INTERVIEW: Tribe Society talk new mixtape, collaboration and the journey to come at SXSW

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Alternative-rock outfits Tribe Society have had a pretty busy past two weeks. Not only did they play the Island Records showcase at SXSW, but they just dropped a mixtape entitled Delirium Sonata that’s available for free download here, jam packed with unique blend of music resembling a bridge between grunge rock and hip hop. Substream got a chance to talk with band members Bradford Alderman (synthesizer and keys) and Seth Hachen (flute and synths) about their upcoming releases.

Check out the interview and a stream of their music below:

Substream: Tell me how your experience at SXSW has been so far. This isn’t your first one, right?

Brad: No, it’s our third time here. But, you know, we have been playing music together in various bands, but this is our first time and Tribe Society. We are very excited and it’s been going well.

Substream: What brought you guys together as a group?

Brad: We were just friends back in the day, like 10 years. And, I mean, we used to like jam and stuff and have fun, started playing parties and after awhile we were like, “Let’s keep this going!” And, here we are.

Seth: We will still play some basement parties though, so if you know any, let’s do it! (Laughs)

Substream: As far as motivation into becoming a group, like, what were kind of those moments as a band where you realized, “Okay, we are meant to play music together.” Or something like that.

Seth: Hm. I mean, I don’t know, just like… I feel like you have moments like that when you are just hanging out writing together for so long that you just stumble across something that is really special and you think, “Let’s show the world some music.” So this summer we wrote a lot and started this project called Tribe Society, and we are really excited to share this music with people.

Brad: We kind of just went all in, so we quit all our jobs, moved to NY, and we were fortunate enough to sign with this label called Local Legend and we just worked all summer just writing in our apartment. Right off the bat, just the energy of being in New York and the excitement, our first few songs, oh and we have been writing songs for awhile, we were like, “Wow, these are really special,” and we are proud of it and just keeping it going. We got a whole EP, a full length album that we are working on, but we have a whole mixtape to coming out next week. So, we created a big body of work that we are pretty proud of and excited to get out there.

Substream: That’s awesome! Just from the way you guys were speaking, it sounds like you guys are very collaborative effort as far as songwriting goes? Or is there one person that takes charge of the whole endeavor?

Brad: It’s a collaboration, we all live together and we have been living together for like seven years.

Seth: I think if you look up collaboration in the dictionary, you would see Tribe Society right next to it. (Laughs) We like collaborate on everything, we’ll be like cooking dinner and collaborating. We’ll be like, “You want to chop that up? I’ll toss the pasta in! I’ll do the dishes!” And just really every aspect.

Brad: The music is really fun to collaborate on, but we do do everything like the art and you know, we need to write a bio for our band, and all those little things. But musically, the collaboration is like, pretty special, cause we all kind of come from different backgrounds and we just kind of, you know, figured out how to work together, what each others’ strengths are and just how to use that. You know, one person might be working on the lyrics and a person on the production, so we just all work together and kind of critique each other. In the end, it comes together as this big collaborative thing.

Substream: Your music is definitely really unique, and my biggest question when listening back to some of your songs, how does someone come up with sounds like this?

Brad: That’s a good question because in fact, we love crazy sounds. We spend a good portion of our time together just geeking out in the studio, trying to get weird gear and will be like, “Let’s hook up this, weird tape machine to this synth and run this stuff through…”

Substream: Oh! So there is tape on some of the tracks?

Brad: Oh yeah!

Substream: I was wondering if that was tape, cause you know when you hear a little stop at the beginning of the recording and that little soft buzz?

Brad: Yeah totally! Exactly, I love tape. I love old gear cause like the music from the past is on tape and there is something nostalgic about tape. But we also love modern and current day music, so it’s just pulling in all these influences to try to create this sound that we like. Kind of uh… I don’t know, it’s hard to describe what it is.

Seth: It’s like a melting pot of all of our favorite things.

Brad: Like a cornucopia. (Laughs) Of sounds. That’s a special buzz word, you know? (Laughs)

Seth: Is that like the dictionary word of the day or something? (Laughs) That’s a nice one.

