TREE MACHINES | UP FOR AIR | MAN IN THE MACHINE | RELEASE DATE: SEPT. 22ND, 2017
Tree Machines built a safe room in Los Angeles. Not for security of the conventional kind, but for a place to unleash, and make the kind of music that is at once vulnerable and strong, without fear of consequence. Anthems for times that don’t make sense, but carve a path forward. Call it a studio, if you have to. But you don’t have to.
Here, Douglas Wooldridge (vocalist, lyrics), bandmate Patrick Aubry, and producer Mike Giffin (all three contribute to the band’s various instrumentation and music) spent two years creating Up For Air, the debut Tree Machines full-length album, scheduled for release on Sept. 22nd via Man In The Machine.
The upcoming album follows-up 2015’s debut Tree Machines EP, which contained the single “Fucking Off Today,” a difficult -to-ignore opening salvo that expressed Midwestern malaise in a new way, something a band originally formed in Lawrence, Kansans knows all too well. Three more Tree Machines singles appeared during the summer of that year.
Barely settled from the shock of Up For Air’s completion, Aubry has a chance to reflect on the band’s sudden and momentous decision to move west in 2015.
“Los Angeles needed to happen for Tree Machines, and Up for Air was the therapy that it took for us to accept it,” he says. “There were so many emotional highs, and tense lows. I knew it would be that way when I signed up for this by packing my bags for the west coast, but we had a lot that we had to say, and needed a new way to say it. I’m incredibly proud of Up for Air.”
“I think we exceeded our own expectations,” Wooldridge concurs.
Obviously, it’s been a long journey for Tree Machines, literally and figuratively.
“Los Angeles is a lonely city.”
Wooldridge knows. Longtime L.A. residents are saturated by this loneliness, except Wooldridge isn’t one of them. Leaving behind a much larger, safer room in Lawrence in 2015 taught him this with a quickness. Moving into a house in the tiny L.A. neighborhood called Canoga Park, the guys turned one of the garages into a tracking room, and filled it up with gear.
“We went down the rabbit hole building a studio out here,” says Giffin. “Researching the right gear for us and the space. We thought it would be quick, but it quickly became eight months.”
Regardless, the band was determined to create a room where they could make music that moved, was moving, and was so much bigger than the space in which it was created. Once recording finally commenced, Wooldridge spent hours upon hours in the vocal booth, sweating bullets under Valley temps that clocked in at 103, with another 10 on top of it because, like they say, vocal booths always add 10 degrees.
“It was fucking worth it.”
Wooldridge’s sweat is on these songs. You’ll feel it, too.
The album’s pre-release singles, “Waiting On The Sun,” “Weights and Stones,” and “Fade On” seclude you with Tree Machines in this intimate room, but also show you the window at the same time. And it’s important to take a look. While there are millions of people filling homes and apartments in Los Angeles, with miles and miles of strip malls and all types of folks that would rather you hadn’t waltzed into their lives, there’s something more outside that small window, even if it takes time to find.
It took Aubry a good minute.
“We come from Midwestern comfort,” he says. “I knew what the weekend held, and who I could expect to see stumbling home drunk from the bar. Rent was cheap, and the beer was cheaper. And it was all so comfortable.”
He continues, saying of the band’s move west, “It was disheartening at first. Los Angeles had this golden aura around it from when I visited before we moved. This was the place dreams happened. This was the place where opportunity is just around the corner, waiting to jump out and surprise you.”
Like his bandmate Wooldridge, Aubry sensed that special kind of loneliness that only comes with being ignored.
“Los Angeles doesn’t care how much time or energy or effort or blood or sweat or anger you’ve spent to make your shitty music. It doesn’t care that you put together a band. It only cares about the result, and we are all stronger because of that,” he says.
Listen to the work. You’ll be a bit stronger, too.
Up For Air is comprised of confessional songs that don’t mistake emotion for weakness. Full of muscle, intent, and urgency, there’s also the grace from acknowledging uncertainty, fear, and confusion.
“A lot of the subject matter is dark,” says Wooldridge. “Feelings of being completely lost, social anxiety, vices.” He describes it as the feeling of being underwater for too long and finally breaching the surface to gasp for air. “It’s a brief relief, but comes with the serious need to reflect on just how it is that you made it into this mess to begin with.”
“This has been the longest and strangest time of my short life.”
Los Angeles is just beginning to smile at Tree Machines. The window! The band is playing out locally, proving that their studio prowess isn’t just for the four walls, and have also recently completed some short touring runs. Tree Machines will announce additional Fall 2017 dates in support of Up For Air shortly. Then it’s back into the safe room.
“With our first full-length under our belt, we’re all extremely excited to begin work on the next one,” says Wooldridge. “We’ve got ourselves the studio we've always dreamed of and we have a lot more music to write.”
“For the first time in my life, I feel that I have met up with two other like-minded artists who are not afraid of blending and mixing different styles of music together,” says Giffin of the experience. “I am having the time of my life working with these talented gentlemen.”
Aubry concludes, “I think people are going to be surprised that guys from Kansas can write music with a strong social conscience and unique ideas. Plus, it sounds pretty fucking good, too.”
Up For Air, the debut album by Los Angeles-based band Tree Machines, arrives on Sept. 22nd, 2017.
- 9/29/2017: Los Angeles, CA Hotel Cafe (Record Release Show) (TIX)
- 10/19/2017: Denver, CO @ Lion's Lair
- 10/20/2017: Kansas City, MO @ recordBar
- 10/21/2017: Lawrence, KS @ KJHK (In-studio)
- 10/22/2017: Lincoln, NE @ 1876 Bar
- 10/23/2017: Davenport, IA @ Raccoon Motel
- 10/25/2017: Chicago, IL @ Elbo Room
- 10/26/2017: Lexington, KY @ The Burl
- 10/29/2017: Houston, TX @ Super Happy Fun Land
- 11/1/2017: Albuquerque, NM @ Burt's Tiki Lounge
- 11/2/2017: Tempe, AZ @ Time Out Bar
- 9/12/2017: Tree Machines reveals “Up For Air” full track list, cover art, title cut. Los Angeles-based band’s two-year labor of love arrives Sept. 22nd.
- 7/28/2017: Big sounds from a garage in Los Angeles: Tree Machines sets Sept. 22nd release date for long-awaited debut album “Up For Air.”
- 6/13/2017: Tree Machines launches summer tour dates on first day of summer, Shares “Weights and Stones” lyric video from upcoming “Up For Air” debut LP.
- 5/11/2017: Tree Machines shares “Waiting On The Sun” video that “looks like vintage L.A., like ‘The Terminator,” Reveals new single from “Up For Air” debut.
- 4/06/2017: Tree Machines counters mid-western malaise, Los Angeles loneliness with “an extended vocal-synth crescendo of hope and illumination.”
- 3/10/2017: Lawrence to Los Angeles: Tree Machines bears fruit of move west as soaring single “Waiting On The Sun” is released. Hear it now!
ON THE WEB: