Of The Trees: Entering the Audio-Visual World of Memory Palace
One of mankind’s greatest accomplishments is discovering the ability to move people through an art form. To express emotion through color, words, and harmony can be difficult, but so rewarding. Denver-based artist Of The Trees has learned to do just that in hopes to move people the way music has for him.
Tyler Coombs began his relationship with music with his love for heavy metal. As a kid, a close friend of his taught him to play the guitar and introduced him to artists such as Slipknot and System of a Down, after that he was hooked. So in love with the music, he even included all of the Norwegian black metal bands he was into for his 8th-grade yearbook bio. To this day, metal music still has a heavy influence on his work, and he continues to use it as inspiration for his creations ahead.
“A lot of metal music is super conceptual. There is a lot of lore and storytelling attached to it. What I love most about consuming music is when I can look at an album cover while listening and can enter this very fantasy-inspired world. Metal music does just that, and I wanted to tap into that with my music- more hip hop bass.” said Coombs.
While he has been making music for over a decade now, he has exploded within the experimental bass scene in recent years. His sound over time has not only progressed but matured into something that can only be described as “other-worldly”. His main goal with his recent body of work was to create an imaginary world for his EPs to exist in. Harvest, Tanglewood, and The Tale of Elegos are all pieces that connect with each other to tell a story while transcending the listeners into this other realm that Of The Trees set out to create.
The music he creates goes hand in hand with the cover art in order to create this story. With The Tale of Elegos specifically, Coombs had decided to commission the artwork for this project before it was even close to being done. There were still months of work left on the music, but he had a vision and he wanted the music to match that. While creating the music, he constantly stared at the artwork on his computer background or on his phone which he used as inspiration to finish the piece. It was intended for the music to be inspired by the artwork, rather than capture the feeling after it was already finished.
Having worked in the industry for many years now, Of The Trees discovered that he wanted to create his own record label. He decided to release both Tanglewood and Harvest on his own, and the way he formulated these releases benefited him greatly. To do it himself gave him complete control over releasing, advertising, and the financial aspect as well. With how successful it was for him, he realized he could take the knowledge he learned and help other artists that he believed in. Memory Palace Records was born shortly after, featuring its debut release, The Tale of Elegos.
“If I can apply my approach to someone else’s music that I think is awesome, that would be cool. I also want my own little pocket of the scene. I know members of labels come and go, but in the meantime, having my own ethos, or world to exist in with artists I believe in is really exciting to me.”
The name Memory Palace was actually coined by Esseks, who is not only an astounding artist but also a very good friend of Coombs. The name was originally set to be a song title for one of Esseks’ tracks, but once the name was brought into the discussion, both of them knew it would be a perfect fit for the label.
While Coombs is extremely excited to see where the future of Memory Palace goes, he noted that this project is something that he is going to ease into. Playing it smart and keeping it tasteful is his main goal, but he assures listeners that there are most definitely things in the works featuring other artists.
Alongside his other projects, Of The Trees developed a new skill over the COVID-19 pandemic. While it felt as if time stopped when quarantine started, he realized it would be the perfect time to learn something new.
He had been making his own 3D content with blender and After Effects. Blender was one of the most difficult things he has had to learn so far, but he really wanted to obtain this new skill in order to give his visual artists the content he wanted to be displayed for his show. One of the goals for learning this new program was to be able to create an audio-visual experience for fans that took them on a journey from start to finish. This offered an opportunity to really bring the visual aspect of his art to life, which is one of the things he strongly believes in.
As lockdown was ending, he received the opportunity to get booked on the Neon Jungle Tour with CloZee. He dedicated his time and effort to learn the software Resolume, which is one of the programs visual artists use to create their content. As hard as he tried to prepare, he knew this project just wasn’t quite ready yet, even with some days consisting of 10+ hours of work.
Coombs shortly received another offer to go on tour with Rezz, where he was finally able to debut his discoveries in the audio-visual world. He believed waiting for this tour was exactly what he needed to do to really be able to express what he wanted to with his art. While on tour, he played his biggest headline show to date at the Ogden Theater in Denver, where he blew fans away with the creativity and vulnerability that was felt through the music and visuals.
MP3 MAG asked Of the Trees one last question to wrap up the interview.
Q: “You’re such a point of inspiration for so many people right now. In such a saturated scene, what inspiration would you give to artists just starting out that are struggling with finding their authentic voice?”
A: “That’s a great question, because honestly, I’ve had so many people ask me that question directly recently. For me it’s just, keep going. As simple as that sounds, part of finding your own sound is wearing your influences on your sleeve. When you’re relatively new to writing music, you just have to keep going, and trust your gut.”
As hard as it is to find success in the music industry, Of The Trees has done things beyond the imaginable and finds a way to express himself through his art. It is truly refreshing to have been able to speak to an artist who is so passionate about his work and has so many goals for not only himself but for people he believes in as well.
Of The Trees is set to play a handful of shows to wrap up his A/V sets on the Rezz tour in May, right as the summer festival season ramps up.
Be sure to catch Of The Trees and his one-of-a-kind audio-visual experience at upcoming tour stops and Yonderville Music & Arts Festival, which will also bring Liquid Stranger, Truth, Yheti & More to West Virginia this June.
Yonderville Music & Arts Festival
June 30 – July 3rd, 2022
Marvin’s Mountaintop, West Virginia