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An Interview With 'As Tides Rise'

- By Z

I had the pleasure of sitting down with As Tides Rise, a local metalcore band that has been on the rise (no pun intended). I first met them when I covered a Blacktop Mojo show at the 1867 Bar. The band is composed of Micah Murphy, Brandon Maynard, Alex Martino, Austin Staton, and Tristan Wallitsch. Their general composure and surprising friendliness led me to take an interest in the metal scene and fall in love with the community. I sat down with them and asked them a few questions to learn more about their band and get some insight into the group.

What inspired you guys to start As Tides Rise?

Brandon: Oh God. I honestly don't know. I got myself into a lot. I decided to get into this band. After meeting Alex and Micah and just kind of seeing how we all vibe and how we all kind of felt the same way about music, like the same things that we brought in these two, it just feels right. It doesn't feel like a band, it doesn't feel anything. It feels like a big family and we're all brothers and honestly, you can ask for a better situation with these guys.

Micah: I don’t want to say I started the band but like I kinda did…the band was started during COVID times, 2020. It was hard at that time to get it going but I had always wanted to be in a band. I had done singing for a long time but never professionally. I always thought it would be cool to do but I never knew how. It started with Facebook groups in Omaha Musician’s Hangout.

Alex: It took at least a year to get all the final members. We went through a lot of guitar players before we landed on these two [Austin and Brandon].

Austin: Brandon and I have been in multiple bands. Micah and another guy tried out for one of my other bands. That was right at the start of COVID and music was up in the air. That group dipped and we didn’t play for a solid year. It just didn’t work out with those guys but I liked Micah’s voice and I was like “Oh shit, maybe something could’ve happened”. We stayed Facebook friends and we stayed in touch a little bit. So I was like, I kind of want to get something started and I kind of, you know, inched my way into this, it worked out.

Micah: I told him “Hey dude, we’re looking for a guitarist… if you wanted to just come hang out and see what happens” and he kept coming back.

Austin: Yeah. With those previous bands. It was just always a lack of everyone being on the same page, wanting to put in the effort and work. Like, I would always get a band where there might have been me and one other person that was full bore into it. And then just because of that, if you don't have everyone like that, who wants to have the same end goal, then it usually will fall apart or the people that are driven get burned out because you're trying to carry everyone's weight. And I feel like with this band, I finally found a group that wants to all be on the same page. Like we all want to at the end of the day, be touring musicians.

Which bands inspire you?

Micah: It's a hard one to narrow down just because, you know, as you're growing up and getting into the genre, there are so many, so many bands, so many different artists that you listen to, that influence you, that it is, it's really hard for me at least to come down to one.

But there's a band, the band that got me into the genre itself was Our Last Night is what they're called. They have that mix of heavy and, you know, cleans and, and melodic heavy stuff back and forth. So metal cores are about and I don't know why. It's just, that's always been my thing and I started singing along in the car to their stuff. And that was my first experience with the genre. So once I was like, oh, I can kinda, I can kind of sing like they can. Right. And then that gave me kind of the driving force of wanting to get into it.

Tristan: I mean, the band that got mean to this genre was probably Dayseeker, which I think you (Micah) introduced me to.

Alex: For me. So before this band, I never really played anything like metal drumming. So this was kind of new. Micah and Brandon reached out to me and like the first time I heard from them, I wasn't too interested. They kind of got me into the genre itself. I think like, one of the first times I started listening to a lot of metalcore was like, one of them, like, made a playlist, like Spotify playlist. So I would just listen to it. Like “Here, learn these, you know, learn these drum beats” and I had to work a lot on things like double bass and stuff. Some bands that kind of stood out to me were Bad Omens. and Dayseeker as well.

Z: What kind of drumming did you do before?

Alex: So I played a lot of jazz, so I started, like, really playing drums. When I was like eight, I started taking private lessons and so we focused on a lot of different genres, everything from rock to like, Latin and jazz. And once I got up into high school, I did a lot of snare drumming in the marching band and then I did one year in college as well. So that was a lot of solo drumming and not so much playing with other members.

Brandon: What bands expire, expire, inspire me, would have to be Korn and Faith No More. I think those are big in my background. All the funky bass and crazy stuff like that pushed me to be how I am.

At this point in the interview, Austin had gotten a call and had to leave to take care of his cat who had a seizure. Luckily, the cat is fine and healthy now. We regrouped a couple of weeks later to continue.

Austin: My influences are split, when I first got into this sorta music I was into Korn, Soad, Mudvayne, Static X, and Linkin Park, and although I still love that music ( it's some of the most meaningful to me) mostly what I listen to and what inspiration I draw from today in this band is stuff like architects, Spiritbox, some counterparts. Mixed with stuff like Fair to Midland, Nothing More, and a little bit of Trivium.

