Check out our interview with Boston-based indie folk band Tall Heights who recently released their new single “The Mountain” and was inspired by a photograph that a friend texted to the band with the news that his grandfather had passed away. The grandfather had spent his final days at home, peacefully looking at the mountains that he and his wife loved so much. The song is characterized by love, loss, and the endless sense of devotion we feel after losing special people in our lives.
“It’s an agnostic, naturalist’s take on the afterlife: “You always loved that mountain, so honey that’s where you’ll go. Not trying to be morbid, but at the end of your road, if you go somewhere else before I do, I’ll be looking at the mountain, honey, I’ll be making eyes at you.” Lush harmonies, gentle strumming of the acoustic guitar, and dreamy romantic soundscapes delicately intertwine to form a heartfelt love letter to those that we’ve lost along the way. The single is produced by Mike Mogis (Phoebe Bridgers, Bright Eyes, First Aid Kit).
Tall Heights are known for their lush indie folk and stunning harmonies, the band has over 275 million streams. The duo will be spending the summer traveling the country and playing non-traditional outdoor venues.
Follow Tall Heights @tallheights
Hi guys, please tell us a little about you?
We are an electrofolk duo based in Boston, MA. We started in 2010 as street performers in Boston and we’ve spent the last decade weirdly intertwining our lives together as partners, living together, writing together, and touring together.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Obsessed with songs.
We’re sure you have been asked this million times but how did you get in the industry?
I’ve never really had a plan b, and I don’t think Paul has either, I’ve always loved songwriting and the pursuit of making records so much that I kinda just drove at it since I can remember. You ask “how did you get into the industry,” but I don’t really feel so much a part of the music industry. We’ve never lived in NYC, LA, or Nashville, we’ve never really gotten into any of that rat race… I guess Paul and I just try to live creative lives that allow us to keep on writing and recording.
Describe your sound in 3 words?
All the feels.
Who influenced you and why did you choose to make music?
I think our biggest influences have been each other. Paul influences me more than any other artist in the world, that’s for sure, and I think I influence him too. Of course there are so many artists we revere–Radiohead, Justin Vernon, Gregory Alan Isakov, Frank Ocean, Joni Mitchell to name a few–but the journey Paul and I have been on has been so immersive and life altering. For example, when covid hit and canceled the end of our tour, there was no pause in the work, we were quarantining in a house together and we dropped right into one of the most productive and intense periods we’ve ever experienced. We push each other to keep making and keep trying to see it as new. I can’t even imagine how different we’d each sound now if we weren’t within the gravitational pull of the other throughout.
Tell us about your new single “The Mountain?”
The Mountain was inspired by a photograph of a friend’s grandfather on his death bed overlooking the Green Mountains of Vermont. Seeing the sun glinting on the face of a man about to die made us think about the love people sometimes find in this world: a love strong enough to encounter and endure death together and/or alone, soon or in the distant future. It’s a song for the living; those of us keeping promises we made to love on and never forget, affixing ephemeral human connection to the eternal natural world.
It’s also the first song of a collection we wrote and recorded at home during quarantine, cut loose and isolated, processing an enormous swirl of global and personal strife in real time. we’ll be dropping more of those songs over the coming months.
What is fun and rewarding about what you do? And what’s not?
I personally just love writing songs and making records. Every other part of the job is in support of those things. In other words, I don’t play live shows because I think I’m awesome at singing or guitar playing or love all that attention at all… what keeps me going out and touring again and again is how fucking good it feels to accurately render a song to a person in the way that we intended it when we wrote it.
So I guess the thing I can’t stand about my job is when bullshit gets in the way of being able to show somebody something that means as much to me as one of our songs. A shitty PA or a bunch of unexpected mishaps. That stuff drives me nuts.
What are the five things you can’t live without?
My family, my dog, my guitar, my buddy Paul, and fried eggs.
What’s next for Tall Heights in 2021?
We’re playing in fans’ backyards this year. It’s an idea that came out of covid, but even as the pandemic fades out, we’re still super jazzed to be doing it. These shows are so special and healing, and I think we’re realizing that we all have so much baggage and hurt to work through. It feels almost spiritual to us, I think a lot of people at these shows would agree. Oh yah, and we’re putting out new songs all year too!
What is your favorite song? And why?
Impossible question, I’d have to think on this for months before saying, “OK, this song is my favorite ever.” BUT Sampson by Regina Spektor is a really special song that popped into my mind right now. I love it because it uses the Bible story of Sampson and Delilah as a world of shared knowledge. I’m not a religious person or anything, I don’t sense Regina is either, but I love the way she uses the Bible story as a literary foundation the way Steinbeck would. She relies on you knowing that story, so she doesn’t really have to go there, and then she inserts herself into it as Samson’s lover BEFORE Delilah. Sampson clearly broke her heart, he caused her “greatest downfall,” and you realize that Sampson really shouldn’t have done that because we know from the Bible story that he will next move onto Delilah who’s going to destroy him. She shows how special their relationship was by revealing that she cut Sampson’s hair and nothing even happened, he tells her she did a good job, and then they make love. It’s so beautiful the way your heart breaks for Regina, but it also breaks for Sampson who clearly made a big mistake and will pay for that dearly.
Any loves other than music?
Cooking and swimming. I am so flippin’ happy in the water.
Best advice ever given?
There is no advice! What we call advice is usually 1 of 2 things : Either it’s a person offering advice so that they themselves might feel good and resolved in that moment because they gave their 2 cents, OR it’s a person asking another person for help and the person in that “advice giving seat” in my opinion is, if only temporary, a teacher offering something that was requested of them.
How’s a typical day in your life?
Pretty good, and you?
What is your favorite healthy food?
I love greek salad. The greens, the cucs, red onion, tomato, pepperoncinis, feta, kalamata olives. Oh man, It’s just such a good salad.
And your favorite cheat food?
Chocolate chip cookies and milk are so flipping good. I can’t not. And it’s all about the combo. I might even pass on a good cookie if I can’t have a glass of milk too.
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
I’d love to spend a day with the earliest cave men who started drawing and painting on the walls of their caves. I’d love to watch as the first moments of artistic expression in our species began. I’d love to watch them interact, live, eat, forage, and hunt. And to see the moment where they looked up from this survival thing to create something as nonessential as art.
Where we can follow you?
Upcoming tour dates:
July 1, 2021 – St. Paul, MN – Tickets
July 2, 2021 – Madison, WI – SOLD OUT
July 3, 2021 – Wauwatosa, WI – Tickets
July 4, 2021 – Libertyville, IL – Tickets
July 8, 2021 – Saint Charles, MO – Tickets
July 9, 2021 – Indianapolis, IN – SOLD OUT
July 10, 2021 – Cincinnati, OH – Tickets
July 11, 2021 – Bexley, OH – SOLD OUT
July 31, 2021 – Marriottsville, MD – SOLD OUT
August 1, 2021 – Falls Church, VA – SOLD OUT
August 6, 2021 – Nashville, TN – Tickets
August 7, 2021 – Sugar Hill, GA @ The Bowl at Sugar Hill – Tickets
August 8, 2021 – Newton, NC – Tickets