Monday, October 17, 2016

Quiet Oaks, Tarot Death Card

Local band interviews from Urban Lounge this past Friday.

Posted By on October 17, 2016, 7:45 PM

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We've had a ton of concerts through the city this month, but there's still a large contingency of local shows that deserve your attention when you choose where to go every night. The biggest example being Muse Music's upcoming Battle Of The Bands starting on Tuesday, but we'll talk more about that next week. This past Friday I made my way over to Urban Lounge to check out SLC acts who are working hard to play and entertain, including Tarot Death Card and Quiet Oaks. We chat with both bands today while featuring photos from their performance this past weekend.

Tarot Death Card (Chloe Muse, Christian Austin, Aaron Moura, Caity Lee and McCormack Thompson)
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Tarot Death Card on Facebook

Gavin: Hey, everyone. First off, tell us a little bit about yourselves.

Chloe:
I’m Chloe. I write the lyrics and sing vocals. Other than TDC, I work three jobs, watch HGTV with my hubby and daydream about Disneyland.

Aaron: Hey, I’m Aaron, I play synth guitar and drums for TDC. Aside from that, I’m in my final year of film school at the U.

McCormack: 
I’m McCormack. I’m an artist studying mortuary science at SLCC. I’m a server at the Cheesecake Factory. I play bass for Tarot Death Card.

Caity: 
I’m Caity, and I play lead guitar in Tarot Death Card. I was born and raised in Salt Lake City. When I’m not doing band stuff, I do my best to make sure that I never stop creating art in one way or another.

Christian: 
I’m Christian. I play guitar in the band. I work at Wasatch brewpub as a server.

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What got each of you interested in music and what did you enjoy most growing up?

Chloe:
I’ve been singing and playing music since I can remember. I started banging on the piano in my diaper when I was 2 and had the Barney theme song memorized from start to finish around that time, too. When I was 9, I made a pop band with my two friends, and we called ourselves The 4evers. My fame-name was Star, and I still remember our hit single, “Firefly.” We tried to sell tickets to a neighborhood concert, but no one came. I remember I wanted to be like Annie Lennox.

Aaron: In middle school, I played alto sax. Then I saw School of Rock. This was right around the time I discovered alternative rock, and I knew right then and there in that theater that I wanted to play guitar.

McCormack: 
I played piano as a little kid and played the upright bass in the elementary orchestra. As a kid, I decided to quit all instruments and focus on sports to avoid anyone questioning my homosexuality. When I came out of the closet in 2015, I felt ready to embrace my creative side and picked up the bass guitar.

Caity: 
I’ve been interested in music since I can remember. When I was young my parents put me in piano lessons, I was too young to really appreciate it, though, and they always told me I would regret quitting, they were they right. As I grew older the more my interest, focus, respect and dedication toward music intensified. I’d go to local shows as much as I possibly could, it’s definitely what I enjoyed most growing up. Music [was] life.

Christian: 
When I was a newborn my mother would put headphones on me to help me sleep. Apparently, my favorite thing to listen to was Bob Marley. I’ve always had an obsession with music and discovering and listening to music.

How did each of you first get involved with the local music scene?

Chloe:
I started going to Kilby Court weekly once I got a car, in 2007. I moved to Salt Lake in 2009, and instantly became a groupie. Seven years later, it’s nice to be past that phase and be on the stage now.

Aaron: Before TDC, I played in another local band called Cupidcome. They’re still playing around town but they sound a lot different now. I only played a few shows with them but it was fun.

McCormack: 
When Tarot Death Card formed, we started playing at open-mic nights at The Woodshed. We reached out to Diabolical Records and Kilby Court, who invited us to play and we’ve been lucky to consistently play at local venues ever since.

Caity: 
I started going to local shows when I was 11 or 12. A large majority of my friends were in bands growing up, so supporting the local music scene was natural. Eventually, I ended up getting into photography and taking photographs for local bands. I remember always being so blown away by the talent of these musicians, and how they were able to make things happen for themselves. But Tarot Death Card is the first band that I’ve ever been a part of.

Christian: 
I was very involved in the music scene back home in California, so when I moved to SLC I was very interested in what venues to check out. Kilby and Urban have been the two spots that I have gravitated to the most.

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When did all of you first end up meeting each other?

Chloe:
Caity, Christian, McCormack, and myself all worked at Cheesecake Factory, and Aaron and McCormack met at a bar near BYU. The cosmos led us together because we are a mix-match of crazies.

Caity: Yeah, I met Chloe, Christian, and Mickey at The Cheesecake Factory which the four of us all worked. And I met Aaron, who was Mickey’s roommate when I was invited to hang out.

Aaron: I met Mickey years ago randomly at a bar in Provo. Fast forward to spring 2015, we were roommates and I had just returned from a trip to Brazil. He invited a bunch of co-workers over to hang out and that’s when I met everyone else.

McCormack: 
I met Aaron at a random bar in Provo back in 2012 and we eventually started living together at the beginning of last year.

Christian: We all met thanks to Mickey, essentially. He and I started hanging out and then I was introduced to Aaron. Caity and Chloe started hanging out with us and it was magic when the two ladies were introduced to the hangout.

