In conjuction with the release of their new music video for the track “The Lifter” and right after their recent European tour, I am proud to give you out 4th interview with adventurous instrumental post rock band TIDES FROM NEBULA! 5 years after Earthshine, their collaboration project with Zbigniew Preisner, and 3 years after their last full length “Eternal Movement”, the nostalgic rockers revive their more rockish, yet still ambient and cinematic sounds, still managing to serve a full bodied, well crafted and engrossing experience. Never trying to plague itself with too much repetition, ‘Safehaven’ offers up a few new tricks and proves that these boys still have plenty of musical and songwriting ability to astound. Tune in, enjoy and read my interview with the band’s guitar, keys and piano maestro Maciej Karbowski, conducted a couple of days before their April/May Chinese tour.
Hey Maciek! It’s always a great pleasure to welcome you on IDIOTEQ. How are you? How’s this warm winter been treating you?
Hi there. I’m totally fine, this winter was pretty intense as we recorded, mixed and prepared everything for a release of our fourth album. Right now it’s more relaxed time thou, as all is finished at the moment.
Yup, you’re finally back with a new album and it’s certainly the longest break you took from your latest full length offering. Are you happy with the final result?
Actually the break is quite the same as previous, about 2,5 year. Anyway, we are very much satisfied with the results, finally the record sounds more like a like heavy rock band, which was our goal. To achieve our real not overproduced, but still sonic sound. We are even happier that we produced it by ourselves.
Great, we’ll dig a bit deeper into it in a moment, but firstly, I’m curious… Concept-wise, is this effort a natural continuation of your thought process on existence, consciousness, the awareness of the world and identity? Tell me more about the idea for “Safehaven”.
For us , as people, of course. We are all over 30 at the moment, and it seems that the older you are, the more conscious you are able to be. For me this album is much more personal and “about people” than the previous ones, which could be visualized as a cosmic or landscape trips. Safehaven is a deep look into yourself…as an individual and also as a part of a whole society. But… it’s only my opinion. Think what you want to think man :)
How does this concept expand through the cover art? Who made it and how did you decide to serve us this particular image?
You know, for me the whole Safehaven title, both with the album cover is quite ironic. We, our whole generation from the so called first world, are searching for happieness not where we should. We are hoping to find love, friendship and all the social live sitting in front of the screen and we do pretend, it is real. We create our private safe haven, because we are in control of our own image, of the image which will be revealed to the other people, which is also not real.
Coming back to the front cover…people should not spend most of their lives indoors, living fake lives… Go outside… Maybe it’s not that safe there… But at least it’s real and true…
No doubt. I like to think that we try to mirror ourselves in these havens, trying to live more in our minds, more than in the harsh realities we face outdoors. That’s a worthwhile concept.
Ok Maciek, “Safehaven” is the first TFN album linked to you own Nebula Studio. How did you get started working on the idea of building your own sanctuary?
Heh, the idea is pretty old, we decided to build a recording studio, I mean me and our drummer Tom about 6 years ago. We are building it by basically by our own. We are almost done right now, so we decided, it’s time to record something serious. So here it is… couldn’t expect more, I am super satisfied with the results.
What was your overall vision for this place when you set out building it? Also, can you tell us a bit about the ideas and aims that went towards creating the studio’s acoustics?
We want it to be atmospheric and inspiring. You know, we are musicians, and we wanted to create place, where we would feel great, where the music sounds awesome, and you feel that you are able to do your best. With the acoustic treatment it’s mostly Tom’s work, he is really good at it and he basically designed and calculated everything!
Photo by Kara Rokita.
Can you take us through the steps on how you build a professional studio? How did you gain the experience to make it happen?
Hah, you probably should talk with Tom about it, and there actually I think, it’s a quite long topic to discuss. Anyway, the most important thing is to measure everything and get rid of the problems, if they occur. And make studio look AWESOME!
Any chance you could give us at least SOMETHING? :) What are some of the most important specifics of the design of the this room in terms of the sounds that they can achieve?
Hah, just put a lot of diffusers, if it looks cool, you’re sorted. Hah, I’m joking course. Anyway, just make sure to get rid of the bass freq problems. Measure and calculate!
What are the challenges and rewards of having your own spot like this?
It’s the same building which me and Tom play since 2003, so 13 years now. We never played in the outside commercial practice space, so… I don’t know, maybe the fact I can make myself a coffee for a rehearsal, no beer smell everywhere, no naked woman poster…yyy.. actually there is one. haha. Anyway, it’s really important to feel comfortable during the writing process. to feel inspired. The right environment in my opinion helps.
Ok Maciek, back to your new album, how would you describe the evolution of your musical approach? Sonically, what stages had you gone through and where does this adventure lead you?
We are trying not to overanalyze, with every album we are just trying to write the best piece of music, we are able to. And the only goal is to make sure that we are a better band with every new album. I hope we will get more and more listeners, there is no better feeling than playing a show in the packed venue.
What are some techniques you’ve developed or improved while working on this new record?
Mostly it’s about being conscious, about sound, arrangement etc. We are becoming really experienced musicians, so actually some things are easier these days. We use to have problem with playing in time or in unusual time signatures… Now it’s much easier.
Promotion-wise, is there a new approach to your marketing strategy? How do you want to share this record with the masses and interact with your present and future followers in this mad digital world we’re living.
We are still mostly DIY band, but of course we do have a label, which helps a lot. But, if you want to make sure to use 100% potential of the album, do even more yourself. With this LP we see a lot of help from SPV which is out EU / US label. We will see the results soon, I just hope that TFN will become bigger and bigger band with every album. And about digital world… I accept it, I see more pros than cons for us.
When was the last time you guys hit the road? Are you gig-hungry?
Of course we are.
Last real tour we did was the SKYHARBOR/SLEEMAKESWAVES march last year, so it’s already 13 months.
We never had such a long break before, it’s a bit scary I must say, we are all quite nervous, especially as the new album is quite hard to play live.
Cool. You are about to leave for 3 Chinese shows in April. How did this happen and how excited are you guys? Also, what do you feel will be the differences in experiencing live shows between Europe and China? What do you expect?
Hi, it is organized along with culture.pl, they proposed us for a showcase in Bejing, and when they booked us, the Strawberry Festival got interested and booked us for extra two shows. I guess it will be fun, probably lots of people, totally different world, but actually people everywhere seems pretty similar, we’re all human right? Anyway, I really look forward to these shows, want to kick some Asian asses :)
Apart from the recently announced European tour, will there be more treks later this year?
Yep, of course. In October we are touring south-east Europe. Then the full Polish leg, 18 shows in our homeland.
There will be some festivals in Europe also, during summer.
Ooh. And maybe some shows in Russia in December.
Ok Maciek, thanks a lot for your thoughts.
Lastly, how would you say that the experience of running a band has evolved for you over the years?
You know, I guess we learned a lot. We started as 4 kids, knowing. nothing and no one. Now we play in several countries around the world, actually right now I’m at the Munich Airport, on the way to China. We want to know better and better how the things should be done,. still lots ahead of us.
I’m sure there is! Thanks so much for your time. Feel free to add your final words and say hello to the rest of the guys! It’s been a pleasure.
Thanks a lot for that nice chat, it was a real pleasure. Check out our new album Safehaven!