Tallies: The WL Interview

Purveyors of: Lavender Field Daze Gaze

File next to: Alvvays, Tennis, Camera Obscura, Anemone

Playing: Wavelength Summer Music & Arts Festival Saturday, August 18th at Stackt.  Get Tickets Here!

Tallies are a shimmery Toronto four-piece made up of Sarah Cogan, Dyland Frankland, Cian O’Neill, and Stephen Pitman. They’ve brought their reverb-drenched dreams to our ears at the perfect time. Wavelength’s Maria-Carmela Raso got to ask Sarah a few questions about riding the wave of their success. Catch them on August 18th at Wavelength Summer Music & Arts Festival at Stackt!

What has been the most unexpected or challenging part of being in this band?

The most unexpected thing about this band was receiving interest in our music so quickly. When you’re creating and making the music that you love, you never know what to expect when it comes to people hearing it for the first time. Sharing your music makes you feel a bit vulnerable. It can be a challenge sometimes, to not be afraid of how your “spilled guts” can be perceived.

Nowadays there are often many roles to juggle in a project besides the music. Social media, tour planning, recording, grant writing, etc. How do you take on/share these responsibilities? Does it ever become overwhelming?

We have “shared responsibilities” in our band. Dylan and I take on the recording and social media. Dylan is an engineer at Candle Recording in Toronto, so he’s comfortable in a studio. Social media can be overwhelming at times, when it feels forced and almost like a chore, that it becomes not always enjoyable. Our two managers kill it at being so organized; with our tours, writing grants, and the bonus of one being a graphic designer.

What is your writing process like? And when it comes to recording, do you go in totally prepared, or is it a little more loose and jam-based? How is playing live different from recording in the studio?

Our writing process is usually based around spending a whole day together in Cian’s basement. Sometimes songs are prepared, most of the time it’s jam-based. A lot of the “magic” happens in the recording studio. Ideas come spontaneously, the freedom of not having every little detailed planned is quite nice. We also go a little nuts with guitar layers, whereas live is it more raw.

You were signed before your first album came out. Was there any influence from the label? Did it change the sound or writing process in any way?

We first signed with Hand Drawn Dracula while we were in the start/middle of recording our self-titled album. After signing, I think it put a little more “pep in our step.” We wrote new songs really fast out of excitement, so I’d say there was influence from the label in that context. We were still in the process of finding/creating our sound, so there wasn’t anything to be “changed” as of yet.

It can be damn hard to make money in music and often the money goes back into the project. Do you all have other jobs to help financially? If so, what are they?

Luckily we do have jobs that help keep the wheels rolling. It’s also a plus that they allot us time off too. Dylan (lead guitar) and Stephen (bass) are both recording engineers (Candle Recording and Dining Room Sound). Cian is a freelance social worker, and I’m a bartender at a restaurant/venue.

Is there anything outside of music (hobbies, academia, interests, etc.) that contribute to your musicality and creativity?

I could only speak for myself. I spend a lot of time looking at art and observing my surroundings. I find meaning behind art and human interaction very intriguing and influential when it comes to my song writing.

If you could change anything about the music industry, what would it be?

It would be to put the music industry “today” in a time machine and send it back to 1960 or 1980. I think the music industry today is missing the excitement of what came with the ‘60s and the experimental side of the ‘80s. Also, just seems like the industry was a lot more wild and fun back then. To have it all transported into the past would be so ideal. 

You have been touring quite a bit through America and the EU. Do you notice a difference between places and has it changed the way you play or the way you approach a performance?

There is definitely a difference between countries. Being a touring musician in the UK and EU has quite its perks. The accommodations are beyond gracious and overwhelming. You’re given a lot more ground to cover and exposure to a wide array of audience. Every performance feels a little different and more exciting.