How did you all come together to form Tarot Death Card?

Chloe:
A set of tarot cards, drugs/alcohol and sleepless nights.

Aaron: While I was in Brazil, the place I was staying at had a tarot deck. I was telling Mickey about it and it turns out that he had done a tarot reading while I was gone. So we went to Crones Hallow to buy a deck. Later that day, everyone else came over and we did a tarot reading to see if we should start a band. At this point, the five of us were hanging out almost every day and we had thrown around the idea of writing some original songs together. But that reading made it official, thus TDC was born.

McCormack: 
Aaron and I were simultaneously introduced to tarot while he was on vacation in Brazil and I was here in Utah. Tarot left a powerful impression on both of us and when we moved in together. We were eager to see what the cards had to say about the idea of us becoming a band. When we pulled the Death Card, we knew the cosmos was inviting us to end one chapter of our lives and to start something new, musical and fresh together.

Caity: 
Last year when we were all hanging out a bunch, I would always be playing my acoustic (because you should always have an instrument wherever you go). It wasn’t long before we decided to come together and form a band.

Christian: 
Aaron and I had a lot to talk about in terms of music. We decided to jam one night and there was some chemistry there so we kept on going.

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What influenced the indie/alternative electronica sound you make?

Chloe:
I don’t think we ever sat down and discussed, “What is our sound going to be?” It really is just a sound that comes from us all naturally because, in the beginning, we had no idea what we were doing, but it just worked.

Aaron: I’m a big fan of electronic composers like Dan Deacon, Animal Collective, Sylvan Esso and Tobacco. But I also love indie bands like Mac Demarco, Dr. Dog and Portugal. The Man. I think we’re trying to find a balance between a traditional rock band and modern electronic musicians, which isn’t easy but it sure is fun.

Caity: 
I listen to more indie/rock type bands, and that style comes out a lot in the way that I play.

Christian: 
Our sound is a product of us all having our artistic freedom as musicians. We all bring our own style and skill to the table to create the sound that we have. For the most part, the foundation of our music is Aaron and I writing our synth and guitar parts. Then Aaron will put together a dope beat to bring it all together. Chloe has always amazed me with her ability to write melodies. Caity and Mickey are the two rats that add all the style. With her fills and his bass, it adds so much to the overall sound.

Do you tend to write as a group or do you kinda write and create separately then bring it together?

Chloe:
Our best songs we write together. Aaron and Christian will start with a chord progression on synth and guitar, and then Caity starts noodle groovin’, McCormack does his thang and I just sing whatever comes to mind.

Aaron: It’s a bit of a mix of both. Most of the songs are written as a group, though. We actually have a recording of the first time we ever played Earth Rebirth and Main Street. It was a completely spontaneous moment, we were playing our acoustic guitars on that little stage on Main Street in Park City at 2 in the morning. None of us expected to come up with anything that would stick, but luckily we had a recorder going and when we listened to it later, we knew we had something special. Those are still two of my favorite songs to play.

McCormack: 
We tend to build off of each others’ chord progressions. We like to collaborate and also give each other the freedom to interpret and contribute to the music.

Caity: 
I feel it’s a little of both. Either way, I always write my own parts to the music we play.

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How was it first starting out and gaining a following in SLC?

Chloe:
We performed at the Woodshed every Wednesday night for open-mic night, and then one day Kilby contacted us and asked if we wanted to play a show. That was last December. We played with no beats, and we had only four songs. I think we are very fortunate to have the family support that we have. Almost every show, at least one of our parents are there. LOVE YOU, MOM AND DAD!

Aaron: We started out playing open-mic nights at the Woodshed. I think it’s closed down now, but that was kind of strange. It was more like a jam night where random musicians would show up and just sort of figure something out on stage. But they didn’t mind having us go on and play our songs. I think that really helped us get comfortable being on stage together.

McCormack: 
We were blessed to have a lot of support from family and friends from the very beginning. We felt lucky to be on stage performing with each other.

Caity: 
When TDC first started playing live, for me personally, was incredibly difficult. Since this is the first band I’ve ever been in, playing with Tarot Death Card was the first time I’d ever been on stage. My nerves would always get the best of me, I still get just as nervous, but thank satan, as our following crowd gets larger, it gets a bit easier every time.

Christian: 
Well I still feel like we are still starting out. The following is something that we are still trying to grab, hopefully, more people out there will open their ears to our sound.

You've been together just over a year, how has it been solidifying as a band and playing more frequently?

Chloe:
It’s awesome to have a jam space at Positively 4th Street, and being able to play whenever we want. It’s something to look forward to, and it’s been so awesome to connect with all of the other local bands. Salt Lake has some of the coolest people.

Aaron: Salt Lake is great. There are a lot of really awesome venues downtown. I love playing live and it’s really rewarding seeing the crowds get a little bigger over time.

McCormack: 
It’s a dream come true to have the opportunity to play on the same stages that other established musicians and bands have played on. Playing frequently has allowed us to improve the music and become performers. We’ve also introduced a visual element to the live set which has made our performance quite mesmerizing and hypnotic.

