We recently discovered a band from Philadelphia, called Tulipomania. They already have quite a lot of music out there and plenty of award-winning videos to go with that, but the progressive art rock outfit will soon be releasing a new maxi-single. Following up their fourth album ‘This Gilded Age’, released last year, they are offering three tracks, including two original and a remix by Seahawks of ‘Don’t Be So Sure’ (originally featured on their latest album). This release also features intriguing new artwork by legendary artist Vaughan Oliver, most commonly associated with all the early releases on the 4AD label. Tulipomania’s name derives from the 1637 Dutch tulip market collapse. They’ve been described as ‘cult synth punks’, ‘glam-leaning’, ‘postpunk’, ‘art rock’, and ‘muscular chamber pop’. We caught up with Tulipomania ring leader Tom Murray for a chat.
1) When and how was Tulipomania formed and what inspired your band name?
Cheryl and I met while studying film and animation. We have been making music and animated films together since. We like the sound of the word tulipomania and its dark maniacal history. A floral history with dark roots. An absurd, disastrous and well documented financial scandal involving ruinous speculation in tulip bulbs. Eternally relevant –unfortunately.
2) Has your line-up been the same since the beginning? Who is in the band today?
Cheryl and I are the core of Tulipomania. Several people have played on various recordings and at live shows. Mitch Smith played guitar on our latest album This Gilded Age and he was the guitarist on our first recordings as well.
3) What artists have inspired you in your musical development? Would you say that you’ve borrowed or blended the sound of any of them into your own sound?
We never intentionally copied or borrowed the sounds of others – but I don’t think there is any way to avoid being influenced, and I am sure we unintentionally and subconsciously integrate every thing we hear and admire into our own efforts. There are so many influences. We both love Thelonious Monk, Talk Talk, Roxy Music, The Blue Nile, Hendrix, Miles Davis and countless others. I am sure at some level we have blended the sound of everything we love.
4) Your debut mini-album is being released by Sursumcorda Recordings. How did that relationship come about?
Sursumcorda have released several of our albums and recordings. We are friends with the two owners of the label and magazine and have worked with them live as well. Dave Wesley and Craig Grossman have played live with us on several occasions. And we are fans of their individual and group music as well. Together with Casey Borchert they perform as TV Crush – a terrific improvisational group, and individually they record and remix as well. Craig and Dave are fantastic musicians and are very supportive. They have helped us at every turn. We met them when the Sursumcorda website featured our music and reviewed our first self-released album.
5) You were recently remixed by Seahawks (Jon Tye of Lo Recordings and Pete Fowler, famed for his work with Super Furry Animals) – two rather involved guys in the music industry (in their own individual ways). How did you end up working together? How does it feel to have your work re-envisioned by another artist like this?
Working with Seahawks was terrific. We started talking with Jon Tye about the possibility of remixing one of our songs and the conversation evolved into having a remix by Seahawks. We love working with others and leaving things to chance. It always seems to work out best when free reign and minimal oversight are applied – so as not to hamper the creativity of the people we work with. We love the Seahawks remix! I am sure things could work out otherwise – but it all comes down to your feelings about the people you are working with, I think. If you feel a connection and feel comfortable, often things work out well, in our experience.
6) Do you perform live? If so, what do you love about it? Do you have any upcoming performances? Any other plans for 2017?
We do perform live – but we are not playing shows at this very moment. Cheryl and I are working to build a new live and recording band. We have a live video in-studio recording session of tracks from out latest album and will be posting that session in the near future. We are working on remixes and animated videos to release in early 2018. And, we plan to play live again in mid- 2018.
7) I understand you’ve won a bunch of awards for your clever music videos. Can you tell me about that and share some links to these videos?
We have been very lucky to have the videos we made for tracks from our latest album This Gilded Age included as official selections at multiple international film festivals. We animate and direct all of our own videos ourselves. We are thrilled that our music videos have screened as official selections at prestigious international festivals around the world. We’re proud to be able to include the laurels on our videos. We have attended some of the festivals when possible – and seeing our videos and music on the big screen is a blast.
Here are links to some of the videos from our latest album ‘This Gilded Age’.
Shooting Off the Set – https://vimeo.com/149924459
<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/149924459″>Tulipomania – Shooting Off The Set</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/tulipomania”>tulipomania</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
Blinks First – https://vimeo.com/129776135
<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/129776135″>Tulipomania: Blinks First</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/tulipomania”>tulipomania</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
Don’t Be So Sure – https://vimeo.com/149923785
<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/149923785″>Tulipomania – Don’t Be So Sure</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/tulipomania”>tulipomania</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>