June 12 Feature – Take to the Oars
by Tim Wenger
photos: Jenn Cohen
In the music industry, you’ve got to have your “ducks in a row,” as they say, if you want to have any sort of success. These days, especially in a town like Denver, you’ve got to have many ducks lined up, in many different rows, if you hope to stand apart from the surfeit of bands that are trying to keep themselves afloat, and ahead of the pack, in the scene. Take to the Oars is doing just that, and as the offers pile up for the band, they continue to sail swiftly through the abyss and towards the recognition that they always knew they deserved.
The band is among a handful of talented artists that are handled by the Vinefield Agency. They recently completed their first music video for the song “Bar Talk,” and have been confirmed a slot at Red Rocks on July 30, as part of the “Film on the Rocks” series (and to make that evening even better, Anchorman will be the featured film following TTTO, just to top off the epic-ness).
Take to the Oars has a slew of other fine events on their plate this summer, including the Westword Music Showcase June 23, and the Underground Music Showcase July 21. They will be spending their free time between shows in the studio recording the follow-up EP to their debut American Volume, and hope to have it out this fall. Their blend of epic alt-rock, and tempting, engaging pop rock takes listeners on a heartfelt ride through what music was always supposed to be. Their towering guitar riffs and shrewd songwriting leave listeners begging for more.
Colorado Music Buzz got in a few words with the band just in time, as they embark on what promises to be an unforgettable summer for the band.
CMB: What has been the defining moment for the band so far?
TTTO: We have a few defining moments. Having a consistent line up for the past three years has been huge for us. That strong core has allowed us to build and evolve musically. Completing and releasing our debut American Volume was so important, and we are very proud of that album. The release of our first official video for the song “Bar Talk” gave us a great boost as far as visual/online representation. We just recently found out that we are playing Red Rocks this summer as part of Film on the Rocks, so I anticipate that will be the defining moment for us. It’s been hard to think about anything else since we found out.
CMB: You guys definitely have an “epic rock” type of style, what are you channeling during the song-writing process, or where would you say the inspiration comes from for your music?
TTTO: The songs come, like most do, from life experiences, changing perspectives, and ultimately the desire to connect and cope. Musically, we try to write in ways that fit that. We are keen on hooks, loud guitars and big drums, but also try and be conscious and realize the importance of dynamics. We are big fans of a lot of different styles of music, so it’s easy to be influenced by the things that move you. The truer we are to that, and to playing to our strengths, the stronger the music seems to be.
CMB: Where would you like to see the band go, and what are the ultimate goals?
TTTO: It’s become obvious to us that there is only so much you can control in this industry. Our running mantra/goal has been to work hard on the things we can control and to never forget how lucky we are to be able to pursue our passions. On a more granular level, playing bigger stages has always been exciting for us, as well as summer festivals, so in that regard, this summer is going to be one of the best! If we can keep making music that is relevant and connects, then it will be a job well done. We are all moving forward with families so we want to spend our time wisely, and most importantly, have some fun in the process.
CMB: Talk a little about how you all came together as Take to the Oars and what made you the musicians that you are today.
TTTO: All of us had played in other bands either in Colorado or out of state, but eventually migrated back to Denver between 2005-2007. The city offered everyone a much-needed fresh start. Take to the Oars christened its first show opening for Local H at Larimer Lounge almost three years ago. It’s hard to believe how fast it has gone by. Being able to share the stage with some great national acts has definitely contributed to the musicians we are today, but probably the most important thing we have done is getting out on the road. You learn a lot about each other and your music when you play for people who aren’t very familiar with you. It’s a humbling and fantastic way to prove to yourself that you are doing things for the right reasons.
CMB: How did you get in with Vinefield?
TTTO: We were somewhat familiar with what they were doing in Denver, and after we released American Volume, they contacted us, which was really cool. We, of course, jumped at the opportunity to work with them. Our manager Sarah Slaton has been an amazing addition to our close-knit team.
CMB: Got any pre-show rituals? Certain drink you like to have before the show or anything like that?
TTTO: We like to pow-wow backstage, even if only for a minute, before we play. Just enough time to talk a little shit, hi five, and get after it. The occasional Jaeger shot can happen from time to time, but we are more of a post-show-get-after-it kind of band. We like to stay pretty present in the moment while on stage.
CMB: Any final thoughts?
TTTO: Did we mention we are playing Red Rocks?!?! That really is a dream come true for us. We would open for any Film On The Rocks movie there, even Miss Congeniality 2.
I’m sure we will all be glad to be watching Will Ferrell’s antics following their show, rather than a ditzy FBI Agent giggling, flirting, and tripping her way through Las Vegas.