Written by Travis Shosa
This Album Auto-nalysis interview was originally published on COUNTERZINE on January 6, 2020. It has been re-edited and adapted for Stamens/Pistils/Parties.
Album Auto-nalysis is a regular feature where we ask some of our favorite artists to breakdown their albums track-by-track, to provide further insight into the thoughts, feelings, and artistic processes that went into making them. For this edition, we asked Lyndsi Austin and Chris Qualls of Los Angeles power pop band Tidal Babes to detail their EP OMG.
Lyndsi Austin: “When we first started the project, we really wanted to have everything lined up before we went public. Aesthetic, pictures, socials, marketing and especially the music. Because Chris Qualls is a songwriter/producer for Cutcraft Music/Concord Publishing, we were able to write and record 20+ songs before we even announced the band. “OMG” was the standout of the first batch and we knew that we wanted to work up to it. We basically worked for a year building up our online presence and Spotify numbers before we even considered releasing this one. Our friend Conor Long made a great video for “OMG” and we made it the single/title track for the whole EP. It’s been getting played on some cool radio stations out here in SoCal like 106.7 KROQ. We’re actually releasing the radio edit this Friday with no “fucks” given.”
Chris Qualls: “This song is a lot of fun. The whole idea behind Tidal Babes is writing every song in under an hour, so we don’t over think everything. In sessions for Cutcraft/Concord, we’ll spend the whole time trying to make every aspect of the song perfect. It takes the fun out of it. A writer’s initial idea is usually the best anyway, so we have a “trust your gut” policy with TB. On “Hang,” we wanted to do something Ramones-esque. We wrote this one with my writing partner Eric Straube.”
Austin: “This one gets stuck in my head all the time. We wrote “Tamagotchi” with Johnny Robelot and Jen Rose from the LA grunge/punk band Keen. It’s definitely got their influence all over it. After we finished the demo, we kinda steered in to the grunge element with the frosting and the production. The guitar solo is very Nirvana-inspired. Lyrically, I love the weirdness. I have a great memory of Jen and I sitting on their front steps on a sunny day smoking a joint and working out the verses. I would have never had the idea to write a song about ’90s digital pets on my own. Such a fun song–thanks Jen and Johnny.”
Austin: “To me, this is just California summed up in three minutes and 16 seconds. A sassy girl drinking, smoking weed and not letting anyone tell her what to do. It’s empowering while also being lighthearted and fun. Gotta live your best life and not get caught up in other people’s opinions.”
5. “Gay for You”
Qualls: “This is a really special one to me. This is also the only song that Lyndsi and I wrote on the EP without any additional co-writers. I always love ballads, but we had to figure out how to make it work and maintain all the pop/rock, surf, punk elements that make up the Tidal Babes sound. Since the subject is somehow still controversial even in 2019/2020, we wanted the lyrics to be extremely conversational so that everyone could relate to them. It’s about that moment where you’re with someone and you realize, “damn, I’m in trouble.” When you like someone so much that they’re all you can think about. When the rest of the world just melts away regardless of gender, sexuality, religion, social class. Musically, I’m very proud of the transition into the bridge and how we use a key change to get to that last chorus. It shows a little sophistication, in my opinion.”
You can follow Tidal Babes on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Bandcamp to keep up-to-date with the band. Further reading available via EARMILK, Rattler, Tattoo, Rock Your Lyrics, Rock Life Magazine, Folk N Rock, Pure Grain Audio, and Vinyl Chapters.
Travis Shosa is the founder and editor-in-chief of Stamens/Pistils/Parties. Formerly the runner of COUNTERZINE, he has bylines at Pitchfork, The Alternative, and Post-Trash among others.
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