Scranton/Philly indie rockers The Tisburys ‘Walk Away’ in quirky quarantine music video
The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way music has been released this year as well as the way music videos are filmed.
This is the case on both counts for Philadelphia via Scranton indie rock band The Tisburys, who are slowly releasing singles from their upcoming album and recording videos in quarantine.
Today, they debuted a weird but fun video for their latest song, “Walk Away,” that was filmed separately from their respective homes and directed by guitarist John Domenico, credited as Gregory P. Tomatoes (a.k.a. The Tooth Goose). They say the “bouncy” new tune is for fans of The Black Keys, Spoon, and Arctic Monkeys.
“‘Walk Away’ is a bit of a departure from The Tisburys’ previous work. Originally conceived as a soundcheck riff, singer/songwriter Tyler Asay wrote the rest of ‘Walk Away’ as a songwriting exercise that slowly built into a powerhouse live track, which the band worked to recreate in the studio. Musically, it takes influence from garage rock and bands such as The Black Keys and White Stripes, with an angular spin and a tongue-in-cheek self-awareness,” the band explained in a press release.
Their previous single, “Fading Light,” premiered on NEPA Scene in May and serves as the lead single from their next album, “Sun Goes Down,” due out later this year.
“I’ve always been in love with the catchy college rock of the ‘80s and ‘90s (R.E.M. and The Replacements) and anthemic mid-aughts indie rock (Wilco and The National),” Asay told NEPA Scene in an exclusive interview.
“‘Fading Light’ is a process song about moving through a relationship and the push/pull that comes along with that. Originally, it was inspired by Bruce Springsteen – I wanted the solo to be a saxophone! – but as we started playing the song together live, it came back to that core ‘Tisburys’ feel, which included John playing a kickass Thin Lizzy-esque solo.”
Asay grew up in Clarks Summit and played at open mic nights in and around Scranton. He and Domenico played covers of The Beatles, Fleet Foxes, and Bon Iver, but he knew early on that he wanted to write his own songs, so they formed The Tisburys in 2012.
“After building up a catalog of original songs, John and I recruited his brother Matt to play bass and our friend Matt Montella to play drums. We played a bunch of shows with that lineup before I went to college in West Chester, but we would still get together and play shows when we could,” Asay said.
“After graduation, I moved to Philadelphia and recruited some college friends, Andrew Huston and Doug Keller, to play drums and bass, respectively. I still keep in touch with the Matts, though, and we still play music together whenever we can.”
Originally, they were called Tisbury Obama as a pun regarding the name of a friend, but they dropped the presidential moniker to “make it a little more timeless.”
“I’ve always seen ‘The Tisburys’ name as a collective or ‘family band’ anyways, like The Traveling Wilburys, because we would always be rotating through this cast of musical characters,” he continued.
“In the beginning, it was definitely more freak folk-influenced with acoustic guitars and wacky, impressionistic lyrics, which was what we were interested in at the time. I’m still ‘folk-influenced’ when it comes to storytelling – it’s just become more focused and direct, which comes from getting older. I’m more interested in tightly composed pop songs than I was in the past, while still having a lyrical-driven story that makes sense.”
Following their debut EP “Sacks of Phones” in 2015, 2017’s “Crooked Roads” EP, a few singles, and the two-part “Wax Nostalgic” EPs in 2019, the current Tisburys are moving in a more indie rock/power pop direction with “Sun Goes Down,” which Asay has been working on since wrapping “Wax Nostalgic.” The group started recording those songs at the end of last fall with their good friend and frequent collaborator Justin Nazario at his home studio in West Chester. Nazario engineered and produced the album, and it was mastered by Alex Saltz (Vampire Weekend, Deer Tick, Steven Van Zandt).
“I would technically view [‘Sun Goes Down’] as our first full-length, only because ‘Wax Nostalgic’ was released in two separate parts. However, it does have more of a ‘second album’ vibe. We do have some Scranton-adjacent plans for our first EP, ‘Sacks of Phones,’ which recently celebrated its fifth anniversary,” Asay said.
“Our last record, ‘Wax Nostalgic,’ was all about reflecting on the past. When I started writing songs for a follow-up, the recurring theme I kept founding was moving on from the past, which was a logical next step in the Tisburys story. The concept of ‘fading’ kept coming up, about moving into the next stages of life, with my younger years fading further and further from memory. It’s become more about focusing on the future realistically for the first time in my life. Changing tides!”
The tides have changed dramatically with the coronavirus, but he sees the situation as “both a curse and a blessing” in this case.
“The original plan was to release the album over the summer and do some touring to support it. Since that can’t happen anytime soon, we’ve decided to release singles steadily throughout the summer to keep interest in the band up and release the album in the fall. We’ve also been putting finishing touches on songs remotely and, in the process, we’ve decided to add a couple more songs to the final product,” he noted.
“I have hopes, but it seems pretty obvious at this point that we won’t be seeing any live music, especially in large group settings, until next year. With that said, couldn’t we still go to a large park where a band happens to be playing as long as people follow social distancing? As long as people continue to wear masks in public and don’t ruin it for everybody else, I have a feeling that next summer could be prime concert time. The waiting is the hardest part.”
In the meantime, fans can watch a live “Quarantine Edition” of The Tisburys’ 2017 song “Heart of Chrome,” shot a few weeks ago in a more traditional socially distanced format:
Photo by Dylan Eddinger Photography