Members of Fort Collins band The Timberline
were recently asked: “If your music were a movie, what movie would it be?”
“We couldn’t come up with one,” says vocalist, guitarist and bassist Mike Boschert. “We said it’s somewhere between American Pie
and Requiem for a Dream
The popular trio, which is playing a sold-out show at The Coast in Fort Collins
on Wednesday, December 7, finds itself in a similar boat when trying to pick Bandcamp-friendly
genre names for its music. The bandmates love the pop punk of their youth, and that comes through in their music. But in many ways, the Timberline has stretched the boundaries of the classic genre with its two full-length albums, 2019’s Faulty Wires
and this year’s Ultraviolet
“This is sort of more of an offshoot [of pop punk],” explains drummer Clint Petrun. “But there are only so many unfamiliar terms you want to put in your description.”
The Timberline takes influence from bands such as the Descendents
; the band recorded Ultraviolet
at the Blasting Room, the Fort Collins studio owned and operated by Descendents drummer Bill Stevenson
. The members find inspiration in late-1990s pop-punk outfits including Green Day, New Found Glory and Blink-182, as well as some heavier bands like the Wonder Years and Taking Back Sunday.
“We’re not the poppiest band,” says vocalist/guitarist Terran Hause says. “We have some edgier stuff. We play around with punk and rock and a little bit of pop.”
“At the end of the day, everything we put out is just songs [that] we vibe with...and other people do, too,” Boschert adds. “It’s not like it has to have this kind of lick in it, or it has to have this sort of lyrical phrasing or anything.”
The band considers Ultraviolet
more accomplished than its predecessor, a step forward in the members' development as musicians. The record's twelve tracks all illustrate uncertainty in life and coping with it, but Petrun says that musically speaking, the band strove for variety. That included employing different time signatures, tempos, keys and new instruments. They wanted to challenge themselves while composing and recording, he says.
“There are five or six songs where we used a whole string section,” Petrun says. “For parts of the record, I didn’t even use the drum set. We decided to use different instrumentation that way.”
Hause says the Timberline aims to tell unique and varied stories in its songs, drawing from members' personal lives as well as movies and books. The members tend to sit down and discuss any given song as it’s being written, in order to imbue it with the message they want to send. “‘Ignition
,’ for example — that song is very much about PTSD,” explains Hause. “It was really cool to discover that message and then figure out: ‘How do we want to communicate that?’”
He adds that the inspiration behind “Ignition,” which is on Ultraviolet
, came from some conversations he had with his roommate, who had previously been deployed to Afghanistan — but also chats with Boschert and Petrun about the subject. “I also think something we like doing as a band is making [the story] more broadly applicable to other situations,” Hause says. “Not a lot of people know what it’s specifically about, and everyone relates to that song differently.”
They've had people approach them at concerts to comment on particular songs, and even if the person doesn't know the intended message in a song — someone might say “Ignition” helped them through a tough time without knowing it’s about PTSD — it’s a gratifying part of the creative process. “It’s not always super specific,” Boschert says. “But it’s really cool when people do come to you and actually call out specific songs and talk through it with us after the show.”
The Timberline, 6 p.m. Wednesday, December 7, The Coast, 254 Linden Street, Fort Collins, sold out.