I recently got to chat with Sam Tinnesz of WɅVE & ROME about his debut single and forthcoming EP, his work with other musicians, and favorite local eats. Read on…
EJ: What did the writing process look like for your debut single, “Across the Map”?
ST: I actually wrote this with a friend of mine, Josh Farro, inside a studio space at his home in Nashville. The musical start for this one had this “Ends of the Earth” Lord Huron type thing to it and was really just that compelling intro lead line over these beautifully simplistic chords. I started brainstorming ideas and images lyrically that had this loose chronological travel log built around them. After the first verse was written I stumbled into the overarching concept of “Somewhere across the map…” and attached my own memories of traveling. It came pretty quick that day and by far has some of my favorite lyrics and melodies I’ve written so far for the band.
EJ: What does this song mean to you personally?
ST: “Across the Map” was my attempt to try and capture in a song what it’s like to tour and travel the world doing what you love. The lyrics paint the picture of all the beautiful places you get to see when you’re out, but also adds the conflicting feelings of being apart from the people that you love and wish were there with you.
EJ: From your social media, it is very obvious that The National is a favorite band of yours, particularly their album Boxer. How did you come to discover and appreciate them?
ST: You know, it’s funny because the National is one of those bands I fell in love with only after listening through an entire album’s worth of songs. I’ll never forget the first time I listened to High Violet and heard “Anyone’s Ghost.” That deep baritone voice singing tortured lyrics of unrequited love hit me in the gut and resonated with me on so many levels. There’s not too many artists that show such vulnerability in their lyrics while presenting this seemingly untouchable musical prowess.
EJ: What are some of your other inspirations outside of fellow musicians?
ST: I’m a sucker for good visual art for sure. Anything from street art to imagination capturing photography is so vital to fostering my creativity. I tried to express some of that love in my choice for using the talented Robert Marks from RuleByArt for my cover art. You can expect more of his incredible art to make appearances on WAVE & ROME stuff in the future.
EJ: Going off on a bit of a tangent here, but please bear with me: J. R. R. Tolkein once said that, “If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” It is obvious from your single that you value song and cheer; what food spot local to your city of Nashville do you “value” most?
ST: I’m definitely super thankful for simple burger joints like Burger Up here in Nashville. Some of the best locally found beef is used in their burgers and I’m pretty sure that there may be crack hidden in the fried macaroni appetizer they serve there… so addicting! It’s such a great place to hang with friends and it’s pretty impossible to order something that sucks.
EJ: Please tell us a little bit about the label to which you are signed, UNSECRET Music.
ST: UNSECRET Music is the brainchild of my good friend and producer/writer Matt Bronleewe. Matt has such a brilliant mind for all things creative and really has been instrumental in building a team for WAVE & ROME that I couldn’t have done on my own. I see UNSECRET following in similar footsteps to indie giants like Sensibility Music (Civil Wars). Wrapping itself around artists it believes in and doing whatever it takes to make them successful without compromising the art at all.
EJ: According to your Facebook bio, you’ve been sitting on this group of songs known as the Across the Map EP for around a year. How has that made you feel?
ST: Like I was losing my mind. haha. It’s been a journey getting to this point but I couldn’t be more excited to share this music that I feel is some of the most personal and compelling that I’ve ever been a part of.
EJ: You’ve had the opportunity to work with quite a few other artists. Which of these projects was most memorable to you and why?
ST: I would say working with my friend Maggie Eckford aka Ruelle. She has one of the most haunting voices that pierces something in your soul no matter what she’s singing. It was so cool cause the very first song we ever wrote called “Up In Flames” ended up landing on TV show after TV show. I always love when things just click creatively and I think we have something special together in that way.
EJ: How have these collaborations shaped your own style and tastes?
ST: I used to be someone that only really listened to guy vocalists, but as of late I can’t get enough of folks like Phantogram, Bat for Lashes and Purity Ring. What can I say… girls are running the show a bit these days!
EJ: Have you been working with a band, or have you been tracking solo?
ST: On this EP in particular I collaborated with a few Nashville friends of mine and I think that’s how this band will go in general. I want it to be a revolving door of freakishly talented folks making music with me at the helm.
EJ: What has been one of the most valuable lessons that you have learned in the process of emerging as your own artist?
ST: You have to be patient in waiting for the right sound no matter how long it takes. Pulling the trigger just to get something out there will never serve you well.
EJ: Is there anything that you’d like to say in closing about WΛVE & ROME and Across the Map?
ST: I really can’t wait to get out on the road and play some of this music that I’ve been cooped up in the studio making! Never before have I felt such a strong pull to have to perform it… Hope to meet a lot of cool new friends at the WAVE & ROME shows!
Major thanks go out to Sam for taking the time to do this interview. Be sure to download the single and connect with WɅVE & ROME at the following links.