Drew Tarves' music as young friend feels classic and immediate all at once, capturing the summer-sun nostalgia of post-adolescence while diving deep into a pool of self-reflection. The six songs on his new EP, HOW DID WE GET HERE?, act as a practical mission statement for this talented singer-songwriter -- showcasing Tarves' innate tunefulness and lovingly slack croon, which adorns this collection of wistful guitar pop that's as thought-provoking as it is purely transportative.
HOW DID WE GET HERE? is the culmination of Tarves' own musical journey. A trained dancer for most of his adolescence, the 22-year-old Vancouver native switched artistic disciplines after spending time jamming with his musician friends. "I found out very quickly that I loved it," he recalls. "It was my favorite thing to do." Armed with a guitar and a laptop, Tarves started hashing out early songwriting attempts on Garageband as he found his own style that suited him: "It was all about experimenting while trying to find what worked for me."
After releasing the buzz-building and rap-leaning mixtape yours kindly, in 2019, Tarves continued to refine his sound -- drawing from the intimate indie rock of inspirations like Bon Iver, Phoebe Bridgers, and Andy Shauf -- with a series of singles released over the last two years. HOW DID WE GET HERE? was largely written and recorded over the last year with the help of producers Aldn and marinelli (Wallace, Spill Tab). It captures the young friend project in a state of looking back while charting a new path forward. "I love that feeling of nostalgia, and I'm constantly searching for those old feelings throughout my life," Tarves explains. "There's something very beautiful about them that I'm attracted to."
Indeed, HOW DID WE GET HERE? is packed with sun-kissed melodies and easy rhythms practically tailor-made for a long, gorgeous drive on a summer afternoon. But beyond the beauty, Tarves uses his voice to express tough feelings that are both generational and universal. First single "CRASH COURSE" examines the anxieties that come from worrying whether you've become other people's problem: "It's about feeling like a burden on somebody and feeling like you're just making someone's life more difficult," he explains. "Writing it took a lot of digging into my own past and experiences."
Over an appealingly jangly guitar riff, "GOOD GUY" features Tarves rhapsodizing about the eternal struggle of growth in the process of becoming what he defines as "a better person," while the heart-thumping pulse of "WHEN WE WERE KIDS" uses nostalgia as a vessel to explore who we become as we age. "When I was a kid, I was this huge ball of energy who didn't care about what people thought about me," Tarves explains, before noting that "As I've gotten older, I've become more insecure."
Fittingly, the message that Tarves spreads as young friend -- on HOW DID WE GET HERE? and beyond -- is one of self-acceptance, as well as in finding and practicing empathy for others. "Don't hold people to the standard of where they used to be," he states while discussing his mental mission statement as an artist. "Accept when they're changing, and do everything you can to appreciate the person they're becoming."