Singer-songwriter Michael Barrow and his merry band of Tourists have been taking my channel by storm recently, and – with numerous standalone features and compilation appearances under their belts – are quickly becoming an all-time alexrainbirdMusic favourite. With their first music video arriving this week, I thought it’d be a great time for you to get to know the guys behind the backpacks a little better, so read on below to discover more about this talented band in our (hilarious) interview…
Hey guys, it’s great to have you all here! Could I please get your names, ages and roles in Michael Barrow & the Tourists for the readers?
Zach Collier: My name’s Zach. I’m 25 and I play piano, organ, and synthesizer.
Michael Barrow: My name is Michael. 25 years oldy moldy, and I play acoustic guitar and sing songs.
Alessandro Improta: Alessandro Improta. 27, father figure, voice of reason, bassist.
Trevor Harmon: Trevor Harmon, 26, Electric Guitarist
Reed Perkins: Reed. 25. Drummer.
Thank you! I’d now love five words to describe your sound for someone who’s never heard you guys before, please!
Michael: I just want a girlfriend. Also, Poetic energetic thought-provoking (one word) indie music.
Reed: Laid back indie folk jams.
Zach: Cute sounds for cuter people.
Trevor: (Am I supposed to say 5 words or 1 word here?) Great music for normal people.
Awesome. Please give us a brief history of the band. What inspired you all to come together and make music?
Reed: The Tourists were brought in to help Mitchell record a solo tune. It was Zach who made all the connections I’m pretty sure – Zach’s great at bringing people together. Kinda like that eHarmony guy.
Zach: Thanks, Reed! He’s right. Marcus got signed to a local Provo label and they wanted to go to the studio to record his first single, “The List.” I was asked to get a group of musicians together to help arrange it and bring it to life. Reed, Sandro, and I used to play in a band together, and that band had played a ton of shows with Trevor’s former band. So we called him up and then came into the studio to record.
Michael: There’s not too much to add to that. I was in a songwriting class at BYU (a local university!) with a kid named Grant that told me he wanted to be my manager. I was like “why not?”. We decided we wanted to record “The List,” and he reached out to Zach. And Zach knows literally everybody in Provo. The rest is history.
Sandro: I think once we played together to record the single all of us Tourists had two thoughts:
- Marvin’s voice is ridiculous. Let’s make music with this guy.
- These guys are all fun to play with. I think right away we gelled. We’ve all been playing around in the area for a while, and knew how to play with people, and we all have similar influences and tastes so we all kind of had a similar vision for anything we played together.
Trevor: We were all involved in other acts at the time, but after hearing how it turned out, we were pretty stoked about it. I remember that Zach messaged me and asked “Hey, do you wanna make this an actual band?” and I immediately said “Yes, absolutely.” The best part about how it came together is that Reed and I never played the song together during the whole process–we weren’t able to both make the same practices and he recorded drums in a different session. So we recorded a single without ever playing together!
Wow that’s amazing! I also love how you call Michael anything other than his actual name hahaha. Let’s get weird – what strange/hilarious/disturbing quirk do you bring to MB&TT to make the band what it is?
Sandro: I have this strange ability to find the most annoying sounds that can be created with a bass. Then I make that noise as often as possible during practices.
Reed: Sandro and I have this thing where if we both play barefoot, our heartbeats become synchronized.
Trevor: Probably either the ridiculous guitar faces I make when I solo, or the fact that I have to pee like 3-4 times during every practice.
Zach: I provide puns and dad jokes. Always strange, rarely hilarious, and disturbing mostly due to the sheer quantity I produce.
Michael: I also provide puns, but they go largely unnoticed because Zach’s are so much worse. I’m also the king of awkward hugs and handshakes. I like doing them, I’m just really bad at them.
Zach: I think all of The Tourists are really good at calling Michael Barrow names other than his actual name. Mitchell Barlow is the one that’s stuck around longest.
Haha yes I definitely noticed that last one! So your debut album Juneau released recently and is currently being heavily promoted across alexrainbirdMusic! Do you have a favourite song out of these tracks? Which is the ideal one to check out for readers who haven’t heard it yet to best introduce them to your sound?
Michael: “Hey, Hey, Hey” is one of my favorites. It’s just a super personal song and I love how it turned out on the album.
Sandro: “Hey, Hey, Hey”. Michael wrote unbelievable lyrics for that song that perfectly encapsulates the feeling of wanting so badly to hold on to something (or someone) that’s already let you go. It’s downright beautiful.
Zach: Mine would probably have to be “The Reason.” When I listen to that track, I feel like I’m listening to a song from a band I’m not in. It speaks to me personally. Plus Tré Smooth’s guitar is money.
Trevor: My favorite changes pretty often, but right now it’s probably “The Mountain & the Sea” or “Sing Me Something New,” because I’m really proud about how the guitar part turned out for those tracks. I think either of those are great first songs as well.
Reed: My personal favs are “Sing Me Something New” and “Born To Love.” Both are great if you’re looking for something upbeat.
Great choices! I think you’ve covered all of my favourites there too. Onto your other music, which bands/albums are you all really into right now?
Sandro: Theo Katzman! Also Pino Palladino’s John Mayer’s The Search for Everything, and, of course, an endless supply of Vulfpeck.
Trevor: Heartbreak Hits – Theo Katzman; The Search for Everything – John Mayer; The Beautiful Game (and Thrill of the Arts, too) – Vulfpeck; Try! – John Mayer Trio; and the That Thing You Do soundtrack.
Thanks, some great recommendations there. So what are your plans for the rest of the 2017?
Michael: Right now I’m driving tour busses in Alaska. Well not RIGHT now. That would be very dangerous. But after the summer I’ll be back to make some more sweet tunes!
Zach: Reed, Sandro, and I are going to be cutting some solo records over the summer while Michael is away in Alaska. I plan on playing a ton of Tourist shows this fall once everyone’s back in town!
Sandro: So, play as much music as possible.
Reed: And preparing for grad school (Plan B in case the whole music thing doesn’t work out)!
Trevor: I’m going to start the second year of my master’s program, work as a youth counselor, have a good time. I might put out a solo (instrumental) acoustic EP/album/something. Basically turn my large collection of voice memos into real songs.
Sounds great guys!! Especially the new music, very excited to hear that. Finally, any last words?
Zach: Alex Rainbird is a handsome devil.
Michael: Love you, mom.
Sandro: I’m the only one who answered the second question correctly.
Trevor: I knew a man who wore his heart upon his sleeve. And, not for lack of trying, found he could not leave this town behind (and here he stays). Alone he walks these empty streets. Desperately, he stumbles as he seeks something he can’t find.
Zach: True story.
And there you have it, Michael Barrow & The Tourists everybody! Look out for their music video which drops on Friday 18th August, and if you haven’t heard their album yet, give it a listen at https://open.spotify.com/album/3kQ6Dn09jLraFhU8DKYp73!
You can also find Michael Barrow & The Tourists on:
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/michaelbarrowmusic/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/michaelbarrowmusic/
iTunes – http://hyperurl.co/MichaelBarrowAndTT