(From left) Alex, Micah, Brandon, Austin, Alex, Tristan Photo Credit:

What’s your biggest pet peeve from someone in the band?

Brandon: Does it have to be within the band? Tristan existing? Oh God, I have a long, it's a matter if I want to bring this out or not. I think my biggest pet peeve is sometimes we all jump ahead of ourselves because we're so excited for stuff and we're like, oh, let's do it like this, let's do it like this and we end up getting entangled and we're like “oh, ok. Where are we at?” And then we have to like, stop and we're like “ok, this is, this is where we are” because we all get too excited about things and that's, I think that's my pet peeve is we get too excited, and jump ahead and you always end up getting lost. We have to jump back.

Austin: The only thing that I can think of is like on our chat there, there are times where, like, I miss the important details because Tristan, I mean certain individuals, will talk amongst themselves with non-band related things so much like, you know, like hundreds of messages. And I'm like, oh, I was supposed to respond to something. It's, it's just gone.

Brandon: Let me, let me put this on record. What he's referring to people is when Tristan and I are starting a business and he was not happy with it. It was very, very serious business. We have seven group chats. We have made so many. This is the serious one.

Austin: Give it a day back to the original one we did that with like, you know, I try to get these guys on Discord and they worked for like three hours.

Brandon: And then we realized we could change our nicknames.

Tristan: Well, I think mine is probably how unorganized we are when we're writing. kind of like what Brandon was saying. We're just a little bit too excited and ok with everything.

Micah: I think it's because, I mean, we're all passionate about what we do and we have a lot of fun doing it. You know, they come up with a new, like, oh, like that's gonna be sick, then we start to just, just go, everyone's going their way.

Brandon: Like, here's my, here's my idea. I just wrote this whole song that we just had this riff for. How do you like it? Hate it. Ok. I'm the next one but there's always a piece of every one of us and every song.

Micah: I always try to look at everything from the listeners' perspective.

Alex: I don't have much at the top of my head. I mean, I agree with the, like, how we write sometimes it could be a little more organized, and for the most part though, I mean, you know, we get, we get along pretty well. I think any time, you know, we are butting heads, it's usually because, you know, we're just passionate about, you know, what we're, what we're trying to put out. We know that we have to work hard to, you know, make, make something good come of it.

Micah: Yeah. But it's usually just decision-making or something. We all have different tastes.

Brandon: Comes down to democracy though. That's one thing we've always done since we started, we thought this is a democracy, whoever gets the most votes, that's what it is. We run campaigns, vote for this and we'll try to convince each other like we're passing out candidates. You want this, you want to vote for this. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. It's chaotic but I love it.

Micah: It is crazy. But I think, yeah, the further down we go the way that we structure things is gonna come way faster to us just hoping it's just everything is just off the head.

Brandon: I mean, I think we all kind of agree. We kind of like the way that things could. I mean, we could always structure things a little bit better, look into things a little bit better, but we're kind of us, and we just kind of throw it. Whatever happens, happens, and like one thing I like about us, you never know what's going to happen. Good or bad. We have thirty songs that we thought were cool. And the next day we’re like “nevermind…”

Micah: It’s all trial and error.

Austin: I would like to hope that once we get to a certain point, we can more or less just focus on the music aspect and not so much have to do the business side. The hard thing about being like a local band where you do everything yourself. You kind of have to learn social media and be like the manager and that duty kind of gets split to all of us. And it's like the business side of it. I would love it if we got to a point where we don't deal with any of that stuff. Like we're just like, hey, we write the music and then our, you know, John or whoever is the person in charge of that is just like in general, you're playing this show, you're going on this, this tour, here are all your shirt designs, like all that's done. I just don't want to worry about that. Yeah, that would be my end goal.

Brandon: We just want the fun part.

Austin: But that takes time.

Micah: We have to work for that, you know.

Brandon: Whether it happens or not, we're having fun.

What is a fun fact most people don’t know about you?

Brandon: We're so open. It is so hard, so open to people. A weird fact. Got a weird fact? I said we're very open. See, I know Micah break dances.

Z: I didn’t know that.

Micah: Neither did I.

Austin: I couldn’t swim until I was 12.

Tristan: I got this weird lump on my leg.

Brandon: You should see a doctor.

Austin: We have a bit of a hip-hop career. You got to mention that.

Brandon: Well, yeah, we do rap battles in the band.

Brandon: We do call each other out in rap battles.

Austin: Mostly led by Brandon.

Micah: He starts it. No one else.

Brandon: Not just that, I’ll go into our chats and make full-on rap songs and wait for them to write back.

Micah: He has three or four diss tracks on us.

Brandon: A new one is coming out soon, one for Tristan and one for Austin.

Micah: What’s a weird fact about me guys?

Brandon: For some reason, do you think mustaches are cool?

Micah: I can’t grow a beard!

Austin: Micah lives on Kickstart.

