Room 52 @ THE NICE ROOMS presents
Date of Article: 31st March 2018
© All Photos courtesy of Tether
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*Please Note: There is strong language contained in the following interview*
In keeping with its ethos of plugging new bands and their music, The Nice Rooms Webzine recently caught up with Tether for an interview. The band - based in Perth, Western Australia - duly obliged.
Molly: Tether are 4 nervous humans.
Codie: ..brought together by fate.
Molly: ..and the love of music.
Caitlin: We make alt. pop music, but that's a loose definition because genres are hard and often limiting. We nervously write music and then nervously release it. We're 4 best friends that pretty much live together at this point. We eat a lot of sorbet and Molly makes a lot of cocktails.
Molly: We all went to TAFE at different times.
I'll have to stop you there..TAFE??
Caitlin: TAFE stands for Technical and Further Education. It's like college or uni. but more chill and usually the courses only run for like a year and then you can move on and do advanced diplomas etc. It usually runs more creative courses and offers alternatives to full on uni. courses.
Amy: We all jammed and met through mutual friends.
Codie: Molly recorded my solo EP but we didn't know each other back then - it was so long ago. (Looking at Molly) I thought you were cool.
Molly: You thought I was cool!? Even though I didn't say anything?
Caitlin: Tether is essentially our life. Our collective life. We don't do anything else, but that's the way we like it. We're a walking group chat.
Molly: You should write down how Codie said I was interesting.
Caitlin: Codie was just really mean to me because I incorrectly named her SECOND solo Ep title.
Amy: I'm always feeling really uncomfortable.
I always grew up listening to music and going to as many shows as possible. When I was 7 years old my mum bought me my first CD (Simple Plan EP) as a gift and I listened to it until my parents got sick of it and bought me something different for my birthday.
As I got older, I started listening to heavier music that became more influential for me such as Paramore, Green Day, Blink 182 and The Offspring. Every year I waited for Soundwave to come around to see my favorite bands until it stopped coming to Perth.
With less shows coming to Perth, I decided that I needed to get involved with music somehow and had always wanted to be a part of the music program at the high school my cousins and brother went to and got to be a part of.. So I studied the clarinet for 7 years and learned most of my theory knowledge from there, until I got to the stage where I wanted to play more live contemporary music.
So I started playing the bass and instantly fell in love with it. That's when I started developing my desire to perform on stage. I needed to perform for a living.
I found out that I could do a TAFE course after high school and get my diploma and advanced diploma in performance over 2 years. Seeing as bass players are low in stock, I wound up in multiple bands in my second year. One involving Caitlin and Molly (who introduced me to PVRIS and Now, Now. Thank you!!) and another band involving Codie.
I became close with them all and Codie was looking for a new band to get involved with just as Caitlin, Molly and I were looking for a synth player. We all instantly clicked and bonded over the same music, which eventually blossomed into Tether and has became such a huge part of our lives.
I am a small English human. I moved from Reading to Perth when I was 14 years of age. Once in Perth, due to the lack of friends, I had a lot of spare time on my hands. I decided to learn the guitar and at first I taught myself a couple of chords on my dad's left handed guitar because that's all we had. I eventually was gifted a brand new right handed guitar and from there started my right-handed guitar journey. I started getting lessons and I played every day and loved it. I craved playing with other people but that didn't happen until I graduated school and went to TAFE to study music performance. I played in a couple bands and met a lot of cool humans until I met the coolest humans of them all: Caitlin, Amy and Codie.
I'm technically English also but I moved here when I was a child. Musically speaking, I saw Avril Lavigne one day and was like "YES!"
I don't wanna say I made my parents do anything, but I made my parents get me a black and white guitar like she had. I always chose things based on colour which was starting to become a real problem in my life because I knew very little about gear. So I spent a lot of time writing 'Avril' as my name in like, my Winnie the Pooh books, and realised I really liked tapping on the paint cans at Bunnings (a hardware store) and my dad noticed also because I tapped on our couches which must have been the worst so my parents got me an electronic drum kit.
