Gig Seeker Pro


San Francisco, California, United States

San Francisco, California, United States
Alternative Indie




"Interview with Tidelands"

Hello Gabriel and Mie! It’s so sweet to be doing this interview with you both for the imminent release of your sophomore album We’ve Got A Map. From what I’ve read, you were working on We’ve Got A Map during or right after the July 2011 release of your first album, If… What compelled you to jump right into the music pool again so soon?
Gabriel: I think the best way to describe it is that we were working on the songs for both records at the same time. They were all in various stages of completion, and the first to find their way to the end-point became If… . The rest of the songs that became We’ve Got A Map were finished up over the course of the summer and fall 2011. I’ve got quite a backlog of material, so as long as we can afford studio days, we have things to work on.
Mie: As Gabriel described, we already had a lot of songs & song ideas when we started working on the first album. While the production stage was going on, those newer ideas have kept coming up which made us continue the recording after the completion of If… . To me, the songs on the album If… are our transitional phase from our former project (The Love X Nowhere) and the songs on We’ve Got a Map are the first set of the new realization of Tidelands.
On BandCamp.com you describe your sound as “Orchestral Indie” and I think that’s a fitting description because you create a gently sweeping, symphonic production on many of your songs. How do you achieve this sound? Is it all through keyboards or did you entice some members of an orchestra to help you out with that part?
Gabriel: We do a lot of layering and looping to create the orchestrated feel, but we also very much enjoy working with symphonic instruments, and as we did on If…, we worked with the composer/arranger Minna Choi and her Magik*Magik Orchestra. There is less orchestration and instrumental variation this time around, as we wanted to rely more on ourselves, but the three songs on which Magik* appear are very much defined by the instruments we chose to work with.
Mie: For the album If…, I basically notated all our songs and handed to Minna for her reference. I used to work with several different large ensembles and jazz big bands for their arrangements. I think such experiences keep me hearing/arranging our songs with a large scale format with orchestral instruments. For this new album We’ve got a Map, we let Minna work more freely than before since the songs have a definitely simpler (catchier) feel, so that we wanted her to go with her own ways and feelings towards those 3 songs.
A fun part of what we’re doing is that we create the similar atmosphere (orchestral grace) on our live performances with just 2 people.
Acoustic guitar motifs, rock guitar lines, and soft horns also figure into the mix, depending on the song. On “The New Black”, there’s a faster, harder rock guitar line that comes out by the end of the song. You change up your guitar-playing style and type of guitar on other songs, with a liquidy sound on “Sexy Fox”, an upbeat strum on “Japan”, and jangling guitar on “Toaster”. What types of guitars are you using?
Gabriel: Ha! I pretty much use my G&L ASAT on everything. It’s basically a semi-hollow Telecaster that I’ve tweaked with some after market pickups that gives me a wide sonic palette to choose from. Of course I use a fair amount of effects as well, the liquidy sound on “Sexy Fox” is MuRF filter pedal by Bob Moog, the solo guitar line on “The New Black” is an AnalogMan custom modded Ibanez TS-9 overdrive pedal, and the jangly guitars are achieved using the bridge pickup and most likely a vintage Gibson Falcon amp that belongs to the studio where we record, and is in many ways my go-to amp for so many of the sounds on both Tidelands recordings.
I’ve read that you ‘loop’ guitars and other instruments. What does this mean and what sound do you generate by using this technique?
Gabriel: Looping is a technique where you use a foot pedal device to record and layer parts with immediate playback. I’ve got mine set up so that I can switch from guitar, to voice or flugelhorn. It’s how we achieve that “orchestral” sound with just the two of us. Sometimes I may have 6 or 7 layers playing at once, so when you add my live playing and singing on top of that, along with Mie playing drums, synth, and singing as well, you can see that we create a lot of sound for just two people. There are a lot of great artists who use live looping in their performances, and each one does it a little different, using different technologies with different capabilities. There is a local SF band called Tartuffi that does it to a humbling degree, and Andrew Bird is definitely an inspiration as a live-looper as well.

Gabriel, your lyrics, which range from bittersweet to hopeful even when the subject matter is bleak, and are a definite standout to me. So many artists these days cover up their words or don’t have much to say, but you are definitely not in that category! Despite - Delusions of Adequacy

"ALBUM REVIEW: “We’ve Got A Map” by Tidelands"

At one point or another, we’ve all lost our way in life and made frantic attempts to hastily navigate our way home. Tidelands‘ second album We’ve Got A Map explores this concept of that search and navigation process and the confounding emotions that accompany this overwhelming experience. In many respects, We’ve Got A Map is a personal narrative for Tidelands’ journey, with each song on this eight track album guiding musicians Gabriel Leis and Mie Araki to exactly where they want to be.
All of the beloved components of Tidelands’ debut album If… return on We’ve Got A Map, including another collaboration with Minna Choi and the Magik*Magik Orchestra (“Twin Lakes”). Each song is composed of layer upon layer of flugelhorn, moog synth, guitar, and drums. “Japan” is the perfect example of how multi-instrumentalists Leis and Araki can build a complex soundscape by combining a myriad of instrumentation details along with tempo changes for added dimension. Because we know that Leis and Araki are the only members of the band, listening to We’ve Got A Map becomes a mental challenge in imagining how Tidelands would manage to play each song at a live performance. “Rock Bottom,” “Toaster,” and “Half A Century” find a vocally softer Leis giving a much lighter and airier feel to the album in comparison to palpable heaviness of If…
Leis and Araki follow their instincts on We’ve Got A Map and the result is a lovely album that truly represents who Tidelands currently is as a band. Even in times when we’ve lost our way, the best map to get us back on course is the instinctual one within. Because sometimes, without even realizing, we are exactly where we are supposed to be. - The Owl Mag

