To kick off the Gef Presents series, Gef sat down with Kaysee Craine & Danny Foulis of Manx band, The Tides, to find out more about their unforgettable summer of live performances on the Isle of Man.
The lads played a blinding set at our first Jools Holland inspired music event, you can watch their full performance via the video below.
Gef: Hi guys. For anyone who’s missed you playing live over the past few months can you give us an outline of the band’s history?
Tides: The band was formed in February 2015, after a mutual friend put Kaysee (lead vocals) and I in touch. We started out jamming and writing a few songs, going to a few open mic nights and progressed from there really.
It started off as just the two of us for around a year, writing and gigging and then we approached Iain (lead guitar) to play lead guitar for us. He was up for it, but after a couple of gigs (due to work commitments) he couldn’t really continue, so it went back to just the two of us again.
After another six months or so we really wanted to expand, so we approached Iain again whose situation had changed and could commit more time, so he re-joined. We then contacted Charlie who we knew played drums and had been suggested to us by a couple of people, and then about a year or so later we managed to get Fraser on board, who now plays bass for us, and that completed the band.
Gef: And where does the name The Tides come from?
Tides: The name I guess doesn’t really have any direct meaning or links to any of us. We predominately wanted it to be short and simple, something that we didn’t look back on a year down the line and regret. The fact that we live on an island surrounded by water may have played a little part in the name, but looking back we’re really happy with what we chose. It’s a cool name for puns too, but we try not to get too ‘tide’ down by them, pun intended.
Gef: You cover a lot of songs but you’ve also forayed into your own material. What’s the process behind the songs you choose?
Tides: It’s a tough one. To be honest it’s not something we’ve ever been bogged down with. We aren’t looking to fall into a certain category of music, as all we really want to do is play and write whatever style or melody sounds right at that specific moment in time.
We feel that if you try to ring-fence a specific sound or style, you suddenly disassociate yourself with so many other types of music. Ultimately, if we had to put a label on the music we’ve produced so far I guess it would be indie folk, or almost pop music as most of the melodies and vocals are built around pop progressions, which tend to be catchier.
Gef: With five people aboard The Tides train, I imagine you all draw from a diverse pool of influences.
Tides: Yeah, each of us have massively contrasting influences, which I guess helps when we all come together as a band. They’re so diverse, for example Kaysee gets his vocal influences from 50’s blues and soul music, but in terms of the band’s it ranges from Kodaline, Ozzy Osborne, Oasis and Vulfpeck. The variation of influences definitely helps when we’re all looking to try and add bits to songs. It’s cool.
Gef: Aside from the covers you perform you also write your own stuff. I guess I Hope She Waits is the track I’m most familiar with. How does a The Tides songwriting session go down?
Tides: There isn’t really a process in all honesty. It sounds very cliché to say it because all the famous songwriters always say it, but you can’t force it. We feel if there was [a process] we might not get the same outcome as what we have had so far.
Most of the songs that have been written (which will all be released very soon!!!) have been taken from personal experiences or things relatable to one of us in the band. The earlier stuff that was written came mainly from draft lyrics and melodies that had been written, mainly about an event that we or a friend/family member had experienced.
The lyrics would be written in our infamous ‘Lyric Book’, which one day might be worth something, and then the two of us would go over the idea. Kaysee would then play with the vocal arrangement and add certain mannerisms to the songs to give them life and make them unique to us. There’d be a couple of disagreements here and there, but we’d eventually end up with a song, and looking back at some of the stuff we’ve come up with, we’re very proud.
One thing that will never change regardless though is our focus on lyrics. We’ve always tried to ensure that our lyrics have substance, tell a story, or tell a memory for example, even in a generation of music where perhaps lyrics are overlooked and possibly even somewhat ignored. It’s a trait that we will always stay true to, as opposed to churning music out for the sake of it.
Since we’ve become a full band it’s allowed everyone to throw ideas about, as there’s a bigger pool of ideas to choose from. For example, there’s now a song which Charlie had written a melody for, and then there are songs that both Iain and Fraser have come up with progressions for that are being currently worked on.
Gef: As a newbie to the band I first heard you play at Bushy’s TT Village this summer, and at Gef Presents… What’re the advantages of being part of such a tight-knit music community?
Tide: In a word, brilliant. It’s strange really, as the Manx music scene feels like a hidden gem.
When you actually start attending live events and watching and listening to some artists and bands over here, you really start to understand just how much talent there is. Until then though, you’re sort of oblivious to it. The standard is so high and there’s such a range of different music, it’s great.
We’ve been given some great opportunities to support some of the best musicians over here and it’s been a privilege for them to even ask us and to allow us to play at their events. We’re very grateful and hopefully, there’s a couple more on the horizon and in the future.
Gef: Do you have a preference when playing live to throw out a cover or perform one of your own songs?
Tides: Well we’ve played quite a fair few songs now as a band but there are definitely a couple that I think everyone prefers to play.
Superstition by Stevie Wonder is a brilliant song and goes down really well with pretty much everybody. We do a cover of New Shoes by Paolo Nutini, which again has a great groove and gets people dancing.
Having said that, it’s got to be one of our own. I don’t think you can get as much enjoyment playing a cover as what you can playing your own song. I Hope She waits was the first song we wrote, and it’s pretty catchy! Even after the first couple of times playing it, people were messaging us telling us that they’d been singing the song and it’s stuck in their head!
When we play it live, people can join in the chorus too and it’s got a nice upbeat and airy vibe.
Gef Anything else you want to add?
Tides: We just want to thank anyone who’s been to one of our gigs in the past. Please keep supporting us!
You can follow The Tides on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/thetidesiom) and Soundcloud (https://soundcloud.com/thetidesmusic) to keep up to date with the release of their music and possible album launch.