Talking Under Water
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Talking Under Water

Rochester, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Rochester, New York, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Rock Singer/Songwriter




"Talking Under Water, "Tossing & Turning" Exclusive Premiere"

Talking Under Water’s debut EP, ‘Tossing & Turning,’ hit the streets in December 2014, and today (Jan. 28), Diffuser is thrilled to partner with the band to debut the title-track’s official music video — check it out above.
‘Tossing & Turning’ is a beautiful blend of blues and indie rock, fusing powerful dynamics with an eerie rhythm that feels like it could go off the rails at any given moment; the accompanying video elevates that listening experience to a whole new level.
“This is a song about wanting, being stuck in a place where you want to be with someone, but for whatever reason — fear, self-doubt, prior commitments — you can’t connect with them,” the band tells us. “The video illustrates inner dialogue through imagined conversations with the object of our characters’ desires. The unrequited love triangle in the video really depicts this wanting so well, and Will Graver, who directed ‘Tossing & Turning,’ captured it all beautifully.”
‘Tossing & Turning’ opens the band’s four-track EP — you can pick it up here. And as we anxiously await to get our hands on their sophomore EP — slated for release this spring — make sure to stay up-to-date with everything happening in Talking Under Water’s world at their official website.

Read More: Talking Under Water, 'Tossing & Turning' - Premiere | -

"Talking Under Water Releases Debut Single, “Tossing & Turning”"

Yesterday afternoon, Rochester alt-rock outfit, Talking Under Water, premiered “Tossing & Turning,” its debut single and title track to its forthcoming new EP. Forming this past summer, the quartet is comprised of front man Dave Chisholm, Alex Patrick of the Absolutes, Stephen Roessner of Pleistocene/Small Signals, and Cayuga Chamber Orchestra cellist Elise Hughey.

The four-piece’s “Tossing & Turning” is a theatrical number with a flair for the dramatics, with smokey verses that explode as the song’s bombastic chorus is unleashed. Fans of the Black Keys, Muse, Cage the Elephant, and even Dead Man’s Bones (minus Halloween) should all find something within the track to peak their interest.

Tossing & Turning will be released on December 2nd. In the mean time, listen to the single below. - buffaBLOG

"Tossing & Turning with Talking Under Water’s New EP – Interview with Dave Chisholm"

New-York’s Talking Under Water are releasing their new EP “Tossing & Turning” next Tuesday, December 2nd. (listen to the title track single above) The eclectic collective will be making this compilation available both digitally and by cassette tape. Yes, you heard me, cassette tape; they’re bringing it back.

Talking Under Water has a sound that, for me, is hard to describe. The band themselves describe it as a rich, rootsy and evocative of the Americana/Blues tradition with the band’s own distinctive spin. To give you more of an idea, I could see these guys opening for bands like The Lumineers, Conor Oberts, and Hozier down the road. Adding to this even more, TUW specializes is writing sad songs in hopes of making listeners feel better. It sounds backwards but as lead singer Dave Chisholm puts it, “The idea of using sad songs to make listeners feel better is a crucial element of the blues” (He explains this even further in the interview below)

Let’s talk a little bit about the EP, shall we? Tossing & Turning begins with the title track, and honestly that track is probably my favorite. The whole EP is amazing but I get goosebumps every time on this one. If you were to ask me what the song were about I’d probably give you a different answer than what you’d expect, because as you’ll find out below the band leaves their lyrics for open interpretation. (mysterious) This track has a ton of dynamic and it is very well-written in my opinion; they make great use of bluesy piano chords, gang chants, fuzzy/clean vocals, fuzzy guitars, bluesy guitars, a CELLO, good beats, and a really awesome and fitting guitar solo. The EP in total holds four amazing tracks (Tossing & Turning, The Sun Sets, Never Been, and My Song) and every single one of them had my undivided attention throughout. You can tell the band spent a lot of time stepping back and developing each one of these songs to perfection. Each track is very emotional but also very thought-provoking and very addicting.

I couldn’t help the feeling of wanting to know more, so I connected with their lead singer, Dave Chisholm. We talked about how their music translates to a live performance, how they came up with their sound, (for instance, why did you think it was a good idea to incorporate these instruments specifically??? Genius) what it’s like working/playing with Grammy Award-winning sound engineer & drummer Stephen Roessner, why their passionate about writing sad songs, and much more.

AMN: “What’s your biggest musical influence (of all time)?”

Dave Chisholm: “My biggest musical influence!? As in JUST ONE person? That’s impossible. The list of influences is way too big. If I was to narrow it down to one category, I’d say the people who have had the greatest impact on me are the people I have played music with over the course of the 15-odd years I’ve been playing music professionally. They’ve sculpted my taste and turned me on to great music more than anything else.

As far as songwriting influences on what I’m writing for this band, I guess the answers are sort of obvious…? We all love the Beatles, Elliott Smith…I have been listening to loads of old r’n’b and soul music from the 50s and 60s, and I’m really taken by the new Hozier album. These kinds of lists can go on and on, though. We have a band Spotify playlist that keeps growing and growing. It’s funny to try to guess which member of the band added what. Sometimes guessing is pretty easy!”

AMN: “If you could play at any venue in the world, where would you play and why?”

Dave Chisholm: “Hmm. On one hand, it would be amazing to play something totally culturally ubiquitous like SNL. On the other hand, it would be super cool to play an enormous venue like MSG. On the other hand, it would be amazing to play a stage graced by so many great artists, like playing on Austin City Limits or something. Haha. I guess, if we were playing at any of these venues, we’d be reaching a large number of listeners. We all believe that people just need to hear this music–it speaks for itself!”

AMN: “What’s the weirdest show you have ever played?”

Dave Chisholm: “I once played a jazz gig for a marathon. When runners would come around the bend, we’d fire up the band for a minute until they passed us. The runners arrived so sporadically–we never made it through more than 2 choruses on any song. It was ridiculous!”

AMN: “How do you feel your band translates in a live performance?”

Dave Chisholm: “I think our music translates well! Sometimes it’s hard to really communicate a lyric-driven song at a live show, though, and that’s why we have great ear candy like Alex’s guitar playing and Elise’s cello playing (also Steve’s drumming). I’m always working on improving my vocal delivery, trying to communicate the emotional content of a song beyond just hitting the right notes! It’s cool to see these songs connect with new listeners in a live context–really thrilling looking out into the crowd and seeing people locked into the music coming from the band. We have a good energy on stage–we all enjoy each other’s company, which obviously helps stage presence.”

AMN: “What’s the meaning behind Talking Under Water?”

Dave Chisholm: “To be honest, we were looking for a good band name and my 4-year-old niece suggested it. It feels mysterious, interesting, and kind of compelling and it was DEFINITELY the best suggestion!”

AMN: “What was it like working with Stephen Roessner?”