"Tidelands: We’ve Got a Map"

-Greg’s Take- Tidelands: We’ve Got a Map

“The new black is denial.”


Just over a year ago I got my first taste of San Francisco’s Tidelands. Their debut album If… was a surprisingly complex web woven around deep, albeit hit-or-miss, lyrical hooks and beautiful arrangements. Repeated listens built the album into a richer and more memorable experience, yet never quite fulfilled what I believed they were capable of.

Enter the sophomore release We’ve Got a Map. Lead singer/guitarist/flugelhorn extraordinaire Gabriel Leis and drummer (which said in itself sells her talents incredibly short) Mie Araki’s follow up to their 2011 album, nailed it. Again they’ve teamed up with Minna Choi and Magik*Magik Orchestra assembling the sound we’d previously experienced and growing leaps and bounds within the course of a year.

Eight tracks laden with themes of inspirational joy, sexual healing and American imperial guilt and conscience are served up on a self-admitted foundation of spontaneity. Leis returns with an almost David Byrne-like delivery vocally as his eclectic lyrics splendidly settle within deeply organic instrumentals.

We’ve Got a Map is a record for the intellectual and simplistic fans of independent music alike. There is no doubt in my mind that the duo from the Bay Area has achieved a level of musicianship that should be admired and revered. Each song spins a web of imagination and contemplation. Songs like “Coil” and “Half a Century” allude to a joyous recognition of respect and inspiration where the very real tracks like “Rock Bottom” and “Twin Lakes” lead you down a path of sincere thought. Tossing in, easily one of my favorite tracks of the year “The New Black,” a dark, dreamy and slightly cynical outlook, We’ve Got a Map is moving, thoughtful and impressive.

If there was even the slightest, most miniscule, bit of doubt in my mind as to the capabilities of Tidelands it has been obliterated by this album. Making me a believer, I can confidently say I am a big fan of Tidelands and cannot wait for the opportunity to see them live one day. With the progress made, by keeping their art spontaneous and simple, they can only bring about great things. Pardon the pun, but with Leis and Araki, If…We’ve Got a Map then they’re most certainly going places.

-Clay’s Take- Tidelands: We’ve Got A Map

What happens when you get a free month of Amazon Prime? You end up watching way too many “free” shows. When one of those shows is Doctor Who, you get sucked in and start drawing comparisons with your everyday world.

I have been watching a lot of Doctor Who, and listening to a lot of Tidelands. The lines are starting to blur.

For those unfamiliar with the BBC television show, the Doctor is the last of the alien race of Time Lords. He travels with a companion (usually a female from Earth, more accurately the UK) through time and space on various adventures and saves the universe in 42 minutes every week. The Doctor battles Daleks, Cybermen, Weeping Angels, and other enemies of the past and future with the help of friends, a sonic screwdriver and his space vessel, the TARDIS. He has been coming to a television set near you since 1963 (with a hiatus from 1989-2005).

How do they get around the annoying detail that it would be plain near difficult to keep the same actor playing the role of the Doctor for that span of time? A simple writing device that when the Doctor is near death, he regenerates with a new face and (slightly) new personality. A new actor is free to take the character in a new direction every few seasons as the nth iteration of the Time Lord; new face – same sonic screwdriver, TARDIS, and alien encounters.

Tidelands as bears
“New face” are two words I would use to describe Tidelands’ We’ve Got A Map. Written immediately on the heels of their heady debut, If…, their sophomore attempt has a new face, a new personality, but is the same old Doctor. Taking a spontaneous approach to their music, Gabriel Leis and Mie Araki have brought two worlds together: the spiritual robustness of their original sound combined with some catchy-as-hell rock riffs. When the album opens with “Coil,” the listener can immediately experience familiarity: the return of Magik* Magik Orchestra, Araki’s straightforward beat keeping, plus Leis’ flugelhorn and silky poetry. But there is something else there as well as in the subsequent tracks. Like a Doctor reborn and stranded who discovers he enjoys fish sticks with custard, Tidelands finds a lighter side of themselves. Every beat is catchy. Leis shows off some funky guitar chops in “The New Black” and “Japan.” ”Sexy Fox” covers so much personal ground and is a fantastic trip down the psychedelic rock rabbit hole, while “Twin Lakes” is a piano, vocal and string arrangement of pure beauty.

