Formerly known as Glow Marrow, TOWER is the project of longtime friends Derek Coburn and Darin Green. They’ve only released two tracks (both from a 7″ dropping October 2nd via B3SCI Records), but they’ve already established themselves as an indie pop powerhouse. We wanted to know about the band so we met up with the duo in Venice Beach to ask Coburn some questions as photographer Dillon O’Neal shot some pics.
TOWER is a unique moniker for a band. Is there a story behind it?
“It’s a bit convoluted, but my friend Ryder [Bach of Body Parts] –who produced ‘Can’t Vibe’ and ‘Teenage Miracle’ with us– and I were recording a friend’s project early last year. Ryder and I had been talking about making a production duo and we were looking for names. During a really long session the drummer Ian –who now weirdly is drumming for TOWER— was joking about how someone should make a band called Tower Records. Ryder and I talk a lot about names or images or just ways of anchoring the writing process with something that isn’t musical and he latched onto the name Tower. I think he wanted to use it for one of his projects but when we were midway through the production of ‘Can’t Vibe’ and felt like we had something really special, I asked if I could steal it and he was very into letting us use it. The name seemed to match the vibe we were going for very well. I made a TOWER logo and it ended up being a visual anchor for a lot of production decisions for ‘Can’t Vibe’ and ‘Teenage Miracle.'”
You and Darin have known each other since 7th grade. Did you always know you would be making music together for this long?
“Though we took lessons at the same music store, would see each other at the recitals, and one time jammed on ‘Linus and Lucy’ with me on piano and Darin on guitar in eighth grade, we really didn’t bond musically and start a serious creative relationship until late high school. Some time in our junior year Darin asked me to play bass for his butt-rock band primarily because my Dad had a space we could practice in. I accepted having never played bass before and was hoping to just transition into playing guitar as quickly as possible. I ended up getting really into bass and we went through a pretty long period of sinking into collaboration and feeling out writing with each other. I think after a year or so it was clear we were pretty attached to writing together. I think we’d be most surprised that we weren’t making prog-rock or some heavy drop D guitar stuff. There are a lot of awful Yes inspired demos I hope no one but my Mom has.”
What do you want people to experience from your music?
“For the tracks we’ve released, we really envisioned them being the soundtrack to some twenty-year-old’s party in The Valley. We have a great affinity for music –or any creative endeavor– that’s made with a very specific focus and it’s helpful to have a situation or visual image that guides where the production or writing goes. We wanted to have dirty, high-impact, party tracks. There’s a lot of nuance and maturity lyrically, but the heartbeat of these songs was always a bunch of youngish people making bad decisions together. Also we’d love it if they got stuck in people’s heads. Gotta’ respect a good hook. Except that Fetty Wap song [‘Trap Queen‘].”
You claim that living in The Valley influences your music. How so?
“The Valley just has a very uncool vibe to it. It’s old people in crappy apartments without A/C that they’ve lived in since 1978, people that just got to L.A. from Michigan to try and make it as actors, sons and daughters of TV producers coming down in BMW’s from The Hills. It’s strip malls and sweltering heat. It reminds me of Steely Dan’s ‘Bad Sneakers,’ Boogie Nights, and that one line from that Blue Oyster Cult song when he says ‘home in the valley.’ It’s just not somewhere where you’re likely to bump into everyone from the band that played The Echo last night. While all of this is totally in my head and not real, it gave me incentive to try and think of TOWER songs as not needing to appeal to what I thought were eastside conventions. I wanted to find a sleazy, poppy, grimy Valley vibe that to us was largely untapped. Whether that’s clear to the listener isn’t really important. To me it’s impossible to separate your surroundings from what you are creating and our surroundings have been The Valley for most of our lives.”
Do you have plans for a debut album?
“We have lots of songs that we are really into. I’d love for anyone and everyone to give us money to work on them with a producer and record in a place that isn’t my bedroom. Mixing ‘Can’t Vibe’ and ‘Teenage Miracle’ with Chris Coady at Sunset Sound was an awesome experience and we really clicked with him. I’d love to be able to make a record with him and have someone as talented as he is involved from an earlier point in the creative process. We got a lot of cool ideas we want to explore and we are optimistic that someone is gonna give us the platform to express them.”
TOWER will perform tomorrow (9-30) at No Vacancy.