We've Got A Map
We’ve Got A Map, the upcoming sophomore full-length by San Francisco-based duo Tidelands, was well on it’s way to completion before their debut album If... was released in the summer of 2011.
“We never really stopped after we completed that record,” says vocalist, guitarist and flugelhorn player Gabriel Leis, one half of the band completed by drummer Mie Araki.
The key word to describe We've Got A Map is spontaneity,” says Araki. “Much of our current songwriting style is based on this word.”
Leis continues, “We were booking three-day sessions six weeks apart all throughout the summer and fall of 2011. Many of these songs were completed recordings well before we had any idea how to perform them live.”
Ten months later and a group of songs emerged to become We’ve Got A Map, scheduled for release on August 7th, 2012, a little more than a year since If….
(Photo by Nelsen Brazill)
“In a lot of ways it’s the most hands-off I’ve ever been with the making of an album,” Leis says. In between sessions, I rarely did any listening back. That way, the tracks always felt new. Without much of a plan, we’d just work on whatever felt hot at the moment.”
Leis didn’t even attend the mix sessions for the record, instead trusting in the skills of engineer Ian Pellicci and his bandmate Araki to guide the process in the right direction. “It was really refreshing and the result is a very organic album,” he says.
Leis also notes the lighter sound of We’ve Got A Map as compared to the duo’s previous release, explaining his ongoing deliberate effort to create a more uplifting sound and to get away from the heaviness and headiness of his natural writing style. “We had moments of that kind of celebratory joyousness on If…, but this time around I wanted the overall feel of the record to reflect this attitude,” he explains.
Lyrically, topics explored on We’ve Got A Map include American imperial guilt and conscience (“The New Black”), sexual healing in a troubled relationship (“Sexy Fox”), and the joy of inspiration and respect for a personal muse (“Coil", "Half a Century”).
As they had on If..., Leis and Araki once again collaborated with the Magik*Magik Orchestra on We’ve Got A Map. “We had such a successful collaboration with Minna Choi and the Magik*Magik Orchestra the last time, we decided to not only work together again, but to invite Minna to produce one of the tracks (‘Twin Lakes’),” Leis says.
Without guitar, Leis’s flugelhorn, or Araki’s drums on the tune, the track was indeed a departure for Tidelands, but they trusted inChoi’s vision, letting her write for the piano, strings and the duo’s voices.
The first single from We’ve Got A Map is “The New Black”, a track Araki refers to as the album’s “signature song” and also one that has a traumatic history for her.
The song was originally written in 2008 for Leis and Araki’s previous band project and unlike the existing dreamy and dark repertoire of that band, “The New Black” was really upbeat, which was attractive and challenging, but ultimately the harbinger of the band’s technical limitations at the time.
“When Tidelands was born, we spent a full year rebuilding the song, so it’s truly ‘The New Black’ to us!,” Araki says.
The latest Tidelands album We’ve Got A Map will be released on August 7th, 2012. The first single and video for the song “The New Black” is streaming now. Tidelands will embark on a tour in support of the album this summer.