Hold On Hope; An interview with Kyle Miller of Tow'rs

The story of Tow’rs began in the mountains of Flagstaff, Arizona. Originally a group of strangers, they found each other through a deep love for music and story telling. Over the years, they’ve become a family; writing music and the story of their lives together.
Today, April 28, the band releases Grey Fidelity. The grey inconclusive nature of life felt paralyzing at times for the band this year. In the midst of liminal spaces, fidelity was a reoccurring hope where there weren’t conclusions. And though they often operated out of a grey area of knowledge, it became an ongoing observation that fidelity to hope seemed more important than having answers. Fidelity to their marriages seemed more important than being right or getting their way. Fidelity to vulnerability seemed more important than protecting themselves from the inevitable pain of community. Fidelity to social justice and human rights seemed more important than protecting their image or privilege.
Their hope for these songs is to invite the listener not into certainty, but into devotion to hope. A place the band tried to operate in despite not being able to know or see the full outcome of that devotion.
Ghettoblaster recently caught up with Kyle Miller to discuss the record, ’90s bands and parenthood. This is what they told us.
When did you first begin writing the material for Grey Fidelity?
We started writing some of the songs on this record back in late 2015. Most of the record was written throughout 2016. It was a more tedious process than the last two albums by far.
For instance, we had never even demoed out songs before. We always just wrote the songs and then went and recorded them. However, I think the more tedious and detailed aspects of this album gave us a record we are more proud of than anything we’ve done before.
The idea of being a craftsmen of the writing process was big for me throughout Grey Fidelity. I did my best to put my ass in the chair everyday and write.

Even upon first listen, these songs felt familiar. They wrap around you like a warm blanket. The harmonies are spot on. Do you all bring writing ideas to the table?
Thanks for your kind words. We all have a niche in Tow’rs that has developed over the years in our writing process. Each group writes differently together and over the past two records we have honed in on what we think is the most efficient and productive way to do so. Generally speaking, I write the lyrics and the bring the song’s chords, structures and bones to the table. The band then brings what they do best with each of their instruments.
Emma Crislip is a brilliant cellist/pianist and helps me arrange a lot of the songs along with our dear friend Kyle Keller our multi-instrumentalist (synth, electric guitar, trumpet, BGV’s). My wife Gretta writes our bass lines as well as helps with the refinement of the vocal harmonies and melodies. Our drummer Ryan Smith, our newest addition, helped write a lot of the drum parts for this record along with our friend Caleb Friesen from Colorado.
Also, this record we were fortunate enough to get to work with a producer named David Wilton from A Boy and His Kite. He did a lot of tweaking of the songs to help them become the best they could be. He also recorded and mixed the record in his beautiful studio in Lafayette, Colorado, called Coalesce Audio.
We hear bits of many of our favorite ’90s artists in your music – Kings of Convenience, Mojave 3, Low. Who do you consider your influences?
Haha, we are all ’90s kids so maybe subconsciously we are all influenced by them. On a more conscious level though we all enjoy Gregory Alan Isakov, The National, Fleetwood Mac, Michael Kiwanuka and David Bazan. Ultimately at the end of the day you can try as hard as you can to sound like somebody you respect, but all you can do is be you. We tried to embrace fully who we are and what we bring to the table on this record.
Now that you now have a child, do you take your child on tour with you? If so, how is that working out?
People ask me about how kids change life all the time. I always say everything just gets deeper. Both pain and joy grow in ways that I would never change for anything. That being said we do bring our son on the road with us most tours. We hire a nanny to go with us and for right now that’s working really great. Our son is an amazing boy and he forces the tour to have a different emphasis. It’s easy after a hard show for me to beat myself up or get lost in the “what could I have done better” conversation. Or even go the opposite direction and get a big head about the performance.
But, when there’s a tiny human being depending on you when you get back in the van to be a good dad/mom and be present it really puts it into perspective what’s important. We are actually expecting another baby in August and we couldn’t be more pumped. It obviously makes things logistically more interesting, but Gretta and I can’t imagine doing anything else with our lives than playing music and being parents.
You’re playing out west this spring. Any plans for an east coast tour?
Gretta and I will be playing a SoFar sounds show in New York later in April. We do have plans to be out in the east, but it won’t be till after our next baby comes most likely. Right now we have booked shows in the west coast, midwest and south before August. Touring while your pregnant can be challenging, haha, so we are fitting all we can before Gretta can’t take it anymore and the east coast might be a stretch. We currently live in Arizona so getting out east is not a naturally easy direction for us to tour. However, we will hopefully be there either later this year or early next year.
(Catch the band live here: 05.26 • Wind Rider Mountain Festival, Alto, NM
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