Æ: Aglet Eaters

A Year In The Making: Slowing Down with Tears Run Rings

Posted in Feature, Rediscover by R on March 1, 2014

I have to apologise for being so slack. I wouldn’t normally, because it’s my blog and I can do what I want, but the thing is I have had what, in journalistic terms is called a SCOOP, for close to two months now and I have selfishly kept it all to myself.

Tears Run Rings are, as we speak, in the process of putting together their third album – In Surges

Ed, Dwayne, Laura and Matthew aka the very mysterious, very beautiful Tears Run Rings came out with their A Question and An Answer EP in 2007 – classic shoegaze: all Slowdive reverb and MBV percussion. They followed it rapidly enough with the Always, Sometimes, Seldom, Never full-length in 2008 on which you’ll find the unforgettable ‘Mind The Wires’. Their third album, Distance, is bags sweeter than these two and came out in 2010. You can read all about it here.

couldn't resist.

Hey look, we’re on a TRRAM!

Before getting to the good stuff, I’d just like to give a shoutout to fellow TRR-fanatic Jim Payne who helped my staid little brain think outside the box and gave me the thoughtful, tailored questions that I would never have managed to think up myself.

I’d also like to thank Jeff Ware of Deep Space Recordings for getting me in touch with this ostensibly elusive group and starting this whole interview process… in 2012. No excuses, Ed and I were both super slack (see, we’re made for each other) but it’s all kismat, because the delay means that we’ve now got answers from the entire band, except to the most crucial question.

I tried, but we’ll never know the lyrics to ‘Mind The Wires’.

Mind The Wires was a track we originally wrote back in the late 90s, but never had a chance to record it.  We only played it live a few times with our noisy Autocollants-side project, Diplomat Haircuts.

There are three cities between the four members of the band. On your website, Tears Run Rings are described as a long distance relationship. So how does it work? do each of you independently record your sections of the track and then email them over to the others? Where does the final product come out of?

We start by recording drums and bass as a “live band.” Then we usually record parts over that, sometimes independently and sometimes when we get together 3 or 4 times a year. We used to use CDs and mail them, but now we can share tracks over Dropbox. The final product is usually a result of a long weekend of all of us sitting around together and scrutinizing each song.

What does it take to bring a Tears Run Rings album together? Is it a long spell of recording and ‘oh, we have a dozen songs, we’re ready for an album’ kind of thing, or is it a ‘let’s make an album that sounds like [this]’ kind of thing?

We get together over a week or two and write as many songs as possible as a full band. We don’t try to sound like anything in particular. Then we take the next few years to shape the songs in the studio. It is not surprising that most of our songs get rewritten two or three times before we are happy with them and really love listening to them.

Are there tracks that have been recorded that have not yet made it onto Tears Run Rings albums and may see the light of day in the future?

We have a lot of unfinished tracks that we ended up not completing for all sorts of reasons. Every so often we’ll revisit them to see if they are salvageable or can morph into an entirely new idea. As far as a future release of bonus/unreleased tracks, doubt that will be happening any time soon. We are more focused on moving forward with new material.

What’s the scene with live shows? I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a poster for a Tears Run Rings gig, but I could have missed it. Do you perform?

We did have the wonderful opportunity to tour with Secret Shine in 2008.  It was an awesome experience and we love them! However, since then we all have such limited time that we spend together, it’s a challenge for us to actually practice as a band. We tend to focus our time more on creating and recording our music. We would love to play and someday we will.  World Tour 2025 maybe?

2025 World Tour

I have seen a future without Instagram filters.

Who are the bands that originally inspired the type of music played by Tears Run Rings? Are there any bands on the horizon that have just recently been discovered by yourself or other band members that really stand out?

We have a wide variety of inspirations. We obviously make music that we like to listen to ourselves, so clearly classic shoegaze bands are high on the list (for example, Pale Saints, Blind Mr. Jones, and maybe a little Slowdive – heh).  However, each of us have totally different ideas that we bring to our music. As for newer bands, some of the groups that we have been collectively listening to are Flyying Colours, Chris Cohen, Lower Dens, Violens, and Frankie Rose.

