Recently James Lowe from The IDEA Magazine sat down with one of the very exciting artists on the scene. The following is a written interview we conducted with the artist while they were working on their next CD and Tour. First off
I want to thank you for taking the time out of your busey schedule to talk to us here today, as i know our readers have been requesting us get you in here some how some way. You folks have been described by your fans as internet
sensations in this interview we will attempt to figure out how this artist became such a great performer and what they have going forward.
Do you remember how the idea of forming the band first came up?
Tornado Rose got our start with a rousing performance amid the mud and rain-battered revelers of the Walnut Valley Bluegrass Festival’s own famous Stage V in 2011 and have lived happily ever since.
Tell us about the band’s name?
In the aftermath of the Reading, KS tornado of May 2011 we rose from the ashes. Tornado Rose was a perfect fit for us.
What is your latest album and why should people buy it?
Music is a sacred trust. It’s primal, elemental. ‘Dust in my Shadow EP’ is set to drop Tuesday June 25. It represents a year of soul-searching, songwriting, coming into our sound as a band; we want you to hear the genesis, the catharsis, the agony and the ecstasy, the elevation of each individual band member. Dust in my Shadow EP represents the most sublime, universal moment in music, the purpose of music- the connection to another person. When you hear a song that perfectly describes the most intimate nature of your thoughts and you come to understand, in that moment, that you are not alone in the world. A powerful connection is formed and there is a tearing away of the illusion that we are separate from one another.
How would you categorize the style of the band?
I would consider us alternative-bluegrass, alternative folk, alternative rock, alternative alternative. It is so hard to classify our style but we don’t really care to. We get too caught up in what things are called. It is our inherent nature to find patterns and classify things, our way of making sense of the world, it preserves our illusion of control and it helps us function amid the chaos and mysteries of the universe. When you focus on what something is called, you lose sight of what it actually is; its nature, purpose, essence is lost to a mere word, a word we made up, which may mean something different to you than me. Music is a way to transcend that; genres, grammys, top 20s are only efforts to systematize and quantify that which must never be systematized or quantified. I think we see plenty of evidence of that corruption in some of what passes for music in the mainstream and the stifling effect it can have on creativity.
Can you share with us one or two of your favorite moments with the band?
Where to begin? There was the time the lead singer face-planted before a big gig in Lawrence at the world-famous Bottleneck. (She took it like a champ but still refused to use the disgusting toilet in the green room, no matter whose venerated ass had sat it) My personal favorite was the long weekend we spent in Boulder at the foot of a mountain. Songs were hanging so heavy in the air there that we were able to simply pluck them like overripe apples. ‘Ripeness is all.’ As Shakespeare said. It was a beautiful moment in time. Ripe with perfection.
Does the entire band contribute to the writing process?
Absolutely. Everyone brings their own perspective, their own unique contribution, the voice of their instrument. Weaving them all together into a tapestry fine is something none of us could do on our own. And each song is different; one song may come into being first as a mandolin shower, one song as a perfect drum beat, one as a slip of verse. The muse works in all of us and every musical influence, every scrap of poetry, every angsty unrequited teenage love affair, every piece of decadent prose in each of our lives was preparing us to write these songs and play together.
How important do you rate the lyrical side of your albums?
Very important. If we find ourselves looking at rhymetime.com to find out what rhymes with jack, we’re in trouble. Words are only words, mere stand-ins for the things and emotions they represent but they have great power. Words can change you forever, a group of words, a phrase can help you give a voice to something unexpressed in yourself. It can unlock a new universe. It is not a power we would wield lightly.
What are your current tour plans, if any?
Our album release party is just around the corner. Loft 150 in Wichita KS on June 28, if anyone would like to add it to their calendar. Otherwise, Walnut Valley Bluegrass fest is in September. They get some of the best musicians in the world and it is an honor to be among them.
Describe your live performance?
Raucous. Organic. Voodoo. Our guitar player turns into a towering inferno and our drummer grows four new arms every time. One stare from our bass player has been known to make a female fan’s knees knock together and our singer is a deep, deliberate soul with a penchant for poetry and more vocal chops than the average bear. She gets one proposal of marriage per gig. At minimum.
Tell us about your thoughts on your local music scene?
We hail from Wichita, Kansas and, while the heartland is typically associated with bad country and top 20, the scene has gradually been improving over the last few years. There is now far less demand for bad cover bands and more appreciation of great original material and lively stage performances. I blame the internet.
Why do you think people are into your music?
Our biggest fans are the ones who have been with us the longest and have experienced our transition right beside us in real time. Plenty of new fans love our music because its lively, heartfelt, fun and they can dance to it. But the ones willing look under the hood are the ones who really connect.
What is the most played track on your iTunes?
At the moment, it is hard to say. I get into so many different bands at different times for different reasons. I love Lorde’s new song ‘Royals’. It might also be ‘Do I Move You?’ by Nina Simone or ‘Protection’ by Massive Attack. I love Tracy Thorne’s voice on that song.
What is your most cherished musical object?
I still have the first Fender guitar my mother bought me when I was 16 but the autoharp Pete D’Agile made for me is pretty special too. In a fire, they’re both coming or we’re all going out together in a blaze of glory.
Do you have go-to album on a rainy day?
‘Who is Jill Scott’ by Jill Scott
First band t-shirt you ever purchased at a concert?
Ha ha! Motley Crue was the first concert I ever went to. I was barely 18 and I still have the tee shirt. The music wasn’t that great but Tommy Lee whipped Tommy Lee Jr. out of his pants during the show and waved it around for a bit. I’ll never forget the moment the camera panned in and it appeared in all its glory on the big screen behind him- it must have been like 4 stories tall. This was in the post-Pam Anderson sex tape era, so it wasn’t anything I’d never seen before. But still…
Last record you purchased?
Daft Punk’s new album Random Access Memories. I love it.
If for some reason you lost the ability to make and play music, what would fill that gap?
Writing and poetry. Working for World Peace. Fry cook on Venus. You know, the usual stuff.
Would there be any one band or musician that would surprise us that you are listening to them?
Metalica- in the old Cliff Burton days. Some of us are really into classical, the singer likes opera particularly Cecila Bartoli and Rene Flemming. The drummer gets a lot of influence from R & B and rap. I think Snoop Lion would be impressed with our old-school bluegrass rap covers. The invite to join our band still stands, Snoop. Call me.
Where can our readers find your band on the internet?
How has Social Networking (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) impacted your band?
Social media is very useful for exposing new people to our music, keeping in touch with fans and bolstering attendance at our gigs. We have fans across the nation and even in other countries, which is a pretty cool feeling for any band.
Thanks for answering these questions. Do you have any last comments or words of advice for the readers of tyhe idea magazine
Be excellent to each other.