I don't know if any of this information is valuable or interesting to anyone but me but I'll keep going. I watched a lot of High School Musical 2 and there's a scene where a dude plays Sharpay Evans out on his kit - so I learnt that. Then I went to lessons and wound up with an incredible teacher and played a lot of drums until my mum found the TAFE course. I met Molly there when I was 18, we were both doing performance of music. We were in different bands but everyone got close and she and I got really close. We didn't really stop making music together or playing in each other's bands from that point, and then once we met Amy who eventually introduced us to Codie we were like "Yeah, this is good. This is the good one. Good band and good Codie."
I grew up in a small country town in Australia and when I was about 13 my sister got a guitar for Christmas. I claimed it as my own and started learning bad rock songs on this bright pink classical guitar. That eventually culminated in me writing original music and for a while I pursued a career as a folk artist. I experienced a long period of writer’s block though and everything came to a screeching halt. Right before I was ready to give up music completely, I saw an old friend from high school was looking for a bass player to jam with. I thought, "Why not?" But it was quickly apparent I wasn’t a bassist so Amy jumped in to take my place, put me to shame, and that’s how we met.
In the meantime I had been looking into music production, and re-ignited my passion through electronic music. Amy told me about this new project that was looking for some synth, and that’s how I met the rest of Tether. Funnily enough, Molly and I had already crossed paths a few years earlier when she was recording my folk EP at TAFE but we didn’t really talk to each other. I think we were too shy? Fast forward a couple months and somehow we’re all basically living together. Weird. But in the best way.
You mentioned earlier that you are 'nervous' human beings and that your music is 'nervous'...
Caitlin: We're all a little nervous in general in our own ways. I'd say that Codie and Molly and Amy are more like, nervous about talking and those kinds of things. Even though they talk perfectly well and all have really insightful things to say, whereas I'm more internally nervous and overthink things I have to do and whether or not I can do them - I talk a lot. And then worry about what I said later.
Codie: That kind of translates into our song writing.
Caitlin: I think I'd say Codie and I are perfectionists, intensely so and get super stressed when things aren't how we want them. Molly and Amy are a lot more chill and patient and that really helps even everyone out. I think me and Codie would explode if we only worked together all the time... Which we kinda do.. but we haven't exploded yet.
Tether have done a great cover of Avril Lavigne's "Girlfriend" - How did it all come about?
Tether / "Girlfriend" (Cover)
4 mins 12 secs
Caitlin: Thank you for calling it great, we really appreciate that. I'm a big fan of Avril Lavigne - I've managed to mention her twice already!
It's kind of a running joke in my life, I dressed up as her for Molly's 23rd birthday party last year. We collectively decided we wanted to do a cover song, and we already have a cover in our set but it's closer to our sound and is by one of our favourite bands Now, Now. They're incredible. So we wanted to do something like, funner and well known. Codie and I were looking at Avril songs and then we were like, "Fuck it", (I don't know if I'm allowed to swear) let's do 'Girlfriend'. Codie is a genius, and she started messing around with synth straight away.
Codie: Yeah it all started with an arpeggiated synth and a cool groove. We laid a few acoustic guitars over the top and everything else just flowed from there.
Caitlin: Yeah the groove she came up with was sick, it's the one in the intro and verses. I don't even think we were planning to finish it, it was on our list of things we needed to do one weekend and me and Codie started working on it and it just started like, I don't wanna say "writing itself" but that kind of vibe. Amy wasn't there that day, but Molly was and she got in on it too and just had an influx of ideas; we all did.