Tidelands debut was a thinking person’s soundtrack; We’ve Got A Map still has intellectual density, but doesn’t make you fell like y - Nanobot Rock

"Tidelands' "We've Got A Map""

Hot on the heels of their debut album, If…, San Francisco based indie rock duo, Tidelands, has eagerly added to their resume with the compilation of their sophomore effort, We’ve Got A Map (8/7/12, Redgummy Records).
It has been a little over a year since the release of If…, and the band’s quick turnaround is characteristic of their overall spontaneity and free-spirited approach in-studio. In fact, drummer Mie Araki (native to Osaka, Japan) claims that the word “spontaneity” best describes the album as a whole and fully captures the songwriting style of the duo, who worked without listening back to most of the album’s tracks throughout the process. The result? What vocalist, guitarist, and flugelhorn player Gabriel Leis believes is a very “organic” work, representing a shift in sound and style for the band.
Leis aptly defines his default writing style as both “heavy” and “heady,” citing his handiwork on the band’s darker debut album. Upon acquainting oneself with We’ve Got A Map, however, the duo’s story takes a turn with lighter, more uplifting tracks like “The New Black” and “Japan,” a whirring display of catchy insightfulness a la Ben Folds, Ben Gibbard, or The Decemberists, which characterize and quantify the band’s creative stream of consciousness in the rapid flow from If… to We’ve Got A Map.
Dividing their attention instinctively among a number of issues, Tidelands’ latest album addresses everything from American Imperial guilt (“The New Black”) to sexual healing (“Sexy Fox”) and the unspoken pleasures of intimate company (“Coil”), all in eight tracks. The result is a comprehensive and creative work blazing new territory for the duo, whose ingenuity and openness are evident in their swift second effort. - Brite Revolution

"About to Break: indie rock duo Tidelands’ rambling “The New Black”"

Indie pop-rock duo Tidelands, who are based in San Francisco, introduce themselves on their Facebook page this way:

mie is from osaka japan and plays drums, moog synth, and sings a little bit. gabriel is from nowhere but claims california and he writes words, plays guitar and flugelhorn and sings. together they write and arrange songs that become tidelands. yep, that’s it, just the two of us. we do it with loopers and the ultra-dexterity of mie’s limbs.

Their fresh tune “The New Black” has been stuck in my head since I first heard it yesterday. The song features a wonderfully retro guitar solo, rambling riffs that make the song perfect for a road trip, and interesting lyrics like “Haven’t you heard the new black is denial?” The tone of the song almost recalls Canadian alt-rockers Moist. It’s an addicting listen that’ll have you turning up the volume with each repeat play.

These guys have a mere 400 likes on their Facebook page — fewer than we do, which is simply ridiculous — so head over there and give them a few new fans. This is one About to Break artist that’s in here not because they actually are about to break, but rather because they deserve to break. Listen and download “The New Black” for free, artist-approved, below!

-Jordy Kasko - The Tune

"SF duo Tidelands returns with even more flugelhorn"

We’ve Got a Map boasts the title of experimental folk band Tidelands’ upcoming sophomore album – and do they ever. You may remember seeing Tidelands’ stunning animated music video for their song “Holy Grail” last summer off debut album If....

Well Gabriel Montana Leis and Mie Araki are back this summer, with a relatively minimalistic follow-up to that orchestral introduction. And a show this week at Bottom of the Hill.

For the new album, which drops Aug. 7 (check track "The New Black" now on Bandcamp), Leis and Araki decided to play more of the instrumentation themselves, so they wouldn't have to depend on a big backing band this time around. They wanted to conjure those immense sounds on their own. This gave them a chance to experiment with learning new instruments and therefore expand their creative endeavors.

Leis’ voice has the deep and theatrically clear pronunciations that bring to mind Colin Meloy of the Decemberists. Araki is a badass drummer from Osaka, Japan. A classically trained pianist and percussionist, she also plays the Moog synthesizers for Tidelands. Their music is certainly elaborate, but their newest album offers more simplicity. While their sound is still intricate, the two artists have taken it upon themselves to treat our ears to exotic sounds and old favorites such as the flugelhorn.

Beyond that stunning animated video, you may have heard the name Tidelands due to their collaboration with Magik*Magik Orchestra. The SF-based Magik*Magik Orchestra – currently on a world tour supporting Death Cab for Cutie – joined Tidelands for three songs on the new album, along with producing and arranging one of the tracks, “Twin Lakes.”

I wanted to find out just how the tides were rising for this local duo as their late summer album release approaches, so I spoke with them over a cup of tea at Revolution Cafe in the Mission this week prior to the show:

SFBG Has learning to play different instruments always been a strength for both of you?

Gabriel Montana Leis I have fallen in love with the flugelhorn – it would be easier to not do it, it is a physically challenging instrument, but I just can’t stop. I want to be better. I do have plans for improving my basic knowledge of other instruments, I would love to explore them more fully.

Mie Araki I would like to put a huge explanation mark, and underline to this point – it definitely helps to play other instruments. Leis has become way better than before, it comes from playing flugelhorn. We spend more time thinking, feeling what is going on. When I play classical instruments, there is not enough time to practice, because there are so many different styles and it gets confusing, but it does help you to learn more as a musician.

