Some of the best works of art, whether that is musically or otherwise, come seasoned with love and tempered by the labor of time. The Alternate Routes have been on the music scene making music for years. But it wasn’t until they wrote a song last year that they struck a chord that echoed across the globe. Their single, ‘Nothing More’ was written for an organization founded in Newton, Connecticut after the devastating tragedy at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. The organization, Newton Kindness, requested the seasoned musical veterans write a song and write they did. It’s a song with so much depth and emotional span, it reached across the world when it was played during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games.
Before they took the stage and the hearts of the audience at Live In The Vineyard’s 13th event, I snuck backstage to chat with the talented duo. They candidly and casually disclosed the story behind ‘Nothing More’ as well as what is on tap for the rest of the year; a new album, a tour with Ingrid Michelson and a very promising future in the industry. Do take the time to get to know Tim, Eric and the artistic musical expression of Alternate Routes, it’s a journey worth taking.
Marian: Tell me about your experience so far in Napa and at Live In the Vineyard.
Tim: Yeah, we came in Thursday afternoon and we did the first two festivities, and it’s our first LITV so we’re trying to make the most of it.
Marian: Nice! So you guys got to hang out at the Red Party and 1920’s Speakeasy party?
Tim: Yes, absolutely.
Eric: Got a little rain yesterday but even that was kind of fun and today is beautiful!
Marian: So I’m going to start with the recent success of your single, ‘Nothing More’. It was picked up by the 2014 Winter Olympic coverage but I heard that this song has it’s roots in the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy and a particular student who lost her life. Is that correct?
Tim: I guess that’s not entirely true, but you’re not far off. The story behind that is that the song was written for an organization called Newtown Kindness. We’re both Connecticut guys and Newtown Kindness was started in one of the memories of the girls, Charlotte Bacon who is one of the girls who lost her life that day. But what the organization focuses on is promoting and recognizing and rewarding ‘Acts of Kindness’ in children which is pretty amazing considering everything that they had been through in their community. So when they asked us about writing a song, we just tried to take the message of the organization and run with that...And it’s been a really cool ride.
Eric: Yea, I mean, I guess its a smaller world where we live. We both grew up there, so that wasn’t really that far away from where we all lived. We had a connection through a third party who was helping us with our website and some of our marketing stuff. And in exchange for that she was like, ‘Hey, this organization that I work with, they need some music for a video that they’re making. So we just wrote them a song. Initially we didn’t know if it had to be an instrumental or not but we were like, we’re gonna put words on it.”
Marian: How surreal was it to see it played during the Olympic coverage and Sochi and introduced to a global audience?
Tim: It was great!
Eric: We really had no idea that that was coming. We’d done some contracts and stuff, but we had a show that night in Philly and we were sort of the last people to find out. Tim: We were playing and right at the end of the show was right about the time that the Olympics were finishing. And we were selling merch and breaking down and meeting everyone. We went downstairs to the dressing room and plugged in our phones. I got like 42 text messages. It was amazing!
Tim: I think the coolest part about it was how fast it all happened in relative terms. You know, sometimes you write a song and then you play it for a year and record it and then it comes out another year from then. But with ‘Nothing More’ we wrote it last summer and recorded it a few months after that. And things have just been gradually happening with it. It’s like one of those things where it just seems to kind of have a life of its own. From early on we said to each other, there’s something with this tune. It seems to be a little bit bigger than us. So, we just kind of stay out of the way of it. And I think with the Olympics it’s the best example of that. It went from something we played in a basement in July and then its on the Olympics in February. You don’t even know how that’s physically possible. It’s just been a really cool ride.
Marian: What do you have going on next? New music, or just promoting the single and riding the wave?
Eric: Always new music. I mean, the success of the song, kind of happened a little bit by surprise. We put it out to sort of try to drum up some awareness for the organization just in Connecticut and then a bunch of stations added it and now its snowballing from there. But we had already planned to make an album this winter, which we’ve done, and it was just kind of full speed ahead on all that. Now we’re booking a tour for this summer, this Live In The Vineyard thing is a huge opportunity for us! Everything was really perfect timing! But we needed to make a new album, we had plans to. And a single that is getting played everywhere is a good part of the equation.
Tim: Everything is connected for us. It feels cozy and it just feels like a natural progression of things, you know?”