One night recently, I met the guys in Local Tourists at the Big Room Bar after a show. It was a brief meeting and was mainly meant to arrange a time to do this very interview. It didn’t happen. But we rescheduled. And then, it didn’t happen again. But the third time was the charm when we finally found a way to weave our busy adult schedules together. We met at Lineage Brewing company to discus their unique brand of garage rock, alternative, and a dash of emo thrown-in for good measure.
While waiting for the band to arrive, I listened to their EP, “Adrift.” As I sipped on my beer, I found myself hearing bands like American Football in their sound. At the close of Calico, I turned off the music when the band showed up.
Making my way over to the guys, we exchanged greetings as drummer Dan Schreiber and I sit at a nearby table and start talking. We started the conversation with an observation about his shirt.
Dan: Yeah, we went to a Nada Surf concert a few years ago. They had a hit back in the 90’s called Popular where the guy talks to the teenage guy about high school and popularity. That was their only appearance on the radio, really.
Music In Motion Columbus (MIMC): Would you say that they’re an influence for you guys?
Dan: I’d say so, yeah. Especially the way that they record is something we try to model after.
MIMC: So you guys do it yourselves or…?
Dan: We had some people help with ideas, but nothing heavy handed and nobody who is producer by name. We do it indie in the truest sense.
MIMC: When I was listening to it, I heard things that made me think of American Football. Do you guys count them as an influence?
Dan: Yeah, our vocalist Ryan (Lunka) is a huge American Football fan.
At this point, the rest of the band join us at our table. The two had been out partying late last night. Teagan Loew is attempting to nurse his hangover by partnering his beer with plenty of water. The discussion turned to our choices in craft beer and Columbus microbreweries.
Dan: Yeah, I even make small batches out of my house, like five gallons at a time. I mostly do pale ales. Hopefully next week I’ll have a habanero pale ale.
MIMC: were you guys out all night?
Ryan: eh like one. I tried making some jalapeno poppers in the oven and ended up waking up to a room full of smoke (chuckles).
MIMC: So now that you’re all here how did you guys initially get to playing with each other?
Teagan: Well, I put out a craigslist ad and played with a couple people. Then Ryan joined in and we had a different drummer and bassist. That ended up not working out, so Ryan knew Dan through some connections.
Dan: So, my sister-in-law taught with Ryan’s ex-wife. Then it somehow came up that he was looking for a drummer.
Ryan: I remember our first conversation was like, “Oh, do you have anywhere we could practice?” and you were like, “Well…I just had a baby three days ago…” (chuckles).
Dan: We ended doing one rehearsal in Ryan’s attic in the middle of summer. It was super-hot.
Ryan: If you stood on the side you had to tilt your head, so you would not hit the ceiling.
Dan: The very next week we found Big Basement in The Sky where Dan Sherwood operates. That’s the studio where we ended up recording everything, and he also runs a rehearsal space. He had drums and everything, so I didn’t have to set up my own kit.
Ryan: With the (band) name, we just had a huge list of names and one Brad (Roll) threw out was Local Tourist.
MIMC: With the EP out now, are you guys planning some sort of tour locally or even within the state?
Ryan: Probably not. We mostly do it as a serious hobby. These two guys (Dan and Brad) have kids, and (Teagan) has one coming. We all have day jobs. I mean, we would maybe do a Cincinnati show or something like that, but no touring.
Dan: We’ve also talked about the Athens (OH) area to get some interest out there. But mostly, we like to be known in the local scene and make the best must we can.
MIMC: In regard to that, what are your approaches to mixing your sound?
Ryan: Like a live sound, we try to be loud enough you have to hear us. That and he’s (Dan) is a loud drummer, so we kind of build around that.
Brad: Yeah, and we bring a field mike and listen back, so we can tweak things. So, we make adjustments as we go.
MIMC: Dan has already mentioned American Football and Nada Surf. What are some of the other influences to you sound?
Teagan: I really like Band of Horses. They’re kind of what I go for, as far as a guitar tone.
Ryan: I get into a lot of alternative, but not as much of the indie scene. I look at Jimmy Eats World… not so much the newer stuff, but those first two records are amazing. Also, a lot of pop punk bands. Not that we’re a pop punk band by any means, but the way they have good hooks in their lyrics instead of just saying stuff like other bands.
Brad: I like a lot of Motown, like James Jamerson or even Vulfpeck.
Dan: He’s actually primarily a guitar player. I feel like he brings a good sense of melody to playing bass.
Brad: Yeah, I definitely play it like a guitar.
Ryan: I like him a lot as a bass player, because he really brings something to the song. A lot of bass players just ride the rhythm, but he actually brings a part to the song.
Dan: It’s really a third guitar in the song.
MIMC: Listening to the EP, there’s songs like The Architect and Calico. I wonder what are those songs about? Where did they come from?
Ryan: For whatever reason, that name stuck in my head The Architect, so I wrote around that. It’s kind of an introspective thing. I imagine just driving down a highway by yourself and thinking about how did it all get here? But in general, I don’t start writing with the lyrics in mind. I have a piece for a hook and just write around it. Calico was on our list of band names at one time.
Dan: So was Tango Loco…
Brad: I had to google that one, because I wondered what this song was about, and calico is a type a dress.
Ryan: A lot of lyrics I write are sort of processing things around me. Sometimes I even feel like a sociopath because I feel like I say “I” all the time. But I’m just dealing with a lot of life stuff. I had a pretty big relationship end, so it’s a way to help me meditate on it and process.
After this, Teagan still had a full beer and offered it to Brad. Apparently, hair of the dog isn’t an option today.
Teagan: Instead of beer, a cold washcloth on my head is what I really need. I was going to ride my bike but I didn’t think I could handle it. (Laughs erupt around the table).
MIMC: So, what do you guys have planned next?
Dan: Well, I’d like to cut our turnaround time in half. Once we get the ball rolling with more songs, we’re going to decide whether we have another EP or put it with the first five songs and make it a full-length album.
Ryan: All the songs on the EP are actually pretty old now. We’ve written twenty-plus songs now.
Brad: I think it would be cool to go to a music hall and put it on analogue tape…
We then sat around, talking while we finished our beers. Local Tourists show a great amount of chemistry among each other and want to keep playing, even with the distractions of family life. They have good prospects going into the future and will hopefully, soon, bring the Columbus music scene a new batch of songs.
Their current EP, “Adrift” is on on major streaming services now.
Ed. – Listen to their recent appearance on The Cat Club Podcast HERE
Credit all images: Mitchell Multimedia