Their vocals came so easily, we all heard the same vocal melody and we didn't change it all that much. Once we realised how sexy and like, alternative our version was coming out we just ran with it. That's why we added in that whisper Molly does, too. Once we got in a groove we literally couldn't stop, I was losing my fucking mind. It was just so good, everything they tracked was amazing and every idea I had seemed to just manifest perfectly. But yeah, their vocals still get me, those harmonies and shit just came so easily. Molly came up with those background vocals in the bridge and got them in one take. And then Codie and I both had the same idea for the bridge, the way it falls away and comes back, and the clapping worked out so well too. Codie like, translates my ramblings into music and 'Girlfriend' is a perfect example of that. I know what I want and not how to get it, and Codie knows what I want and then some, and she knows how to create it perfectly. Molly had to go to work but then Amy came over and we sat her down to listen to it, no one else had heard it at that point.
Amy: I thought it was so fucking sexy! I was kind of, stunned. I was really fucking excited to work with it. It's unique and it's fun, some people have said they like it better than the original. It's one of those covers (she's giggling). I also never get sick of it, it's so smooth and slinky. Sometimes I forget that I talk the way I do and then I do and I'm like, "Oh my, what have I done?" It's such a classic song as well, you obviously know it's Avril when you hear it but it's got that Tether twist on it.
Caitlin: Yeah, it's like my favourite thing we've created this whole time. I just really objectively loved it, even though I was there through the whole process when I listen to it I kind of feel like I'm listening to just Codie and Molly. And they're so fucking good. And then when I remember I was a part of it, I'm like, "Oh fuck."
Molly: As for the video, I thought it would be cool and interesting for people to see how it was made, because there's loads of layers. You notice them more when you see them. We wanted people to say how much went into it and all of the cool parts and all those layers you may not notice if we had a normal video. The guys were kinda stuck on how to film it because we knew we wanted some kind of visual, and an "In the making" video was what I thought would work best.
We recorded the different parts, having the song playing in the background. We used Codie's camera and took turns filming each other doing the different parts. It was filmed in our house. That's where we record and eat and live. We all edited it together, and took turns when someone got tired or hungry.
Caitlin: Molly is so patient so she took a lot of time syncing the video up - such a painstaking task but it was super worth it.
Codie: I was raised on a lot of folk, and the soundtrack to my teenage angst included Muse and Bon Iver. I later expanded into electronic and R&B, getting obsessed with Flume and Frank Ocean. I’m into weird stuff too, like minimalism and experimental genres.
My personal library kinda kicked into overdrive once I met Caitlin though. We tend to challenge each other to find new music all the time. She’s got superb taste, and 90% of the time I’m just stalking her playlists because they’re so good.
Amy: I grew up listening to a lot of Paramore. I feel as they developed their style as a band I grew with them. Blink 182 influenced me a lot when I was younger and just starting bass, but in the last year or so, I have been broadening my musical palette to listen to more modern music such as Now, Now, PVRIS and the new Paramore album "After Laughter" (Absolutely love it!) They all fit the style of music that I want to be playing better.
Molly: I used to listen to a lot of folky/singer songwriter stuff. Mainly because all I played was acoustic guitar and I really wanted to learn cool picking patterns while singing. Ben Howard was my main influence early on and I was in awe of his intricate style of picking. I taught myself a lot of his songs and still play them regularly to this day. I first decided I wanted to play electric guitar when I saw a clip of Haim playing live. They had so much energy, they were exciting and they looked fucking cool. I realised I could do that too and so I saved for a guitar. These days I love Now, Now - I like music with interesting guitar lines like in After Laughter.
Caitlin: I don't know if I already mentioned her but Avril Lavigne was a big influence, probably my first real influence. Once I found Avril I moved on to stuff like Green Day and older Fall Out Boy. I really loved how dramatic their albums were, with like these pianos and organs and the whole rock opera thing with Green Day and all the brass in Fall Out Boy songs, and the keys. Anything that made me feel really intense emotion was good for me. I had a big pop country phase when I was around 16, that lasted for a while and all I listened to was Carrie Underwood.
I loved You Me At Six for ages, and their drummer Dan had a lot of cool shit going on.
