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Tug Fork Interview

by WhiteMetalMan

What bands did you listen to while growing up? Well, it is sort of hard for me to answer for everyone. However, when I first started getting into music of my own choice, some of the guys that would eventually be in Haste the Day got me involved with bands like P.O.D., Project 86, Extol, Living Sacrafice, Zao, etc. I shared a lot of those bands with Brian (the bassist). Later on in school we (David and Brian) met Justin and Aaron at school and they were into Haste the Day when they played a bunch of bigger local shows, Brian and I had seen them at their earlier shows because we had become friends with them. In summer 2004, I went to Cornerstone and got more into the "tough" aspect of hardcore and began to like bands such as Comeback Kid, Stretch Arm Strong, Figure 4, Hatebreed, xDisciplex A.D. etc. We all began to take similar interests in bands but also have our own separate interests. I know the other guys listened to other bands like AC/DC and Metallica, Ace of Base, etc. I was not allowed to listen to music on the radio (except Christian stations) until I was already in Jr. High, so I had little knowledge of bands like that. Currently, as a band, we have a lot of influences that range all over the place, none of us really like to limit our musical influences.

And in what way did they inspire you? The bands I mentioned earlier, most of them being Christian bands, inspired all of us (individually) as Christians but also as musicians. We all tried different ways to express our faith, and I believe this was and is the best median we had available to us. Those, and other bands inspired us more on a musician level, but the earlier Christian bands gave us a platform. Also, there were several bands who made a stand for something and eventually for whatever reasons were no longer standing behind those beliefs. We felt that this was something we were called to do but to make sure we stayed true to those convictions we already had.

When did the band form? The Tug Fork River band formed sometime in 2006. Although I do not know a real "formation date", it was formed more or less out of two bands that shared members. One of the bands eventually dissolved leaving one to still do shows. However, in late 2005, we knew that the one band was going to be ending by summer 2006, so we started getting ideas and trying to create a name and start writing some music when chances arose. The band formed with Brian, the bassist from "as I you", and with three members that were involved in both "as I you" and Finding Exodus, David (drums), Justin (guitar/ bass), and Nathan (guitar). We also needed a vocalist, and we called upon the Finding Exodus vocalist Aaron. Due to later situations, Nathan left the band after he had been married and joined the Air Force. The rest of us continued to work behind the scenes as "as I you" was starting to play their final shows. The Tug Fork River Band really started to take place as the "offical" band in fall of 2006.

How did its members meet? Brian and I had been friends since 6th grade and we had tried starting several projects, but only "as I you" really took off. Justin and Aaron were friends because Justin and Nathan were brothers and Nathan and Aaron were best friends. Eventually Justin and Aaron had a good friendship going on. In late high school, Brian and I met Justin, which eventually led to us meeting Nathan and Aaron as well. We have done "as I you" and Finding Exodus sharing memebers for quite a while and we all ended up becoming really good friends from the two bands.

How would you describe your music?
Heavy Southern Metal is the best description. We have so many personal influences that we carry into the band that it somehow all managaes to get involved. We have some death metal parts, some hardcore parts, very southern ballad parts, etc. Really, the best way to say it is to check out our myspace www. myspace.com/thetugforkriverband and hear our stuff on there, or go check out our E.P. we have and we will have a full length coming out on Wounded Records (projectively) in May.

Are you a Christian band or Christians in a band? We are definitely both, but we focus on being a Christian band. We really have felt that God has called us to use this as a ministry. I would not do this for any other reason, because I do not think any other reason in good enough to put family/ friends/work/school on the line. It is just us trying to be obedient to Jesus' call for our lives at the current moment. We also make sure to do devotions when we have our normal practices as well. We pray before every show, and talk to people at the show. We do not want to shove anything down anyone's throats, but we make it pretty clear what we stand for.

What other recording projects or bands have you been involved with? Well, I already mentioned that all four members have come from either "as I you" or Finding Exodus somehow. "as I you" was really the only band that had any releases. The upcoming cd in May will be Tug Fork's second release, but first on Wounded. We did an E.P. on our own that came out last spring.

Are you satisfied with the way your last recording turned out?
Overall, yes I am very pleased with it, and I am sure the rest of the band is too. The guy that recorded our E.P. was willing to do a lot of extra work and stuff for us to do the full-length with him. We spent a lot of time just trying out some new things in post production and new programs he had bought to do recording. We loved what he did with the E.P. so we were sure we were going to be pleased with the full-length. Personally, I think it is one of the better sounding/quality recordings I have heard from a smaller studio. He is great though, if anyone is interested you should check it out. His studio is called Threshold Studios and is in Indianapolis.

What would you change about the project if given the opportunity?
The only thing I would really want to change is maybe have more time to have played around with post production and things like that. Just to hear other possibilities that would have been available.

Do you have plans to issue a demo/ EP /full length album? Yes, the full length should be out in May sometime. It will be available at Hot Topic, Best Buy, FYE, Wounded Records, and us of course. The E.P. is currently available from us.

How do you rate your live performances? I think we have an interesting live performance. We move around a lot like most bands, but we also do a "special performance" for our song Bleeding Tree. We changed the song up a bit from how it was on the E.P. and added an interesting twist to our live performance of it. I would love to tell you what it is…but I guess you will just have to check us out to find out. However, I have heard a few instances where people tell us that our live show is what hooked them in the first place. I guess it is up to everyone's own opinion, but I think it is entertaining.

Which type of gigs do you prefer, church hall/bible college circuit or the regular pub/club or festivals?
We like them all, but festivals are always fun, it gives us a chance to meet a lot of new people and bands. As much as we enjoy playing at churches and things of that nature, we also really like to be able to get into the secular circuit. Our mission is to be able to share Jesus with others, without shoving it down their throats, but being very serious and real about it. I have seen a few bands that I know are Christians that will say something like, "Jesus loves you, if you have any questions, come talk to us." Although that is not a bad thing, we feel that we are called to give it more than that. We were called to this for a reason, and we want to make sure that we do what we feel God called us to do. The best way to do this, is to be playing more secular shows and sharing with those who do not believe. Although, we enjoy playing at churches because it gives us encouragment for what we are doing, playing in secular venues makes us feel like we are more able to achieve our calling. But yeah, like I said, we like doing them all. No matter where we are, I feel like we are able to do some ministry for God, even if it is just encouragement for a struggling brother/sister in Christ or being able to be there for someone who is hurting very deeply and is not a believer.

What advice would you give to fellow bands that are starting out?
Keep with it, no matter what. The first band you start may not take off or really get anywhere, but do not let that discourage you. Check out Jeremiah 29:11, that might help give some direction on that aspect. However, take a lot of time to practice, and do not play new material before you are ready. "as I you" did that a few times, and it normally turned out in a disaster. Also, when at venues, make sure the drummer has a monitor of some kind, it can save quite a bit of embarassment or avoid a lot of mistakes of getting off from each other.

Any final comments? We really want to thank Wounded for recognizing our calling from Christ, and enabling us to do it in a bigger and better way. Also, thanks to any of the bands that have encouraged, admonished, and helped us out in any way, we would not be the people we are today without you.



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