Interview: Underwater Tiger

Made up of two sets of brothers, upstate New York’s Underwater Tiger latest album Where Miles Become Meaning‘ is a compelling and compassionate mix of upbeat and emotional pop-rock songs which contain both musical and lyrical depth.

With influences ranging from Yellowcard to Death Cab For Cutie to Bon Iver to Sigur Ros, the Horseheads quintet produce a multitude of soaring choruses, vocal harmonies and layered guitars on ‘Where Miles Become Meaning’ and the final result is a bright, solid record that gives the band plenty of potential to move forward.

Already Heard recently spoke to Underwater Tiger to find out more about the band, the album, the video for ‘The Summer Came’ and more.

Already Heard: Could you introduce yourself and your role in Underwater Tiger?
Matt: My name is Matt Furstoss, the youngest of the Furstoss brothers. I sing and play drums in Underwater Tiger. I sort of take the unofficial manager/administrative assistant/cute secretary role as well.

Nate: My name is Nate Miner, the younger brother of Andy Miner, and I do Vocals/Guitar/Piano in the band. I am 21 years old and am a Junior, Sound Recording Technology student at Ithaca College, with a minor in Classical Guitar.

Andy: I’m Andy Miner. I play guitar in Underwater Tiger and I’m Nate’s older, sexier brother.

Ron: Hi, my name is Ron Furstoss. Of the triad of Furstoss’ in the band, I am the eldest. Beyond my role as the bass player, I also take a lot of interest in writing and critiquing UT’s lyrics.

I’m Anthony Furstoss aka Budj.  I play guitar and auxiliary instruments which are mostly e-bow and some piano…at least for this album.  I also kind of act as the “Donatello” of the group for our gear acquisitions.

AH: For new listeners, how would you describe your sound?
Matt: Generically, I would say catchy alternative rock, but it really depends on what song you are listening to. A friend recently made the point that we were almost figuring out our sound with this album, and I tend to agree. Each song is very different, but there are a few things that tie it all together: catchy choruses, multiple overlaying/harmonizing voices, and an affinity for delay pedals.

AH: Your sound has been compared to bands Yellowcard and Death Cab For Cutie. What are you thoughts on this?
Andy: I like the dichotomy of the two bands we are described as, which I feel explains us a lot.  There are many different types of songs on the album derived from our many influences.  I feel like every song has its own direction and inspiration tied back to one main thematic album.  I’m excited to discover the next direction we take as a band.

AH: Were they the type of bands that have influenced you?
Nate: They are definitely in the same genre or category of bands, with our main influences coming from all the bands that thrived in the early 2000’s i.e Taking Back Sunday, Brand New, The Used, Thursday. But nowadays, and with our differentiation in age amongst the band, we are all into different kinds of music and newer popular music like, personally, Bon Iver, Sigur Ros, The Boxer Rebellion, This Will Destroy You, and I think that these new popular styles meshing with our past influences while growing up is really what is creating the sound that we are going for now.

AH: Can you tell us about your hometown, Horseheads in New York? Has it influenced you in anyway?
Nate: It’s definitely a “small town” in Upstate, NY. But we all went to a good high school, where we walked around wearing our favorite band t-shirts everyday with our bangs hanging over our eyes, aka Andy and I. I think the biggest influence that Horseheads had on our lives was the fact that our town has been very open to live music. Your hometown will always influence your music.  The relationships formed and lost in your hometown are what has molded who you are today.

AH: You recently released your debut album ‘Where Miles Become Meaning.’ How did the album come together?
Underwater Tiger: Musically, the album came together very organically. The five of us work really well together because we make room for each other’s ideas (not to say there isn’t the occasional argument). Logistically, working full time for most of us, and going to school full time for Nate while gigging to make money to support recording was a major obstacle. What finally pushed it to completion was a self-imposed deadline that we stuck to and thankfully our producer was onboard with us the whole time.