Substream: As far as the new mixtape coming out next week, what is to expect? You guys have a couple songs out now and all, but is there something you hope to say through the mixtape?

Brad: The mixtape called Delirium Sonata. We came up with the title because “Delirium” represents when you are going crazy and “Sonata” is a beautiful composition. Sometimes, those things go well together cause your craziness and your madness is where the genius inside you comes out, and you can make something beautiful. But what the mixtape is, is just 30 minutes of continuous music. We all love like Pink Floyd and Dark Side of the Moon of course, so we wanted to make an album that a track flows into the next track and just takes you on this journey through, like, sonic craziness, you know? There is a lot of instrumental, wild stuff happening.

Seth: That’s where you are gonna hear all this tape and all this like crazy sounds. It allowed us to explore deeply into that realm and then the combination of songs is like originals that we wrote this summer and then some covers. Well, more like re-imaginations of songs that were greatly influential to us, and those expand from like all different eras of modern music. It really will be like, in the classical world, like the journey you can have like in a symphony, in modern style, is that makes sense.

Substream: That totally makes sense! And with the mixtape being released now, when is the album looking like it will be released? And with that, what is there to expect different through the album as opposed to the mixtape?

Brad: Well, before the album, we are going to release an EP of probably like five songs of just, you know, a lot of songs and a lot of original songs that we’re really excited about. One of them, which is already out right now, “Kings” is already on the mixtape. And another original is one there called “Ego,” but the one of the EP is actually going to be a little different, cause we made two versions of it, the mixtape version and an EP version.

Substream: You guys weren’t kidding about writing. (Laughs)

Brad: You know, we go deep with it. We like to write songs multiple times and doing them up. (Laughs) And you know, the full length is coming together, hopefully it will be out later this year, or we’ll see what happens. Sometimes those things get pushed back a little, but we are trying to get it out there and just get a lot of music out, and start building the Tirbe Society.

Substream: As far as things with the new album and things with that, did you go in with any themes that you were hoping to capture within it?

Brad: We are all deep dudes, so we are trying too…you know, we like rock music, pop music, and all of it, alternative, grunge, but we are trying to bring music that sounds good, but if you look into it, it offers a lot. Like, lyrically and instrumentationally too. Like, just try to listen to it a couple times and each time discover something new. And trying to put forward some concepts that we believe in, I don’t know, pretty deep stuff.

Seth: I mean, you are absolutely going to hear that from the beginning with the mixtape and I think the depth you’ll be hearing is very apparent to people. A song that we are very excited about “Ego.” which is on the mixtape in one of its two versions that we made and it’s all about like losing the ego and getting through these challenges in life of like identification of yourself. And we want to take people deeper.

Brad: But we do have fun, “Ego” is about killing your ego so we kind of described like a murder scene where you just killed your ego. And it’s all like… I don’t know, I just really like it cause it has like a double meaning between a murder scene and a mediation, and just becoming aware of your own crazy thoughts. It is cool to just have a dark stuff and just kind of rock and bring it all together, and its kind of like hip-hop too.

Substream: Final question, other than the mixtape, the EP, and the album to be coming, what is up next for you guys?

Seth: Yeah, right now we are working on getting touring together for the summer and we are playing some shows in California soon, which we are very, very excited for and we are doing some interesting stuff in New York. Like some pop-up shows and we wanted to do some really cool stuff around the mixtape, with visuals and a 30 minute multi-dimensional experience with visual sounds.

Brad: Yeah we are making a video for the mixtape, we’re collaborating with this talented video editor guy, and we are telling him our ideas and he is like bringing his ideas and we are creating this like visual thing. I don’t know, we are thinking about playing the mixtape and having that go in the background.

Seth: It would almost be cool if like, you know, we’ve always performed like your on stage and everyone sees you, but like we want to do something were we put the screen in front of us and let like the visuals be the main thing and have the sounds literally project from behind the screen. And we are trying to do some weird stuff and you know, New York is an amazing place were we could go to Brooklyn and then just do this one night and then go into Manhattan and do it in another spot. Just a pop-up weird shows and just experiment with the experience of playing live. We’ve always wanted to do that so we are thinking of the next way and we want fans to be on that journey.