Interview with Tim from In Bloom
Q: First off, are you guys excited about recording your new EP?
A: We are totally stoked that it’s finally time to record. We’ve been dealing with a lot of non musical details lately like photography, booking studio time, album art etc... so we are all anxious to start recording and let the music speak for itself.
Q: Is it a relief to have the release date on the horizon or has the whole process been an enjoyable experience that you hope will be the beginning of a long and fruitful musical career?
A: We knew we were going record an EP in the fall, but setting the release date helps us really solidify things. It’s funny because February seems so far away, but I know the next few months are going to fly by between recording the album, shooting a music video and getting ready to hit the ground running once the EP is released. There is so much stress in putting together a release and I can get really worked up sorting out all of the details, but at the same time I try to keep it in perspective and enjoy things. I feel like I’m at my best when things are crazy.
Q: I've noticed that you recently played a set with The Swellers. What kind of experience was it playing with such a high profile artist that's on such an influential label (Fueled By Ramen)?
A: That show had a great lineup so we were really stoked to be a part of it. We have been working hard on promo in the local scene and we are starting to draw really well so it’s been cool to see that hard work paying off with us getting onto some bigger bills. As far as playing with bigger bands goes, it’s always really cool to share the stage with someone that has been more successful than you have, but at the same time you realize that they’re a dude just like you. They are doing their thing the same way you are, they have just had more success so they can pay more of their bills. All those bands were super nice though and it was definitely sweet to see people that have had a decent amount of commercial success be so humble.
Q: In Bloom is a relatively new group. That being said, What were some of the past projects that you've been a part of? And have those bands always followed a similar genre or have you gone in a new direction this time around?
A: Past projects, hmm… Max has done a lot with indie and classic rock, DJ played in a punk band that did a lot in the local scene that we grew up in, I played in a pop/punk band called Wheelchair Renegades that was around for about 6 years. We did a lot of local shows and regional D.I.Y. tours, put out a slew of demos and a full length before it was all said and done. I also did an indie record in a project called Box Modern. Tony has played all over the place in his old band Alter Ego, he also just finished recording a drum track for an upcoming Weezer album which is awesome.
In some ways for me In Bloom is not totally different than what I’ve done before, and in some ways it’s night and day. Musically speaking this is the most direct and refined version of any band I’ve been a part of.
The lyrics I’m writing are the most honest that I have ever written. As a songwriter I feel like the more you write, the more honest you learn how to be with yourself and I really think that earnestness and integrity comes across in the music.
Q: Your new EP is still somewhat of a mystery. So have you chosen a title for the record or are you guys still debating about the title?
A: The EP is a mystery, ha. It’s turning out differently then we thought, but in a really good way. From a musical perspective I think it harnesses the energy of all the punk bands that we grew up on, but combines that raw energy with the chord structure and arrangement of a band more like U2 or The Beatles. Lyrically it’s very singer/songwriter esque, there is a lot self analysis and life reflection in it. It sounds like a lot and is maybe a little cliché, but I think it’s going to be pretty straight forward, very hard hitting and gut wrenchingly honest. We each listen to way different kinds of music and it’s cool to see all those influences mold together so well.
There have been a few titles kicked around, I’m a huge Wheel of Time fan, but all my W.O.T. related title ideas were shot down. I have hope for the future though! We actually decided to call the EP “All My Potential”. It comes from the lyrics to a song “You Sew Me Up” that may be the first single of the record. It’s the idea of giving someone not what you are right now, but what you are going to be if they can just live with you until you get there. It’s about process. That’s what everything in life is, you are always a work in progress are being molded into the person you were meant to be. From the time that you’re around three, you are being told by parents, teachers and such about “living up to your potential.” I think the idea of that is awesome both in a physical and spiritual sense. I guess the short and skinny of it is that it’s just the idea of, where are you now vs. where do you want to be.
Q: New artists are a dime a dozen these days. So what sets In Bloom apart?
