for the majority of the song. When it gets heavy, that’s the pay off.
Andrea: ”Apocryphal” is so far my favourite. I like the heaviness in contrast with a section, roughly in the middle of the tune, that in my opinion is the most dreamy in the whole album.

Who would you most like to open for at a gig?

Drew: I’d say in the heavy music sphere, Tool, Mastodon, Cult of Luna, Amenra. There’s also one small band called Murder By Death. Totally different to us. They’re this kind of a Neo-Country Indie band from the US, but I really love them and would love to open for them! Think it’d be cool to mix it up.
Andrea: Jakob, Mogwai, Katatonia, Russian Circles, Pelican, Cult of Luna, Amenra.

If you could curate your own one-day festival, who would we see on the lineup?

Drew: I’d get pretty UK-centric with that right now. Obviously ourselves, ‘cause nepotism is cool in 2021 apparently! Then something like – Mountain Caller, Jungfrau, Telepathy, Latitudes, Bossk, 65DaysOfStatic, and Wren.
Andrea: I’d like to have a wide spectrum of sounds so I would mix some electronic music with post rock and heavy stuff. I’d pick the same bands I would like to open with along with artists like Max Cooper, Ben Lukas Boysen, Nils Frahm, Rival Consoles, Floating Points, Richard Spaven to name a few.

First time together in 2021

What is the next concert you are looking forward to - as a concert goer? Who would you like to see?

Drew: Got tickets for Tool next year. Really looking forward to that!
Andrea: I’m looking forward to attend a Ben Lukas Boysen gig. I still don’t know if and when it’s happening but, straight after this interview I’ll get some info.

What has been the best musical advice you’ve ever been given, and who gave it?

Drew: I’m not sure it’s musical necessarily, but I was always encouraged to follow my dreams and try to do the things I enjoy, especially my parents. So that’s kind of driven me throughout life. Generally the best musical “advice” has always come from experimentation and thinking “yeah that works” or “nah, that’s utter trash” and going from there!
Andrea: A friend of mine, a jazz guitarist, made me realize the importance of improvisation. It’s a skill I always considered inadequate for the writing process. I am now totally reconsidering this.

Last regular question, what can we expect next from TNBD?

Drew: More shows next year and hopefully an album that won’t take five years to put out!
Andrea: precisely what Drew said.

Now onto our quickfire round, it would awesome if some of you answered each question:

Wine or Beer?
Drew: Beer.
Andrea: Beer

Big arena or intimate club?
Drew: Intimate club
Andrea: Intimate club

Download or Arctangent?
Drew: Arctangent
Andrea: Arctangent

Guitars or synth?
Drew: unnnghhhhhhhh¦. Guitars…..
Andrea: Synthars! (Joking, still preferring Guitars!)

Analogue or digital?
Drew: Analogue
Andrea: Analogue

Vinyl or streaming?
Drew: Streaming (but only because my LP player broke recently!)
Andrea: I’ve been streaming mostly. That has to change in the future.

Touring or Writing/Recording?
Drew: Writing/Recording
Andrea: Writing/Touring.