Dave Chisholm: “Steve is great–really fantastic dude and musician. Great drummer, brilliant and INCREDIBLY fast-working recording engineer/producer. We’re lucky to have him in the band for sure. Alex, our guitar player, is also a very talented engineer–he recorded all of the guitars at a cabin in Conesus, NY. When we all heard the guitars on “Tossing & Turning” we all just about died. They were just perfect for the song, loose, angsty, bluesy–I can’t say enough great things about them. Again, we’re lucky to have them both. They are way more perfectionist than I am when it comes to this stuff, and for that I’m super grateful.

The cool thing about this band is that we all have approximately the same pop/rock musical touchstones so I rarely NEED to offer much guidance when I bring a song to the table. 95% of the time everybody just brings the coolest ideas to the table. It makes for what I’d consider a very relaxed rehearsal atmosphere. Every one of us is a trained, well-versed, experienced musician–I trust them all completely with these sad songs I write! My tunes tend to be sort of chord-driven, chord-heavy songs, and it really is easy to communicate the musical DNA to them since they’re all so utterly on top of their game. They push me to be better.”

AMN: “What inspired the specific collection of instruments chosen for TUW?”

Dave Chisholm: “I was interested in starting a rock band again and I thought this combination of personalities would lead to strong results and good times. I also enjoy the challenge that having cello instead of bass presents–it forces us to be creative in orchestrating a song. When Elise has melodic content, I have to play bass material with my left hand.”

AMN: “I hear musings of tour dates, music videos and full length albums, any word on that?”

Dave Chisholm: “We are working on a video for “Tossing & Turning” and it is looking SO great. Our extremely talented friend Will Graver is directing it and we have some friends who are going to act in it. I think it’s really going to be special!

As far as full-lengths go, we definitely have enough material, however we want to be smart about it and not necessarily dive right into a 12-song album without having an appropriate clamor for it. It’s also fitting in the current market to put out a series of EP’s, so that’s where we find ourselves. I think we’re going to record live in-studio for our next release, although the details will be fuzzy still. Looking to record in December and January. Should be awesome–the next bunch of songs have a real rootsy gospel-influenced sound that we’re all really happy about.”

AMN: “Why do you feel passionately about making people feel better from sad songs?”

Dave Chisholm: “OH man, this is a great topic. Why do we love sad music? On the flipside, why do we so often get so quickly annoyed with music that is only happy, party, YAY all the time (at least I do haha)? I think people stress out, freak out, a lot, people get sad, people get mad, and having music that is empathetic with them in that moment–it exists with them down in that hole–it can really help people feel less alone. It can also serve to point out that things will get better. That’s a core message of the blues: things are bad right now, but they’ll be better tomorrow. I’ve been going through some stuff in my personal life and this kind of music is the nearest and dearest to my heart. These emotions just manifest themselves as songs, as these little objects. The object of a song then helps me manage my own emotions. It takes something that could sit and stew and fester inside of me, infect me with this darkness, and it puts it in an external object that is hopefully well-crafted, effective, and beautiful.”

AMN: “What’s Tossing & Turning (the track) about?”

Dave Chisholm: “You’re not gonna get that out of me! I want people to find their own conclusion to that question! Love triangles, rhombuses, biangles (?), unrequited love, etc. it’s about feeling incomplete in whatever situation you’re in and at the same time feeling conflicted about looking for completeness.”

AMN: “I hear you guys are making this EP available on cassette tape? Why cassettes?”

Dave Chisholm: “Initially, we only wanted to put this out digitally–it’s only 4 songs so it felt maybe a little bit silly to manufacture boxes and boxes of cds for such a project. However, we felt like we still needed something physical to sell at shows since people are reluctant to buy download cards at events. Vinyl is super expensive to produce, and tapes are small, still somewhat novel, they have a cool sonic character, and it’s easy to package them with download cards, so people can still have the high fidelity of the download with the fun physical product. We are also able to do short runs of tapes. With replicated cd’s, I think the minimum cutoff is something like 500. It just felt unnecessary for this project. We’ll hold off on that until we do a full-length hopefully sometime late 2015.

AMN: “Anything else you’d like to talk about?”

Dave Chisholm: “hmm. Both Steve and Alex are involved in other rock/pop projects.

Elise runs a string quartet:

I also do visual art:“

Talking Under Water is very different and in a good way. They’ve incorporated good use of very opposite techniques and blended them into a sound that is very complimentary. You can find more of them on their Facebook! - anchor music news

"Pens and Pedals Interview: Talking Under Water"

I had a chance to meet, through the interwebs, the artist and musician Dave Chisholm who is also an adjunct instructor at Keuka College and the front man of the Rochester based band Talking Under Water. We chatted about art, comics and music.

How long have you been making music and art?
MUSIC – we’ve been a band since May. I have personally been playing music since I was 4 (violin). I really took to it when I started trumpet at 11. Been playing in rock bands since high school and have my doctorate in jazz trumpet.
ART – I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember! Very little formal training–none beyond high school. Just try to be curious, observant, and hard-working.
Do you have a favorite medium (art and music included)?
ART – comics for SURE
MUSIC – it’s too hard to pick. I just love songs, good melodies with interesting chords. I love lyrics too. Sorry if that’s too vague. I love it all–I have put out albums of jazz big-band music (Radioactive under my own name and COLOSSUS under the name Colossus), jazz/post-rock stuff (Calligraphy under my name), and have been a part of numerous rock bands.
Who are the people who inspired you to make music?
I’ve mostly been inspired by the people I grew up making music with–the older musicians who were always so much better than me. That inspiration is the most immediate! Right now my biggest inspiration are the members of Talking Under Water–I love what they bring to the songs so much that now I’m writing songs inspired by all of their many skills.

Who are the musicians that you look up to?
I just look up to honest musicians who work hard on their craft and also take seriously the art side of it. I like to find a balance between the two–or to have both at as high a level as possible!
How did Talking Underwater come together?
I have wanted to put together a rock band again for awhile (I toured with the Brobecks for a couple of years before I started my masters degree) and I really enjoy the personalities of the three musicians I asked to play in the band–I thought we’d all have good chemistry.
Have you ever thought about recording vocals underwater?
Haha I haven’t! Might be cool for some backup vocals as long as it didn’t screw up the microphone!
What draws you to piano led indie pop music?
The piano is such a great foundational instrument and is so versatile. Of course, you still need guitar and drums to really bring the heavy! I play some guitar but I think I’m a little better at piano so that’s why I’m playing it–Alex is such a fantastic guitar player that I would feel absurd playing guitar on a stage with him!
Who are the artists that you look up to?
Musically — I love good songwriting where it sounds like the songwriter didn’t settle for the first and most obvious solution to a songwriting problem. To me, Elliott Smith, Thom Yorke, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul Simon–these really are the usual suspects, I guess. I really love the new Hozier album.
Comics — Paul Pope, Frank Quitely, Jeff Smith, Farel Dalrymple, Fabio Moon, Gabriel Ba. I tend to love great brushwork and/or really well-thought-out storytelling utilizing the comics medium!
What comics or graphic novels are you currently reading?
I love Zero by Ales Kot. Right now I’m midway through the Rise of Aurora West. David Rubin is so incredible–what great brushwork. I’m also so so so happy that Stray Bullets is back. What an amazing series!
What draws you to use ink as you medium in your comics?
It’s just incredibly satisfying and fun to use!

