Timing is everything. Just ask Tetchy, the Brooklyn band who quickly geared up to write, record, and produce an entire EP and then… waited. Bided their time before releasing it out into the world, stalling for a year and change before moving forward. And now that hounds is here, they don’t plan on waiting around for the next one.
An EP that forces you to reflect on your own feelings & experiences, hounds digs in deep and doesn’t let go. Taking the time to set this release up properly allowed Tetchy to do it justice, and it was absolutely worth the wait. We chatted with Maggie about how Tetchy found its current form, their “unhinged” live show, and the art of good timing. Read it below!
So first of all, congratulations on the release of hounds. How has the response been so far?
Honestly, it has exceeded expectations. It’s this kind of release. We’ve been building, doing a lot of work… it’s nice to have more than just, you know, our friends listening to it at this point. And it’s really nice to have people who we’ve met on tour being in touch and saying that they’re really loving it! Even random people on the internet are messaging and saying they’re enjoying it or it’s helping them with whatever they’re feeling at that moment.
It’s been really cool to feel like it’s actually connecting with people. We’ve felt that since the tour, where it’s been– I don’t know, when we first went on tours, there was kind of this shock moment at every show where we’d have someone coming up to say that it really connected for them. I don’t know if it’s for everybody, but I feel like for some people it’s really, really connecting and that’s kind of life affirming.
I definitely had that experience with the EP. It’s obviously a beautiful EP sonically, but lyrically… it’s not a passive listening experience. You really dive in on your own mental state and where you’re at. Just a deep dive into yourself.
Yeah, you’re right. I wouldn’t say it’s background music really.
At least not for me, which is why I’m also glad that people have a chance to really focus on the lyrics. When you’re playing at shows and you don’t know what the sound will be like at these venues, it can be hard to hear the vocals and the lyrics. These songs are kind of coming from me from the starting points and I don’t necessarily write lyrics first, but they’re lyric specific and intensive. And those take a primary focus within my music writing.
They’re five very big topics to get into. And a lot of the times when people get into these types of topics, it can feel preachy, but yours just feels cathartic. You’re listening to it and it’s like you can just… it’s just nice to hear somebody else say it. How did you choose those sorts of topics to focus on?
Oh gosh, I didn’t choose them. My writing perhaps is a bit overly cathartic sometimes. I find that my best songs are ones that just… sort of come out of me, you know? And I don’t– a lot of times I really don’t know where they’re coming from. They’re great because I can look at them later and reflect, and think about what’s actually going on emotionally for me at the time. But yet, for “Quitter,” I wrote that song in like 15 minutes.
I love those kind of song origin stories.
Yeah. The bones of these songs don’t really take me too long to write. I’m not a totally proficient musician, but I’ve been singing my whole life. A lot of these stem from something I like that I’m doing with the chords or whatever instrument I’m writing on. Then I find a vocal melody first and foremost, that feels like the feeling of it and of whatever I’m feeling. Then the words come pretty quickly. There’ll be times when I think about a cool hook and I’m like, “oh, this might really feel good, I bet a lot of other people are feeling this too,” but usually there’s not really that sort of foresight or that sort of a strategy. You’re right that it’s a cathartic thing more than a “this is what people need to hear” kind of thing. But it’s so wonderful. And I find that a lot of women and queer people are coming up and saying, “hey, this is the kind of music we want with the subject matter that we want to talk about and feel feelings about.”
Yeah. It’s just like… sometimes you feel like you’re crazy, like these things aren’t really happening and you’re just complaining. And then to hear somebody else say it is like, “oh, I’m not crazy, this is a real thing that others are experiencing too.”
it sounds like the writing process at least happens very naturally for you. But this EP was written and produced over a year ago. what’s been happening behind the scenes between then and now?
Since then, I’ve written a lot more songs. I was pursuing music here in New York as a solo act for a while, but in a very kind of low key way. And then I had this very sudden urge to actually do it for real. Something sort of clicked within me that it had to be harder, it had to be heavier music. So when I made that decision, I also decided that I wanted to do something collaborative. I was seeing the people in my life and the friends in my life who are such good musicians and I was thinking… why am I not working with these people to do something? I think we could do something really special. And it just turned into a big friend project.
So the whole time gap here, this is what I’m getting to. Honestly, the way the band came together, I kind of jumped us in headfirst. I was thinking, “this is what I’m doing and I really want to give it my all.” My friends would probably call me an ambitious person. I tend to bite off quite a bit more than most people would bite off, but I usually can manage to chew it. Once we figured out what the band lineup was, we were writing and we kind of immediately started talking about, well, what’s next? Let’s record something.
It wasn’t really clear at that point if it would be a demo or what it would be, but we recorded at this really wonderful studio in Massachusetts and it sounded great. It ended up being the EP. But of course, I sometimes bite off a little bit too much and sometimes I really want things to be perfect. So it took some time to figure out how we wanted to release it, and to make sure everything was right with the timing of everything. I’m also in school studying trauma psychology, and there were some other things happening. My dad also passed away about a year and a half ago, very shortly before we recorded the EP.
