THE TIRITH
The Daughter Of The Water
(Esoterica)

 

Back in the early 1970’s there was no shortage of great progressive hard rock bands coming out of England. As a result, some fell through the cracks of the music scene then, yet in the age of the internet, artists are sometimes able to reinvent themselves and reconnect with their early fans and others who missed it the first time around. Case in point is The Tirith and their 2013 comeback CD entitled The Daughter Of The Water. Their story goes back to the dawn of the 1970’s when Tim Cox (guitars) and Dick Cory (bass, vocals) formed the band in 1971 with Paul Williams (drums) joining in 1972. Original drummer in The Tirith, Williams adds drums on a pair of tracks here, including the title track and “Gazing At Stars” while the band’s new drummer Carl Nightingale is featured on a track here as well. Over the years, The Tirith kept in touch and lo and behold 40+ years later, they have a new four song, self-produced EP (extended play) CD. Ostensibly testing the musical waters again, the new Tirith CD is centered around the song “The Daughter Of The Water”, which features Cory sounding like Greg Lake singing in a progressive blues-rock band circa 1972. The title song is offered here twice, both as a stately rock number and also as a more ambient neo-acoustic version, effects and all, and has a definite Greg Lake era King Crimson type aura, while two additional rock tracks are also well done. As a vocalist and bass player, who also adds acoustic guitar here, Dick Cory is a worthwhile prog-rock discovery while the electric guitars and production of Tim Cox are superbly recorded. The three production songs are very tastefully produced, with the CD heightened by the atmospheric version of the title track. One would reckon The Tirith would cause an even bigger stir with a full length release yet, Daughter Of The Water is a most welcome return to form from The Tirith. www.theTirith.com

mwe3.com presents an interview with
Dick Cory of THE TIRITH



mwe3: The new CD by The Tirith marks a long awaited comeback for you and the band. Can you give some background into the history of The Tirith and what was the spark behind the writing and recording of The Daughter Of The Water, which was just released on a CD EP.

DICK CORY: The Tirith originally formed, as our previous incarnation Minas Tirith, in 1971. Tim and I had played together for several years before that at school, you could say we grew up, in music, together. The previous band was a four piece including remarkably, for that time, an electric violin. That band lasted until 1973, playing gigs around the Leicestershire area, but there are no good recordings from that era. We went our separate ways when I went to university, Tim went on to be in a succession of bands throughout the 1970’s and 80’s, finally having great success as part of the dance music production team Band Of Gypsies, who produced all of the early Rozalla hits. “Everybody's Free” was a worldwide hit selling over a million copies and has been used in remixes and films most notably by Baz Luhrmann in the wedding scene of Romeo & Juliet - the movie. Tim and I have stayed in touch throughout and the band came back together again in 2010 at the behest of the original drummer Paul Williams through Facebook contacts. "The Daughter Of The Water” song is a 1970's song by Tim which the previous band never played, the other songs by me are newer songs.

mwe3: The Tirith sounds influenced by both blues-rock and progressive rock. Is that how you would describe the sound and who were some of your favorite music influences, both then and now?

DICK CORY: We were influenced initially in the late 1960s early '70s by the blues bands that were around then like Cream, and I would challenge anyone to tell me that “White Room” isn’t prog, Led Zeppelin who started off very blues and went in a number of directions, and early Jethro Tull which was a very blues based outfit that later became prog and even folk. So that is how it started for us in the early ‘70s, but we moved rapidly in a prog direction and since reforming in 2010 those are still the points of reference. Tim Cox, our guitarist is basically a blues guitarist, but the music we write is either prog or straight rock and it gets a blues feel due to the guitar.

mwe3: The title track “The Daughter Of The Water” sounds influenced by prog legends such as Greg Lake and Asia too. What does the track signify and would you say “The Daughter Of The Water”, both the CD and the song is more progressive rock or hard rock in nature? Can you give some insight into the song?

DICK CORY: The song was written by Tim Cox way back in 1973 but it has never before been recorded. We have also heard people say it sounds like Dream Theater, but the truth is it was written way before Asia or Dream Theater. It is really a rock/folk ballad and there is an insight into this on the EP with an acoustic version of the track. Maybe there is a bit of Greg Lake in my approach to the vocal, although in general I wouldn’t call him a major influence on my vocal style. It is quite a challenging song to sing with soft sensitive lines and the higher screaming rock lines, but very much my territory which is rock/folk/prog. I would say the song is very definitely prog. Funny thing about this track I had that guitar line from the instrumental going round in my head for 30 years, I knew it was one of Tim’s, but wasn’t sure what song it was. Then we relearnt it after 30 years and well, there you have it.

mwe3: What’s the musical chemistry like between the members of The Tirith and how long have you been playing and recording together?

DICK CORY: Myself and Tim have been playing together since the late 1960's when we were at school together. In the early ‘70s there was the previous incarnation of the band “Minas Tirith”, that lasted until about ‘73 when we went our separate ways. We had always been in touch throughout the “sabbatical” and had worked together on various tracks throughout the years, so when we came back together again there was the same chemistry. Our musical contact is pretty instinctive, Tim always knows what to do with my songs to bring out the best in them, and I hope I interpret vocally his songs in the best way I can. Lately we have been writing material together, this can mean he comes up with a full track with no top line or lyrics and I just do the top line and lyrics, but sometimes I have taken vintage lyrics from him and come up with the whole thing. Basically we have complementary skills and it just works.

mwe3: Can you give a little insight into how the new tracks on The Daughter Of The Water were recorded? When and where were the tracks written and recorded and can you say something about the CD cover art for The Daughter Of The Water and what it signifies?