SFBG I read that Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead provided you with his first guitar, can you elaborate?

GML My dad was a friend and business acquaintance of Weir’s. He was someone that was around, who I knew. If I saw him we would certainly say hi and have a conversation.

SFBG Who are some of your inspirations and why?

MA Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, those are the guys [I grew up with]. Then I began to know the MTV people – Michael Jackson – the pop musicians. I also studied jazz – John Coltrane, Miles Davis, they are huge inspirations to me. Sigur Ros, Wilco, and M83 are current influences, so I have a lot of old and new inspirations.

GML Even our inspirations from when we were teenagers affects who we are now. Kurt Vile is a huge inspiration to us, as well as a Danish musician by the name of Efterklang. Their use of horns has really informed our work – it's grandiose and glorious sounding, with happy choruses. St. Vincent is amazing too.

SFBG Did Death Cab’s tour with Magik*Magik Orchestra lead you to consider who you would like to collaborate with, if you could choose from any musician?

MA It would be our dream to have [Magik*Magik Orchestra tour] with us actually. We know them through John Vanderslice and h - San Francisco Bay Guardian

"Tidelands Steps Boldly in to the Mystic"

Gabriel Montana Leis, of the San Francisco duo Tidelands, claims Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead gave him his first guitar. The musical evidence presented on If… supports this legend — it sure appears as if some of Weir’s storied psychedelic vibes have rubbed off on Leis and partner Mie Araki.

If… is a magical mystery tour of music, sprinkled with fairy dust and fantasy. Such lyrical concerns automatically spice Tidelands’ flavor with a strongly progressive rock taste. However, there is also something enjoyably grandiose about Tidelands’ sonic waves. For instance, when the trumpets blast like a fanfare from a bygone era during “Eyes of God,” it’s tough not to get pulled (neither kicking nor screaming) into this act’s lovingly spacey world.

This is not just any typical rock band. Leis, born in New Delhi, India, contributes flugelhorn – yes, flugelhorn! – as well as vocals along with his guitar playing to this album, while Araki – from the exotic Osaka, Japan, no less – is a classically trained percussionist that has also mastered Moog synthesizers.

The result is like nothing you’ve ever heard before. “Marigold,” for example, steps boldly into the mystic and never looks back. It’s the most beautifully pseudo spiritual music we’ve heard since Mike Scott first started creating epic songs with The Waterboys way back in the ‘80s.

Call it naïve, if you like, but the world can sure use a lot more musical beauty. Every single news flash on the networks is additional ugly on an ape, and somebody, somewhere needs to counter all this dirty negativity. Tidelands, in its own small way, is helping to turn this tide. If that doesn’t sell you, however, try to name the last time you heard a flugelhorn on a pop album. Still thinking about it? I thought so. Tidelands is the easy answer — and an easy choice for any music lover. - Stereo Subversion

"Top 5 Essential Albums"

Like the glorious Other Lives, Tidelands make a dreamy, incredibly beautiful sound, with a tinge of melancholy: I absolutely adore this album. The sound is almost orchestral, with flugel horn, guitar, drums, keyboard, violin and cello. Interestingly, Mie Araki is a classically trained percussionist, whilst Gabriel Montana Leis, also from San Francisco, learnt the flugel horn specially for this project. Like Other Lives, there's a cinematic quality to the compositions, and the array of musicians usually produce a gentle sound, there are climaxes of startling discord. Leis' voice is distinctive, the harmonies gorgeous, and the sounds quite different to any other recent release. I found it uplifting and inspiring. - Jeremy's Indie Music

"Tideland - If... - CD Review"

Goddamn, reviewing depressing music is depressing, even if it IS really good. Tidelands’ If… is really good. With Gabriel Leis’ droning baritone and a barrage of orchestration, Tidelands weaves tales that are full, if not a bit melancholy, and at times, fairly chaotic. How they got all that to work together is beyond me, but I’m not going to ask too many questions. I WAS gonna try to clean my room while listening to it, but it lends itself to reading a book far more than it does to being productive. - Racket Magazine

"If... on iTunes"

From it’s opening track onwards, Tidelands’ debut album If… is an ambitious , multi-layered project taking indie-pop to rarified heights. Partners Gabriel Montana Leis and Mie Araki (originally hailing from from India and Japan, respectively) match literate, impressionistic lyrics to bittersweet, deceptively simple melodies, then lushly arrange them with input from San Francidsco’s Magik*Magik Orchestra. Leis’ melancholy yet resolute lead vocals, murmuring electric guitar and flowing flugelhorn lines gives these songs and intimacy even when the string backdrops suggest vast cinematic expanses. A pervasive yearning colors tracks like “Holy Grail,” “Holiday” and “Letter to a Young Soldier I Love.” “Sixes and Sevens,” and “The Ship” offers quick and telling glimpses of a lover’s quarrel over aching accompaniment. Dreamy, ruminating tracks like “Amulet” and “Marigolds” unfold in watercolor tones, while “Eyes of God” inserts a cacophonous free-jazz passage as it ponders the madness of humanity. If… achieves a widescreen sonic grandeur, yet never fells overblown or detached. - iTunes Music Store

"If... Album Review"

When rock legend Bob Weir hands you your very first guitar - you'd better make good use of it! Such is the case with Gabriel Montana Leis - the male half of the San Francisco based Tidelands duo. Leis, along with his female co-conspirator Mie Araki (drums, keyboards vocals) have created an extraordinary debut album which draws on such disparate genres as folk, prog-rock, and classical. This mesmerizing mix of flavors should come as no surprise: Araki studied jazz, classical and European music. Leis has composed for cello, violin, and trumpet and has experimented with loops.

