“A New Era” for Tidal Volume.

BY MIA POHLMAN

Tidal Volume: the amount of air by volume you’re able to bring into your lungs at a given time. Also a pun rock “empowered pop” band slated to kickoff Day Two of the Shipyard Music Festival Saturday, September 28.

It’s a name frontman Zach Sullentrup says he got from going down a “Wikipedia rabbithole” while procrastinating physics homework approximately 10 years ago when he first formed Tidal Volume for a high school battle of the bands competition. Now, he says the term feels so “far-removed,” it’s just a phrase that means his band.

The St. Louis-based band has opened for an impressive number of nationally-touring bands coming through St. Louis, including Plain White T’s, X Ambassadors and Shipyard co-headliners Jukebox the Ghost (three times). This has given them the opportunity to play shows for audiences of 500 to 1,000 people on a bigger stage, which Sullentrup says forced them to “grow up fast” and lean into the discomfort of being thrown into that position. He also says many of Tidal Volume’s fans first heard their music at these bigger shows and “realize[d] we could be a band they like.”

It’s an honor they earn in their own right: the band released three EPs with their old lineup, the last one in August 2016. Just last week, on Friday the 13th, the band dropped their new EP, releasing their latest single, “Get Back Up.” With two more new singles on the way in October and November and the introduction of new drummer Evelyn Kinsey Rose and bass player Tyler Tinnin after performing with the same lineup for much of the band’s existence, Sullentrup says the band “feels very fresh” again. He’s excited about that.

“It’s a band that’s been around for nearly 10 years now, but at the same time, it feels like we’re starting new, in a way,” Sullentrup says. “It kind of feels like a new era for the band ... which is a fun spot to be in right now.”

Historically, the band has been inspired by punk rock, indie rock and alternative pop rock bands such as Weezer, Death Cab for Cutie and Third Eye Blind. Sullentrup says mainstream pop radio also currently inspires him, and particularly Post Malone. The new music the band is working on includes country rock, hip hop and pop influences; he describes “Get Back Up” as an arena rock song, previously unexplored territory for the band, as well.

While old fans will still recognize the new music as Tidal Volume, Sullentrup is excited about moving into unchartered areas.

“At some point, we thought we had a good idea of what Tidal Volume is, and now we’re realizing that we’re in this spot where we can kind of change that and morph and grow and evolve in a way that still stays true to the mission of the band,” Sullentrup says. “It’s fun to let yourself explore how you want to explore, and be the artist you never thought you could be, and enjoy being in the moment.”

Traditionally, Sullentrup has written the band’s songs on piano or acoustic guitar and then brought them to the band to fill in the other instruments. Now, however, they are working out a creative process that allows the other members of the band to collaborate in the early stages of composition while Sullentrup continues to write the lyrics. A copywriter by day, Sullentrup says working in advertising has helped him generally become a better writer and understand better how to market the band.

He says the two types of writing are not necessarily as similar as one might think, however.

“Music is totally what I want. It’s what I think will work, what I think our fans will like, but also what I want to do,” he says. “And copywriting’s kind of the opposite of that, where I'm always doing what a brand needs and what their consumers need. So it’s nice to be on both sides of that.”

A band the members joke “refuses to die,” (although Sullentrup says it’s had many opportunities to do so,) they are excited to play in Cape Girardeau for the first time at Shipyard and spend the day outside at their first festival of the year. He says they have plans to try out some of their new songs and have “a few surprises” up their sleeves for the show. And he hopes they make some new friends.

Up next for the band is creating projects such as videos around their three new singles and recording more new music they’ve been writing. Sullentrup says they have no plans to slow down anytime soon.

Long-time fans of Shipyard’s co-headliners Jukebox the Ghost, Tidal Volume takes inspiration from Jukebox, a band also doing things differently from mainstream pop music and beloved for it. As they evolve, Sullentrup says Tidal Volume’s music pulls from many different places to create a cocktail of the band members’ tastes and what they believe their fans like. They hope it’s empowering for both listeners and for themselves.

“In a lot of ways, I think ‘Get Back Up’ lyrically is kind of like a thesis statement for what we want the band to be,” Sullentrup says. “We want it to be a band about being reactive and continuing to grow and not letting someone tell you who you can and can’t be.”

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