Do you find inspiration from artists on an ongoing basis that finds itself being incorporated in any way into current recordings of your own, or do you purposefully make an effort to avoid using any sounds that you feel may sound too similar to others?

Sometimes when we write songs, it ends up sounding too familiar to us, so we try and change it up to be more reflective of our own sound. We try to sound like ourselves, not any other band so we just do what we want to do. We’re totally happy in our own little shell.

Did the band start with an idea to have a series of ‘Happiness’ songs or was that just something that occurred over time through natural inspiration? Do you foresee further ‘Happiness’ installments on future albums?

Yeah it happened over time. We liked how the songs framed the first album as intro and outros, so we continued the idea on our second and soon third album.  We like bookends. There’s also a secret embedded within each Happiness track, but we’re not tellin’.

Do you ever gain inspiration from a song that is of a completely different genre/style, but that which speaks to you on an emotional level and then inspires a song in the musical style of Tears Run Rings?

Yep. For example, The Knife has inspired us in many ways, although we sound nothing like them.  Also, a lot of our vocal harmonies are not inspired by shoegaze bands.

We can tell there’s a difference in style between Always, Sometimes… and Distance, but have there ever been times in which band members (or the band as a whole) have discussed incorporating different – unexpected, maybe – musical styles into a song or an album, kind of like what Slowdive did with Pygmalion?

We’ve been using a lot more electronic instrumentation lately, and experimenting with changing sound textures. The new album is probably more ethereal than the last two. However, we didn’t make a conscious decision to do it this way; it just evolved. We probably won’t make a change to our sound intentionally because we like the music we make and we are still enjoying the process.

Do you or any of the other band members listen to artists that others may be surprised to hear are in your own personal musical collections?

Absolutely.

Matthew – I listen to a lot of obscure arcane pop, and classic country music. Louvin Brothers are one of my favorite bands.

Laura – I hate country. But I love 80’s music of almost any kind.

Dwayne – I’m big into Swedish dance music and Britpop. The new Suede record is excellent.

Ed- ‘Send the Pain Below’ by Chevelle, and I’m not afraid to admit it.

Have you identified a track that’s a fan favourite? What’s the band favourite?

The fan favorite seems to be ‘Mind the Wires.’ We like that one too. We also like ‘Weight of Love,’ ‘Waiting for the End,’ ‘Distance,’ and ‘Divided.’  There are some tracks on the new album that we’re all especially pleased with as well.

Are you big in Japan? The Japanese version of ‘Distance’ contained two additional exclusive tracks. Have you found those tracks to be remarked upon or requested by fans outside of Japan? Any backlash from the local fans?

We don’t really know! We love our fans wherever they are!

Do you have day-jobs, and if so can we ask what you do?

Ed – Yes, I work as a designer and I run Shelflife Records on the side. [Home to AE favourite Airiel – ed]

Matthew -Yes, I am a very successful inventor and also run Shelflife.

Dwayne – Yes, I am a teacher and a father.

Laura – Yes, I work an office job.

What do each of you like to listen to that we wouldn’t expect you to listen to?

Matthew – Abba, Andy Gibb, Perry and Kingsley, Herb Alpert, Hall and Oates, Ministry, Lee Hazelwood, Everly Brothers

Ed – Claudio Rocchi, J. C. Pierric, Belbury Poly, Alan Parsons Project, UTFO

Dwayne – Erasure, Lee Hazelwood and Nancy Sinatra, Man Without Country, Hood

Laura – The Sea and Cake, Benoit Pioulard, Royksopp, Robyn, The Knife

If not shoegaze, Tears Run Rings would be a _____ band.

Matthew – Pop

Ed – Rubber

D – Spacerock [cheater – ed]

L – Electronica

Finally – Who do I have to bribe to get the lyrics to Mind The Wires?

How about you tell us what you think the they are and then we’ll make them the official lyrics.  I’m sure they’ll be better than ours.

—-

OK.

Here we go – ‘Mind The Wires’ as interpreted by AE

 

Mind the wires,

Let your love come.

Slow down, slow down,

Be careful.

 

A million stars,

Meet your devilled cake.

But these words, these words,

Never came.

 

Looks like rain, dear.

 

Am I right, or what?

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