An Interview with Tears Run Rings

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Six years in the making, Tears Run Rings‘ highly anticipated full length album In Surges was released last Friday via Deep Space Recordings. Despite the quartet living in three separate cities, the band used the powers of online collaboration to mix and record In Surges’ ten tracks in separate studios while occasionally flying to record together in the same physical space. In keeping with their standing ethereal quality, Tears Run Rings sonic soundscapes cascade with impressive cacophonous reverb dispersed with moments of fragile, dreamier tranquility. Laura Watling and Matthew Bice’s vocals especially stand out as vibrant, shifting between background ominous tones and beautifully striking and clear. In Surges is enclosed by “Happiness 6” and “Happiness 7”, a series of tracks dispersed throughout their discography succinctly capturing the light at the start and end of their musical tunnel, and thoughtfully placed to emphasis the radiant amidst the dark. The album is now available for purchase online here or you can purchase a physical copy on Deep Space Recordings’ store. We had a chance to interview Laura Watling, Matthew Bice, Ed Mazzucco, and Dwayne Palasek about the process of recording in different cities, the theme of their Happiness tracks and what they have in store for the future.


ANON: how did Dwayne, Laura and Ed initially meet before forming The Autocollants?

Ed: Dwayne and I were friends since high school. I met Laura through our mutual friend, Yuri, when we were all in college. Laura had a radio show and played a lot of Sarah Records so we knew we were destined to be friends. I introduced Dwayne to Laura when we all went to a Wedding Present show… and the rest is history.


ANON: What was the idea behind the Happiness #1 – #7 track titles, dating back to Always, Sometimes, Seldom, Never in 2008? And is there a particular reason Happiness #5 is omitted?

Dwayne: The reasons why Happiness #5 was not included on this album are one, it is not yet complete, and two, we felt that Happiness #6 and #7 made more sense as book-ends for this record. The Happiness tracks are indeed mysterious and do contain many sounds for our listeners to explore. As time moves forward, more Happiness tracks will be created, and continue to provide a soundtrack of, well, happiness. Also, the track title Happiness… makes for a good intro/outro.


ANON: What was the process like to record collaboratively online due to the band members living in distant cities? What were the biggest obstacles you faced?

Laura: We started by writing a bunch of songs together, and recording drums and bass. From there, it was a lot of back and forth, recording and rewriting songs until we were happy with the results. Over the past six years, we did get together a handful of times to work on the songs (and play Bomberman). It is very difficult being so far away from each other, but the internet does make it pretty simple to collaborate from a distance. It’s most challenging when we don’t like the direction a song is going in and we have to make changes. I think mostly we wish we lived closer just because we like hanging out together.




ANON: How have the dynamics of Ed and Matthew’s joint record label, Shelflife Records, changed in the last twenty years?

Ed: I think Shelflife is fundamentally still the same label it was when we first started in 1995, but maybe with a lot higher production value and a far larger group of artists to work with. Our values and ideals haven’t really changed. It is still very much a labor of love (emphasis on labor).


ANON: Darla Records stated that “In Surges was influenced by the coldness and indifference of our world” — in what ways would you like to see our communities/our world at large make a difference?

Matthew: The best way to fight indifference is to take action. Volunteer, donate… hell, change your career. The world needs more people in it who are actively trying to make a positive impact.




ANON: Did you have any specific bands or albums you’d go back to while recording In Surges?

Matthew: For sure. Languis, the Knife, Moose, Pale Saints, Sigur Ros. I listened to the Everly Brothers a lot while recording the vocals – such beautiful, sad harmonies. As for albums, we referenced our first album Always, Sometimes, Seldom, Never quite a bit while recording this one.


ANON: What plans does Tears Run Rings have in store for 2017?

Laura: We were able to meet up in the summer of 2016 to work on some new song ideas, so I think 2017 will be all about tracking some demos toward an EP and new album. Don’t get too excited though — clearly, our process is not a speedy one.


Trish Connelly is the Austin-based guru who does booking and promoting at Cheer Up Charlies under The Nothing Song. She’s always down to collaborate and plan a show or event in town. She’s an expert with mixtapes (for all musicians out there you’ll want to send her your stuff!), and making connections with the cool kids. You can follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.


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