AH: The album has a mixture of pop-rock and soaring melodies. Did the record turn out how you wanted it to be?
Matt: Honestly, the record turned out better than we had hoped, considering the fact that we did it on an incredibly low budget, limited facilities, and with a young producer. There are always things that could’ve been done differently, for better or worse, but I am incredibly happy with it. That one little drum hit being a tad late or that note being just slightly out of tune makes it human and gives it character. In terms of the melodies and pop-rock aspects, that is exactly what we aimed for.

AH: In addition tracks like ‘One November Night’ are slower. How important was it for you to show your more delicate side?
Anthony: With a full length album, I feel like it was important to all of us that we express many different sides of ourselves throughout the album, and I believe that we achieved it. Musically, we have our very hard moments, our poppy moments, ambient and experimental moments, as well as our soft emotional moments. Aside from that, lyrically, we have our intense, metaphorically dark lyrics, our teenage angst love and hate lyrics, as well as our delicate, heart wrenching lyrics. It was really important to us that we didn’t stay one-dimensional.

AH: How has the response been to album?
Matt: So far, the response has been incredibly positive. Every review we’ve seen has rated it very highly and everyone we talk to that has heard it loves it. It seems like everyone has a different favorite track on the record which speaks to the diversity of the songs and reinforces my thought that we would be able to reach a wide audience with the album. I’m more than excited for our future. What happens next is up to many different circumstances and luck, and we are ready to take on whatever comes to us.

AH: What would you consider the standout songs and why?
Nate: I would say that the standout song are “Bones”, “Rocky Loves Emily”, and “The Summer Came”. I think that those 3 songs are where we really shine with our own unique sound as Underwater Tiger. I don’t think that those songs are very easy to compare with another bands sound. I remember the first time that I heard Matt’s demo of “Bones”. That was the first demo that really caught my attention. I had written Rocky Loves Emily a long time ago back in high school, and let it sit and develop over many years. When I was able to bounce ideas off the rest of the guys in the band, and I had influence from Jonsi’s album “Go”, I came up with the piano line, which really brought the song to where it is now I believe. “The Summer Came” is the standout song though. In terms of “breaking from the mold” and doing something structurally, or musically different than the typical song, that song is it. It’s catchy, delicate, heavy, and emotional all at the same time. The outro of that song is my favourite part of the album.

AH: You’ve also released a music video for ‘The Summer Came.’ How did the video come together?
Nate: Our other music videos actually came together a lot easier than this one did. We had the outside footage to the video shot a year before the video came out, which was surprisingly a long time for us to put aside making a music video, during our very ambitious year where we released an album and 4 music videos. But with the help of my college roommate, Brad Patocka, in filming the exterior shots of the video, and the trust of our colleague Matt Giammichele down in Florida, we gave him all the time he needed, and relied mainly on his editing skill to make that video what it is.

AH: Now you’ve released the album. What can we expect to see from Underwater Tiger in the coming months?
Andy: Hopefully to hit as many states and venues as we can to spread our music to as many ears as possible.  We are chomping at the bit to get back in the studio and write and record an EP as we have spent so much time on this record that we are anxious to get started on some new music and pursue our next direction in the band. We are also in the middle of filming/producing our 5th music video. This one will be the best one yet!

AH: Finally why should people take an interest in Underwater Tiger?
Matt: I think we write music that is relatable to a lot of people, and we are developing a sound that is different from most music out there today. We have shown that it is possible to independently make and internationally distribute an album, produce professional quality videos, and get oneself heard by people from all over. We are also pretty cool dudes, if you get to know us. Whether you know us personally or just read our twitter posts, we hope to make you laugh, cry (in a good way) and maybe look at things in a new light. At the very least, you can listen to some pretty good music.

‘Where Miles Become Meaning’ by Underwater Tiger is available now.

Underwater Tiger links: Official Website|Facebook|Twitter

Words by Sean Reid

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