In about a year’s time, Milwaukee rock quintet Towers has gotten off the a quick start with a cluster of shows. However, if you showed up late to any of the young band’s gigs, you probably missed the perpetual opener. There’s no YouTube evidence of Towers’ existence and nothing on Bandcamp or Soundcloud either. That said, the unheralded band has rich roots in Milwaukee music, with members who formerly played with Kings Go Forth, The Goodnight Loving, Decibully, Death Dream, and Fairweather Friends, along with a current member of Castle Thunder.
Saturday, Towers will play both its biggest show and first not in the opening slot during Mitten Fest 2015 outside Burnhearts in Bay View. Prior to Towers’ true Milwaukee reveal, Milwaukee Record spoke to Zach Byrne (singer/guitarist), Nicholaus Westfahl (keyboard), and Nathan Greene (bass) about the band’s beginning, this weekend’s show, and what’s to come.
Milwaukee Record: Can you get into the origin of the band?
Zach Byrne: It started out with songs I’d written over the years and when I worked at Comet with Nick [Westfahl] we had talked about starting a band for like a year and nothing really happened. Nate [Greene] and I had always talked about starting a band.
MR: I know you guys opened for Crocodiles over the summer, which was pretty packed, but Mitten Fest will be your first real opportunity to play in front of a lot of people, and the first time you’re not going to be on first. Are you excited for the opportunity or are you nervous about playing outside in the winter.
ZB: I’m a little nervous to play in the cold, just because I’ve never done it before. I mean I’m sure it’ll be fine, but it’s a new experience for me.
Nicholaus Westfahl: We’re going to practice in full-on mittens.
MR: Yeah, to simulate the game day conditions? I want to get a little more into the show. What was the approach? Did you ask Burnhearts or did they come to you?
Nathan Greene: B.J. [Seidel] approached us. He texted me and asked if we wanted to play.
MR: You used to work at Burnhearts, Nate, right? And I know [Westfahl] used to be in Decibully at one point.
NW: We’ve all known each other for a long time, so it’s a friendly sort of concert.
ZB: We’re all super stoked to play this. It’s an awesome opportunity.
MR: What are the band’s plans after the show? Do you want to get into the studio? Write some new songs? Tour over the summer?
ZB: I know Dan [Flynn] has some stuff written, but as of now, I’ve tended to have the base for all the songs. I mean, we’ve changed them and people have added thing for sure, but hopefully some other people will start bringing in some songs and develop our sound a little more.
NW: Recording stuff is definitely going to come soon, and writing some new stuff.
MR: Is there a length in mind? An EP, full-length?
ZB: I think what we’re thinking of doing right now is working on a seven-inch and seeing how that goes.
MR: Is there any sort of release date in mind that you’d like to have the seven-inch out or are you just sort of rolling with it?
ZB: Not really. We don’t really have any pressure to do anything, which maybe isn’t a good thing, but we’re taking our time, I guess.
MR: Once you had the final lineup, it seems like you hit the ground running with a ton of shows.
NW: I think the problem that we ran into is we just got saturated with shows over the summer time because we were a new thing. It’s great that people are into it, but we need some time to work out some stuff. All the shows kind of put a stop on the new material. Finally, we nailed down a day we could all practice and we’re in a regular rhythm to both practice and work on new stuff.
MR: There’s a long list of other bands you’ve all been in. How does this band differ from those previous projects?
NW: We all like sports a lot.
ZB: We’ve definitely had practices where we see that the Bucks are in overtime, then we’ll go to the corner bar and watch the game.
NG: This is the most relaxed band that I’ve ever been in. We’re all kind of on the same page and joking constantly during practice. It’s just laid back and fun.
ZB: I’ve played with really great musicians and songwriters before, but I had never played with any of you guys before. That was quite an exciting thing—playing with people that you haven’t before, but who also have ideas and know how to play.
Towers will play Mitten Fest 2015 on Saturday, February 7 outside Burnhearts. Towers takes the stage at 2:45 p.m.