INTERVIEW: Tiny Mind | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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While there’s not much of a math-rock/post-hardcore scene in the North East, we’ve been blessed with some impressive bands from that genre. Three of the major players in recent years have been Future Horizons, Cauls and Shades, who have all now sadly called it a day. It’s time for Tiny Mind to step up to the plate.

It was only the latter half of 2017 that the five-piece seemed to burst out of nowhere, and since then, they’ve fast earned a reputation for their dynamic, fervent live shows. Though they’ve just recently released their superb debut EP, Equals Closed Parenthesis, it’s actually been in the works for several years, with Tiny Mind honing their sound over time to the technical, math-inflected hardcore demonstrated on the storming three track EP.

“Originally, the whole project was supposed to be instrumental,” says guitarist Andrew McAllister. “We even recorded at Blank Studios back in February 2017 with an instrumental version of HYAR, the song we always play last in our set. It didn’t seem right, so we put it on the back burner and then Alfie (Chino, vocalist) came along and brought the sound together with his neck muscles and his lungs. I was trying to make it sound slightly like LITE (Japanese instrumental rock quartet) in the start, but we’ve been compared to Touché Amoré recently, which I’m really happy about. I’m excited that we’re not just a mathy band, it’s more techy hardcore than anything really, so that’ll hopefully give us a few more opportunities.”

“Admittedly, it took us around two years to record the EP. I think probably because of how it’s expanded so much and how many times we’ve had to alter sections of songs to get them right, and when you do that with five band members who aren’t all available for practise all of the time, it takes a bit more time to get everything to gel together. When we record it’s pretty simple (in theory), we lay the drum tracks for all songs down first, then guitars, then bass, then vocals. Then we go back over and add any little frilly bits in.”

Musically, Tiny Mind straddle the gap between more modern post-hardcore acts such as the aforementioned Touché Amoré, La Dispute and Meet Me in St. Louis and more established experimental bands like At the Drive In and Deftones. EP Opener Preface is the most ATDI-esque of the three tracks, driven forward by serrated, stop-start riffs with Chino’s vocals switching effortlessly between an almost spoken-word style and urgent screams. Then there’s Verbatim, which opens with post-rock atmospherics and is led by Chino’s impassioned cries, burning with raw intensity before lurching back and forth between complex grooves and shoegazey ambience. Overall, Equals Closed Parenthesis is an innovative, experimental introduction to Tiny Mind that makes them one of the North East’s most exciting heavier prospects.

“The title of the EP is a light hearted reference to linguistics and punctuation, which is part of the theme we’re going for,” explains McAllister. “It’s that whole idea that we in the North are a little short for brain activity, so we named the band as a sarcastic ode to that concept, and all the songs and the EP title with a rhetoric of linguistic expression. Although rather ironically, I spelled ‘Parenthesis’ incorrectly on the first gig poster we put out.”

“As for lyrical theme’s in the songs, there is a lot of built up anger toward government, politics, social media, the current way of the world and of course, love. We’ve decided to just let Alfie take the wheel on lyrics. When we write, mainly Arron (Robe, drummer) and myself will get together to jam a few ideas – I’d like to credit Azza too because he comes up with some of the more melodic riffs in the set – then when we’ve got something down we’ll all get together and just add bits to it, and Alfie whacks some screaming over the top. It’s quite unorthodox to write the music before the lyrics like this I reckon, but for the sort of stuff we’re doing there really is no other way, we just have to rely on Alfie’s innate ability to make his lyrics fit the music, which seems to be working like a dream, we think.”

Now they’ve finally released their debut EP, what else is in store for Tiny Mind? “We’re going to have as busy a summer as possible, get the set nailed, write two or three more songs, probably record later in the year and hopefully get some festivals booked for 2019. I suppose the ultimate goal for everyone currently is to play ArcTanGent Festival. We want to start a community of bands in the North East, or at least try to enhance what’s already emerged in the past few months/years. Before 2015/2016 I was getting a bit worried because there was just nothing up here, but bands like Mongeese, Sky-Talk, A Festival, A Parade, Okay Champ and others have really invigorated the scene. We want to bring our sound and add to that community of quality bands about in the toon at the moment. DIY.”

Tiny Mind play The Tyne Bar Stage at NARC. Fest on Saturday 7th July.

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