INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
Taking influence mainly from such outfits as Blink-182, Sum 41, and Jimmy Eat World, Californians Till I Fall pride themselves on an independent, creative and expansive alternative pop-rock sound.
Having already brought out three well-received EPs and an acclaimed debut album, the band recently returned to their acoustic roots with a new release, simply entitled ‘Acoustic’.
I spoke to the lynchpins of Till I Fall, Brandon Leland and Zax Avila, about that, as well as their origins, songwriting approach, lyrical influences, and sharing the stage with such highly-regarded collectives as Puddle Of Mudd and Forever Came Calling.
How did the band form?
BRANDON LELAND: I started Till I Fall in 2011 as an acoustic project, heavily influenced by bands like Go Radio, Mayday Parade, and Taking Back Sunday. Zax joined after the release of our first full-length album, ‘Lessons’, and has been working with me on the writing and overall branding of the band ever since.
How did the name Till I Fall come about?
BRANDON: It was in a fortune cookie.
What would you say was your songwriting approach?
ZAX AVILA: For both of our most recent releases, Brandon and I would pretty much hang out every day and jam on acoustic guitars together. Once ideas began to flow, Brandon would write lyrics while I bounced structure and riff ideas around until we had something solid we could work with.
What inspires the band lyrically?
BRANDON: Zax takes a lot of musical influence from bands like All Time Low, Taking Back Sunday, and Bayside. I take influence from different genres and artists. Our goal is to always write honest music from our perspectives, whatever the subject matter. Right now, I’m writing a lot of music reflecting on our social and political settings, and growing up and having run-ins with anxiety and depression.
There’s a lot of issues that bands aren’t talking about with their music right now, and that’s something we both see and are trying to accompany.
You’ve just brought out your first acoustic EP, simply entitled ‘Acoustic’. What were the reasons behind you doing this?
BRANDON: We’ve never done an acoustic release before, and have been wanting to share some of the new music we’ve been writing. We’re going to spend this summer working on new music and rehearsing for upcoming tours, so this was something we wanted to put out until we have our next major project finished.
We typically write acoustically, and it’s cool for us to see the transition from acoustic sessions to full band recording and shows. We just wanted to give our listeners the perspective we get when things are simpler and stripped down.
And how was the recording process?
It was a blast getting to record acoustically for sure, we liked getting to play with textures and layers, seeing what new sounds we could create with only acoustic songs. My brother Anthony has always had a great ear for music, so having his engineering expertise really elevated our recordings.
For those who have yet to listen to the new release, what can they expect of it?
ZAX: Our acoustic release really gives you a view on the inside of our unplugged sound. For only being a four-song EP, each one, I feel, uniquely tells its own story through Brandon’s lyricism, and shows you a more honest side of Till I Fall.
How is it, for the band, playing live?
ZAX: It’s fun. We love touring, and hope to do more of it in the next few years.
And you have shared the stage with such outfits as Puddle Of Mudd and Forever Came Calling. How were they as experiences?
BRANDON: (laughs) Yeah, we opened for Puddle Of Mudd. It was cool playing a big venue for the first time, and was obviously nostalgic. We got to open for Forever Came Calling two or three times around the time their split with Handguns came out, I think it was in around 2011, 2012.
Those were fun and it was cool playing shows with them, because they were always really respectful to everyone at shows, and set good examples of how to be a band on tour at the independent level.
Now that the EP has come out, what are the band’s plans for the near future?
BRANDON: We’re planning on doing some recording over the course of this summer, as well as play a handful of shows with some friends. We’ll for sure be back out on tour again this fall!
‘ACOUSTIC’, THE LATEST EP FROM TILL I FALL, IS NOW AVAILABLE TO STREAM, DOWNLOAD OR PURCHASE FROM SPOTIFY, GOOGLE PLAY, BANDCAMP, AND SOUNDCLOUD.
FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES: