Even Tiles are taking over the Cincinnati Music Scene in the next few weeks. The band has shows at Coda, Northside Tavern and The Southgate House Revival! And rightly so, this band is amazing. Their EP, The Lower Tangent is one of my favorite's in a long while. I can't seem to turn it off.
In the summer of 2012, Justin began rehearsing with four musicians to form the lineup that would eventually become Even Tiles. New songs quickly began to take shape, and their first show was played in September of 2012 alongside My Empty Phantom (Austin). After serving as the opening act for Night Beds’ (Nashville) Midpoint Music Festival performance in Cincinnati, and continuing on to perform with national acts such as The Appleseed Cast (Kansas), The Old Ceremony (Chapel Hill), The Kopecky Family Band (Nashville), and The Features (Nashville), recording began on their first release. Completed late 2013, the six song EP, The Lower Tangent has drawn favorable comparisons to Broken Social Scene and Deerhunter, and is the result of what each member brings to the writing process.
I grabbed Kent Mulcahy for some background on this band that needs to be in your ears.
Give us some background on Even Tiles…
Justin White: vocals, guitar, keys, songwriter
Will Neff: keys, drums, guitar
Josh Collins: drums, extra percussion stuff
Nick Moeggenberg: bass, visuals
Kent Mulcahy: guitar, backing vocals, keys
Even Tiles grew out of Justin White’s solo project under the Justin WW moniker, which he started after his and Will Neff’s previous band, The Atriums, folded. He played live with a somewhat rotating cast of individuals until he played, of all things, a Tom Petty tribute benefit show at the original Southgate House with Kent and Will. From there, Justin coaxed his longtime friend Josh Collins into playing drums, and Nick Moeggenberg, who he knew from the local music scene, to play bass. We played our first show at The Comet in September of 2012, and our second show at Midpoint 2012, opening for Night Beds, who’ve gone on to do amazing things, by the way. “The Lower Tangent,” our debut EP, was released in December of 2013. We recorded it ourselves, and had it mixed and mastered by the fantastic Little Elephant Live studios in Toledo. They liked what we were doing enough to invite us to play on their popular Live Sessions Youtube series (http://goo.gl/dw6O4y), joining such alumni as Tim Kasher of Cursive, Matt Pryor from The Get Up Kids, and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.
Rumor has it that Nick is an amazing designer and web developer… How did this start and where can we go to see his work?
Nick started designing websites, album art, and other visuals for bands he played in during high school. People started to take notice, and he was asked to start designing for other people, music related and otherwise, and never stopped. He chalks it up to luck, but I think it’s simply because he does damn good work, but at any rate, he’s designed websites and visuals for bigger acts such as mewithoutyou and Kevin Devine. Check his stuff at www.moeglydesign.com or on his Instagram at @nicholasmoegly. Definitely take a look at his poster for The Dodos show on our Facebook page. Oh, yeah...he’s completely self-taught, which is kind of sickening in a way, and the guy is constantly pushing himself to learn more. He’s currently learning to screen print, for example.
What talents do the other members of the band have?
Justin’s obviously the leader. He writes the songs and we try to spice them up with our own touches. Aside from his obvious design aptitude, Nick’s a ridiculously solid bass player (and guitarist/vocalist: for proof, check out the band he fronts: Growing Up a Ghost). I’ve never heard the dude make a mistake. Josh is an extremely malleable musician. Whatever we throw at him or ask of him, he pulls off. Will started as a drummer, but in this band, he’s very quickly picked up keys, guitars, some backing vocals, and whatever else we have laying around in the practice space... a real “secret weapon” (he also DJs on the side). I went to school for music, so I’m the boring (read: annoying) guy of the group who says really off-putting stuff like “well, technically, that harmony doesn’t work there,” or “count, guys...count...just count to five…”
My personal favorite song of yours is “Money Changers”, can you give me some background on that song?
A lot of the lyrics on “The Lower Tangent” deal with financial anxiety. This song is probably the most obvious example of that. Justin says the lyrics on that one came about from noticing how money always seems so tight and distressing to him, but he sees people living beyond their means all around him who seem to be making it just fine. To quote him, “...it's about having very little to offer in the way of finances and trying to make up for it with friendships, or whatever.” There are some biblical references, but not in a “biblical way,” if that makes sense. Again, to use his words, “...in short, the song is about how money ruins everything by being the answer to 99 out of 100 questions.” Justin’s always gotten a very strong and positive reaction from audiences for this song. It was a piece he had floating around for a long, long time as a solo demo. I added a simple synth line to it, which we purposely mixed to be almost inaudible, and Katie Foran wrote and sang the harmonies, which she performs when we do the song live.
What can one expect to see at an Even Tiles show?
We do a lot of instrument switching. Josh, Will, and myself all rotate around the stage for different songs. Justin’s always good for some self-deprecating stage banter and awkward, willfully uninformed pop-culture references. A lot of the songs on the EP have some pretty lush orchestration, so one thing we have to do live is recreate that with just the five of us, which makes for some decently different sounding renditions of the music, which I love. I like it when live versions of songs don’t sound like you just popped a CD into the house sound system and hit play. On some of the songs, we have guests up to help us fill out the sound. One of our new songs has Katie (who sang harmonies on “Money Changers”) playing glockenspiel, tambourine, and adding harmonies. We’ll be rolling that song out at The Dodos show.
What is next for Even Tiles?
We’ve already started writing and recording our next project, which we’re really excited about. We have around six or seven songs/ideas we’re mapping out at the moment, with more in the beginning stages. To me, they seem a little more streamlined and rockier, but still retaining Justin’s non-linear approach to song structure. We’re lining up more out of town gigs, as well. In the meantime, you can listen to “The Lower Tangent” for free on Spotify, Rdio, Bandcamp...and pretty much all the digital services. It’s also up for purchase on all the normal digital stores. Physical copies can be bought at shows, or by contacting us through Facebook or our band email account.