A: I think the question is really what doesn’t set In Bloom apart from the rest of the pack. Ha, no. Bad joke. In a lot of ways though new artists are a dime a dozen today, mostly because music is so accessible that almost every market is completely oversaturated in bands that are trying to “make it.” That can get really annoying, but at the same time it’s awesome that music has that accessibility. Even though it may be harder for Metallica to sell 2 million records this year it’s really easy for someone in Australia listen to our music and hopefully be touched by it. It’s becoming way harder for bands to achieve “rockstar” status, but its opening up a lot of doors for more “blue collared” musicians. I feel like what sets us apart is our approach to the music. We take the writing process very seriously and I feel like it shows. I read an interview with one of my favorite songwriters and he was talking about how if you aren’t cutting open your chest and showing people what’s inside with your lyrics then you are doing a disservice to your art. I absolutely believe that and I hope that’s something that we emulate. Now, just because lyrics are honest doesn’t make them good, but if they aren’t honest they will never be good. Being able to filter the difference between good and bad is something that we work really hard at and why songwriting can be such a grueling process. We are pretty ruthless when it comes to our writing process, to the point of playing the same 20 second section for 2 and a half hours over and over again, trying everything imaginable until it clicks. Our thing is that there are plenty of ways to write a good part, but only one way to create the right part. I guess when it comes down to it, I feel like our thought and dedication that goes into our craft sets us apart. Our stage show is off the wall insane and I feel like we just want to reach people. I feel like, in spite of all that, we have an intangible. I don’t know how to describe it, but it just feels right. Now if all of that doesn’t sound pretentious, I don’t know what does…
Q: How did In Bloom originate? Are all the members lifelong friends or just acquaintances that have joined forces to release music?
A: It’s funny you ask. I met both Max and Tony from Craigslist. Max responded to some demos I posted in an ad looking for band members. I saw an ad of Tony’s that he posted and had heard of his old band. We talked and it was a perfect fit. DJ and I went to high school together and knew each other from our old bands. He moved to Portland about a year ago we started pumping iron together at the local 24 hour fitness and just chilling a lot. He heard the demos I was working on and told me he wanted to be a part of it. So I guess it’s a mix of old friends and new, but even though some of the friendships are newer they don’t feel like it. It feels like all of us have been buds and played music together for the last 10 years.
Q: Are there any specific artists that you hope to be able to tour with in the coming years?
A: It would be sweet to tour with Jimmy Eat World, those guys write amazing music and seem pretty chill. Motion City Soundtrack would be fun to tour with as well. I guess if U2 or Blink 182 needed an opener we could tour with them if we had to…
Q: I don't know how much tour experience you have but do you guys have any particularly memorable tour stories or show mishaps that you would care to share?
A: I’ve encountered all kinds of mishaps on the road, I think anyone who has played outside their hometown much has. For like 4 years in a row I’ve maxed out all my free towing miles from AAA. On a tour a while ago, my band was on an overnight drive from the Bay Area to Los Angeles. I was at the wheel, it was about 4am and we were just starting to get to the Grapvine. The sun was coming up, I was tired and we needed gas. I stopped at a gas station to fuel up and get some coffee. There were four or five cars at the gas station and as I got out of the van to head into the mini-mart I saw that everyone was staring at something. I went inside and saw what they were staring at. It was a large man that was overweight and was sweating and bleeding. He was also completely naked. All I could think about was episodes of COPS where there is a dude that is railed on PCP, butt naked and looking for someone to eat or a glass door to run through. Everyone in the mini-mart was silent, even the cashier. The man walked around, took candy and some chips off the shelf, filled up his car and left without saying a word. Not even the cashier said anything as he left without paying for any of the stuff. Once he left everyone acted like he hadn’t even been in! I have no clue if he really was on PCP, but I thought to myself as this was happening, “Only on tour would you see a fully nude man that is sweating and bleeding at 4am at the same gas station as you.”