I was first introduced to Holiday Shores when I was assigned to review its debut Columbus’s The Whim back in fall of 2009. That was at the starting line of the general preoccupation with all this beach stuff–Florida produced Surfer Blood, music videos got all Siena stained, and Holiday Shores fit the bill with their ‘shimmery’ guitars and bleeding vocals. But from that graduation class of bands, Holiday Shores’ debut survived the stampede of trendy sun beamers and remains a well-worn staple on my record shelf. With a new effort in the works and a number of impressive supporting tours to their name, Holiday Shores seems to be gearing up for round two. Frontman and founding member Nate Pemberton was nice enough to exchange a few questions about the project, touching on the band’s unconventional beginnings, their songwriting process, and what its like being an indie band in Tallahassee these days.
I’ve read that Nate is the lead songwriter for Holiday Shores and that you put this project together after twosyllable heard a solo EP. The music of Holiday Shores is fairly complex–every instrument seems to have a singular riff or pattern running through. Is that a a product of your general aesthetic or like-minded collaboration?
It’s bits of aesthetic and bits of the playing style of the people in the group. I’m at a weird spot right now with these stylings of ours cause sometimes it just feels like we’re too insecure to pare things down, to just let a chord ring out of something. Maybe the thinking is if we add all this complicated shit, it will sound more full. However, I think it really works in some spots and in others I think it’s overkill. I like that we seem to be lacking aesthetic, at least in my opinion we do. While it might make things more difficult in the short run, it gives us room to grow. And I all I want to do is grow and be everything we can be, which in my opinion is everything that can be.
You’ve snagged some incredible tours and bills over the last year or so. After writing and recording Colmubs’d The Whim in such a short amount of time was it challenging taking such a new project on the road with bands like Morning Benders, Twin Sister, PS I Love You…
Colombo’d (as I call it now) was done with myself and one other person (J.Martin) and we both had to teach it to various casts of musicians for various tours. There was a revolving door for a bit. People couldn’t take off work, so we’d have to replace them which required teaching them the parts and it got to be a drag after a while. So yeah, it was pretty challenging. A lot of those tours were far apart and one of them combined, so we felt like new bands for all of them. We went on tour with benders and twin sis right after recording our newest record. Which required us to add a new person to the group in order to fill it out. However, in playing a set of new songs every night we got to bore the shit out of the 17 year old girls that came to see Morning Benders. I wouldn’t recommend completely diving into all new material for the youngin’s.
You guys seem to be more aware of the lyrics, or at least consider their presence more than some of your contemporaries. Is that important to you and Holiday Shores’ music? Do you have any particular line(s) you’ve written that really stick with you?
I think I’m a terrible lyric writer, but I spend so much goddamn time on it. I think it’s so so important and I get really bummed out when a situation occurs in which I really like a certain piece only to find out its lyrics are inane and flat. Flat’s the real problem. I don’t care what you’re saying, if its a narrative, a moral, trying to describe a scene a person, it just has to be done colorfully and uniquely. New perspectives are all that matter I think. I wrote a song about a pharaoh’s body being transported to the afterlife for this new album. I got to say “ka” which is the egyptian term for soul, you know…that was fun.
A lot of the bands you get compared to or tour with live in New York, California, or the bigger southern music meccas like Atlanta or Nashville–do you feel that you experience the indie music industry differently being based sort of off the beaten trail? Is there a music community in Tallahassee that you are particularly connected to?
Yeah, it’s hard being in the middle of nowhere. Far from labels and press and all the trappings of a big city. But it’s so relieving at times, you get to do your own thing without it being dissected or labeled. Lots of freedom to roam the woods and zone out and go canoeing. I think bands definitely grow more quickly in cities, if they’re good. But the pace down here is fitting for now. The attitudes can be lazy which might be the only negative of living away from a scene. The lack of pressure can take some drive out of you, that and the heat. I got my first sunburn last week, I didn’t want to write a song for a week after that.
Do you guys have any new material in the works that you’re psyched about? Colmubs’d The Whim was such a fantastic debut!
We have a new album coming out real soon. Very ‘cited. Thanks!
Get yr tickets HERE