What kind of brushes do you use?
I use windsor series 7 brushes (actually factory rejects of these that I got for cheap…shhh)
Do you ever use ink brushes in photoshop, illustrator or any other comparable programs to ink your work?
I don’t! traditional all the way.
What is your day job (presuming that art and music isn’t your full time gig)?
Art & Music! I teach music at Keuka College and also teach at the Hochstein School of Music. I gig quite a bit in Rochester, like wedding gigs and stuff.
I see that you did a talk at Keuka College and a workshop. How did you get hooked up with that gig?
I’m an adjunct instructor in the music department and I proposed a comics course in the art department.
Do you do gig posters for your own band?
Sometimes, if I have the time!!!
What do you have lined up next in terms of music and art?
Talking Under Water “Tossing & Turning EP” out December 2!!! Also a music vid for the title track. We’re going to keep recording songs (we have I think around 20 at this point which is super exciting). I have a comics/music project titled “INSTRUMENTAL” that’s more jazz-oriented that hopefully will come out sometime next year. Time will tell! - AZLTRON


Talking Under Water
Tossing & Turning EP
Street: 12.02
Talking Under Water = Let's Become Actors – Michael Gross & The Statuettes

Talking Under Water is the new project from Dave Chisholm, formerly of storied SLC bands The Brobecks and Let's Become Actors. Since leaving those bands Chisholm has moved across the country to Rochester, NY, where time and distance have done his songwriting some good. While still in the same vein as his former projects, Tossing & Turning EP has an added depth and artistry that helps propel it beyond his previous output. Despite limiting themselves to a piano/cello/guitar/drums setup, Talking Under Water have crafted a fine, four-song EP that covers a lot of ground. From the Western-ish rock n' roll feel of the title track to the contemplative and jubilant closer "My Song," there is plenty here to hold the listener’s attention. This is an extremely confident debut, and I expect to see a lot of interesting and exciting music coming from these guys in the future. –Alex Gilvarry - SLUG Magazine

"Shooting a Music Video"

In the center of a room littered with antique chairs, discarded clothing, and something dubbed the “beer urinal,” the members of Talking Under Water were quoting The Big Lebowski. And much like The Dude—the protagonist in the Coen brothers’ cult classic—lead singer and pianist Dave Chisholm expressed his admiration for Creedence Clearwater Revival. But after a few ad-libbed bars of “Have You Ever Seen The Rain,” it was time for work again.

On this particular Sunday in October, the band members had been planted in the middle of Rochester Greenovation for the afternoon. The refurbished and vintage goods store was closed that day, allowing Talking Under Water to take over. The large space was beaming with organized chaos. Christmas lights strung across one part of the massive room, old Genesee Brewing signs looming overhead, and yes, even an old urinal—now used to hold beer during parties—were present. And the band (Chisholm, cellist Elise Hughey, drummer Stephen Roessner, and guitarist Alex Patrick) was several hours deep into filming the first part of the music video for their new single, “Tossing and Turning.”

The four-song Tossing and Turning EP was released in December 2014 with a title tune described by Chisholm as a lyrically “sad song,” but the sound itself is upbeat. It features an energetic, sing-along chorus, which gives the group good reason to use the wordy hashtag #sadsongstomakeyoufeelbetter across its various social media platforms. And while the music may deal with sadness, the band members are the opposite of “emo.” Banter was prevalent throughout the lengthy music video shoot.

Between takes, the group would break into brief cover tunes—everything from the Beatles to the Jurassic Park theme— with Chisholm cracking jokes like, “Make me look like George Clooney” periodically. And while the afternoon session featured take after take of the band ripping through “Tossing and Turning,” it wasn’t exactly like playing a live gig.The music video features slow motion effects, and to capture that visual, the band had to play in a style they dubbed “funny double time.” For each take, the song blasted over speakers with a frantic pace—like someone hit the fast-forward button on a remote. While the track, at its normal speed, is four minutes and forty-four seconds, the music video version is exactly half that length.

Director Will Graver of Lemon-Fresh Bastards (the name of the production company, really) explained this gives him and the rest of the editing team more leeway when putting the video together. “It’s like putting together a puzzle,” Graver says of the fifty-plus clips of the performance the crew shot. They then mixed clips from the first shoot—the band members jamming out—with shots from a November filming session with three actors (Hannah Chisholm, Topher Martin, and Daniel Forbes) playing the points of a love triangle.

High production quality meant other things—like wardrobe—had to be considered during filming. Before the shoot began, Graver realized Patrick’s white shirt wouldn’t look correct on film. After raiding the Greenovation clothing stash, Patrick came back with a pile of shirts— garments that turned out to be women’s clothing—so after running home and changing his wardrobe, Patrick was finally ready for the spotlight, just like his band. With their EP out and a slew of shows scheduled for 2015, Talking Under Water is ready to take the next step.

Scott Pukos is an award-winning writer and a producer at News 8 in Rochester. - 585 Magazine

"Talking Under Water Video Debut on Diffuser"

They’re back again! Talking Under Water released a music video to their track “Tossing & Turning” on on Wednesday (01/28) this week.

Keeping spoilers at bay, TUW did a great job of representing their music with a well executed visual experience that only heightens the emotion that you originally get from the song itself. The video, directed by Will Graver, goes back and forth between live shots of the band and the story line; and to be honest, the first or second view is a little bit haunting, but again, it’s kind of supposed to be.

