CVIndependent

Sat07112020

Last updateMon, 20 Apr 2020 1pm

The local metal scene has been going through a transitional period, with many longtime bands calling it quits—and one of the bands rising from the figurative ashes is When Tides Turn.

Slowly but surely, the band has been getting its name out there, playing consistently at venues such as The Hood Bar and Pizza, Plan B Live Entertainment and Cocktails, Club 5, and Kilo’s Cantina.

During a recent interview in Palm Desert with the band members—except for lead guitarist TJ Cazares, who was not able to make it—they shared some amusing stories about their inception, their shared history, and how they all pitch in to support their recording and travel costs.

The band’s name is actually a reference to most of the band members’ hometown of Blythe.

“We were trying to find something that no one else had, because every name in the world is taken,” guitarist Thomas Lambert said. “Where Desiree (McCaslin, drummer) and I are from and where we formed the band, it was out in Blythe. Blythe has a river, and at certain points, there’s a really crazy rip current and undertow, and it looks like the water flow is going against the current. That’s where we came up with the name When Tides Turn.”

What is actually over there in Blythe?

“There’s a state prison there, which also comes with state jobs,” McCaslin said. “It’s a farmer town; they’re also building this huge marijuana-growing center, and it will probably be one of the biggest marijuana-growing centers in the world, because we have access to a bunch of water.”

McCaslin said she had been trying to start a band with Xan Abyss of Rogue Ogre, but it kept falling apart, and a mutual friend told her about Jacob Garcia, who was originally a drummer and a bassist. Garcia explained how he came to join When Tides Turn—as a vocalist.

“I had not been doing much of anything with music, and at first, I wasn’t really going to do it, because I didn’t have transportation; I didn’t really have the means of getting out there, but this was a band, and they were ready to go,” Garcia said. “They had already written music, and I thought, ‘OK, I can give this a shot.’ They liked me; I liked them; and maybe a week after I auditioned, we played a backyard show in Blythe, and I didn’t even finish the lyrics and was making it up as I went along.

“They had a crappy PA, so it’s not like you could have made out the lyrics anyway.”

Garcia wasn’t the only new band member who needed to learn material quickly.

“It was totally random. Desiree asked me if I wanted to jam, and I was kind of hesitant, because I didn’t think I was ready or good enough,” bassist Adrian Whitson said. “She said, ‘Just come jam, and see what happens.’ Literally, one day before a show at Club 5, they got a hold of me and asked me if I would play. They said they had a bass for me, and I had one day to learn the songs. I used to be in a band during high school, but as far as playing a show goes, I had only ever played one show before that, and it had been years since. I had one day to prepare for a metal show and had only played one show before. I was freaking out, but it worked out really well.”

Garcia added: “When Desiree decides she wants you in the band, she’ll figure out how to get you in.”

For When Tides Turn’s style of music, the vocals need to switch back and forth from a pop range—into a screaming range. Garcia said he has not yet perfected it.

“I started learning about the diaphragm to scream,” Garcia said. “Unfortunately, I’m caught in a Catch-22: I love to sing, but there are a lot of screaming styles I’d love to do if I didn’t have to worry about singing, too. It comes to a point of trying to balance it all out. I might be discovering a scream and being able to do it consistently, but I also have to sing. It’s learning how your throat feels and what feels OK, and what you can’t get away with. It’s challenging, but it’s really damn fun and rewarding.”

When Tides Turn has been working on its first album with producer Jerry Whiting, who also produced music by Frank Eats the Floor and Sleazy Cortez.

“We started recording back in February, and around that time, we were just about done,” Lambert said. “The only thing left was vocals, and that’s when our other guitarist, TJ, came into the band. We went back in and re-recorded the leads and put all of his stuff on it, and stepped it up majorly. It sounds so much better. Now we just need to touch up one of the songs and start getting it out to everyone. Jerry made it a lot more of a comfortable atmosphere versus a place that rushes you and makes it seem like you’re wasting their time. He was really easy to work with and work for. He’d add stuff and give us ideas.”

When Tides Turn, like many local bands, had problems finding a place to practice. The members of the band Hollace recently purchased a rehearsal studio called The Sound Hub from its previous owner in Cathedral City; the members of When Tides Turn say they gladly pay the money to use it.

“The Sound Hub in Cathedral City definitely helped us out. If it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t have the place to practice,” McCaslin said. “They provide the backline and everything else. If you pay $5, you can even take a recording of your practice home.”