DICK CORY: The tracks were recorded in our rather tortuous recording process. Drum tracks were recorded at Far Heath studios near Northampton in 2012. After that all overdubs are done at our own recording setups either in London or Sheffield. We both use Logic, vocals, guitars, bass and keyboards are recorded directly into Logic. Tim then takes it all apart, sometimes in Pro-tools, puts it all back together again, sprinkles some magic dust, and you come out with the finished mix. It’s a long process but we think our recordings stand out as so much recording effort and know how has gone into them. As I said previously “The Daughter Of The Water” was written by Tim way back in 1972. “Song Of All Ages” is a relatively new song from me dating from about 2005 I think. It is written to be a continuation of the theme developed in one of our older songs “The Tower”, which is all about the discovery of a Tower on some planet in outer space, and ends with the line “The door drew back, and so we saw…”. Well, “Song Of All Ages” is part 2 and puts an interpretation on what we might have seen. “Gazing At Stars” is another new one from me, originally started working on it in the 1990’s but only put into its final form over the last few years.

The cover art relates to Daughter Of The Water, the eye is watching the image of a woman reflected in the shimmering water. Is she really there? Or is she a vision in the mist and the reflections from the water?

mwe3: What about the gear The Tirith use on the CD including guitars, bass and drums. Are you and the rest of the group gear heads of sorts? Can you say something about your gear? (guitars, amps, stings, drums, effects)

DICK CORY: The sound of The Tirith is based around the guitar work of Tim Cox.

TIM COX
: Live I use a 1994 Paul Reed Smith and a Gibson 335 from 1988. In the studio I also use my old Stratocaster which I bought in 1973 and an old 1965 Telecaster.

Live effects are mostly from the Fender Mustang IV amp but I also use a Cry Baby wah, Boss Digital Metalizer, Boss Ds1 and Boss tuner, Electroharmonix Nano Clone and sometimes an old Korg multiple effects board. Studio effects are Native Instruments Guitar Rig, and the guitar effects in Logic, Pro Tools and Studio One. I also use a Lowden steel string acoustic and a Takemine nylon guitar in the studio.

DICK CORY: I use an Ibanez bass, through a Digitech processor multi pedal, for the gear heads that is a BP355. It gives a really solid and defined bass sound as often in our music the bass is playing counter melodies and roots to the guitar and you need that definition. Live I use a Mark Bass cab. I have two wonderful acoustic guitars, a 6 string Crafter, and my 12 string is a French made Log. When I choose guitars it is about how they feel to play and the sound, no matter what the make or cost.

Carl Nightingale uses the following;
Drums : Pearl Masters 22, 12,13,16 (Blue mist)
Snare : Vintage Ludwig 402 Supra Phonic 14 x 5 (Olive badge)
Bass Pedal : Pearl Powershifter Eliminator
Cymbals : Sabian AAX series:
14" Fast hats, 21" Metal Ride, 16" Studio Crash, 17" XTreme Crash,
18" Stage Crash, 18" China

At the present time The Tirith are not using keyboards live, but in the studio, subtle keyboards are added to the masters, mostly Hammond organ, piano and strings from Logic and some voices from a Korg Triton Extreme Workstation. We are not fans of cheesy synthesizer sounds.

mwe3: When did you start playing music and studying music? What were some of your early music studies like and can you remember your first guitars?

DICK CORY: We were of the generation that grew up with The Beatles. They literally ruled our lives in those days, in a way that is hard to comprehend for younger people these days with so much music around. From there we went on to blues, prog and beyond. My first guitar was an acoustic of unknown make as Tim’s was probably as well. But very early on Tim got a Strat which he still has to this day, and he is using it for some things on the album we are currently recording.

We have absorbed so many influences over the years, all of the prog bands of the late 1960s and ‘70s are very firmly rooted within us. We draw from bands such as Van der Graff Generator, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Caravan, Gnidrolog, Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, Family, Cream, YES, The Doors, Captain Beefheart and early Genesis. Too many current UK prog bands seem to be trying to be Genesis clones... but we feel the scope of prog music is much wider than that and we try to reflect that in our music. These days we mostly relate to overseas prog bands such as Dream Theater, Spock's Beard, Opeth and Catatonia.

mwe3: What other activities are the members of the Tirith involved with, both musically and otherwise

DICK CORY: Musically my life is The Tirith, no time for other musical ventures, but my day job is as a geologist and project manager in the coal industry. Tim also works as a dance producer and writer mostly with various female singers and has recently appeared on radio with William Orbit.

mwe3: The Tirith are currently getting rave responses in both the prog music world and the hard rock and classic rock world. Are you planning other musical adventures as 2013 moves into 2014 and in what directions would you like to move next? Are there still uncharted waters so to speak for The Tirith to pursue in the future?

DICK CORY: With The Tirith it is very much unfinished business. Our first album is currently in production, and most of it is recorded, just one acoustic track to record, but with our tortuous recording process it is taking some time. The first album will feature mostly our older songs from the 1970s, albeit with some additional lyrics and improved arrangements. We have most of the material for the 2nd album as well and that will feature mostly new material. We will be looking to release the albums on a bonfide prog label, so any labels who fancy it please get in touch.

Thanks to Dick Cory, Tim Cox and Carl Nightingale @ www.TheTirith.com





 

 
   
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