As the band told Diffuser: “This is a song about wanting, being stuck in a place where you want to be with someone, but for whatever reason — fear, self-doubt, prior commitments — you can’t connect with them…”

Watch the video above, consider buying their brand new EP, and check out Talking Under Water’s debut on Diffuser! - Anchor Music News

"WITR FM Featured Music Video"


WITR REVIEW: Talking Under Water (Rochester, NY) make their video debut with "Tossing & Turning" -- a bluesy pop song that hovers somewhere between a smokey ballad and a hoarse bellow. Here we visit excerpts from our own restless thoughts and imagined conversations while the band locks in and keeps our mind from going off the deep end. Front man Dave Chisholm sits at the keys and offers lead vocals, backed by the all star talent of Stephen Roessner (drums), Alex Patrick (guitar), and Elise Hughey (cello). We're proud to share a city with them! - WITR 89.7

"See - Talking Under Water - "Tossing & Turning""

When this song starts playing, the listener is drawn into the quietness of the song. Then, out of nowhere, the listener gets a kick in the ass. What a great song. Talking Under Water has it all; the looks, the hooks, the words to say. And their video for “Tossing & Turning” is ominous and disturbing. Wow I love these guys. Talking Under Water makes me feel like they are talking to me, about me. As Chris from Family Guy says, “GET OUT OF MY HEAD”. Seriously, this is a great band, and a great song. - Audio Fuzz

"Introducing....Talking Under Water"

With languid blues, alt-country, folksy indie rock and Americana, plus a tagline of “We play sad songs to make you feel better,” you could know for certain I was going to be all over this one. Talking Under Water, only in existence since last summer, released a powerhouse of a debut EP back in December titled Tossing & Turning. It’s a beautiful collection of four songs that celebrate pain, anguish, yearning and disillusionment, but in an uplifting way with robust musicianship, vocals that ache with vulnerability and soaring harmonies. It was recorded by their drummer Stephen Roessner (who also happens to be a Grammy Award winning engineer).

Hailing from Rochester, New York, the quartet began with lead singer and pianist Dave Chisholm writing pop songs at home. He then gathered together guitarist Alex Patrick, cellist Elise Hughey and drummer Roessner, who complement his heartfelt laments with exquisite grace. The EP begins with a full-on blues lament that begins slow and sexy and, with the help of pounding piano, searing guitar, driving percussion and soaring harmonies, builds to a fury and then drops down again, with that somber cello sealing the deal. This rhythm repeats a few times, creating a real bipolar stunner.

As the band explains it, “This is a song about wanting, being stuck in a place where you want to be with someone, but for whatever reason — fear, self-doubt, prior commitments — you can’t connect with them.” The video, directed by Will Graver, depicts an unrequieted love triangle, inner dialogue and imagined conversations.

From there, the band explores other musical styles that give the EP a well-rounded and expansive feel for a mere four songs. The music weaves itself beautifully around the sad subject matter, drawing the listener in to the storyteller’s experience and emotions.

The sun still sets at the end of a perfect day
And there’s always a frown after a perfect smile.
Even the best bottles, they still dry out
And heaven gets old after awhile.
- The Sun Sets

“I’ve never been much of a storyteller.
What’s the point? They always end the same.
However hard they try, the characters all die.
All they do is rearrange their names.
We’re all players in this fairy tale penned by that sadistic man above.
Well, he ran me into you,
There was nothin’ you or I could do.
Now we’ve been cursed with this love.”
- Never Been

Thanks, man. And actually, I was just about to say that “Never Been” is the rollicking upbeat honky-tonk track. But there’s still that cello. Damn that beautiful, mournful cello.

The second EP from Talking Under Water is due out in the spring. If you live in or around Rochester, New York, and you’d like to experience Talking Under Water in person, you’re in luck. They’re performing at a place called Press Coffee Co. on Monday, March 9. - Boston Survival Guide

"An Interview With: Talking Under Water"

Do you know that four prolific purveyors of musical pulchritude are transmitting intelligible things under water? They're actually communicating beneath the liquid's surface. Is it possible? Could this really be happening or is it a figment of our imaginations brought on by the resultant effect of smoking too many sideways cigarettes in our youth?

Have you ever tried to talk under water? Some of us did. Just this very moment, one certain curious dudette filled her mouth with H2O and began a rousing rendition of a scene from Romeo and Juliet. "My bounty is as boundless as the sea ... " That's it. That's all she could do, and even her lame attempt came out more like, "Mlab untee sass dunlass slrp."

Well, that settled it, or so we thought. Our dudette, through carefully controlled experimentation, believed she had proven that no one can talk under water and be perfectly understandable. We agreed with her ... until now. We found out about the submersible four and immediately decided to purchase swim goggles for everyone. So, is it possible that four prolific purveyors of musical pulchritude are transmitting intelligible things under water? Let's put it this way, these four submariners are so damn good that we believe there isn't anything they can't do.

Swirling the waves fantastic are four people. Wow! It's only four people who make all of that wonderfully intriguing sound or, as the band might opine, "#sadsongstomakeyoufeelbetter!" Talk about a Shakespearean moment, "My bounty is as boundless as the sea ..." Indeed! They talk under water! There's no doubt about it, they could set up their very own bandstand at 1,000 leagues and come out of it as smooth as a perfect pearl. There is one inexorable fact about these four subaqueous speakers; they are highly-educated, highly skilled musicians who add a whole new weight to the rock scene. The Bureau of Weights and Measures might define them as bouldeers.

Talking Under Water Ladies and Gentlemen, meet four cool cats who have mastered the art of musicianship and subsurface communication. Together they are Indie-rock band, Talking Under Water, whose music is "evocative of the rich Americana/Blues tradition." That's what it says on Facebook. In our rolodex it says, "Talking Under Water, OMG, Nothing Like These Musicians EXISTS, except here!" This isn't a 'so what' band that can be ignored. You have to meet them!

Dave Chisholm - Piano and Singing
Elise Hughey - Cello
Alex Patrick - Guitar
Stephen Roessner - Drums

Fortunately, they also talk in air, so we were able to get an interview. The bandmates are as unique as their chosen instruments, their fun name and the dynamic music they create. Danger, to read further means you will fall for this band in a huge way. If you have a hankering to get instantly obessesed with Talking Under Water, go ahead. Read on. But don't say we didn't warn you!

:: :: :: :: :: :: ::

SRM: How did you become Talking Under Water? Will you tell us about the band's history, where it began, how you found each other and formed into a musical group?

Dave: Around February or March of last year, I had an idea for a group involving three of my friends from different musical backgrounds who didn't actually really know each other. Within 30 seconds, I had emailed the three of them asking if they were interested in participating in this project. Thankfully they were all interested! At this point I had no material, so I went on a major songwriting bender. We started practicing, I think in April of last year, and started playing shows in July. At this point, the music in these songs is 100% written for and inspired by Alex, Elise and Stephen.

Elise: This was all Dave's crazy idea for sure. I hardly knew Steve and Alex before we started playing together! Initially I said that he probably wouldn't want me to play and I recommended another cellist! I doubted that I would be a good fit for the band since I am classically trained and had no previous experience playing rock music. However, Dave was persuasive and I went to a rehearsal and was totally sold once I heard the music and met the guys.

Alex: Before joining the group I didn't know Steve or Elise, just Dave. He and I had been playing a weekly jazz gig for a while and realized we're also into the same pop music. A few months later he asked if I'd play in a band with him and that was it.

Stephen: I had met Dave through mutual friends and had seen his musical talents with his big band, Colossus, and was flattered to have him approach me for this project. After hearing the first few songs he had written, I was sold.

