My First Record is a music column where we ask musicians about the first record they remember listening to, bought with their own money or was passed down to them. Whether it was a CD, vinyl album, cassette tape or even an 8-track (we haven’t run into anyone yet whose first music was downloaded, but we won’t be surprised when we do) we’re curious about the first record a musician remembers listening to. This week we welcome a post from Tidelands’ Gabriel Leis.
When we say record, for my generation this means cassettes.
My first memories of music of my own were mix tapes my step-mother used to make for my sister and I. There was one in particular I remember pretty well. She always used those high quality metal fabricated blanks, and the label was hand drawn with silver ink bleeding metallic blue outlines. This particular mix had some songs from the Flashdance soundtrack, Styx, Hall & Oates, Michael Jackson, and a bunch of other cool shit that turned me on to pop music in general.
During this period, I kinda went back and forth between living with my mom and dad, and at this critical cultural juncture I was fortunately living with my dad and step-mom in Mill Valley, California, home to one of the greatest record stores that ever was, Village Music. Yes, they sold cassettes as well. The first records I ever remember buying were Kick by INXS , probably to impress my first girlfriend in the 7th grade, who I more recently saw as a contestant on Project Runway (even then I liked the arty ones) and Give Thankx by the reggae artist Jimmy Cliff. I have no explanation for this pairing, but adolescence is a confusing time, all memories are slightly suspect, and I don’t really need one anyways.
Gabriel Leis is the male half of the San Francisco based duo Tidelands. Leis, along with his female co-conspirator Mie Araki (drums, keyboards vocals) have created an extraordinary music which draws on such disparate genres as folk, prog-rock, and classical. This mesmerizing mix of flavors should come as no surprise: Araki studied jazz, classical and European music. Leis has composed for cello, violin, and trumpet and has even experimented with loops. You’d be hard pressed to find a collective that sounds anything like Tidelands.