For a pair that makes music together, it's awfully difficult to find Jeremy Lantz and Josh Wrinkle in the same room. It turns out the Fort Worth electronic duo, who perform as Tidals, only really see each other at their shows.
Between work and traveling, weeks and months might pass by before Wrinkle and Lantz see each other. But they are close collaborators, nonetheless. The pair each works on their own pieces before consulting each other. “He’ll give me the skeleton of what he’s written and he’ll say, 'Hey, I need a rhythm or I need a bass,' and I’ll fill it in, and visa versa. ... It’s like I have a crossword puzzle and I send it to him and I say fill it in."
Wrinkle lived in South Africa and spent time in other countries in the southern region of the continent and considers the area his second home. Afro-Beat, mbaqanga and kwaito — a fusion of house, hip-hop and traditional African rhythms that originated in the '90s — make up a bulk of what Wrinkle listens to. Attentive listeners can pick up on these rhythmic influences in the beats he creates for Tidals. “Travel is so important, experiencing other cultures and ways of life,” says Wrinkle.
Lantz gathers a large part of his inspiration closer to home. “I take a lot of influence from Texas border culture," says Lantz. "It’s a part of our DNA, the cultural hodge podge of Texas. If we were a band from like Ohio, it wouldn’t be there because its not a huge influence on your life there.” He spent a significant amount of time during his childhood visiting an aunt who taught in Mexico and developed a love for the country.
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The first track on Tidals' forthcoming split with fellow Fort Worth electronic soundscaper, Beach Priest, features a song title in Spanish, “La Espina.” Spanish can be heard on other Tidals tracks in the form of samples from old movies.
But, like his band mate, Lantz sees travel as an essential ingredient to Tidals' music. “There are a lot of songs whose skeleton I’ve written in airports in Germany and random places," he says. "That’s when I feel most creative, is when I’m traveling doing something interesting."
Tidals first started in 2012 after Lantz joined Wrinkle’s former noise band, the Chimeneas, in its last year. A guitarist and a drummer, Wrinkle has played in hardcore and punk bands. Lantz, who had never played in a band before the Chimeneas, describes his partner as being much more of a musician in the traditional sense of the word. Wrinkle might establish an idea for a song based on analog instruments, then reconstruct the sound using things like samplers, effects and processors.
“For me it’s like making a film, lots of textural sounds,” Lantz says. He only bought a synth a couple years ago and prefers to keep his live playing to a minimum. Instead, he creates loops and samples to run through effects.
“He is much more free form. I more so have particular parts that I slightly modify and play off of what he may be creating in the moment,” says Wrinkle.
“I think more visually with the music," adds Lantz. "It’s about textures and kind of building a puzzle. I’m not really a talented musician like Josh. For me it was about learning how to create my own sounds and playing them live."
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Each track plays out like a distinct scene in a move, creating the effect of listening to a rich ambient film score. The track “Sleep Department” is about the death of Lantz's dog and uses a sample of his dog right before he was put to sleep. "It's beat-heavy but it is organic in many ways. I don't find that it is cold and empty like a lot of electronic music,” Wrinkle says of the song. “I think we have a different approach than other local electronic acts, although we love playing shows with them.”
In the beginning, there were times Tidals didn’t feel like they truly fit the local scene, especially the Fort Worth music scene, though things are starting to shift with the insurgence of artists like Squanto and Beach Priest. Tidals and Beach Priest plan on playing a pair of release shows for the record, one in Fort Worth and one in Dallas in late August or early September.
“Now I think we’ve carved up a place here [in Fort Worth], and Dallas has always been really receptive to us," says Lantz. "We aren’t as big a city as Dallas, but the music is just as big. Also, I’ve never really felt a rivalry between Dallas and Fort Worth in terms of art and culture. They’ve always been inviting to us and we want them to come here too."