INTRO BY KAT VISTI
INTERVIEW BY ANDREW PINTADO
The Alternate Routes is an alternative/roots band that recently released new singles entitled "Safe Haven" and "Stronger." The bands impressive resume includes their song "Nothing More" used during the 2014 Winter Olympics, as well as their song "Somewhere In America" earning them a 2016 Independent Music Award. The band's goal is to mix words and melody in order to evoke emotions in the heart of every listener. We interviewed them to learn more about their experiences touring, their music, the music industry and more!
How did you guys come up with the name for the band?
Eric: "The name came from Tim. He was in Martha’s Vineyard and he was driving and this was right around the time we started doing what we’re doing, and we didn’t have a band name yet. We were trying to think of one and he came up to a sign and it said 'Seek Alternate Routes.' And it didn’t tell him where to go, it wasn’t a detour, didn’t say go left or right, it just said 'Seek Alternate Routes.' I remember the day he called me saying 'I think I’ve got the band name!' and I said 'I don’t know, we’ll see.' And all these years later it’s the band name."
What do you guys enjoy most about touring?
Tim: "Well, I think the greatest thing about tour; let me make a Calisthenics comparison -- it’s like you’re stretching every day and by the end of the week you’re stretched a lot further than the beginning and there’s no substitute for a band. You have to get out, it’s a different muscle being used when you’re touring, or playing or performing. You can practice all the time; it’s a different gear and you get in that gear and you can hit it every night…and it’s fun to see how far you can go…getting that muscle in shape."
What is your favorite city to perform in or what famous cities have you performed in?
Tim: "That’s a great question. We did a tour with Ingrid Michaelson a couple of years ago where we played a show in Seattle… there was thirty-five hundred people there, we were just a duo and in the middle of one of the songs we were having so much fun because they were such good listeners that we would just drop everything and it would be completely silent. So to be in a room with that many people and have it be that quiet, it just felt like they were there with us like we were having a quiet conversation with a lot of people and I’ll never forget that; I give credit to her and to her fans…it’s inspiring what people have done to present music."
Eric: "I’m going to take the opposite approach and say we’re Connecticut guys so we play there quite often, New York, the tri-state area and it’s so much fun to leave and go out and play the rest of the country which allows you to play all over the world but you really do realize how this [tri-state] area supports us and allows us to go do other things. We come home and we play to larger crowds than we do when we’re out on the road and that really does support everything we do. We wouldn’t be able to go out in the van and drive to Atlanta or Kansas City or Texas or Canada if we didn’t have the support that we have at home so whenever you get an opportunity to play in front of those people, you become more grateful and that revitalizes you in so many different ways."
What do you like to listen to when you’re on the road; who are some of your favorite artists?
Tim: "*Referring to song playing in the background* It’s funny cause I was just about to say, I don’t know if this is an old playlist our sound engineer put in but this is one of my favorite albums from Derek and the Dominos, Jason Isbell, Blake Mills, and Fiona Apple."
Eric: "Gillian Welch; Jimi Hendrix guitar recordings."
What was it like to have your song “Nothing More” featured in the Winter Olympics?
Tim: "It was surprising; we didn’t know that it was going to happen… at the end of one of our shows, everyone’s phone had 25 voicemails and we had made a contract with the network to use the song but they didn’t tell us they were going to use it… so it was amazing. The song has changed the way we think about our music in a way."
Being a band that has been around for a while, how has the music industry changed?
Eric: "I think it has changed a lot and I guess I am talking more about the nuts and bolts side of things, less like the actual music. It’s a very different world than when we started, I’m in my late 30’s now and when I started I was in my early 20’s and the way people listened to music was much different. And then when I was in my teens, I remember how people used to get music through major distributions like MTV or the radio was the way we all kind of collectively got music. If you want to spin off from there, there was a lot of cool things you could do but now with the internet and with streaming it’s such a different world; you have to learn how to adjust and realize people don’t buy music the way they used to, they don’t buy CD’s the way they used to. Then you’re stuck in this world where a lot of our fans are our age or older who still want that but the younger generation doesn’t so you’re torn between asking, 'Do we even print CD’s anymore?' And you try to be hip and cool and say, 'No more CD’s,' but get 15 emails from people saying, 'I just want to buy a CD so I can put it in my car!' You can’t win so I don’t know but it's interesting cause I do feel like there are several lines where things change dramatically and particularly the way people consume and share music. I don’t think any of it is good or bad; we’re just in an interesting generation because we’re right in the middle."
What are your plans for the future?
Tim: "We’re going to keep going. We’ve got the start of a busy year planned, I think. We’re making our own music finally! Not in a way that it’s like a footnote, like, 'Oh, they record their own music.' I think we’re finally recording music that is viable in any tier of the music business. So we’re going to try and hone that. We’re not a band that’s going to just stop, and I think we’ve proven that. I think it’s fun when you get into a phase of your life and your career where you know a little bit more about who you are and you can put that forward more without wondering as much."
What do you want your audience to take away from your music and your shows?
Tim: "My answer would be that I think music can be used for other things occasionally than maybe 'Taking a bunch of drugs!' or 'Feeling like you’re in church.' I think we’ve made our music flexible to a point where we can cover more ground than you might expect at one show."
Eric: "I would say something similar to that and I was talking about it this morning, I think the theme of our music over the last few years has kind of been this topic about how we’re all connected. Sometimes I feel like we explore that subject in an a really upbeat and fun manner and sometimes we explore that in darker or more difficult situations. But that idea that we’re all connected and then when it comes to what we do and the show that we put on despite not having the largest fan base in the world, we still have a community of people that feel connected to us and we feel connected to them. I think that’s something that we’re really lucky for and grateful for."