Interview w/ Ttotals (Nashville)


Sometimes the best music thrives in the most unlikely of places, and Nashville’s own psychedelic Ttotals is a prime example. Taking the music back to a headspace that relies less on gimmicks and costumes, we chatted with Brian Miles (guitar and vox), Marty Linville (samples and drums) and Derek Schartung (drummer) about Spacemen 3, broken ribs and what their music would be in food form.
The Hassle just had Ttotals over at Out of the Blue Too Art Gallery on 9/5 w/ with WHITE KYLE (Austin), Soft Eyes, & Andy California. Killer show.
Hopefully next time I (editor Dan) can get the interview up pre-show!

Boston Hassle: So first whats up with the name? Any particular meaning or story behind it?

Brian – Started out as a typo and just sorta stuck. Also we kinda like the two T’s at the front. It started to represent the two of us.

Marty – Ttypo…can’t ducking type to shave my wife.

BH: How did the band members meet each other?

B – Through mutual friends and common influences.

M – Brian messaged me saying he was a guitar player looking to start a band, which in Nashville is like unheard of, so I was like, “I gotta see this.” Turns out he wasn’t lying.

Derek – I’ve known Marty for 16 years or so. I knew Brian from around town and got to know him more when I joined with Dig Deep Light Show.

BH: Did you guys originally plan on being a duo or did it just work out that way?

B – Not exactly. It just ended up that way. Which now leads us to an introduction of our newest member Derek Schartung.

M – We had a third guy who was an actual drummer, but he moved away to be a hippy genius art guy (see Ttotals Silver on Black 10″ cover )   …then we soldiered on as a duo, until we brought Derek in as our third; mainly to be the tiebreaker when we have arguments about barbecue. He’s Ginger, though, so I’m not sure if he counts as a third member the way a human would.

D – 2 humans, 1 wrathful ginger god

BH: What made you want to start playing music?

B – I was always playing music from a very early age. I would sit around with a cowboy hat on crooked and strum my mom’s old acoustic and sing made up songs. My parents have photos…

D – I used to dance to the washing machine as a child. When I was 10-11, hearing Black Sabbath made me want a guitar.

M – I was told playing music is a great way to earn an honest living doing an honest day’s work.

BH: What would you say are your main influences?

B – Spacemen 3 is definitely a common thread. Also Dead C. and Velvet Underground. I love 13th Floor Elevators, John Fahey, The Pastels, Jesus and Mary Chain, and I’ve been really digging White Fence for a couple of years. That new one is on Drag City has taken a ton spins lately at home.

D – Everything Brian said, plus I love noise and free jazz. Voice Crack, Dead C, and Sun City Girls are near and dear.

M –  I had a friend who had an old beater car with a tape of Exile on Main Street stuck playing all the time, and the speakers were miswired in a way that made the stereo split go front to back instead of left to right.  This made it possible to hear either more Keith Richards or more Mick Taylor; depending on whether I sat in front or back.  I’d go to ride with him somewhere, and it’d always be, “Mick or Keith?”  I don’t know if that’s a main influence or not, but it was a pretty cool happy accident.

BH: How would you describe your sound? Can you compare it to a food?

M –  Imagine a really great pulled pork sandwich…now sprinkle a handful of ground dilaudid on it.  Eat while flying through space.

B and D – Yeah pretty much sums it up.

BH: Is it hard being a psychedelic band in Nashville? Whats the music scene down there like? Is there a community for your style? 

B – I grew up in Nashville, so I tend to have a love/hate relationship with it. It sometimes quite hard and others very easy. I think it depends on the moment. That’s really vague. Let’s say I really enjoy my anonymity there.

D – There is room to grow, however I don’t think I’d want a genre specific scene. I look at what FRML is doing and see that there can be great artists supported by engaged audiences.

M –  Since almost nobody in Nashville plays music, people get really excited about any new bands, and they go out of their way to support and nurture creativity. This is especially true for a band with a noncommercial sound nobody’s ever heard before.  They get behind that kind of thing in a big way.

B – Just in case. Marty’s answer is pure sarcasm. Boston seems to be ecstatic and very supportive of one another. Nashville could learn a thing or two.

BH: Your music has this real tranquil feel to it, anything you do to put yourselves in the mood?

B – For me. I like to lose myself in the moment and ride what the three of us are doing. I don’t necessarily need anything to help me find it. I can remember the head space from past experiences. Having to sing lyrics is the only thing that reels me back in and keeps me straight on where we are at.

M –  I’ve had my heart stop while conscious before. There’s no deeper kind of quiet than that, and when your heart starts up again you realize just how loud and distracting it can be; contrasting the two maybe leads somewhere.

D – I prefer to be sober leading up to the show, I feel like I’d miss something otherwise. When it comes together, and we have our sounds dialed in, and the cues are on point, it feels unlike anything else.

BH: If you weren’t playing in a band what would you be doing?

B – I love print making and working on my house.

M –  If I weren’t playing in a band I could get a dog.

D – My day job is IT, so I guess I’d be really boring.

BH: You have a superpower for a day what is it?

B – The power of osmosis. So I could absorb everything that I wanted to.

D – I would have the power to turn anything into tacos.

M –  Who says I don’t have super powers?  I’m blessed to be alive and be within the dharma; what’s more magical than that?

BH: Tell us a tour story (good or bad)

M – One time I dislocated a rib onstage and promptly vomited in a trash can.  These drunk girls thought it was really cool.  It wasn’t.


Ttotals’ “Take Care of Me” video:

The band’s new record, LET EVERYTHING COME THROUGH is out now on TWIN LAKES RECORDS.


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