Dallas' Own "Tension & Release" Debut Their EP + Interview

If you're from Dallas, you know a lot of great musical acts are born here. One of my favorite neighborhoods for underground music is Deep Ellum right outside of downtown Dallas. Since I've begun hanging out there a lot more within the last six months, I've decided to dedicate articles here and there to these up and coming Dallas artists. To kick this series off, let's dive into a newer band called, "Tension & Release".

Tension and release is a collaborative group of musicians with varying musical backgrounds that decided to mix their talents in 2015. The group is comprised of James, John, and Jacob (pictured below). I got a hold of them and was able to ask them individually about their backgrounds and some more insight into the band itself. 

How, where, and when did you guys get started as a band?

I listened to all kinds of music growing up (rock, hip hop, classical music, house), but didn’t pick up an instrument until the age of 22. Joined a band with John and a mutual friend after watching an anime called, “Beck Mongolian Chop Squad” in 2012.

A few months later, we got a jam space (which I basically lived in for 8 months) until we had some more material to work with and we got more comfortable playing music together. Originally, I was going to learn and play guitar in the band, but when a spot opened up to give drums a try, I jumped at it and didn’t look back.
— James
GIF courtesy of Tumblr

GIF courtesy of Tumblr

I was actually a drummer originally back in high school, playing for shitty pop-punk bands. The music was pretty weak, but we were just having fun. Eventually I got more serious about it and started playing different instruments in different bands, just seeing what I could do.

I eventually picked up a guitar and I really dedicated a lot of time to it, started jamming with James and Jacob, and went to college to get a degree in Audio Production. I picked up vocals in college and learned a lot about harmonizing from a badass singer we had in the band for a while.
— John
My memory is fuzzy on this one, but John and I have known each other since middle/high school (early 2000’s). I started chatting with John back in 2011-2012 about playing music and he had a jam space and was just starting to learn the guitar with James on drums. We jammed in that studio into the late hours for a few months before I had a mid-mid-life crisis and kind of went ghost on them.

Fast forward to 2015 and John and I get in contact again. He wanted me to come try and play some bass on a few songs he had written up. Two years later I’m in the band without John even asking me, but that’s okay, because I already wanted to be in it. It’s like when you and the hot chick in high school are dating but neither of you ever made it official.
— Jacob

Who are your biggest musical influences?

Growing up I listened to a lot of emo-pop-punk stuff with fast riffs and catchy hooks. Green Day, Blink-182, New Found Glory. My music taste has definitely evolved from that. Not to take away from any of those awesome bands, but I prefer indie folk and experimental types of music now.

My biggest musical influences ever would have to be Ben Gibbered from Death Cab for Cutie and Justin Vernon from Bon Iver . There is nothing that these guy puts out that I don’t like. Gibbard’s talent to paint a story through words is just so unreal it’s like you are watching a heart breaking every time you listen to his songs. Justin Vernon on the other hand, I haven’t quite been able to decipher all his songs but he does have a way of making you feel like you are on drugs without ever having to be on drugs. Definitely the two guys who influence my style of playing and music writing today.
— Jacob
I listen to a lot of weird, vocally-driven music like Bjork and Imogen Heap, and also love what the progressive-metal scene is doing with drums and guitar right now, ya know, stuff like Animals as Leaders and Periphery. Queen is also god to me.
— John
Photo Courtesy of Pinterest

Photo Courtesy of Pinterest

Daft Punk’s “Discovery” was one of my favorite albums when I was younger. Honestly, there are too many for me to name. I try to pull from whatever I can listen to. There’s too much good music out there, haha.
— James

Tension and Release will be releasing their first EP March 31, 2017 entitled, "Letting People Into Your Life". I got a sneak preview of the EP and it's pretty fantastic. You can get a taste of what their EP is like with their songs "Love Among" and "How To Save Her Soul" on YouTube now in collaboration with up-and-coming artists: The Cure For Paranoia, Eff3, Dez, and Jake O'Neill. (videos below)

Their EP "Letting People Into Your Life" will be available March 31, 2017 on iTunes, Spotify, and Pandora. You can also check them out at their website www.jtownsounds.com and their Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram

I wish these dudes all the best and I'll keep everyone updated on when they book some shows here in Dallas. They told me that they'll begin playing shows after the next EP. I know I, for one, am extremely excited to see them jam out live!