Micah: I love Mountain Dew, but I drink like the orange Mountain Dew energy thing. Ok. I had a problem every time. I love Kickstart.

Austin: Like he's always picking up at least 2 to 4. We all commute from Omaha. So it's like, you know, we all carpool sometimes stop at the gas station for drinks, come jam, come home, stop at the gas station.

What do you guys do in your downtime?

Brandon: Hanging with the wife and kids and you have a peaceful life. I have a problem where I get, like, fixed on things and I go nuts at it and, like, buy everything for it, and then, like, a week later I'm on to something else. So I'm always doing something new. Like, how many times do I call you? I'm on a new project. Oh God, I know recently before summer I was gonna try to make a pool out of pallets. That was a big experience. I had everything laid out. I had so many pallets at my house. Everything. I guess I plan on making a hot tub on a copper pipe and a bathtub. My front porch is very midwestern.

Austin: I can challenge the midwestern. So I'm also vegan. Of course. I also tend to be a workaholic. I work a lot but I work in I T and that's also kind of a hobby. So I'm always buying things I don't need. I have more computers in my house than I definitely should.

Do you guys have any pets?

Austin: I’ve got five cats and four guinea pigs. The cats' names are Zuko, Nya, Danu, Mufasa, and Snoop. Zuko is named after the character from Avatar the Last Airbender. Here is my baby. He refuses to let me sit in a specific chair without him. So, like, whenever I'm in the living room I have like a lazy boy, and like, the moment I sit down, like, the moment no matter where he was, he somehow materializes on and, like, I can't sit in that chair without him. And, yeah, so, the guinea pigs. So I didn't name any of them.

Brandon: I have a pound dog named Waffles, a pug named Crepes, and my pride and joy, another pug named Flapjacks.

Micah: I have two cats named Kiki and Hayes. I like Hayes's name because he has gray feet that get lighter. He looks interesting, that's for sure.

Alex: I’ve got no pets running around here.

What do you admire about someone else in the band?

Tristan: I admire it a lot. There is something I admire about every single person.

Z: Like what?

Brandon: Damn she’s calling you out.

Tristan: I was just trying to look good.

Brandon: I admire that Micah tries hard in anything he does, especially with this band. He does not cut corners. If it's gonna get done, he's gonna make sure it gets done. So I admire that about him. He's a go-getter. Alex is a boss man. That man right there, he won't stop till he drops. He makes sure everything is running and without him, we wouldn’t be where we are today. He's been part of it. Pretty cool guy. I love Austin because he fights for what he believes in. I will say that that man will fight for what he believes and he's not gonna be like, oh, I like this because everyone else likes no, he likes what he likes and he will fight for it to the day he dies. He does, he does not hold back on anything. I like that about him. He's not afraid to speak his mind. He's a warrior. That's about it… and Tristan has cool hair. No, Tristan is a good guy. He's a good guy. He'll be there for anyone no matter what. And I admire that about him. Do you ever need him? He's fucking there. Well, he doesn't want to be. Yeah, you were, you call him no matter what time of night and he will answer that phone.

Austin: I admire Brandon's confidence in every situation. He controls the room as you can probably tell.

Micah: I honestly love all you guys, but I really, I got to give this dude, Alex, credit because like when we started this band like he wasn't into metal at all, you know what I mean? And where he started compared to now he's like, it's insane, you know, and he worked so hard on narrowing down that double kick and it shows, I mean, especially in all the new stuff.

Brandon: I remember our first practice like he was just doing a simple little beat.

Alex: Well, you know, each of these guys has a big role in the band. I think we as far as like his passion and you know, what we need to get done is pretty evenly split between everybody and everybody knows that we have to work hard to get to where we want to be. You know, I think like Brandon and Micah are kind of like, it goes out to everybody, but any time there's like something easy to get done, you know, everybody's always, you know, sending reminders or making sure we have a good schedule. I think we just play a big role in the band.

Tristan: I admire no one. A lot of it has already been said. Otherwise, I think I do admire it.

Brandon. The way he makes things work out in terms of a lot of music writing especially, it's always got something going on. He's very creative. Very, I'll give him that he's always on with ideas.

Brandon: I will have to say I forgot to mention Micah is the nicest person you'll ever meet. Tristan and I tried for a year straight. Tried to make him mad. Didn't work. We tried everything. It got close. But yeah, he’s never been mad.

I spent my evening getting to know these amazingly lovable characters and their music resonates well. It’s the music you look for when you’re not feeling your best, someone out there that relates to you. It reminds you that you’re not alone and there are people there for you. As Tides Rise has just released a new song Losing Myself and they released an awesome music video for it. They have a show coming up on June 18th at The Royal Grove with the Texas Hippie Coalition. Make sure you don’t miss this metalcore band that’s midwestern at heart! Get tickets HERE


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