Tides of Ire have just released their second EP – Deadline. Having teased fans leading up to the release, this record has become highly anticipated. Touching on mental illness, politics and struggles within the self. Tides of Ire have taken their music in a darker direction highlighting some of the world’s most dominant issues.
The EP opens with introductory track Deadline which is set in a hospital. It features the haunting sound of a hospital heart monitor which builds tension immediately. The video gives off the impression that Tides of Ire have gone deeper and darker than their previous work. This is certainly true when listening to the lyrical content. Fleshwound rolls in with dominant bass and proves how well this band can write a catchy song as you’ll find yourself singing along in no time. There’s Tension and then there’s Release. A two-part track joined by a seamless breakdown. At The Gates increases the heaviness of the record and touches on politics. The EP completes with Ashes featuring grunge undertones. After several listens of the record, I had a chat with Tides of Ire to discover the deeper stories behind the tracks.
Deadline has a very different feel to the first EP you released. What influenced the sound on this new record?
I think the key influence is the age of some of the tracks – Fleshwound and At The Gates were written around the same time as the songs from ‘The Burning Sea’, whilst Tension/Release and Ashes are some of our newest songs, and I think they highlight how our song writing approach has changed. The newer songs also feature a lot more of James’ ideas which has definitely added a new flavour to our material.
There’s an introduction track, and then two tracks that make a whole. As far as EP’s go, it’s quite creative. Does Deadline tell a story?
Absolutely. Deadline is very much the story of someone suffering from mental illness and suicidal ideation, and we tried to capture some of the emotions and thoughts that come with a fractured self image. The lyrical content in particular gets pretty dark, and most of the songs have direct references both to suicide and self harm. We made some use of samples as well, which is new one for us. In particular, the opening heart monitor sound and the flatline at the end of Ashes are supposed to signify something of a journey.
Which lyrics do you feel are the most important? Or perhaps most meaningful to you as a band?
Tension has a lot of self-referential passages. It’s about healing, but in order to be healed you have to have been broken, and we tried to reflect that there.
Do you feel that this record will be relatable for people and act as an outlet to help raise their spirits?
I’d like to think so. All of us in the band have experienced some shade of what’s being said on the record. If somebody finds some symmetry in it, and consolation from that, then that’s great.
The world is suffering from a major mental illness problem in all aspects of society. We have witnessed as a community the loss of many great musicians due to these issues. Do you feel your music can help to highlight these problems and raise awareness?
I’m not sure that we were looking to highlight those issues. For us, it was more of a ‘down the rabbit hole’ situation – How far could those kinds of ideas, thoughts and fears take us? We wanted to explore that mindset. We very much feel that if you know what’s in those dark places in the back of your mind, they have less power over you.
What is At The Gates about? It comes across like it could be influenced by politics.
Haha, you got us! You’re bang on – At The Gates was originally called ‘Revolutions’, and was very much a political statement which came hot off the back of the Brexit vote and the American election. However, when we decided to include it in Deadline, Mark reworked the lyrics to help fit the EP’s narrative. We decided to keep the samples from the original as we felt they were still relevant – external pressures and an internal struggle.
Politics has taken centre stage amongst music at the moment with all kinds of artists making music focussed on global problems. Do you think the recent political turmoil has had an effect on the mental state of the population as a whole?
That’s a hard call, and I think impossible for us to make a judgement on. It’s said that we’re currently living in the most peaceful point in human history, but the world seems to be tearing itself to bits.
Who designed the cover art and where did the idea come from? It’s an old woman on first glance, but turned upside down it becomes a skull. That’s clever.
The art was done by Leo from L30 Artwork. He also did the artwork for ‘The Burning Sea’, which is why we went back to him! It’s known as an ambigram, which is a piece of art which can be interpreted in different ways depending on your perspective. We felt that Deadline could be interpreted in different ways, both musically and lyrically, and that’s part of the reason we chose it. Leo’s got a real talent for taking a vague set of ideas and turning them into fantastic art that really fits the tone of our music.
Well I’ve certainly learnt something – an ambigram. I’ll have to remember that! I think that’s important when producing art because then it becomes inclusive of several groups and brings people together. The world has certainly shown some amazing forms of people coming together recently with the Pride movement, March For Our Lives and Me Too. Can you name a time when your music (or perhaps an experience of music that you have had such as at a gig or festival) has brought people together from several backgrounds, races, sexualities or ages etc?
That’s a hard one. We’ve certainly had all kinds of people at our shows, and all of them come down and have an amazing time. Whether that’s because of us, or just because of music in general, I couldn’t say. But one thing we do know is that people have heard our music all across the world. We have fans in the UK, the USA, Europe, Australia, South America… all over the show. And yeah, it’s not thousands upon thousands of people (yet!), but I think it’s pretty cool that so many people, so far away, have us in common. Makes the world seem that much closer, you know?