Interview: The Tillers

This past weekend I had the chance to sit down with Cincinnati’s own The Tillers at Bourbon and Beyond in Louisville, KY. The Tillers are a band of four consisting of: Mike Oberst, Sean Geil, Aaron Geil and Joe Macheret.

Will you describe your style and approach to music to those unfamiliar with The Tillers?

Sean Geil: We pretty much just write songs and if it feels right we play it. We’re definitely inspired by traditional, early music. Everything from jump band music, to string band music, bluegrass, old time music, early blues, country music so we put a lot that stuff into our playing because it comes out naturally because that’s what we listen to.

But we also came up playing punk rock so that comes out a lot in our song writing and then the energy that we put out when we play our songs, we play hard, fast and loud. We play with a lot of intensity. The lyrics in our songs sound like what you might hear in a punk rock song or an old time song. We just stay true to ourselves.

Being here and playing at an event like Bourbon and Beyond is a great experience for you guys, what type of statement do you hope you made here?

Sean Geil: We hope people leave with a record and maybe a t-shirt! “laughs!” Hopefully we stopped a few people in their tracks and made some people aware that our music is even out there. That there our bands that our doing this kind of grassroots acoustic thing in a modern and relevant way.

Sometimes fans like the idea of bands being under the radar and away from the mainstream, almost as if they want to keep them to themselves. Is this something that you feel like goes on with The Tillers and if so what would you say to these people?

Sean Geil: I advise any of our friends, if you love us, if you want to help us out PLEASE tell people about us and tell your friends, don’t try to keep us to yourself because for us to keep putting music out we need more people to like our band.

Mike Oberst: It’s a hard subject because when you start a band you’re just having fun with your friends and playing this music that you love and music that you want to hear yourself and when you get out there and you start playing for crowds of people you kinda feed off of this happiness that you see in someone else and so it’s kind of addicting. I guess that’s a good thing to be addicted to making other people feel happy and so that’s a huge honor. So it’s nice to stay at a level where you’re connected with your fan base and there’s no invisible wall between you and your fans.

What’s next for The Tillers?

Sean Geil:  Well we are on the last leg of our tour, we have a couple shows back home in Cincinnati and a few other places. We are also set to release our next studio album in March so we’re SUPER excited about that!

That’s great! Do you have a title for the new album?

Sean Geil: Yes we do and here’s a CincyMusic exclusive for you because we haven’t told anyone else: it’s going to be self-titled because that’s something that we’ve never done before so the new album will be called The Tillers!

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