MAGNET Exclusive: TENTS’ “Tales From The Road” Documentary

“Music and art and culture is escapism, and escapism sometimes is healthy for people to get away from reality. The problem is when they stay there.” —Chuck D

Anyone who loves music (and if you read MAGNET, we assume you most certainly do) knows how powerful it can be. It has the ability to not only get you through the day, but also change your life. It’s a mind-altering substance. And that’s just for the listener. For those who create music, it goes even deeper. If a band’s music can change the lives of its fans, just think about what it’s capable of for the actual members of the group.

Which brings us to TENTS, a Portland quartet that just released debut album Deer Keeps Pace (Badman). TENTS is the brainchild of Brian Hall, a musician who made his living composing for advertising campaigns. When he turned 31, he realized he needed a more creative outlet for his art, so, naturally, like any good Portlander, he formed an indie-rock band, recruiting singing wife Amy, guitar-playing friend Christopher Hall (no relation) and drummer Josh Brine. So problem solved, right?

Well, no, actually. Around this time, Amy had to have spinal surgery and Brian discovered he was infertile, changing the couple’s plans for starting a family. They decided to adopt, and they successfully found their first child. Life was going as planned—until Brian diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder. The couple soldiered on, adopting a second child. Life was again on the right track—and then Brian was diagnosed with cancer. (“I am doing well—all clear,” he says now. “Have my six-month check-in soon, but feeling great—knock on wood.”)

To cope with all of these big life changes (the good and the bad), Brian, Amy and their bandmates immersed themselves in the music they were making. They set up in Brian’s backyard studio, and they found joy in the art they were creating together. When they started playing these song for others, TENTS also realized their music brought joy to people outside the group. It provided both band and listener an escape from the troubles of daily life as well as catharsis. It also kept both parties grounded enough to deal with life’s problems after the music was over.

To drive the importance of the band/fan relationship home even more, TENTS shot a short documentary on the creation of Deer Keeps Pace and life on the road. The band made the 10-minute Tales From The Road for the superfans as well as those who’ve just come across TENTS for the first time.

“Music is often has the deepest effect on people when they can experience it in the context of some kind of friendship,” says Brian. “Community is a big part of what makes music become timeless. The songs we shared about in Tales From The Road are little time capsules for us. Our hope is that through these little time capsules, folks can find some inspiration. By sitting down and talking to our audience, it allows us to hopefully build a stronger personal connection than we’d otherwise have. It’s our way of connecting. For us and for a lot of bands, touring and putting out a record is so personal. The build up to a release is so dramatic, and touring on a new release is like a big celebration. The whole process is tough, but also just really fulfilling. We felt like highlighting it would be fun.”

Fun, indeed. And a good temporary escape, one that will hopefully put you in a better place to deal with all of life’s many unexpected issues when you need to. We’re proud to premiere Tales From The Road today on magnetmagazine.com. Watch it now.