Farley carves own path with ‘Squaring Circles’

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First Posted: 4/1/2013

When Tim Farley released his first record as “Farley” in 2011, he felt like he was still finding his footing as a solo artist.

As he prepares to release his sophomore album, “Squaring Circles,” he sounds much more confident in his work.

“’Squaring the circle’ is the term given to doing the impossible, or trying to do something that’s never been done before or that is seemingly impossible. So I modified it to ‘Squaring Circles’ because I think that’s basically what we’re all doing nowadays in one way or another. All of us are trying to do the impossible, whether it’s finding a job in the economy or trying to send our kids to school or trying to get from point A to point B or keeping your relationship alive,” Farley explained.

“Within each of these songs, there could be found an example of struggle or loss or trying to write a wrong or trying to come to terms with something, all of which are squaring circles in their own right.”

This is not to say that the first CD, “A Good Problem to Have,” wasn’t well-received. It reached No. 1 on the regional Gallery of Sound charts in its second week of sales, and the single “Hindsight” is currently in the finals of the AAA category of the International Songwriting Competition. Farley was also selected as one of 32 emerging artists in Sony’s Sound and Image Showcase. This may be because it was the product of a lifetime of experience.

“My dad was a singer in a band, and they practiced in my basement when I was like five. And I fell in love with the drums at that point, so then by the time I turned eight, my parents bought me my first drum kit and I started taking drum lessons. I started my first band when I was 12; I was playing drums and singing, and then at 13, we got a drummer and I moved out to vocals, and then I taught myself how to play guitar and keyboards, and the rest is kind of history,” he recalled.

With his father encouraging him to be a singer and his mother getting him into professional theater from the age of nine, Farley was already fronting his own band, Crooked Halo, as a teenager and later studied sound audio engineering. He made his biggest splash locally as the singer for alternative rock group Pan.a.ce.a, but as the popular band began to dissipate after nine years, he took some songs that didn’t work for them and formed his current project.

“Music is just as necessary to me as breathing. I don’t know who I would be without it, so there was no option of walking away,” Farley emphasized.

“If I wasn’t actively performing and writing records, that kind of thing, I could do any number of things with that – write songs for other people or just write songs for me to have. I’m also trying to get more active in producing other bands and helping them out in the studio, and then I’m doing a lot more composing for film and commercials and television.”

The transition from hard to indie rock was simpler than one might think, as the 32-year-old said he is a fan of all musical genres and wasn’t trying to reinvent himself as a songwriter.

“I, quite frankly, try to bring as many different influences into my writing as I can. Now I’m not going to go out and try to be a rapper; that’s not who I am. However, a lot of times there might be like some kind of rap song I’m listening to and I’m like, ‘That beat is just fantastic,’ or, ‘That production is really great. How did they do that?’ and sort of pick apart different types of music and different styles so I can understand it a little bit better. Be a student of music first, and then you can create.”

Friend, producer, and co-writer Bret Alexander, who worked with Farley on Pan.a.ce.a’s records, has played an instrumental role in Tim’s solo career, helping him record and master both Farley albums, the latest funded by a Kickstarter launched last spring.

“The last one was a little more guitar, bass, and drums, and this one has got a lot more pop production value in it,” Alexander described.

“I just find his songwriting really unique. It’s kind of like this big rock pop record; there’re really not a lot of those around. In this area, you see a lot of people that are in the jam band camp or they’re in the metal camp, and so there’re not as many all-points-in-between bands. I haven’t made too many records like the Farley record.

“It’s a breath of fresh air, and I’m really excited to see what happens when it gets out there in the world.”

“We’re on the same f——-g page, and I think the music definitely, definitely shows that,” Farley added. “It’s coherent, it’s cohesive, it’s f———g rock. It sounds great – I never would have gotten there without him. And I wouldn’t be who I am today as a songwriter and as a person without him.”

“Squaring Circles’” six tracks continue to expand upon Farley’s personal and introspective songwriting, such as “Don’t Go,” which he started writing while touring in Ireland and thinking about his supportive wife back home in Danville.

“The whole premise of that song is having to be away from my wife because there’s also times where I’m at home and she has to go away. She was just in Texas for an entire month,” he shared.

“You kind of know that throughout life, people take their own way. People take their own road, even if it’s a child or someone that’s been very, very close to you, but they’re still walking their own path. That song is basically about, ‘Who am I if you’re not here?’ but also understanding that we can’t always be together.”

“12 O’clock” is another relatable tune that is topical as well.

“I’ve been thinking a lot about the fact that we have been at war for the longest period in time in American history and how a lot of people that I know, a lot of friends of mine, have been doing multiple tours… There’s thousands who are just away from their families,” Farley said.

“It’s sort of a longing to return when life was easier, maybe like when a soldier and his or her spouse first met. When they were young, things were kind of exciting and not so difficult… Some of these people have been away from their kids for so long that they’re all grown up when they get home. You’re missing all that time. You’re missing all that life, and for what?”

Farley will be joined live by drummer Matt Jaffin, who also played bass and drums on “Squaring Circles,” Jim Reynolds of The Push on guitar, and Mike Krebs of Kinsey on bass at TwentyFiveEight Studios, where he recorded his latest video for “Eyes Wide Open,” for an all-ages CD release party on Saturday, April 6 before it hits local Gallery of Sound stores on Tuesday, April 9.

His future goals include winning a Grammy and an Oscar and touring the world as a working musician, but for now, his mission remains simple.

“I hope (people) listen to the record and it was worth their while. That’s basically it. That’s enough for me… I’m not trying to change the world. I’m not trying to save anybody; I’m not even trying to save myself,” he insisted.

“I just want people to enjoy it… and maybe tell a friend.”