Socal’s Tidal Babes are a surf rock / power pop punk trio featuring singer Lyndsi Austin, songwriter and producer Chris Qualls, and drummer Danny DeLeon. This summer the band released their latest EP titled “OMG,” and I caught up with the group to talk a little bit about the new release and their music, as well as what their plans are for the future in terms of touring and more.
So it’s been an exciting summer for you with the release of your EP, how are you doing, and how’s everything been?
Lyndsi: It has definitely been exciting! It feels good to finally have our EP out. We wanted to release it in the heat of summer for people to rock at a pool party or on their way to the beach. Seems to be well received so far! Kat Corbett has been playing us for the last month on KROQ Locals Only which is awesome. We love her. We’ve also had a bunch of love on Sirius XM from the Rodney On The Rocks show – stoked on that as well!
You also celebrated the EPs release with a show alongside our friends The Dollyrots, who of course also launched their new album that night as well, and played with some other great bands, The Darts and Not Ur Girlfrenz. What was that like?
Chris: We couldn’t have asked for a better line up. I’ve loved the Dollyrots for years. The Darts are amazing. One of the bands I produce (Harper And The Moths) is from Arizona and they’re all friends with The Darts. I had been hearing about them from a while, so it was great to finally meet them and be on the same bill.
Lyndsi: It was a total party. We have been following The Dollyrots for a while, so it was super cool to finally play with them. The Darts were so much fun. They had Fred Armisen play drums on a song with them which was a riot. Not Ur Girlfrenz were pretty punk rock. I love seeing chicks get into music that young – they were all shredders. It was definitely an empowering night. People were dancing. There was an old guy dressed in a full-on Santa outfit in the heat of summer. The fans couldn’t have been better.
Are there any other local acts that you’ve enjoyed playing with, or any that you’d like to share the stage with?
Chris: There are so many talented bands in LA, it’s kinda difficult to pick. We love playing with The Gutter Daisies. I Don’t Know How But They Found Me (IDK) is amazing. I don’t know if they’re considered local anymore, since they’re currently doing the European festival circuit. Keen always rocks. Same with Nightgown. As far as bands we would like to play with but haven’t…probably Holy Wars, Broken Baby and Spare Parts For Broken Hearts.”
For fans that have never been to one of your typical live shows, what are they like? Do you try to stay true to the studio recordings of your songs, or is there something you throw in from time to time for a different experience?
Lyndsi: We definitely get into it live. I think it’s a bit more punk rock. There is something about the sound of live amps that you can’t totally capture in a recording – feeling that shake in your bones. We always make sure to have a good time – because why else would you do it?
And while the clock is ticking, do you have any pre-show rituals?
Lyndsi: I start with my vocal warmups. After that’s out of the way, we usually take the pre-show time to just hang out and have a couple drinks. Get the right vibe going
The band has a background in rock and pop alike, and it’s safe to say that this project touches on both worlds. What do you think makes your music “rock” and what is it that brings the pop edge to it?
Lyndsi: I think the rock part of it comes largely with the guitar riffs and the song structure, as well as the edginess of our content. The “pop edge” comes out in the clean production of the songs, and in the treatment of my vocals. We kept all of that super shiny, but made sure to still have the grungy guitar tones. The songwriting in the melodies also have a lot of pop in them.
Surf rock has been called Southern California’s folk music. The genre certainly has had some major influences on folk rock, garage, as well as skate punk. Were you a fan of any of the the primary surf or folk genres growing up, or did you come to appreciate it from a fusion band such as say, Agent Orange, or any other skate / surf punk acts?
Chris I grew up in Socal and both of my parents loved music. They listened to a ton of different genres when I was growing up. My mom was heavy into The Beach Boys, Jan & Dean and a bunch of the 60’s surf pop. I always loved it. Then when I was about 13, I got turned on to skate punk. That changed my whole life. Something about the combination of catchy melodies and the youthful, raw energy of the music. I still listen to it all the time.
“OMG” feature 5 amazing tracks, reminding me of artists like The Primitives or Go-Gos. What and/or who were the biggest influences behind this EP?
Lyndsi: That’s awesome, thanks. We definitely have a throwback vibe, but try to keep it edgy and current too. The Go-Go’s are a huge influence, as well as The Bangles, B-52s, Blondie, all of that. We all love punk rock, so that comes into play too – The Ramones, Nirvana, Joan Jett, The Runaways. The Riot Girl scene is also inspiring – Le Tigre, L7, Bikini Kill. As Chris said, The Beach Boys have been a huge influence on us (especially in their harmonies), as well as Dick Dale and that whole California surf rock scene.
Your songs are energetic, catchy and direct, and what I find even more interesting is that they echo so many different influences. From 70s rock, to pop-punk and even some 80s thrown into the mix, with also a great original touch. How do you go about blending so many influences into such a cohesive sound?
Chris: I think the secret is not thinking about it. We never consciously decided to mix all those influences. It just happened from a lifetime of listening to that stuff. All three of us listen to music all the time. New stuff, old stuff, pretty much every genre. Our only goal when we sit down to write is to make a good song. We also have a rule to write every song in an hour or under. I write and produce pop songs every day for a living and in those sessions everyone is so focused on making sure that every little detail is perfect and “radio enough”, that we tend to over think everything. We wanted to take the opposite approach with Tidal Babes. Write quickly, write honestly and trust your gut. Then I’ll work everything out and tie it together sonically in the production stage.
With your music being deeply tied to that classic Southern California lifestyle and aesthetics, in your opinion, what other artists do you think were able to capture the So-Cal life with their work?
Chris: I mean the Beach Boys really started it. They were the first mainstream band that used California as their main marketing point. In the late 90’s/early 2000’s you had a bunch of Epitaph Records type bands that were supplying the soundtrack to all the skate and surf videos that were going around. That lead to an aesthetic and a sub division of punk rock that was a little different from what the Bay Area bands and fans were doing. That gave rise to Blink 182. In my opinion, they fully capture the essence of socal.
And speaking of Southern California, are there any plans to step outside of that area for a larger tour?
Lyndsi: Yes, absolutely. We’re looking into all of that right now. We all love playing on the road. It’s such a cool experience. We wanted to really lock it down here in LA before doing any big tours, but I think now that we’ve had some success here it’s time to start the touring process.
And lastly I wanted to ask, is an LP is in the works, or some other new material?
Chris: We have over 25 songs fully produced, mixed and mastered. We’re also writing more every day. “OMG” is the first of three EPs that we’re gonna release. We decided to break it up into smaller releases rather than one full length. The next one will probably be out around the end of year. Our long term plan is to combine all three EPs and release it as an album on vinyl.
Awesome! Great to hear. And thank you for taking some time to chat with me, is there anything else you’d like to say to the fans?
Lyndsi: Thank you so much for having us. For the fans – can’t wait to keep sharing new music with you, and hopefully see you in your city! Follow us on Instagram to keep up on our wacky adventures.