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The Silver Seas

A Conversation with Daniel Tashian

Puremusic: I'm so happy that we're going to have this talk today, because I'm a very big fan of the CD High Society.

Daniel Tashian: Oh, thank you so much for that, Frank. Thank you. I really appreciate your encouragement.

PM: Yeah, it's a super, super record. Now, it first came out as a group called The Bees, right?

DT: That's right.

PM: So what's the story there? Why was that name re-thought, or moved on from?

DT: Well, this was a little bit of a sore subject for me, only because we actually technically used the name first. But there's another band in England that used the name. And they're also quite good. But nevertheless, we used the name in 1999. We actually played a show with Badly Drawn Boy in 1999--

PM: Wow.

DT: --and used the name at the old Slow Bar. So we did use it commercially first, although the other group used it commercially first in England. And unfortunately, they sort of made a name for themselves over there under that name, even though they used it after we did. So when we were getting ready to--we signed a licensing deal with a great label in L.A. called Cheap Lullaby, and Joe Ross and those guys are really cool guys. And they said, "Look, the feedback we're getting from your"--this is probably boring as hell, but anyway--

PM: No, no. It's actually interesting, I think.

DT: He said the feedback they were getting from some of their publicity team was that they didn't want to go and try to sell this record and have to explain every time, "No, this is a different group." They wanted the band and the record to be able to stand on its own without that. And whether that is succeeding or not, I don't know, because the majority of interview questions I tend to be hearing have to do with this.

PM: Oh, really? Well, we'll just move on from that. But I just wanted to handle it.

DT: But sure, yeah. And I think that's pretty much the deal. But actually I have gotten some encouraging emails from people who are long-time fans of the band and were fans of The Bees who actually felt they even like the new name better, that it fit the music more. So I'm sort of fine with that. As Shakespeare said, what's it about--what's in a rose that we call a name, or whatever.

PM: Indeed. [laughs]  I feel the same way. As long as you've got a good name now, which you do, The Silver Seas, it really rocks. It's evocative without being too specific, and it's descriptive. It kind of puts you in a good place.

DT: Well, good. Thanks for that.

PM: Now, for Nashville insiders, The Silver Seas has a super group aspect to some degree, at least certainly a very talented lineup. Before we talk about you in particular, let's talk about the other cats, what they do and what they've done.

David Gehrke

DT: Sure. Okay, well, let's see. We'll start with the drums, David Gehrke, he's sort of an acquired taste.

PM: [laughs] That's funny.

DT: But I've definitely acquired it. I really enjoy how he plays--he is sort of the core of the group, as far as rhythmically what I think gives our band our swing and our groove has to do with the interplay between David's high-hat and snare drum and my acoustic guitar right hand, so we're kind of the rhythm section.

And John Deaderick on the bass, he does supply groove, but he's such a great musician and has got such a great musical mind that his approach on the bass is very melodic, and it's orchestral.

PM: Yeah, because he's a lot more than a bass player. He's just a bass player in this band.

John Deaderick

DT: That's right. So that's kind of exciting, because he knows what note to play under things that can be cool passing tones, it can kind of shift the chord in a way that's an interesting way that makes it a little more complex.

PM: And when he's playing the third or the sixth, he knows it, and he knows why.

DT: That's right. Of course, John brings more to the band than just sort of that aspect. He's obviously--we love having him around because he's so funny and just such a great personality and such a great balance. Between me and David and Jason, things can get a little bit serious in the studio. And John is a great element to throw into the mix that kind of breaks things up.

Jason Lehning

Now Jason is like a Swiss jeweler. I mean, he's very precise and his attention to detail is at such a level that that's why our records really have a great sound is that he takes incredible time and care with every little sound. But you need to have a balance. I feel really fortunate to work with the team that we have.

PM: Because as great as the songs are, as great as the tracks are, the fidelity in the recording and the mastering is just really pristine.

DT: Yeah. And that's an important thing, and you can't really get that by barreling through too fast, which is sort of what I like to do.

PM: Yeah. And you can't get it by fudging on the back end.

DT: Yeah.

PM: You can hang in there through the mix and the mastering--

DT: That's right.

PM: --but the long hours of making it right--

DT: And he's that. Jason just really has great follow-through. And I learn a lot from him. And also, while we're blowing these various horns, let's not diminish the fact that aside from this, he always seems to be recognized for that, but let's also recognize the fact that his skills as an arranger are very much in play in these records. He went to Berklee, and he's the only guy in the band besides John that I know of who can actually pull out a piece of paper and write music actually on the staff and then sit down at the piano and play it. He'll get an idea for a part and he'll just pull out some staff paper and write it out. He'll score it. And he also comes up with these unconventional arrangement ideas. So I mean, I'm sort of in the pentatonic level of music--

PM: [laughs]

DT: --where I know a few blues scales, and I learned a major 7th chord, and I pretty much took off from there.

PM: [laughs] That's very humble about your many talents. So if you will try and suspend your humility for a few moments, I want to talk about yourself. And certainly in Puremusic you've come up more than a few times for your contributions to the records we've covered.

DT: Right.

PM: So allow me to take it back to the top with you, if you would, and let's talk about your folks, from whence you came.

Daniel Tashian


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