Oklahoma City-based indie rock band Speak, Memory will be one of the featured acts at an upcoming skate park show. The three-piece act has gone through several stages of evolution since it formed in 2011.
“We started out as Tandaradei,” guitarist-songwriter Tim Miller said. “Can’t pronounce it? You aren’t the only one.”
The band also began as a four-piece that included a violin. Eventually, the violinist dropped out, as did the original bassist and drummer. Miller reached out to two guys, one a long-time friend, to fill the latter two spots.
Speak, Memory is now Miller, Cameron Ferguson on bass and Jonathon Thomas on drums.
“We give all the credit to a friend for the name,” Miller said. “We knew we didn’t want to be Tandaradei anymore, but didn’t know what was next. Calvin, our friend, tossed out Speak, Memory — it’s the title of an autobiographical memoir by Vladimir Nabokov.”
In the book, Nabokov talks a great deal about his youth and his years at Cambridge University. Miller said the material resonated with him because it fit within the context of the band’s creative process.
“The past fuels us to create art,” Miller said. “It also teaches us to learn from our mistakes and remember the ones we love. Most importantly, the name was easy to pronounce.”
Speak, Memory’s 2014 EP Value to Survival is available on Bandcamp and Spotify, and as a complete project, the songs all work, but they’re not really finished yet. There are no vocals for any of the tracks, but all the songs have lyrics.
“We just never got the vocals mixed in,” Miller said. “The most common reason is that we can’t find anyone committed enough to be the vocalist for the band. For now, though, no one is complaining when we do them as instrumental numbers.”
Listening to the six songs on Value to Survival, you would likely never guess the songs were not originally meant to be instrumental.
Miller said they are still making plans to add the vocals at some point. Many of the instrumental rock genres rely heavily on keys and strings, but Speak, Memory pulls off listenable instrumental rock with the classic three-piece band, sort of an homage to its post-punk roots.
Post-punk is one of the labels Miller uses when describing the band, but he prefers to use “twinkle-core” as a joke.
Somewhere on the Internet right now, people are engaged in profanity-laced arguments about the usefulness or accuracy of sub-genres, and twinkle-core as a sub-genre of emo gets more than its share of attention.
The description fits at one level. Miller’s guitar playing focuses on bright, shimmery notes, but the band is much more diverse than any post-emo subgenre could describe.
The skate park show at 7 p.m. Saturday at Industrial Skatepark, 18 SW Sixth Street, Suite A, will feature four other bands: Lesser Men, Mammoth, Mourning and Null.
Miller emphasized that the show is not at Norman Industrial Skatepark though it shares the same name.
Speak, Memory with Lesser Men, Mammoth, Mourning
7 p.m. Saturday
18 SW Sixth Street, Suite A
Print headline: Twinkle-core?, Speak, Memory plays a type of rock that is hard to define.