In addition, the band was introduced to the conductor of the Magik * Magik Orchestra (Minna Choi) who worked on the charts - which also feature various members of Magik *Magik. Every track is essentially a mini-opera. "Holy Grail" blends punk-y guitar rhythms with a swinging orchestral backdrop whilst Leis' icy vocals recall Ian Curtis and Peter Murphy (be sure to check out the video which was put together from over 1000 watercolor paintings by Ami Kutata). Leis' rapid fire delivery complements his brisk guitar playing on "The Ship" as Araki fractures the back-beat and the strings and synthesizers forge on and on and on. Things quiet down for beginning of "Eyes of God" - a dreamy, mid-tempo track featuring cinematic choruses constructed with odd time signatures and cacophonic blasts - and a coda Lou Reed would have died for circa 1968.

You'd be hard pressed to find a collective that sounds anything like Tidelands - highly recommended for rock 'n' roll fans who are tired of bands recycling the same old ideas
--Tom Semioli - Amplifier Magazine

"Tidelands :: "Marigolds""

Oh, to be elevated, that curious anti-gravity, lifting and gaining momentum against every Newtonian law. But it is rare, to be sure, these upwardly mobile chord progressions, half because of innate difficulties and half because we live in an age where elevation feels dishonest. Our position already so edified, so ripe for tipping, we feel guilt, fear. We are watershed people, standing on a horrific fulcrum, aware of our precipice and how everything runs away, down to the sea. Chose your continental divide, we think, but the way out is certainly not headed up. Yet, even in a world rife with cultural anxiety, where a comparatively meaningless band like Tidelands can write a seven-and-a-half minute song ostensibly about flowers, all is never lost. The horns are lifted from Sufjan Stevens circa 2005, but the melody and its plucked acoustic roots have no interest in staying grounded. These refuse to be simple cover ups, nor a dishonestly positive rendition of a negative time. This sounds like the slowest of liftoffs and the knowledge that the sun never stops rising in the east. - 32ft/second

"Tidelands: If..."

Made up of Gabriel Montana Leis and Mie Araki, Tidelands is an experimental, ambient, folk band from San Francisco, CA. Their album, If…, starts off with “Holy Grail,” which is fueled by Leis’ varied vocals throughout. “Holiday” has its gloomy moments with flugelhorn and the cello. Bringing a foreboding vibe to the relatively mellow album, “Eyes Of God” incorporates all the instruments, including the voice, to instill a chill down the listener’s spine. The track changes its tune and brings in an airy guitar and classic rock drumbeat to add more of a spiritual feel. The entirely instrumental cut, “Amulet,” provides a sad and folky ambiance to If…, which leads into “Letter To A Young Soldier I Love,” a love story set to music, full of emotion.

The second portion of the release starts off with soft drums provided by Araki, which sets the stage for the beautiful harmonies of the Magik*Magik Orchestra, who provide additional instrumentation throughout the release. “The Ship” is one of the more upbeat alternative tracks on If… The narration in the song along with how the orchestra blends in yet stands out against Araki’s drum beat makes “The Ship” a top-notch tune. Another instrumental, “In The Wake,” will have the listener feel like they are floating in water. The pace of the music has a tide-like effect. And the final ditty on Tideland’s If…, “Marigolds,” brings a magical, carefree vibe to the release through the use of the bells. The longest track on the collection is uplifting and recaps the narrative that was told through If…

All in all, If… will engage the listener in a story while providing harmonies perfect for chilling out to.

In A Word: Chill

—by Roz Smith, August 3, 2011 - The Aquarian Weekly


If you're a fan of orchestral pop with poetic lyrics delivered in a rich baritone, newcomers Tidelands need to be on your radar. The duo comprised of Gabriel Montana Leis and Mie Araki make quite the first impression with their "If..." debut.

The nine songs here are lush and fully realized. In fact, it's hard to believe that only two people are responsible. Keepers "Eyes of God," personal favorite "Letter to a Young Soldier I Love," "Sixes and Sevens" and "The Ship" will wash over you every time you hear them. Good stuff. - Pittsburgh Daily News


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??? ???? ????? ???? ??? ???? ??? ????? ????????? ?? ????? ???? ???? ?? ??????? ???? ???? ??? ?????? ??? ???????????? ??????? ????? ?? ????? ???????? ???????? ??????? ?? ? ????? ??????? ? ?????? ?????? ??? ??????? ??? ???? ????? ???? ???? ???? ??? ????? ???? ??? ???? ????? ???? ?????????????????? ???????? - Pittsburgh Daily News

"CD Review : Tidelands : If..."