Christian: 
The amount of shows that we have been playing lately has been a complete blessing. It has been an honor playing music with not only my wife, but my best friends. I think it's safe to say that we have all been through a path of self-discovery as friends and as individuals.

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Are you working on an album or an EP at the moment, or mainly playing around town?

Chloe:
Both! Our EP is recorded, we are just in the process of getting it mixed and mastered. In the meantime, we play at least two shows a month, if not more, so we are keeping busy.

Aaron:  It’s just in the final stages now. Hopefully, it’ll be out very soon!

McCormack: 
We are also working on writing our second EP.

Any plans for a tour yet?

Chloe:
Once we are rich enough to rent a van. We are accepting donations from anyone and everyone!

McCormack: 
We hope to go on some mini tours to Colorado, Idaho and eventually to the Pacific Northwest and Southern California.

Christian:
I don’t see any plans for a tour in the near future, I personally think there is a lot more work that is going to be involved in order for a tour to be an option for us.

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What can we expect from the band going into 2017?

Chloe:
The future is impossible to know, but I think it’s going to be good. Que sera sera—I’m just enjoying the ride.

McCormack: 
We hope to have both EPs released and begin setting tour dates. As we continue to evolve as friends and musicians, we hope to expand our sound and share our music with the world.

Caity: 
Good-ass fucking music.

Christian: 
Expect our EP to be released and some new material for our upcoming shows.


Quiet Oaks (Mike Moon, Spencer Sayer, Dane Sandberg, Jon Butler and Kramer McCausland)
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QuietOaksMusic.com

Gavin: Hey guys, first off, how have some of you been since we last chatted?

Dane:
We’ve been great! Keeping busy!

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To catch everyone up, most of the band used to be in The North Valley. How was your time in that project?

Spencer:
The North Valley was amazing. It taught us a lot about playing music together, and even more about what it takes to be in a band. You’ll hear people say that if you want to improve, you should surround yourself with like-minded people. That’s exactly what we did, and it was the best decision we’ve ever made. The experiences and relationships we made with that band are a big part of who we are.

What eventually led to you guys disbanding and ending The North Valley?

Dane:
The hardest part of being in a band is just being in a band. Music is the easy part. Life is always pulling you in another direction. Whether it is work, school, family, relationships or whatever. Balancing life and music is tough. One of our members had to focus on life. We wanted to focus on music. It didn’t seem right to continue as The North Valley without him. So we started something new.

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What made you decide to form a new band so quickly?

Spencer:
When The North Valley ended, we had to reprioritize ourselves. It’s easier to balance music and life when you decide that music is your life. So we decided to take things a bit more serious. We didn’t want to lose any of the momentum we had built up, so we hit the ground running.

How did you go about finding new members? Where did the name Quiet Oaks come from?

Dane:
We rearranged some instrumentation, so all we needed was a bass player. Mike Moon was our tour manager with The North Valley, and also happens to be an amazing player. So we threw him on bass, and we were ready to go. There are a lot of stories as to where the name came from. In all honesty, we just wanted something that fit the aesthetic and was easy to remember.

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What made you shift musically from Americana rock to more indie rock and blues?

Spencer:
The sound can probably be attributed to our live show. Playing live is what we love, and it is a big focus for Quiet Oaks. So our sound leans toward what works in a live setting. We don’t write for a specific genre like blues or indie. We write music that we like. Whatever that may be.

What was it like for you starting all over with some of the old fans knowing what was up, but still having to start from scratch as a new band?

Dane:
It wasn’t easy. We didn’t want to be known as the band that used to be The North Valley. That’s not what this is. Quiet Oaks is a completely different project. However, we didn’t want to lose the fan base we had worked hard to build. It was a confusing time. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves, and it caused a lot of stress. In the end, everything worked out. It forced us to work harder than we ever had, and the support we got from our fans and friends means the world to us.

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Last year you released your first EP, Put Your Dreams Where They Belong. What was it like recording that album?

Spencer:
That record happened very fast. We started the band in about April of 2015. That summer, our friends in the band Desert Noises, offered us a show opening for them in Nashville. It was an opportunity we didn’t want to pass up. So we booked a tour out to Nashville. But, if we were going to tour, we needed something to promote. So the songs that were originally going to be demos became our EP. We had no time or money, so we did everything ourselves. It was a huge learning experience, but it was that summer that made us fall in love with Quiet Oaks.

What did you think of the fan reaction after its release?

Dane:
The response was amazing. The EP opened a lot of doors for us. In the last year, we have accomplished more than we ever thought would be possible. The support we have received is beyond heartwarming.

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Now that the group is on more solid ground, are you looking to tour anytime soon?

Spencer:
Absolutely! Touring is our priority right now. We just got home from a nine-week U.S. tour. We will also be going back out for a couple weeks in November, so stay tuned for those details!

Any plans yet for a full-length album?

Dane:
Yes! We are working on that right now! We will have a full-length album out in early 2017.

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What can we expect from all of you going into next year?

Spencer:
We have a lot in the works, but we will definitely have a new album and a busy touring schedule!

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