Anyone who’s seen TANGLERS perform live knows that the Vancouver six-piece knows how to have fun. They’ve brought their joyous energy as far down the West Coast as San Diego and to stages opening for Diane Coffee and Mild High Club. The band’s lighthearted spirit shines through in their latest video for “Flavour Country,” from their sophomore album, Hey You.
Coming into the world as the end of summer approaches, “Flavour Country” is a summer coda that pays tribute to that ambrosial season of splendour and all the good times we’ve missed out on due to multiple lockdowns and quarantines. Like everyone, Tanglers are looking to make up for lost time while celebrating the good times.
The video tells a simple story. Following the band as they pass through some of their favourite outdoor spots en route to a beach fire. But the song acknowledges one complicated aspect of nostalgia: that we tend to look back through rose-tinted glasses. This dynamic is common in TANGLERS’ music: honeyed harmonies, leisurely melodies, and guitars that radiate like sunshine cover up serious, even melancholic musings like SPF 100 sunblock.
RANGE caught up with TANGLERS bassist Cole Young and guitarist Ross Mcnab, who also leads vocals on “Flavour Country,” to reminisce about summer pop-up shows, gush about the band’s favourite outdoor spots, and working with director Zack Focker, while looking ahead to what’s next as autumn sets in.
This video is a celebration of summer and the feeling of getting together with loved ones, especially in light of the last two years. Did you make it out to or play any of the numerous outdoor shows that have been popping up all over parks, beaches, and other creative spaces over the last couple of summers?
Cole Young: We did! We played a show at Victory Square at the end of last summer, and we also played a backyard show at the house Matt and I used to live in, which was super fun. We also went and played a private birthday party in Point Roberts . We love house shows. You always get an amazing connection with the crowd, and that’s really the most important part of any show.
What were some of the places where you shot the video? Were any of them your favourite usual spots?
CY: It was a bit of a mix of spots we love and a few new spots that we found for the video. The video starts with us leaving our house and picking Ross up at his house. We then pick up Andrew and Michael at my marina, and in the end, we’re at one of the best beach fire spots in the city, Gun Tower Beach. We’ve all been down there countless times for fires and hangs. You kinda get it all down there: a walk through the forest, beautiful views of the city, the straight, and the local islands. There’s always fresh graffiti to check out on the tower, and it’s some of the cleanest water to swim in in the city.
We also did some driving around looking for new spots and listened to some of Zack’s suggestions. That’s how we ended up in Southlands for lots of the driving scenes and those great shots of us playing down by the Fraser River.
Can you tell me a bit about working with Zack Focker? How did the band link up with him? What was it like working with him?
CY: I reached out to Zack because I liked the videos he was making for the Pierce Kingans, and we just clicked with him right away, so I didn’t even bother. He was the perfect mix of hardworking, smart, and professional while being really easy to get along with and fun and easy to talk to. He was open to our ideas going into it and was really able to shape it into a proper plan. We shot everything in one day, and that was only possible because we let him take the reins. Without ever being rude, he was able to listen the ramblings of five guys with all different ideas just enough to hear us and then basically tell us, “Yeah, cool idea, but this is what we’re doing.”
It was important to us that filming this was fun for everyone because that’s the whole vibe of the video. And genuinely, everyone involved had such a great time that day, it didn’t feel like we were working at all. But at the same time, we’re all so happy with the product that emerged from that day.
Despite the lighthearted spirit of the video, I detect a tinge of melancholy in the line “Dreaming of a time and place I don’t think ever was.” How did this awareness, of the falseness of nostalgia, affect your and Focker’s attempts to capture your fond summer feelings in the song and video?
Ross Mcnab: Our current drummer, James Green, mentioned someone who called his music “hopeful melancholic,” and I think this song fits in that category well. The song itself I wrote quite a while ago. It’s loosely autobiographical and loosely based on a fictitious character who is going through a dark chapter of their lives and decides to pack up and hit the road to find something new.
For the video, we wanted to incorporate the song’s themes with more of a fun, authentic “band road trip” concept. Zack was amazing at taking the tiny seed of an idea and turning it into a full on visual project with a storyline. In my opinion, the video is a representation of how important the band is to all of us and how it’s something we can keep coming back to as a foundation and safe haven from whatever else is going on in our lives.
Ross, you also sing, “September cool autumn breeze, I love you / Time for me to set it free and find something new / Pictures in my dreams are vivid like these / But your the only warm sun shining on my cheeks.” I assume the “it” is the summer memories, a reminder to not linger on the past too long? Now that summer is almost over, what are you looking forward to, in the fall, or even further in the future, either personally or as a band?
RM: Yeah, you pretty much get the idea! But I like to have lyrics that can be interpreted in whatever way the listener feels most connected to.
As for moving forward, live shows have always been our bread and butter, so we’re looking to keep playing around BC and hopefully beyond. Fall is usually my favourite time to write new music, and then record in the winter. At the end of the day, we’re going to keep our heads down and continue to make music, and whatever opportunities come our way, we’ll be chomping at the bit.