Interview: The Tower and The Fool

Earlier this year Providence, Rhode Island six-piece The Tower and The Fool released their debut full-length ‘How Long’ to critical acclaim.

Having originally started out as a songwriting project between Alex Correia, formerly of Therefore I Am, and Chris Rosenquest, The Tower and The Fool eventually grew to a full band with drummer Mike Poorman (ex-Hot Rod Circuit), Bryan Donahue on bass, Zac Clark on keys, and long time friend Chris Capaldi on guitar making up the rest of the band.

With an EP independently released in late 2010, The Tower and The Fool joined the ever-popular label Run For Cover Records last year. Since then the band have released a 7" and more recently ‘How Long,’ a collection of delicately crafted songs which resonates with a warming, mature feel that leave compelled throughout.

Already Heard spoke to vocalist/guitarist Alex Correia to discuss a number of topics. Correia talked to us about how the songwriting project between Rosenquest and him began, joining Run For Cover Records, their influences, future plans, the meaning behind the bands name and more.

Already Heard: How did the songwriting project between you and Chris start out?
Alex Correia: Chris and I met sometime in 2007 or 2008 and ended up becoming good friends. I had always been a fan of his solo work and we had always talked about writing tunes together. I used to be in a band called therefore I am and while recording (the whole band had lived in an apartment Chris and I had in Rhode Island) we toyed with a song based on a piano progression I had written, the name I had for that project was the sound of human lives (which ended up becoming tia’s album name) anyway, I ended up living with Chris on and off between tours and when Therefore I Am ended up calling it quits I came home and we started toying with more and more ideas for songs.

At that same time we had both been going through a lot of similar issues in our lives, one of them being bad break ups with our then, repsective significant others. So it was natural that we hashed out our feelings for them via music. Once we wrote about 5 songs we called our friend Mike Poorman who has a recording studio called Strange Ways and he tracked the tunes as well as played drums on them. Following that we called in a few other friends, Zac Clark, Chris Capaldi and later Bryan Donahue and the band was born.

<a href=“http://runforcoverrecords.bandcamp.com/album/how-long” data-mce-href=“http://runforcoverrecords.bandcamp.com/album/how-long”>How Long by The Tower And The Fool</a>

AH: How did the rest of the band come together and how has the additions help the band grow?
Alex: Well I guess I spoiled some of that question with the last answer but its helped us grow in so many ways. Everyone in the band is a song writer on their own. Chris and I usually come up with foundations for songs: vocal paterns/lyrics and basic chord structures and following that everyone tweaks and builds on top. In the same way someone would build a house. Its a really great dynamic and I’m really luck to have found such talented people to play with.

AH: The Tower and The Fool has a different sound to your old bands. What has influenced this new sound and how would best describe it?
Alex: To be flat our honest chris had influenced me in a huge way. He actually taught me (which out knowing) how to play the way I do on an acoustic guitar. He uses a lot of pull offs and hammer ons, and different chord patterns that I sort of picked up on while living with him and watching him play solo. I think that was what lit the fuse of I guess, this old firecracker I had stored away from my childhood. I had always loved Neil Young, and growing up in the 90’s always listened to Counting Crows, Gin Blossoms, The Lemonheads, etc. I guess it was something I always had, I just never really used as a resource.

AH: Are there any bands that have influenced your sound?
Alex: The great thing about our band is that everyone likes similar music, but such different types at the same time. We never set out to sound like anything or anyone. I listen to a lot of modern country stuff in my truck when I’m bouncing around town. I like the form that most writers choose in that realm and I think I kind of mimic a lot of that with my writing these days. I always liked the idea of “simple is smart.”

AH: You’ve just released your new record, ‘How Long.’ Overall how would you describe the record to new fans?
Alex: I’d say its a great reflection of who we are as individuals. I know lyrically its something I’m very happy with. But its hard to describe something that you’ve made. It’s almost like asking me what kind of person I am. I can’t really self diagnose, you know?