In his head, Gabriel Montana Leis heard the compositions that would form If.. being played on flugelhorn. So he learned the instrument. And Mie Araki morphed from a classically-trained percussionist into a kit and moog player for this album. But even with the Magik*Magik Orchestra adding violins and cello, If… is more than “chamber pop.” It isn’t quite full-on classical, either. This ambitious array of sounds ends up most easily fitting the “progressive” label.

Tidelands radiates a sort of innocence; it feels about 30 years out of time. Some of the tracks would go very well with latter-day Pink Floyd and Gabriel-era Genesis. Amulet, for instance, spreads rivulets of acoustic guitar over slightly ominous electric waves and modest sound effects. If you’re troubled by intermittent dissonance, or by frequent shifts in rhythm, If… may not be your cuppa chamomile. As a guilty-as-charged, intermittent-prog.-appreciator, I find it refreshing, stimulating, and likely to induce daydreaming. It doesn’t sound much like anything else that’s come out this year. If I’m wrong, and you know anything quite like it, I hope you’ll tell me.

And, jeez, with the dust from Comic Con still settling hereabouts, the images in the Holy Grail video aren’t seeming particularly unusual. No, I didn’t go. But kids dressed up as medieval characters and adults waxing happily, unabashedly geeky were popping up hither and yon, and a few of my friends are whistling happy little fantasy/sci-fi tunes after the experience.

Holy Grail is a little more Dungeons ‘n’ Dragons (invade your local diner?) than my If… faves, which include an exquisite four minutes & 51 seconds called Sixes and Sevens and the stimulating journey to be had with Marigolds. - My Old Kentucky Blog

"-Greg's Take- Tidelands: If..."

Poetry, a flugelhorn, a Moog bass, and a music video featuring 1,000 individual watercolor paintings.

Welcome to the world of Tidelands.

The San Franciscan duo of Gabriel Montana Leis and Mie Araki has a musical résumé longer than many music professors and an ambitious vision for their craft. Their countless hours of devotion have led to the release of their debut album If…

The album is equal parts gentleness and grandness, built around Araki’s temperate drumming and Leis’s mellifluous poetic narrative. This base is augmented by members of the Magik*Magik Orchestra as well as other musicians in the bay area. The sound is fleshed out by violins, cellos, rich guitars, a flugelhorn, trumpets and many other instruments left to the imagination. The end result is the equivalent of someone giving VAST an Ambien.

If… is a 9 track 48 minute dreamlike ride; much of the album has softness and lilt to it. There are brief moments of cacophony, like the horn and cello chaos in “Eyes of God,” but what dreams do not? The song rides the crest and comes out the woods with joyous guitar strumming complemented by a trumpet. “Letter To A Young Soldier I Love” is the obligatory anti-war statement, yet contains more honest emotion than most people can conjure in a lifetime and condenses it into a 6 minute ballad.

If you want to experience the vivid imagery Tidelands tries to conjure with their music, watch the video for “Holy Grail.” It does a better job of explaining their sound than any blog could do. The video features 1,000 watercolors which illustrator Ami Kutata spent four months working on for the single. How is that for dedication and determination? While it wasn’t from one of the members of the band, it shows the type of people they work with and is a reflection of their own seriousness to their work.

So turn down the lights, put a rose in a vase on your dinner table, open a bottle of wine and get lost in the lullaby of Tidelands’ debut If… When you wake up, see where your world is, and check:

Does it have a flugelhorn? - Nanobot Rock

"Tidelands. If..."

Though The Love X Nowhere, the San Francisco dream-rock band he co-fronted for a half-dozen years, never achieved breakout success, Gabriel Leis has been a mainstay on the Bay Area scene for a long time. Besides his four releases and many gigs with TLXN, the India-born, Marin-raised singer-songwriter-guitarist has also notably collaborated with Dan the Automator, members of Rondo Brothers, Dredg, and his wife Summer. Surprisingly, his most cohesive project, the brand-new Tidelands, features just Leis (on vocals, guitar and flugelhorn) and drummer-percussionst Mie Araki.

On the duo's self-released debut If..., Leis' deep, thick voice (which transverses everything from soft and calm to frantic) spins tales of woe and desire while the classically trained Araki's tasteful drums play with subtle dynamics, and complement stunning contributions from cellist Sam Bass and trumpeter Ara Anderson, among others.

The result is a captivating series of tunes as world-weary as they are romantic. On "Letter to a Young Solder I Love," Leis groans, It's not your war/won't you leave those poor folks alone? And on "Holy Grail" (featuring the Magik*Magik Orchestra) he pays tribute to the friends who have darkened the gardens of night/I salute you and give you my voice. The underlying theme of If..., as in most of Leis' previous work, is an effort to slow down our high-velocity culture and appreciate the small things, like lying entwined with a lover, reconnecting with troubled friends, or the prospect of peace.