Garcia and McCaslin told an additional amusing story about that aforementioned first show they ever played in Blythe, at a backyard party.

“Some big, old, fat drunk guy got on my drum set and just started wailing away on it, and it didn’t sound good at all,” McCaslin said. “It sounded like trash can lids, and I was watching my fucking cymbals just go to pieces. Someone was cheering for the guy, and he just kept going.”

Garcia added with a laugh: “You don’t touch another man’s car—and you don’t mess with a woman’s drum set!”

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/whentidesturn.

Frank Eats the Floor stands out in two ways.

First: It is one of the strangest band names in our local music scene. Second: The astonishingly young members show as much passion for music as anyone else in our local music scene.

We aren’t kidding when we say “young”: Bassist and lead vocalist Matt King and guitarist Aleks Romo are both in high school, while guitarist Joseph Beltran and drummer Frank Altamirano are in their first year of college.

So, what’s up with the name? During a recent interview, Altamirano explained it.

“Joe (Beltran) and I used to be in a band called The Power Strangers. It was literally just us two, and we sort of became this passion project that would invite other people to come on board,” Altamirano explained. “In our junior year of high school, we found some members who were willing to commit. We needed a name, and we learned that The Power Strangers was already taken, so we went through this really long and elaborate band-name generator that we found online. It asked a question about who was the leader, and I didn’t want to take full responsibility for this, but I finally bit the bullet and said I was the leader. One of the options it gave us was Frank Eats the Floor.”

How has the name worked for them?

“I think it’s stood out enough to where people remember us and go, ‘Oh, Frank Eats the Floor.’ I think it really stands out and matches our musical personality,” said King.

It has not been easy to be a band full of members who are not yet 21.

“The venues are the hardest part, but I feel like we’ve been doing a good job,” King said. “It’s hard to say, ‘Hey, we’d love to play this show!’ and they come back and ask, ‘Cool! What’s your age?’ It’s like, ‘Really man?’ It’s kind of degrading in a way. Just hear our music. It doesn’t matter what age we are.”

Altamirano said their ages have made it hard for the band to command respect. 

“One of the problems we had when it was just me and Joe was being taken seriously,” said Altamirano. “While we are kids, we’re also really passionate about what we do, and we take this seriously.”

One of the band’s standout songs is “School Food Sucks.” Beltran explained where the song came from.

“Every time we play that song, it’s a lot of fun,” Beltran said. “I look at everyone’s faces, and Franky is smiling; Matt is smiling; and Aleks is smiling. It’s a fun song. There’s a lot of anger behind it, too. The way it was composed was Matt was having the worst day of his life; Frank was having relationship problems; and I was just kinda there the whole time and was like, ‘All right, guys! Let’s make music.’ Matt actually wrote most of it.”

King laughed when he remembered that jam session.

“I gave Aleks my bass and told him to play, because ‘I’m going to go angry for a second.’ But we’ve toned it down and made it into a really fun song,” King said.

Frank Eats the Floor recently released a four-song EP.

“Jerry Whiting at Room 9 Recording in Redlands did it, and his studio is in his house,” King said. “We spent eight hours up there one day last summer. We know him through the guys in Sleazy Cortez. None of us slept the night before, so we were a little groggy. We recorded five songs, and it was a fun time. We’re thinking about recording the other songs this summer.”

The members admit they’re still trying to figure out how to build their sound.

“Here’s how that works: We play at gigs and we notice how different we play. We go to practice and notice how different we play than when we’re in the studio,” Beltran said. “We took note that when we play live, we play at a faster tempo. Me and Aleks were listening to the guitar, and they’re not synched up, and there’s one slightly off beat. We have to touch it up and add a few things. We realized we polished some of the songs and that we’re more consistent in how we play some of the songs than others.”

Still, the members said they’re proud of how far they’ve come.

“The first time we invited Matt to jam with us, he played one note for the entire song,” Altamirano said. “He had just gotten his bass and had only been playing for a few months. He played open E for every song. I go back and watch that video, because it’s on my personal YouTube channel, and I think, ‘We have made it so far!’ The chemistry is there and I love it. When I fill in for other bands or jam with other people, it doesn’t feel the same or as good as jamming with these guys.”

For more information, visit frankeatsthefloorfetf.bandcamp.com.