SRM: How did you decide on Talking Under Water for the band's name? Is there a special significance to it and were there any other ideas in the running?

Dave: It's kind of silly, but I sort of did a cattle-call-style Facebook post looking for band names. The winning answer was suggested by my 4-year-old niece.

SRM: We know the band members "come from a rich background of musical training and education." Can you give us more information? What kind of training do each of you have?

Dave: I have my doctorate in jazz trumpet from the Eastman School of Music as well as my bachelor's and master's in music from the University of Utah.

Elise: I also attended Eastman and received both my bachelor's and master's degrees from there. My training has been almost entirely classical, with the exception of a "Creative Ability Development and Improvisation" teacher training I did a couple of summers ago. Being in this band has been a wonderful departure from my normal musical scene and I love it.

Alex: I have a bachelor's in Jazz Guitar Performance from Eastman, but my real training came from studying records and playing with all kinds of different groups. I grew up playing in bands and trying to record them. I've been trying to write music ever since I was in middle school.

Stephen: I graduated from the State University of New York at Fredonia with a B.S. in Sound Recording Technology, and a B.M. in Music Performance. While I was there, I studied under producer/engineer Dave Fridmann (Tame Impala, The Flaming Lips) and honed my skills as an engineer. Though not conservatory trained, I did work at Juilliard as a recording engineer for five years. I have also earned my master's in Electrical Engineering from The University of Rochester, where I am currently pursuing my Ph.D. in the same field.

SRM: Will any of you continue with musical education? Do you plan to take up anything new to either further or enhance your sound or careers?

Dave: I'd say music education never ends in an everyday/practical sense, but I'd be very surprised if any of us went back to a proper school for music at this point!

Elise: I am most likely done with school, but I will never be done learning. I still take lessons from time to time and being in Talking Under Water has been such a fantastic learning experience for me. I've been exposed to another kind of music creation and it's really rewarding.

Alex: I will hopefully never ever go back to school. It's much easier to learn about music from playing it and listening to records than it is to hear someone talk about it. I'm taking up analog recording to further both my sound and career. I like the sound and the simplicity. It's somewhat of a lost art because bands and artists are afraid of making a record that way. I'm also constantly working on my playing, singing and writing.

Stephen: As noted in the last question, I am still in school, working on my Ph.D.! Education never really ceases in my eyes. In the studio, I'm always trying new techniques and methods of recording, because I feel that no two albums should sonically sound exactly the same. Artists grow, engineers adapt, and the sounds should reflect that.

SRM: With the bandmates' collective training in mind, how do you feel about formal training as a means to an end? Is it vital and does it make things easier as well as better? Do you recommend an education in music to those who want to really succeed?

Dave: This is a good question and I'm not sure I have the definitive answer for it. To me, formal training can put you in an environment where you're forced to push yourself beyond what you might be able to do on your own. For this band, these songs I write tend to be pretty chord-heavy and Alex's, Elise's, and Stephen's high degree of musical literacy helps us learn them faster. It gives us a common ground of communication that speeds it up. I've been in bands with some pretty fantastic non-literate musicians, though - really the main advantage it creates in a rock/pop environment is that it creates a shared means of verbal communication of musical happenings.

However, occasionally conservatory-trained rock bands push levels of excess since they maybe think they have to prove their education in every song. If one riff works for a whole song, you don't need all that other shit. This is something every non-literate musician knows and maybe every literate musician exploring rock/pop needs to learn! Concision is an important trait of this genre of music, and sometimes this conservatory training can lead to an ego that aims to transcend concision in a tasteless way.

Elise: This is a tricky question. I think that there are many paths to success, not just one way to do things. It also depends on what you want to do in the music world. As someone who takes professional orchestra auditions and teaches students, it was necessary for me to seek the training that I have in order to be prepared for these things. I think instruction is necessary at some point. Whether it's lessons or studying at school, it's important to keep yourself open to other people's ideas, to get critiqued and, most importantly, to always have curiosity towards your craft.

Alex: All the greatest pop musicians studied music. Having ears and a sense of harmony is necessary for any musician. Whether you internalize that information by studying it at a school or by listening to records and fooling around on a piano doesn't really matter in my opinion, but you do have to get there eventually. Although I greatly value the opportunity I had to study music at a college, I find that I have developed a lot more since graduating school and forgetting a lot of what they preach. I can't think of a single musician on a record I like that went to school. There is definitely a sound to schooled bands, I try to avoid that sound at all costs.

Stephen: Honestly, this is the first band I have been in since high school that has had predominately 'trained' musicians. However, there is a stark difference between being "classically trained" and simply having a musical education. Musical education can vary from having a teacher and learning proper theory, to sitting and figuring out songs to an album on your guitar at home. I think that some musical training, and most importantly, the development of your ear, are paramount in wanting to succeed in music. This does not mean that you have to know how to harmonize a Bach chorale, but you should be able to sing a melody or discuss chord progressions.

SRM: Are there any groups and/or solo artists that influenced your sound in any way?

Dave: We all have a number of artists who inspire us individually. We even set up a Spotify playlist so we could share inspiration. For these songs, my big inspirations are The Beatles, Elliott Smith, Bright Eyes, as well as soul artists like Ray Charles and Sam Cooke. I've been very inspired lately by the success of Hozier. It's cool to see a young dude playing the blues and bluesy rock at a high level and have huge masses of people dig it!

Elise: Being a cellist in a band is kind of interesting because there aren't too many groups that do what we do. You hear the occasional cello line in popular music, but it is more rare to have a cellist who is actually a band member (and without a bass player as well). I don't know that there is a particular player in the rock world who has influenced me on my instrument, but I have seriously enjoyed watching Hozier and his band rise to success - he always has his cellist front and center! It's exciting to see.

Alex: Most of my concept of sound and music come from the groups and artists from the mid 50s to the early 70s. The rock bands to name would be The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, The Kinks. They were all coming out of American blues, but really blossomed into their own thing. I've been getting super into soul music lately, namely Aretha Franklin, James Brown and Ray Charles. I also really love Bebop, my current favorite players being Kenny Burrell and Hank Mobley.

Stephen: I'm the musical black sheep of the band. My musical inspirations spur from all ages, but my main influences continue to be artists such as Fugazi, The Promise Ring, Mogwai, Hum, Helmet, and Weezer. I have a deep love for Sam Cooke, Johnny Cash, and The Clash. I think that in order to be a good musician, and audio engineer, you need to be familiar with as much music as you can, since you will never know what sounds a colleague will want to strive for in their music.

SRM: When it comes time to choose set lists and album content, do you play covers, originals, or both, and how do you make that decision?

Dave: Right now, we mainly focus on originals, however we have a few covers up our sleeve.

SRM: What instruments and FX do you use to get your sound? Do you have any favorites?