The incredible animated video for "Holy Grail," created from more than 1,000 watercolor paintings by Ami Kutata, has been a YouTube sensation lately and is well worth a look or twenty. (self-released) - East Bay Express

"If... Album Review"

On July 26th, 2011 San Francisco Duo Gabriel Montana Leis and Mie Araki, also known as Tidelands, will release their debut album If...; a colorful mix of guitar, flugelhorn, drums, keyboards and pure poetry. With sharp and poignant lyrics, beautiful harmonies and back up instrumentals contributed by the Magik*Magik Orchestra, Tidelands picks up their listeners and takes them on a unique journey through the album.

If... opens with sweet bells in the track "Holy Grail". This song is full of uplifting and inspiring orchestral excerpts and laced with bells behind Gabriel’s running, almost breathless vocal lines. It features moments of powerful horn solos and climactic instrumental phrases that will have listeners tingling and excited as their energy levels rise with anticipation.

"Letter To A Young Soldier I Love" is a sweet track with heart-wrenching arpeggios and a slow-jam-style drum beat behind smooth, pensive lead vocal lines and faint back-up vocals. It contains moments of quiet melodic solos and slightly southern home-style guitar lines that will have listeners feeling extra cozy and relaxed as they open their hearts to the honest, raw vibe of this track. It is a love letter brought to life.

The last track on the album is "Marigolds". This track alternates back and forth between Gabriel’s soft, smooth signature vocal lines and a colorful variety of horn solos mostly likely inspired by Araki, who discovered her unique ability to write horn melodies after attending the Manhattan School of Music. This song feels like a summary. Listeners will feel reflective, as if remembering all their favorite moments of the journey they’ve experienced listening to the album.

If... contains a truly unique blend of instrumentals. Not many bands are brave enough to adopt a horn as one of their main instruments. Tidelands, however, brings this instrument to life and demonstrates an impressive ability to blend instrumentals and vocals into deep, wholesome tracks. By the end of this album listeners will feel emotionally connected, as though they’ve been on the Tidelands bandwagon since day one.

- WomensRadio.com

"Hear This: Tidelands"

Mie Araki and Gabriel Leis of the San Francisco-based band Tidelands are set to premiere their self-released debut album If… on JuIy 26th. The duo collaborate with Minna Choi and Magik*Magik Orchestra to create a rich symphonic soundscape comprised of fluid strings and textured horns. Leis tips his hand as an artful songwriter particularly adept at effortlessly delivering run-on lyrics fraught with imagery seemingly all in one breath. If the first single “Holy Grail” is symptomatic of the forthcoming release, then you can expect the album to be chock-full of buttery goodness for your eardrums. Along with the album’s release, Tidelands will perform at Cafe du Nord in San Francisco on July 26th. - The Owl Mag


Tidelands – Holy Grail
Once in a while (not that often nowadays), there is the perfect balance of creativity in a music video between sound and vision. Tideland’s Holy Grail music video is probably one of the best I have seen in recent memory. “Each frame is an actual watercolor illustration,” says Gabriel Leis of Tidelands about the video, “I was inspired after seeing the visuals for the Jonsi (of Sigur Ros) live show and wanted to search out an artist doing illustrated animation.”

Leis and Mie Araki, his partner in Tidelands, ultimately found illustrator Ami Kutata whose excitement about the song led her to spend four months of full-time work completing the project. The completed video was created based on more than 1000 pages of Kutata’s hand-illustrated work. “Looking at the early storyboards she did for us (see example above), it kinda puts in perspective the scope of the task,” says Leis. She spent over four months creating the video. We gave her complete creative freedom.”

The Japanese director isn’t fluent in English, so Araki translated the lyrics to the song for her. This created slightly different meanings which combined with Kutata’s own storyline made for something entirely new altogether. “She was really attached to the line in the song, ‘Over-dignified is just another way to compensate for what you’ve lost’, which became her main inspiration for the story and the images of a traveler, the queen and the dwarf town,” says Araki.

Of the song, Leis explains, “Holy Grail is ‘an attempt to capture the feeling of responsibility I have towards friends and acquaintances who did not live to tell the tale. Just carrying a torch for lost friends, knowing it just as easily could have been me.” Holy Grail is the first single and video from the debut Tidelands album, If… Tidelands is the duo of San Francisco’s Gabriel Montana Leis (Guitar, Flugelhorn, Vocals) and Mie Araki (Drums, Keyboards, Vocals) along with the Magik*Magik Orchestra, conductor Minna Choi and Deerhoof engineer Ian Pellicci.

With warm sonic approaches, combining clean electric guitars with baroque elements, Holy Grail is orchestrated to pull heart strings with its epic sweep cast within rustic intentions. An excellent sampler for the album to come.
- Power of Pop

"1,000 Watercolor Paintings Animate Tidelands’ ‘Holy Grail’ Video"

Japanese illustrator Ami Kutata spent four months creating 1,000 watercolors to animate Tidelands’ new music video, “Holy Grail.” The trippy clip unfolds as a journey through a medieval-meets-steampunk village that’s occupied by thumb-size citizens, a queen, an archer and dripping celestial orbs of unknown origin.