Once I found Paramore though, my life changed. That might be an over exaggeration but nah. The drums, the fucking drums. I know Zac Farro left the band for a hot minute there but everything he's ever played on has fucked me up, and the stuff Taylor, their guitarist wrote for their new album fucks me up - Pretty sure at least 3 of us have mentioned it.
I think it was then I became interested in watching and learning from females, Hayley Williams being so incredible, especially in recent times led me to wanna find more of that. I eventually kinda realised what I had been deeming a well rounded music library really wasn't, so I made a conscious effort to improve my taste and what I was listening to. I was closed off to a lot of genres so I stopped that and it was magical.
PVRIS, were a big change for me, they incorporated synths back when I was like, what is that noise?? They're fucking amazing and they led me to crave more music like them. And then once I stumbled across Now, Now, I think what I wanted to play personally was solidified and my influences grew even more.
I listen to a lot more R&B now, like SZA and The Weeknd and just like literally anything I can get my hands on. Anything I see somebody else loving, especially the musicians I find so inspiring - including these guys. What's interesting and like, really cool to me though was when we all came together and decided we wanted to make music like these bands and do something unique on top of that, each of them released albums or singles that had taken a step deeper into like, just change. So much growth and change and deeper into the synths and the '80s vibes and the electronic fused with the alt rock. That for me was like, a very good thing. For some reason it made me feel like we were on the right track, like we were aligned with these people we respect so much.
Talk The Nice Rooms through the who, what, where, how and why of "Empty Spaces"
Tether / "Empty Spaces" (Demo)
3 mins 30secs
Codie: It's actually interesting because I was like 'lol, here's a funny loop' and I sent it to Caitlin and was like ha ha ha. I wrote an '80s doom track, and Caitlin was like "No that's cool! 'Lets make it less doom more sex!"'
Caitlin: For a long time it was called "Less Doom More Sex."
What she sent me was so cool, super '80s. It was the opening and the first drop of Empty Spaces. It stayed pretty much the same; I think she just moved like one chord. I was obsessed with it and really wanted to do something with it, so I kept pushing Codie to write more and not give up on it.
Codie: We laid some old lyrics over the top, and after Caitlin moved a few notes they fitted really well. Add some production layers, harmonies and that's basically how Empty Spaces was born. I think the chorus came last. I was just singing over it in the car and it ended up being the most demanding vocal I've written yet ..haha
Caitlin: I feel like, maybe I was sad, or feeling uninspired or something, because I remember Codie sent me the chorus to make me feel better. No one had heard it at that point and she had like, just done it. As expected, I lost my fucking mind. We recorded everything, added harmonies and all that stuff, and Molly came up with that lead line really quickly. I remember working on it a lot, like going a bit crazy trying to finish it. Amy wrote that dancy bass line, I kept insisting it had to be dancy to like, I really wanted it to be dancy haha.
Oh, and Molly's solo, so good. Amazing! That came later on. And then we decided to film that video, I had the idea to do it in one shot and then we figured out the logistics and my best friend came over and spun around in a circle 'til we got a good shot. Shout out to Kayleigh Hamilton for spinning around on the spot for a good hour. That's all there is really.
Have Tether been together long?
Caitlin: No, we haven't been together that long. We had a line up change around October, so November onwards really. We haven't played a single show yet, our live set is tricky to work out.
Codie is a genius at figuring shit out but it's hard and very unfamiliar. We're rehearsing a lot but we've been focusing on recording pretty much every day. We're aiming to debut in the next two months, we wanna be as good as possible once we get out there.
Future plans wise, we have a lot of big things in mind. There's a lot we wanna do and achieve and we're all kinda buzzing with anticipation to get out and do it. This band is our life, and we want it to stay that way. I think most people's goals in music are the same, we want to make this our career and do it for a living.
That's the simple answer.I won't list all of our specific and individual aspirations because we would be here a few years.
But yeah, there's a lot we wanna do.
..And we're gonna do it!
My thanks to Codie, Amy, Caitlin and Molly: aka Tether for the interview.