AH: Throughout the record, there seems to be a lyrical theme of past relationships. Can you tell us what inspired you whilst writing ‘How Long’?
Alex: You are correct, its a so-called “break up album,” but I like to think we dive into other realms too, some of personal growth and that never ending search for happiness. With the songs and they’re subject matter: some are real, some are fiction, and some of the songs are blends of the two.

The band name in itself are two tarot cards, and when shown in a certain sequence it is supposed to symbolize a person being put in a situation with uncontrollable change, something like a natural disaster; hence the people falling from the tower and the lightning striking. The palace someone had build is crumbling and they can do nothing to change it. However, the fool is a very resilient person, he’s walking away from a kingdom, with a dog nipping his heal (society, reality) and is blindly walking off a cliff. To me this means he is a risk taker, and through his ideals and his actions he is reborn.

Another note about the record itself is that we chose the symbol from the world card for our cover. When one sees the world card he or she is supposed to share they’re experiences and pain and struggle with the world, only to help and further others well being- thus why we created a book with all our stories, photos, memories and ideas – most of which (writing wise) deal with past and lost love.

AH: Late last year you released a 7" with 2 songs (‘Die Alone’ and ‘NYC’) What was the decision behind releasing these songs first?
Alex: We really just wanted to get some of these songs out there but hadn’t settled on some of the others that later went on how long. ‘NYC’ was originally a full band song which we rewrote acoustically for the EP. And we had our own selfish reasons too: we like records and wanted a 7-inch for ourselves.

AH: Which songs on the record do you think best represent The Tower and The Fool’s sound?
Alex: It’s hard to say really. We are a 6 piece band with lots of styles, and the songs to come could change in a variety of directions. I guess we wanted to write songs that don’t all sound the same. Songs that can carry they’re own weight individually. I like the more upbeat stuff, and I like the slower songs, I also like the more free form stuff we did lyrically. Its hard to say. I guess that’s up to the listener and not the creator.

AH: The new record is being released Run For Cover Records, a label that has grown in popularity and reputation over the last 18 months. What drew you to joining RFC?
Alex: I lived in Boston for a long time and had met Jeff (Casazza -Run For Cover Records owner) through a lot of friends. After I wrote the first Tower song, he had asked me about and it and kept interest in the band through out the writing of the first EP. It was a pretty easy decision for us. We all sat around one night, drank beers and he asked “want us to put your record out?” We obviously said yes.

AH: Would you agree that The Tower and The Fool are a slightly different band compared to what Run For Cover usually release?
Alex: Yeah I guess you could say that, but who knows, maybe he’ll start working with more bands that sound similar to us.

AH: How has the reaction been to ‘How Long’ so far?
Alex: It’s been really great. I’ve read dozens of reviews and it seems like almost everyone is very surprised and happy at what we had created. I’m very thankful for that. It feels even better knowing that we have no agenda with the band. We’re not trying to be the next big thing, or selling 190,099 in merch per show, or sit on the internet and bombard people with stupid messages. We just wrote and write songs we like and put them out for others to hear, and hopefully enjoy. It’s pretty great.

AH: Now you’ve released the record, what do The Tower and The Fool have planned over the coming months?
Alex: Well things are busy in the Tower camp. Aside from the band we’ve all got things going on in our lives that keep us busy. I think we’ll continue to play shows around New England, and we’ve talked about starting some new material. Who knows. The name of the game for us is “just roll with it.”

AH: Do you have any plans to tour the UK/Europe?
Alex: Not as of right now. We’ve had some people talk to us about it, but nothing has really come up to be serious. We’d love to get out that way and play. Who knows, maybe someone will bring us out in the future.

AH: Do you have any final words to close the interview?
Alex: Remember that scene in Almost Famous when the guitar player from Stillwater is at the high school party tripping on acid and telling everyone they’re “real” and thats why he wants to be around them. We’re collectively that guy – minus the acid, and minus the jumping off a roof into a pool after saying “I dig music…. I’m on drugs!” but we do dig music.

‘How Long’ by The Tower and The Fool is out now on Run For Cover Records.

The Tower and The Fool links: Facebook|Twitter|MySpace|Bandcamp|‘How Long’ Album Review

Words by Sean Reid

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