“We gave her complete creative freedom,” Tidelands guitarist Gabriel Leis said in an e-mail to Wired.com about the making of the video.

Kutata is not fluent in English, so Tidelands singer Mie Araki translated the lyrics into Japanese. “Ami got really attached to the line in the song that goes: Over-dignified is just another way to compensate for what you’ve lost,’ Araki said. “That became her main inspiration for the images of a traveler, the queen and the dwarf town.”

San Francisco duo Tidelands‘ debut album If … , featuring accompaniment by MagikMagik, will be released July 26.
- wired.com

"Tidelands Rush to Shore With Their Brand of Music"


That’s the name of Tidelands‘ debut album, If…, and it’s open-ended on purpose. You might ask yourself If… what, exactly? That’s the point. They’re a duo Mie Araki and Gabriel Montana Leis who want to create a dreamy feel with their intense music, or what their bio describes as “sharp, poetic lyrics uniquely arranged with looped guitars, Moog bass and beautiful harmonies.” In other words, a slightly retro synth feel with a passion to be bold and daring for today’s audiences who are also looking for the same.

The unique thing is that Leis said he had ideas to make music utilizing the horn, but he had never played any horn instruments before. When he brought in Araki into the project, the music blossomed as he wanted. This project also brings in Magik*Magik Orchestra conductor Minna Choi and Deerhoofengineer Ian Pellicci, so they did not bother to wait around to find a reliable formula, they wanted to be risk takers. If… is the end-result, and fans will be able to hear it in full when released on July 26th. The video for “Holy Grail”, put together by illustrator Ami Kutata, is due to bring them some well-deserved attention. - this is books music


Still working on that hot first release.



Tidelands is the duo of San Francisco’s Gabriel Montana Leis (Guitar, Flugelhorn, Vocals) and Mie Araki (Drums, Key- boards, Vocals). Sharp, poignant, poetic lyrics are uniquely arranged with looped guitars, Moog bass and beautiful harmonies on the duo’s debut album, If..., to be released July 26th, 2011. Taking cues from their combined multi- cultural backgrounds, Leis and Araki have created a textur- ally rich record that speaks to their collectively deep and unique life experiences.

Born in New Delhi, India, Leis led an itinerant childhood, bouncing from one hemisphere to another, town to town, school to school. After his return from India in the late 1970’s, Leis eventually settled in the San Francisco bay area, where Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead gifted him his first guitar. Growing up around open mic nights, he later formed the band The Love X Nowhere (which included Araki in its final incarnation), releasing three EPs and an album, a success that led to Leis being hired as a touring musician with Dan The Automator.

Originally from Osaka, Japan, Araki moved to New York in 1992 to further her study of classical percussion at the Manhattan School of Music. Attracted by the challenges and beauty of improvisation, Araki soon switched her ma- jor to Jazz & Commercial Percussion, eventually earning a Masters degree after relocating to California and incorpo- rating African, Asian and European music into her playing.
“I found myself writing melodies that I knew were meant for a horn,” Leis says of the material that took shape in 2009 out of the ashes of The Love X Nowhere. “I had fantasies of recruiting an accomplished trumpet player for the band that eventually became Tidelands.” Instead, Leis decided to learn the horn from scratch on his own. “Never having played a horn before, I purchased a beautiful vintage Benge flugelhorn and began at the beginning, not able to form a single note.”

Since he passed on recruiting a trumpet player, Leis decided to recruit former band mate Araki, who added a Moog to the ensemble of instruments, essentially beginning her own new musical education in learning to play the drums and synth at the same time. Further exploring his earlier experiences writing for cello, violin and trumpet, Leis began using a looping device to write guitar parts that he could later pair with orchestral instruments. Araki began to transcribe these ideas to standard musical notation and via a connection with musician John Vanderslice, Tidelands was introduced to Minna Choi, con- ductor of the Magik*Magik Orchestra. “We gave her the framework of the songs and the charts and the freedom to create around what we had already written,” Leis explains. Recording engineer Ian Pellicci (Deerhoof) was the final collaborator added to the project, and less than six short but studious months into becoming a flugelhorn player, Leis, Araki, Choi and Pellicci convened at San Francisco’s Tiny Telephone Studios to create If...

Musically, the songs on If... are defined by the creative and precise drumming of Araki and her ability to explore her creative voice through the framework of these songs. Fur- ther enriched by the incredible players in the Magik*Magik Orchestra, the album also features standout local players such as bassist Nils Erickson (20 Minute Loop), cello player Sam Bass (Les Claypool), and Leis’ foremost inspiration as a horn player, trumpeter Ara Anderson (Tom Waits).
Describing the lyricism on the record, Leis says, “I’ve al- ways valued poetic quality as highly as I do narrative. I think this is reflected in these songs. Inter-personal turmoil, frustration over seeming powerlessness in the face of on- going war, and a farewell to my previous self-destructive ways of youth are the primary themes to these songs.”