I spoke to Brett and Tyler from Kalimur in August last year not long after the release of their debut album, 4 months later I’m listening to their new album ‘Redemption’ that’s released January 25th and getting ready to speak to them again, this time with guitarist Alex. One thing is for sure – these guys don’t stop. We spoke about their new album, the best moments of 2015 and what they’re looking forward to from 2016.
You guys have been really busy since the last time we talked, have you stopped at all?
Tyler: Breaks for us are just us toning it down. Instead of playing three shows this weekend we’ll just record for an album. Because the spring was so crazy we took a small break for like a month over the summer, where everybody was kind of like chilling and working and then right after that we got back in the studio and recorded ‘Redemption’. And for the fall it’s just been shows, school and work all the time. So we haven’t really stopped at all.
‘Redemption’. I love the new album, it’s really good. I’ve listened to it about three times since you sent it over. Why did you choose ‘Redemption’ for the title track?
Brett: I think ‘Redemption’ thematically really covers what we’re trying to say over all in the album. We like to think that even with the last album ‘Ghosts we Used to Know’, we’ll have songs that are different in nature and different in theme but overall both of these albums the title is kind of this theme that weaves its way through the songs in different ways. ‘Redemption’ is kind of about going through these heavier experiences, these emotional experiences and these emotional feelings but coming out the other end with this kind of optimism and this hope of redemption. And so it is a darker album for us but this idea of redemption really kind of weaves its way through even the darker tracks this promise of overcoming whatever your experiencing in these kind of moments.
Alex: We tried to structure it so it was kind of like an adventure. You know, so it told a story. Did it tell a story to you?
It did. I really loved it. The first track and the last track tie together, giving the album this cyclical journey.
Brett: Right, that’s the thing – not only were we trying to weave the theme of redemption throughout the album but I think if you want like a sound of this spark of hope within this album it comes from the very beginning and the very end. Which I think through melody kind of gives the impression to the listener that you know you started with kind of maybe a more optimistic feeling and through all of this stuff your kind of leaving with this sense of okay, it’s okay to feel this way and it will get better.
Alex: You know what I thought of? The heading of the track ‘The Truth’ it’s kind of like an abstract for the whole thing. Its saying we need this, we need to understand what’s going on and then you… Yeah I have no clue what I’m talking about.
Tyler: Dude, you set that up to be the most profound thing.
Brett: Here’s what I got out of what you were saying; ‘The Truth’ is basically saying that we need this honesty. I think this is our most honest effort to date and ‘The Truth’ is kind of saying we need this kind of genuine emotion.
Alex: Especially in such circumstances that are described by the other tracks.
The album art looks great and really sets the tone for the album, why did you choose that specific picture?
T: I think with this one we looked a lot of places for the artwork. ‘Ghosts We Used to Know’ has that album work that’s so iconic, it’s got the girl with the sky in her hair and its really nice. This one was so simple but it said so much. I couldn’t even when I saw the album art for the first time. I looked at it and I was just kind of staring at it, it’s like oh my gosh this is so crazy and it can be so symbolic. The house is off to the side and it looks like it’s about to fall but it’s still standing. And you think, why would I even build it in such a horrible location anyway, it looks like a series of unfortunate events. I think with this record we say so much in the songs lyrically that I think we wanted the album art to be open-ended and to not really define the record. It’s just so thought provoking and really awe-inspiring.
B: The artist, I believe his name is Edgar Hernandez, is just a fantastically talented dude and I think it’s one of these things where it is almost up for interpretation and I think what I love about music is that people hear a song and they make it their own because you apply your own life and your own history and your own story to these songs that you hear. One of the biggest honours as songwriters is for someone to hear a song and make it their own and interpret it their own way, so even with the house falling it relates to the album. It’s like you know, are we losing hope or is there still hope, and I think ultimately when people first look at the album art they’re probably going to think that the house is falling and by the end of listening to the album my hope is that they can look at that art again and say no there’s still hope. The house has not fallen and it’s still standing. It’s just somewhat broken, but it’s still there.