All kinds of weird little life things that added up to the chunk of a year we were sitting on the EP, building up our live show and support here in New York. That’s why we did it that way, it would have just come out as a demo if we would have released it right then and there. We’ve grown a lot as a band since then, there are things on the EP that I would change, but we’re really proud of it and we’re excited to move things along a little faster next summer.
I was gonna say, I feel like it’s actually done you a service to have waited. It bothers me when when bands rush music out too quickly and they don’t give it enough time to breathe.
Yeah, I think it’s going well too. And you know, now when we play the songs they — and it’s weird because I think because they are such emotionally salient songs — they don’t feel stale, you know? And because we also add new songs to the set, it’s not feeling stale. We do have quite a few other new songs that we’re hoping to record soon. I guess people really like our live show.
I really want to catch a show eventually. You have your EP release show this Thursday, what should new fans expect from the live show experience compared to the recordings?
Yeah, so the live show is a little bit more… unhinged.
That’s the word I would use. I think the chaotic and heavy moments… they can expect them to be way more chaotic and heavy. And theoretically that puts the softer, more intimate moments into perspective and gives them a little bit more gravity as well. Our guitarist, Stevie Jick, is a magician. He makes his own sound pad and uses a mini keyboard to play them or change them and play them through his guitar. It’s very cool. So as something that’s kind of special about our live show, I think that we’re… I have studied performance my whole life. It’s something that I feel very good doing, it’s kind of like meditation to me in a lot of ways. So usually if things go to plan, I’m having my own cathartic experience on stage, so people can expect to have that added element to it.
That’s awesome. I always find it interesting to see the music that artists create versus what they listen to, and you mentioned how you had a moment where you decided the music needed to be heavier. Does this new, heavier sound line up more with what you listen to?
Oh yeah. Interesting. So I kind of grew up going to punk shows. In high school, I was going through some very turbulent family life things. The Baltimore punk scene sort of became my family and I was going to punk shows two or three times a week. So there’s always been this love for having music but also like… chaotic music and music that makes you connect to the more chaotic energies within yourself. But that being said, I also find moments with really satisfying heavy parts are so fulfilling to listen to. I listen to quite a variety. I really love pop music, I used to write a lot of pop music and you’ll hear that within my vocal melodies; there certainly is a pop sensibility. It’s interesting though, the kinds of artists that I was listening to around that moment when I first decided I wanted to do a heavier band were artists like Mitski.
Ugh, I LOVE her.
Yeah! I also really, really love Courtney Barnett, Speedy Ortiz, Hop Along, you know, these are all some of the bigger influences on me. But also, there was this New York band that was doing some cool, experimental weird stuff that also had heavy-ish moments, but with some really great pop sensibility as well. They’re called Tiny Hazard, and they’re fronted by a person named Alena Spanger. They captured this really neat pocket of the New York scene at the time. There were a couple of bands like that in New York probably around four or five years ago that upon seeing them and listening to more music, they were really blurring the genre lines which are less important these days.
And the more that resonated with me, the more I realized it would be possible to do something that felt raw and true and emotional, but was also able to be simple and connect to people. Something that could simultaneously have moments of complexity and weird sounds and something that is kind of abnormal and that you wouldn’t hear every day, but also moments that are like, “wow, yes, that is so satisfying because of its simplicity and because of the fact that I can just drop in and connect to it.”
I love hearing you say that genre is kind of losing importance right now because that’s how I’ve been feeling. When artists take their influence from so many different places, how can you then put that back into one tiny box and say that’s where they belong? It doesn’t make sense to me, but so many people get mad when I say that.
It makes sense in the press world because you kind of need to figure out five words to describe yourself, but how do you do that? I don’t know. It’s always been a really hard task for me.
Even working in press, if a band doesn’t send me their genre and I have to guess… I’m worried they’ll be hurt if I pick the wrong one.
*laughs* I kind of feel that way when we get called punk because as someone who like went to punk shows, I’m like… guys, we definitely have some punk songs and like some punk-ier songs, but we’re just not. It’s just not the cultural box that we’re fitting in, which is so hard. But, you know, if some punks like our music and we do write some punk songs, that’s great.
Absolutely. So, final question. What is next for Tetchy? The EP’s out, you’re playing your release show, you’ve already been working on new songs. What’s next?
We’re really hoping honestly to go as far as this band will take us. I know that some bigger tours are in the gleam of our little eyes, we really love touring. And there are some really great communities here on the east coast in Boston, Philadelphia, New York, that we’re really just hoping to keep being a bigger part of. Maybe that looks like some sort of spot on a label, but either way, we’re hopefully recording an album. Hopefully that’s going to be soon. We’d really love to level this up while we’re here and doing it and feeling strong.
We just want to take a bit more space within these communities that value both the musicianship and the complexity, but also value the emotion and that aspect of it. And the feminist aspects of it. That’s really important to us and we’ve been really welcomed in by just a lot of different bands over here. So hopefully, you know, we want to bring that to the rest of the country and maybe Canada as well.
So yeah, that’s what’s next. We’ve definitely got some songs waiting in our back pocket, but then we’re going to be writing more in the next month and figuring out the plan forward.