Last month, when Miami-based band Through Sand dropped "Grapevine," the band somehow manage to hold tight to its DIY ethic despite the track's bombastic melodies and driving drums.
The foursome consisting of Chad Kishick (vocals and guitar), Peter Allen (bass), Eric Anderson (guitar), and Erick Feinberg (drums) had been playing in different bands, both together and apart, for so long that Through Sand's creation seemed preordained. The band self-released its debut EP, Novelty, in 2015, followed by a second EP, Acumen, in 2016. On February 16, the band's newest release, a four-track cassette entitled New Ways, comes out via Tallahassee's KOTP Records.
This time around, the hardcore quartet wanted to put the work in on the marketing and promotion side to deliver something that people can get excited about.
“I’ve always been so in love with making records that the promo and stuff seemed irrelevant, but with this project, something was different,” Allen says.
Kishick reached out to friend Tyler Denslow at KOTP, hoping to release the band's full-length album through the label. Instead, Denslow suggested Through Sand release a few tracks to create a buzz around a cassette release containing the first singles off the eventual album, titled Every Open Hand.
“We’ve had the album in the can for a minute, and we wanted to release it," Allen explains. "We had previous material that we really just put out into the ether, and this time we wanted to do it properly."
So far, the band has released three of the tracks from New Ways, most recently "Swan Dive" on January 29. The fourth and final track, "Swim," drops February 19, the day the tape is released.
“Nowadays, you have to give people a reason to listen to stuff, right? So that's why we took the approach that we're taking now," Kishick explains. "So when the record comes out in its entirety, it will give people a reason to check it out.”
For the listener, the inspiration for New Ways will be hard to place. On a track like "Grapevine," there's an obvious pop-punk anthem influence in vocal delivery, while the music seems to borrow from heavy '90s alternative rock.
Allen, an audio engineer by day, has a keen ear for what he wants to achieve with a project. He often finds himself trying to move away from the more conventional choices. But on "Grapevine," he found himself breaking all his own rules.
“This time around, I leaned into the poppier stuff," Allen says. "The more I broke my rules, the more I’d get inspiration."
For all the songs on New Ways, Allen put together demos and sent them to Kishick, who worked on the lyrics.
“You got to fit the right tone lyrically for what the song's theme is," Kishick says. "For 'Grapevine,' it was pretty straightforward and simple about relationships and having to work on things harder than the other person in the relationship."
Allen and Kishick’s songwriting process stems from their time together in the pop-punk band Sloane Peterson. Through Sand came from their ambitions to try something heavier.
“I wanted to see what it would be like in this lower tuning. Everything has a more brooding kind of sound. Even stuff that is written in major keys sounds a little more somber,” says Allen. “'Grapevine' and a lot of these songs just came from me writing stuff in these heavier tunings and just wanting it to sound big."
New Ways. Available for preorder via KOTP Records.