I really love it, it really captures the feel of the album and also makes it really clear that it’s not anything like the album before. It is quite different and when you see it you think it’s going to be darker and more intense.
B: I think it prepares people for the intensity, people know us more for the first record because we’ve had it out for longer so I think the album art right off the get-go kind of does distinguish the two from each other.
What song pushes you the most vocally or on your instrument?
T: That’s a great question. I’m going to answer vocally for Brett, just because I don’t care what he thinks, I know what song probably pushes him the hardest. ‘Empty Hands’. When he sings that live the dude’s gotta prepare himself because when that song goes up, its hard, and in the last chorus he does this run where he like takes it up and he can full voice it because the dude’s talented but every now and then we’ll be singing it in practice and it’ll just sound like a cat died somewhere in the distance. But vocally with the falsetto and the transition and the quickness of it with how we play it live, that song is just difficult to sing in my opinion. I know I’m answering for Brett, but I just had to say that because I know that song’s hard to sing. As for myself on the bass, probably the hardest one is ‘Fire Away’ because I think in the recordings for that I did so many little fills because the instrumentation was minimalistic when I recorded for the first time, so I got to kind of free-hand a bit and I added a lot of fills at multiple times. They’re actually really weird to play because it’s in an odd key and chord progression. It’s really weird because notes that are in the scale don’t fit right, so it’s always weird for me to be able to keep track and it’s a lot of fast hand movement.
B: I’ll just agree with Tyler, I’ll say ‘Empty Hands’ is probably the hardest to sing at this point.
A: Playing ‘Modern Love’ live is improvised for me. To keep on thinking on your feet and getting it to sound right is a little challenging at times but we practice and it usually comes out pretty good.
Is there anything that you’ve learnt through the process of making this album?
A: We are learning a lot about the song writing process. Brett is a machine when it comes to pumping out songs. He can write songs in a matter of five or ten minutes sometimes, I think that’s insane and the songs come out good. I take my time, it takes me like four months to write a song, so him and I are kind of meeting in the middle and are trying to find a happy medium between rushing to get songs out and taking the time to make them the best they possibly could be.
B: I would say that there are two kind of phases of creating a record, there’s the creation of it and there’s getting people to hear it. And what you don’t sometimes realise is that getting people to hear it is sometimes just as hard as creating it. And creating it is really hard. But I would say because both aspects are kind of really tough sometimes, you gotta just appreciate the journey of making it and really take in the experience of kind of bringing a piece of art into the world that didn’t exist before. When it comes to promotion taking advantage of those smaller victories, even if one person says they really like it or you get it on a blog that you really appreciate and respect, it’s just appreciating those smaller moments that add up to something bigger.
Do you have any favourites on the album?
T: For me, my favourite is probably ‘Broken Man’. I love that song so much, it’s so close to my heart.
I love that one as well. But honestly, I love all of them so I’ll be saying that no matter what you tell me.
B: I would say if I could name a couple ‘Empty Hands’, ‘Fire Away’, ‘Broken Man’ and ‘Boston’.
A: There’s a few of them that are kind of all aligned as favourites for me, but I’ll say ‘When You Fall’ – I like that one. That’s pretty rocking.
What have been your main influences through this album, because it is very different from the previous record?
T: We’re very experiential writers, we draw from what’s going on in our life. With the first record we wrote differently, instead of writing about the experience or how we were feeling during the experience, we would think about how we can get out of this and what would I like to hear in a song to help me get through this and help me move forward with my life. But with this one we dove into the experiences themselves, so we blocked out everything else and focused on the thing that was happening and being like this is how I’m feeling right now, this is what’s going through my head. I think experiences were even more of an influence than they were on the last record, just because we were more open about it and talking about how we were feeling in those times when we were down instead of looking towards optimism throughout it. That’s probably a huge influence, obviously our favourite bands influence us when it comes to what direction we want to take a song, what kind of production we’re going to use, things like that.