Dave: When I had the idea for this band, I kind of set up unspoken "rules" about sounds. I wanted it to be a kind of conservative sound, limited in palette. Piano (not keyboard or synth), cello, drums, and guitar with overdrive, reverb, fuzz, and delay as effect options.

Elise: It's certainly been a discovery process getting my cello to project in the most effective way. It's easy for my sound to be swallowed up by the rest of the band. What really helped was getting an Electro Harmonix POG2 pedal - having that lower end is really nice and my sound is fuller and easier to hear.

Alex: For better or worse I'm a complete sound purist. I play a Gibson 330 with heavy strings and high action through a late 50s small tube amp (I'm not telling which one!). I like a little reverb because it makes it a little easier to play. I sometimes use fuzz and a simple analog delay.

Stephen: In the live situation, I don't do much with my drums, other than try to be tasteful and hold the groove. Where I get to have fun is in the studio! There, the band graciously puts their trust in me to help cultivate a sound. It all starts with getting the best sound I can to tape, then using whatever effects and plugins, analog and digital, that will help shape the sound!

SRM: Take us behind the scenes for practices and rehearsals. How much time and effort do you put in for recordings and performances?

Dave: We put hours of work into getting a song and our sound just right. I'm not gonna lie, the unusual twist in instrumentation (cello instead of the more traditional bass) has provided a challenge and continues to do so, but I'm always happy with the results we find. Also, finding a balance between my heavy-handed piano playing and Alex's amazing guitar work can be tough - it usually involves me simply playing less stuff on the piano!

We are all very VERY particular and pretty opinionated about recordings, so recording and mixing can be a stressful process. Our first EP was recorded totally piecemeal to a click track which was cool, but maybe sucked some of the life out of the performance, so we recorded our upcoming Ether EP live with no click and only a few overdubs which was fun, but the bleed limited mixing possibilities. We are going to find a happy medium between the two styles of recording for our impending full-length.

Elise: There is definitely a lot of behind-the-scenes work. We are really fortunate to be a wonderfully unique and skillful team. Not only do we work really well together as musicians, but we also all have talents in other areas. Dave is an extremely prolific songwriter - he is always full of ideas and making notes and writing a new song. Steve is, of course, a Grammy award winning audio engineer ... so, I mean, that's ridiculously cool. And Alex, though he is the youngest member of the band, is building his own recording business and always brings a visionary perspective to the recording process. I love when Steve and Alex geek-out about recording - I don't know what they are talking about half the time. And lastly, I have naturally gravitated towards a lot of the managerial/marketing side of things for the band. So, together, we are truly a force. Our approach has been very strategic, but also very accommodating for the lives of all the band members. We take every performance seriously and always put in our time rehearsing beforehand. It's so much fun, though, so it doesn't feel like work!

Alex: Since we are all so busy, we practice once a week. Some songs come together easier than others. Simple songs don't take much effort, but sometimes Dave writes songs with a lot of chords or songs that need something special. There are more than a few of those that haven't come together yet.

Stephen: The process of recording in this band is ever-evolving. As Dave said, we have tried two very different extremes of recording, with their own perks and drawbacks. Since the cello is a quiet acoustic instrument that shares sonic space with more dominating instruments, mixing it has been a challenge, but I won't back down from that!

SRM: Do you have any ironclad rules for the people you work with - both members of Talking Under Water and the crew involved in performing live and recording?

Dave: I trust Elise, Stephen, and Alex so much. We don't need rules!

Elise: Don't insult the audience. I'm looking at you, Dave ;)

Alex: I only associate myself with people who like The Beatles. If you don't like them, I automatically assume that you can't be trusted or you have something really wrong with you.

Stephen: I only associate myself with people who hate The Beatles. I guess Alex doesn't trust me.

SRM: While we're on that subject, how do you prepare for gigs, what do you take with you, do you have a road crew? Are there any dream "want it, need it, gotta have it" equipment or resources you covet?

Dave: No road crew at this point. It would be nice to purchase a nicer electronic keyboard than what I have. It sounds OK, it's just like 15,000 pounds. Kills my hand to carry it around.

Elise: I'm usually a very organized person, but before our first few shows I kept forgetting at least one thing. So, I'm just trying to keep my act together over here and make sure it all ends up at the venue.

Alex: I just have my guitar in a soft mono case with a few pedals and my small amp so getting to gigs is super easy. I don't think we would ever need a road crew unless Dave got a real piano. My dream piece of gear is a real piano!

Stephen: I wouldn't mind having a road crew to help me carry my 60's Sonor kit, but that is just the curse of being a drummer. I've been dreaming of a new kit, but, as of right now, I have three and don't think I have the space for another.

SRM: How about live performances - do you have preset choreography and cues? What do you do about hecklers or the chick that slams onstage and does the Twist?

Dave: Hahaha! No choreography. Just perform the song and let it be our statement!

Elise: It's tough to do choreography given the nature of our instruments. We are mostly a sitting band. Perhaps I should work on some cello spins? If some chick comes on stage and starts doing the twist I will mostly likely join her.

Alex: We just do our best to play our songs. We don't usually have hecklers and I would love for some chick to get onstage and dance.

Stephen: I think the only "hecklers" we've had are our friends. We do our best to engage the audience from the stage, to envelop them in our presence. Sadly, I don't think anyone ever notices that I'm playing the entire set with my drumsticks on fire.

SRM: What was your most exciting experience while on tour or playing a one-nighter?

Dave: I played in a band that opened for Fall Out Boy so that was weird.

Elise: You should ask us this question again once we tour - I'm sure there will be a story.

Alex: Haven't had one yet!

Stephen: I've toured extensively with a few bands, mainly with my old band Saxon Shore. I've been fortunate to play in front of thousands of people across the U.S., Europe and Japan. I have many tour stories, but those are best left unsaid!

SRM: Everyone can immediately see what you do and how well you do it. We also can see how hard you work and the creativity needed to pull off your remarkable sound. But we really would love to know if you have a band "hallmark" or "vision statement". Can you sum up Talking Under Water's uniqueness and plans?

Dave: Talking Under Water started as a chance for me to have some of my favorite musicians/friends play some songs I had written and I think the mission statement or trademark of the band somewhat slowly formed from there. I'd say, at this point, our songs have a strong Americana/Blues/Gospel element with a lyrical emphasis on an exploration of sad/conflicted themes. The cello adds a unique element to our sound - it makes even the most upbeat musical framework sound slightly mournful in a beautiful way. We created a tongue-in-cheek hashtag to describe our sound - #sadsongstomakeyoufeelbetter, and I think this description will continue to hold true.

SRM: Were there moments when any of you thought it would be good to change the road you're taking? For instance, if you weren't musicians, what would you be doing instead? Climbing mountains? Brain surgery? Inventing new ways to make cheeseburgers? C'mon and let us know what's inside your heads other than neat sounds.

