In the concept album Times and Tides by Walking Relic, three strangers find themselves in a strange land where natural laws cannot be relied on. In this Creator Conversation, I interviewed the “epic indie alternative” band about their music, the story in Times and Tides, why they went that route, and more.
How do you describe yourself and your music?
Our music is best described (I think) as “epic indie alternative.” Almost all of our music has an “epic” feel to it. Some of it though would fall more in an “indie” category while other songs have more of an “alternative rock” flavor.
What pushed you to share your music with the world?
To quote Dan Aykroyd in “The Blues Brothers” I felt we were “on a mission from God.” When this album was just starting its inception in me, I was questioning everything (like one should) about my identity, beliefs, purpose-everything. This album is the story of me chasing a fragment of truth that was peaking through the wilderness of my own illusions. So, when we finished the album, I never felt it was the right time to share my story. Until now. When I saw the crushing reality and almost hopelessness that COVID-19 blanketed the world with, I almost audibly heard “ it’s time.” It was time for me to share that same “fragment of truth” that same “light” that helped guide me from ruins to the beginnings of completion.
Use only seven words to describe your album, Times and Tides.
The one journey all must take eventually.
Tell us about the story told in Times and Tides.
The actual plot is very simple. Three strangers find themselves in a strange land- one where natural laws (as we know them) cannot be relied on. This is almost a dreamland of sorts, a land that can be absurd at first glance- almost a purgatory. The three strangers can’t recall much about how they got to the strange land (and the more time they spend there, the less they remember about their lives before arriving), but they do know that they are drawn by this mysterious light. The light ignites something in them they’ve never felt or experienced before and almost (if even for a moment) makes them feel a nostalgia for a home they’ve never been to ( at least in conscience recognition)— a place of ones true identity.
So, the three sojourn miles across this land experiencing many things along the way (trees littered with their past, a pond of light that speaks only truth, a door with the number four on a mountain peak, a desert with distorted mirrors), continually chasing this light. After facing the worst of themselves in the desert, the three have revelations about their true identity, about the lighthouse, the land, and their newfound purpose. To retell.
What was your inspiration to go with this route for your album?
My inspiration to go this route was really fueled by my own story of spiritual awakening and self discovery that I was experiencing as I was writing the story for the album. It all started in the library at Randell University (then, called Hillsdale) I was working on something and wrote the words “through the wind the waves crash on. Marking the moments our lives describe” I then wrote the rest of the words to that poem from “When Time is Gone.”
After, came the short story “The Sailboat and The Sea” which ultimately led (that and a whole lot of other stories, songs, etc.) to the plot of “Times and Tides.” I wanted the story to be told from “letters” like a lot of classic novels are written in the style of. I also knew I wanted it to feel almost like Greek theatre, with parts of the story being told from the perspective of the chorus calling out to the muses and letting the audience know what was happening to the three on the journey. I definitely wanted it to feel to the reader/listener as much as a journey as the one I took personally from the confusion, ruin and the overall wilderness of myself to the beginnings of completion.
What was the greatest challenge you had when making the album?
The greatest challenge we had making this album was probably getting the recordings EXACTLY how we pictured them. Getting the right feel was difficult, but having Trent Bell as a guide and a resource ( who is full of amazing ideas) made it happen. He really helped shape this album in the vision we had.
What’s something positive you try to keep in mind or do when negativity surrounds you?
Negativity will never end on the earth as we now know the earth to be. It’s very easy for me to let anxiety take over or to get in a rut of “all is futile.” For me, I’ve taken Socrates’ words “an unexamined life is not worth living” to heart. When I stop and examine my life, I can always find the good among the sea of bad. When I pray (and lately I’ve done a TON of that) or meditate on scripture, poetry, or any current text I’m reading, I think ‘can I help someone else someway today?’ If I can, I do. When I do- even if it’s just one person- the positive in my life outweighs the negative. So I’ll breathe once more.
What’s your favorite Lighthouse in Oklahoma?
So this is going to be quite embarrassing, but I’ve never actually been to a lighthouse in Oklahoma. We were (trying to save some face here) going to do photos at the lighthouse at lake Hefner. Stay the pitchforks, please!
What do you want for listeners to take away after listening to the album?
What I would like people to take away after listening to this album is that in every journey of life, through the good, the bad and all in between there will be an opportunity for reflection. Take that opportunity. Examine yourself. Are you who you’re supposed to be? Are you living your true north? Every breath is an opportunity for personal and spiritual growth. Relax. Breathe. Reflect. Realize. Realize that your own brokenness doesn’t define you, but can help guide you. Though times in our journey may seem bleak, there is always hope. Let the lighthouse (whatever your lighthouse ends up being) guide you to your true home, to your true self and therefore to a peace beyond.
What are some of your favorite places to perform or listen to live music in Oklahoma?
Some of my favorite places to play would definitely be: The Deli, Red Brick Bar, Bison Witches, Hilo club, VZDs, and 51st Street Speakeasy. To listen to live music my favorite place might be The Opolis.
What else would you like people to know about yourself and your music?
One other thing I really want to drive home about our album is that it is a true concept album- not just songs with a general theme weaved throughout- the songs are meticulously put where they are to coincide with the plot of the story- which you can read in the “about” section for every song on bandcamp. Think of every song as a chapter. The story “Times and Tides” as a whole is also technically two parts. The first part “Times” is the first 6 songs ending with “Galaxy Quest.” The second part “Tides” starts with “Hope” and ends with “When Time is Gone.” “Lighthouse” is kind of the epilogue of the story. I like to refer to this part of the story as “the retelling.” One other thing in this long-winded answer, the short story “The Sailboat and The Sea” is a prequel to “Times and Tides” it is also on bandcamp as an audiobook.
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