B: I would say that in terms of artists, I think we all love the artists we were listening to on the first record. For me personally, I thought that one record that really stood out to me, I know I would listen to it a lot when I was kind of just going to kind of our studio set up, would be ‘Night Visions’ by Imagine Dragons. Which was an influence to me on the first record but, I think that album is so related in the sense that it has a lot of darker moments, you feel like you’re almost in the eye of the storm when you listen to some of those songs. That I think could have been one of the many influences that I can think of that really kind of pushed me to immerse myself in the moment, in the experience and have those songs be more about the experience itself rather than the silver lining you get from hindsight.
One of the questions my Mum gets me to ask everybody is what is your favourite app on your phone?
T: I know Brett; Headspace.
B: [Laughs] I was gunna say Instagram, but there’s this app called Headspace which is like a ten-minute meditation app.
T: Brett preaches it to me every day. It’s like he’s their spokesperson, no matter what’s going on; like hey I’m feeling a little hungry. Brett’s like have you tried Headspace.
B: If it wasn’t Headspace for me, then Spotify. I love Spotify.
T: Instagram’s probably my favourite, I’m horrible at texting it takes me days to respond. But Instagram is such a cool way for me to actually keep up on, because I like keeping in touch with my friends but it lets me do it without Facebook where there’s the weird statuses happening and you get to see the important things in people’s lives and actually see pictures, you know visual representations of what your friends and friends you haven’t talked to in years are doing.
What were your favourite moments of 2015?
B: I kind of remember the overall experience rather than specific memories. I’d say we’ve played a tonne of shows that I really cherish over the past year, we put out our record in 2015 which is amazing and our last headlining show was one of those experiences. Any time I go to Boston is just amazing, I’ve been to Boston a bunch of times this year and it’s just always the best experience. Those are the big ones that come to mind immediately.
T: Our first show as the four members we are now was in 2015, we’ve had a lot of big moments when it comes to releases and singles and music video filming’s and big shows that we actually got to pick the line-up for, and all of that was great but I will never forget that first show that we played. Jonah learnt the songs like two days before and we got in front of a huge crowd and we played that show for the first time as a band. That was the moment we started everything – nothing that followed would have happened without that. Everything that had come in to making that show happen was just, it was ridiculous, but that was probably my big moment. We’re still such a new band and I think I forget that sometimes because it feels like we’ve been doing this for so long because we’ve been doing so much. But 8 months ago was our first ever show as us four, to look back on something to see how far you’ve come you have to have a starting point and that’s our starting point.
A: When we played that house show, that was a big moment.
B: Yeah, for our friend’s birthday we played a house show, it was very interesting.
T: I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a rager college party, it’s not really our scene but it was straight out of a movie. Like people were inside like throwing stuff around and people were in the back, it was like 10 degrees, and we were just perched on someone’s lawn. And we were just playing music and everyone was so drunk that it didn’t matter what we were playing, we could have stood there and slammed on our instruments, and they would have had no idea they still would have loved it.
B: They just like noise, they like something loud.
T: And we got shut down, like half way through one of our songs, the police came.
A: Mind you, it’s twelve o’clock at night and we’re cranking amps outside an apartment complex.
T: We were playing ‘Fighting For A Will’ or something and I was rocking out and a flashlight was shining in my face so I thought someone was taking a video or like a picture. So I was jamming even more, like ‘yeah, let’s make sure this moment is captured’ and I look over and it’s just a police officer in uniform.
B: That was crazy. I think our street cred went up a little.
T: Well, you can only go up from 0 so.
What are you guys looking forward to in 2016?
T: To start off the year we have the album release. We’re planning on putting a tour together. I’m really excited for ‘Redemption’ because I want people to hear it and we’re all really proud of that, but touring will be great. We had to start calling venues really far in advance, I don’t know where we’ll end up going yet because we haven’t finalised it yet, but we were thinking of going to Canada and some of the venues spoke only French so I had no idea what was happening. I had to email a guy in French, just using google translate and my friend who speaks fluent French to try and figure it out. It’s been interesting and it’s a lot of work but there’s something about being on the road and playing music is really exciting, that’s a big step for us because we’ve never really done that.