Dave: Well, this is a very multifaceted group of musicians. Just within the music world, we are all experienced in a wide variety of musical styles. Alex and I started playing together by playing jazz gigs together (I play trumpet) and bonded over our mutual love of specific rock artists. Stephen plays, and has played, in a ton of bands and has recorded 5x as many, and Elise has an extensive background in classical music - orchestral and chamber music. I'm also an illustrator and storywriter. Hoping to have a graphic novel published sometime soon!

Elise: Well, in addition to being a cellist, I'm also a yoga instructor so, hopefully, that would still have a place in my life with or without music! I love teaching so, perhaps, I would have found my way to a teaching position in another field. I'm also interested in social media marketing and psychology ... so who knows what I would be doing in another timeline.

Alex: I really thought I was going to become a lawyer or some other kind of square. When I was applying to those schools I figured, what the hell, I'll try some music schools. As it turns out I didn't get into any of those fancy kinds of schools and had to go to music school. I think it worked out for the better though. I don't think I could possibly be good at anything else besides music.

Stephen: While in high school, I was applying to schools for music and meteorology! I'm obviously happy with the route I took, and meteorology remains a hobby of mine. I have a deep love of sports (especially baseball and biking), politics, and writing. I lecture at The University of Rochester in their Audio and Music Engineering program, and have found a passion for that.

SRM: What, to each of you, would represent reaching the summit of your potential as artists?

Dave: I just want to reach as many people as possible with these songs. I believe in this project more than any other project I've been a part of and, to me, the summit would be for this music to be heard and listened to and understood globally. I have ludicrously high hopes for this band! This might sound really lame, but, at a certain point, playing music only for myself stops being truly satisfying. I want to be heard and for people to relate to these songs.

Elise: I guess either attracting a large fan base, or receiving an award of some kind, would be amazing. Really, just to see that this music is important to other people, not just us, would be extremely rewarding and heartwarming.

Alex: Dating a model, playing Radio City Music Hall, and having Kanye West try to take one of my Grammys that Paul McCartney and Neil Young just handed to me.

Stephen: Since I've personally already been honored with receiving a Grammy, I think it is my duty to get another one, hopefully with Talking Under Water!

SRM: We always ask this question because it's fascinating to get honest answers from musicians who have what few of us ever achieve - success. Do you have any advice for other performers who want to accomplish big things?

Dave: I am no expert, but I'd say the following: 1. Don't be a tourist in what you love to do. Commit everything you have to your craft and your art. 2. Don't wait. Do it now. Stop playing video games and focus your energy on craft/art. 3. Take the CRAFT side of it every bit as seriously as the ART side of it. Learn songs by other artists inside and out, really figure out what makes them tick. Finding your artistic voice through solid craft seems more effective than learning craft through your artistic voice.

Elise: Well, first of all, we are still striving and figuring out that success thing for ourselves. But I think the key is to stay really present and really true to yourself. Life is full of distractions and I think it can be tempting to do something differently because of what you think other people want. But the truth lands in your bones. When you come from an honest place, it will hit people harder and resonate more profoundly. My mantra throughout this experience has been, "it's all happening." It's something Cyndi Weis says (the owner of Breathe Yoga where I teach), and I think it's so helpful. It's easy to get stuck in the "why not me?" or "this is hard" or "this isn't working," instead of acknowledging that it's a process, there is no one way to do things, and it's all unfolding.

Alex: I wouldn't know.

Stephen: As cliché as this sounds, never lose sight of your goals. Life is full of distractions, some wonderful, some wretched, but the majority being ones that take you away from what you should be doing. We all need to relax and unwind, but limit your leisure time. Make sure you practice your passion at least once a day. Don't be afraid to daydream, but don't dream about things you want, instead, dream about what you can achieve. Meaningful success comes slowly, so don't become frustrated or disillusioned when you hit hard times.

SRM: What plans do you have for future recordings? How do you plan to approach all of that - with originals, some covers, or both?

Dave: We're going to start recording our full-length in May. We have had an unfortunate amount of trial and error in recording our first two EPs, and now, as a result, we have (hopefully) found our recording procedure. We have been working on one cover and will probably do a few more -- we just might record one or two as well.

SRM: One of the favorite questions our reader's ask is whether or not there is any one song you would love to perform or record that you never will do for one reason or another?

Dave: Oh gosh. I think this group of musicians can play just about anything!

Elise: Hmm, not sure about this one.

Alex: With this group, I would love to do some Neil Young songs. He's the tops for me as a songwriter and I think his music would work well in the group. We will never do it because no one else in the band likes him. On my own, I'd love to do Beyonce's Love on Top.

Stephen: What an interesting question! Personally, I don't think I, or anyone, could ever cover America The Beautiful again. Ray Charles' version is breathtaking.

SRM: We checked our crystal ball and it said, "Ask them, not me... what do I look like? A crystal ball?" So, our last question is where do you see yourself in another five years? Ten years?

Dave: Oh shoot, I don't want to jinx anything!

Elise: Your crystal ball is sassy! Ha, to answer your question - I really believe in this band. I think we are an amazing team of highly motivated people, which is why we have accomplished what we have in such a short amount of time. I think we also really believe in each other and trust in that. The biggest thing as an artist is that you just want to be heard. I'm not in it for the fame or fortune (though a nice paycheck would be cool), I just really want people to hear our music and have it resonate with them. Sing to it. Dance to it. Share it with their friends. And, if that isn't in the cards for us, I still think big things are coming to this group. We are all professionals in our own fields and we will definitely find our paths, one way or another.

Alex: In five years I hope to be running a successful record label and touring. In ten years I hope to have paid off my student loans!

Stephen: When I turned thirty, I looked back at the past ten years of my life and realized that, when I was twenty, I never would have guessed my life would have taken the track that it did over that decade. I certainly can speculate on where I'd be in five or ten years, or where the band will be, but that takes the fun out of what might intersect our path. We will never know what road we will take when confronted with a new direction.

:: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Stephen, our fantastic Stephen, said it, "We will never know what road we will take when confronted with a new direction." Okay, groove master, we can answer part of that question. Does the outer reaches of the galaxy do anything for you? Yeah, that's the direction this band is taking. Va-va-voom! You're outasite!

Or how about Elise who didn't know what song she might never do for one reason or another? Elise, baby, dwell on this - you're a CELLIST in a rock band, for crying out loud! How cool is that?! It's obvious to us that YOU can do anything, pretty lady - and, if we have our way, you will!

Dave, you said you're no expert on what to do to be a humongous success. Your answer to that question could be used as a "to-do" list for everyone from rock musicians to Beethoven to Scriabin - who, we're pretty sure, had the same list. Can't fool us, dude, you're a rock solid brainiac of musicdom.