Are there any bands you’d like to see reform in 2016? And people have said dead people before.
B: Oasis. The Beetles and I don’t know if Fun. are still a band anymore, so maybe them.
A: Pink Floyd, The Who in its entirety and The Beetles.
T: I don’t know, I kind of like it when bands break up because once they break up their legacy is immortalised basically. What happens with a lot of bands that makes me sad is when they keep playing music past their prime. Like I used to love Green Day, but I hated every single song on the three albums they released because they were trying to adapt to pop and stay relevant. You can’t really blame them for doing that, sometimes it’s sad to see bands go to that length. Once a band splits then they have this legacy and if they came back it can’t really every be the same as it was before. But if I had to pick one, there’s this band called Three Days Grace who are still playing music but they’ve swapped singers and it just doesn’t sound the same. I’d have them go back to their original line-up.
What have been your favourite musical releases of 2015 and what are you looking forward to in 2016 from other artists?
B: The new Coldplay record is definitely one of them for me. There’s this band called Civil Twilight and they’re just amazing, they put out an album called ‘Story of an Immigrant’ and it’s just so good. Personally, in a larger sense I’m looking forward to new music, especially with Spotify where you can just discover so many new artists. With the genre of alternative music there’s so many artists pushing the boundaries so I’m just so excited to hear more inspiring innovations when it comes to just how a song can be written and how a song can be produced, that kind of just opens my eyes to more ideas. That’s the number one thing I always look forward to in the new year.
T: One of my favourite bands, Breaking Benjamin, who broke up three years ago came back revitalised. Although their album slightly disappointed me I got to see them live for the first time and it was the best concert I’ve ever been to. It was phenomenal. I’m so glad their back, and the reason for that is, there’s always that chance when a band gets back together they’ll do something good because it doesn’t have to be like the old stuff like Fall Out Boy, where they make a new thing and it’ll be really good. The chances are low, which is why I don’t really support bands getting back together, but if they do it then it’s awesome. Their last record sounded exactly like everything else they’ve released and the songs were okay because it was Breaking Benjamin and they did well because they came back from so long but it wasn’t anything new. It just wasn’t good I thought. But I got to see them live, which is great, and there’s still a chance that they could write something awesome and I can get super into them again. I’m happy that chance is going to happen, I just wish they don’t release another album the same and then just fade out.
A: A band called ‘Hey Rosetta’, their album ‘Second Sight’ really had some revolutionary sound. They’re usually folk-indie-rock but they added a taste of electronic music and alternative rock in this new album and it’s a really cool, fresh sound they have going on.
This year has been so amazing musically. I think it’s always hard to see how music is going to get better each year, with great releases like ‘Blurryface’ and ‘American Beauty/American Psycho’ and emerging artists like Hozier and Halsey.
B: Sometimes you can’t get better, you just get different.
That’s what I’m looking forward to. Seeing how music gets even better. Anything else you guys want to say?
T: We’re playing a headlining show in Connecticut on January 29th at The Space after the release of the album. Thank you to everyone for enabling us to play headline shows and get close to selling out and putting out music consistently because people want to buy it and there’s a demand for it. Thank you for keeping us motivated when things get hard and pushing us forward when we see people’s kind words about what we’re doing and how much we mean to them. It’s one of those things where it’s difficult sometimes to find inspiration if you don’t have someone reassuring you and our fans are the best.
The album is out January 25th and I definitely recommend buying it. As usual talking to these guys was a lovely experience and I can’t wait for you guys to hear the new album. Check out their music, pre-order ‘Redemption’ and keep an eye out for what’s next with these guys – I’m sure it’ll be great.
Check them out on social media, they’ll definitely make you feel welcome:
This interview took place on 28/12/15.
Are there any questions you’d have liked to see? Let me know below. I’d love to hear what you think.