And then there's Alex. Alex who said, "my real training came from studying records and playing with all kinds of different groups." Alex, who has a degree in Jazz Guitar Performance. Forget that Alexander guy that ran around conquering this and that and join us in celebrating Alex the Great who currrently turns our knees to jelly on his guitar. He's what being a musician is all about - the perfect combination of knowing and doing.

Talking Under Water is what music is all about and we love them to death! - Surf Rock

"Planet Stereo"

Hot on the heels of a new music video, Talking Under Water has just released their new single, “Ether.” The single is the title track of the band’s sophomore EP. You can stream the track below:

With a classic rock style, Talking Under Water dominates with their new single. From the booming instrumentals to the Cry Baby-esque vocals, who can resist? -

"Album Review - "Tossing & Turning""

Talking Under Water

"Tossing & Turning"


Somehow the word "epic" feels inadequate in describing Rochester band Talking Under Water's EP, "Tossing & Turning." The album gets off to a gentle start: all peaceful and harmonious like The Shangri-Las on methadone. It's at this point you say to yourself, "Gosh, this sure is all peaceful and harmonious." And then the sound comes down — this is where I was going to insert "epic." Give this record a spin and hear all the sonic thunder that envelopes the bands poignant simplicity in reverb rivaled only by the snare drum in the elevator shaft stunt on the last verse of "Bridge Over Troubled Water." There's plenty of thick 'n' juicy guitar, cello, piano, and drums all swimming in an apocalyptic ether that sounds ... epic. -

"Talking Under Water - ETHER"

Elmore Magazine remarked "the multi-instrumentation is a big factor in the band’s hard-to-classify sound, which seems to effortlessly blend and reinterpret genres, while staying firmly planted in rock roots." The song is from the band's sophomore EP slated for release this spring. Talking Under Water received high praise for their debut EP, Tossing & Turning, from notable outlets such as Buffablog, Anchor Music News, Slug Magazine, AZLTron Mag and more. Dave Chisholm and Alex Patrick deliver outstanding performances on the piano and guitar, respectivel. #rock #indie #folk - WAVO

"EXCLUSIVE: New York Rockers Talking Under Water Premiere Blues-Infused New Track"

What do you get when you cross a bunch of conservatory trained musicians with a Grammy-winning sound engineer? Well, awesome music, of course. Dumb jokes aside, Rochester-based four-piece Talking Under Water came out swinging with their debut EP last December, Tossing & Turning, garnering comparisons to such heavy hitters as the Black Keys and Cage the Elephant.

In advance of their sophomore release, due out this spring, look below for a sneak preview of their newest track, “Ether.” Like the group itself, the song takes off sprinting, with frenetic drums and guitar paving the way for jangling keyboard and blues-tinged vocals, galloping into a clapping crescendo. The group’s singer/songwriter/keyboardist Dave Chisholm leads with an evocative, powerful swagger, strong enough to balance out the heavy, layered instrumentation featuring Elise Hughey on cello and Alex Patrick on guitar. Rounding out the sound is Stephen Roessner, the band’s drummer and resident Grammy winner, who mixed the album. The multi-instrumentation is a big factor in the band’s hard-to-classify sound, which seems to effortlessly blend and reinterpret genres, while staying firmly planted in rock roots.

Give “Ether” a listen below: - Elmore Magazine

"Notes from Left of the Dial: Cajsa Siik and more"

Talking Under Water, "Ether"
The music of Rochester, New York-based quartet Talking Under Water is a curious mixture of blues, garage rock and indie rock. Although these are obvious touchstones for many musicians, the band subverts our expectations by bringing these sounds together in ways that we don’t quite anticipate. Comparisons to bands such as The Black Keys and The White Stripes are inevitable, but Talking Under Water is more than just the sum of their rather recognizable influences.

With recent single "Ether," the band injected a blues-heavy tonality into their furious garage rock aesthetic. They waste no time in getting the notes flowing, churning out a series of heavy percussive blasts and angular guitar lines that race against chiming keyboard runs and howling vocal calisthenics. There’s enough force and bluster here to crack a mountain, but the band manages to balance the aggression and intricate instrumentation in a way that allows each side to have their say without automatically favoring either one. It’s loud, feverish and all too necessary. -


Tossing & Turning EP - December 2014



On Talking Under Water, the debut LP by the Rochester, NY group of the same name, songwriter Dave Chisholm and his cohorts craft lo-fi indie rock that combines love of a big chorus with a deep appreciation of nuanced songwriting. Tinged with blues and gospel, Talking Under Water is full of harmony vocals, honky-tonk keys, and joyful horns swaying together in a celebration of everything that’s great about a sweaty rock show. 

The ink was barely dry on both Chisholm’s 2013 Doctorate in Jazz Trumpet and his debut graphic novel when he found himself confronting a crisis of music faith. “I was really kind of burned-out on jazz”, says Chisholm, “and found myself again writing a bunch of songs with really painful lyrics that, at the time, I wasn't even aware where this pain was coming from.” Chisholm recruited friends Alex Patrick (guitar), Elise Hughey (cello), and Joe Parker (drums) and together they set out to make a record. They recorded in December 2015 in an old church that had been converted into a recording studio. 

Music can mend a broken heart, and Chisholm wrote the bulk of Talking Under Water while navigating the treacherous emotional waters of divorce. Writing, revising, and fine-tuning these songs took on a healing role for Chisholm as the dust settled. During this lengthy process, Chisholm and Hughey came to realize they were meant to be more than just musical partners. “It's kind of a strange situation,” explains Chisholm. “Elise is good friends with my ex-wife and we all get along, there's no bad blood. In the wide world of divorces, situations like this are really extremely rare, and we all owe it to a commitment to communication, honesty, and conscious examination.” Hughey’s insight and love turned out to be integral to both Chisholm’s emotional healing and his songwriting, imbuing the record with a deep sense of self-reflection and personal honesty. 

The majority of Talking Under Water was written on an antique 1800s piano with a great old thuddy sound that inspired much of the lilting blues undercurrent heard throughout the record. Recorded at Temperamental Studios in Geneseo, NY, much of the record was tracked live. Grammy winner Stephen Roessner (Saxon Shore) produced and mixed the record. Joining them in the studio were violinist Marja Alanen, Molly Werts McDonald and violist Ben Magruder, jazz trombonist Brendan Lanighan, and Matthew Sieber-Ford on tenor saxophone, all conservatory-trained.

Joyously cathartic and reveling in its internal darkness, Chisholm hopes that Talking Under Water can help listeners through their own hard times. “I think sad or depressing music, in my life, has been so much more useful than happy music” says Chisholm. “Happy music doesn't cheer me up when I'm down. Sad music, though, it empathizes with you, it sits there with you and tells you you're not alone.’

Band Members