Meet Timothy Howls!
You might know him as Tim Lopez from Plain White T's, but Lopez is going on stage with a different name: Timothy Howls, as he debuts new music as a solo artist and talks about his "chaotic" family life during the pandemic.
"The good thing about 'going solo' is that I still have my day job with the T's. To be honest, I was feeling claustrophobic during the pandemic," the 40-year-old tells PEOPLE as he debuts the music video for his solo debut single, "Lightning from the Blue Sky," produced by Adrian Quesada of the Black Pumas mixed by Jim Eno of Spoon. "Without the ability to go out and play shows and enjoy the performance side of my job, I thought that I better dive into the creative side of things. I started committing a lot of time to my small office/demo studio in the house."
"As the songs began to present themselves, I began feeling like they were forming a nice cohesive body of work and something that felt worthy of a self-release," he adds. "The last step was the creation of a new artist to deliver them. So Timothy Howls was born!"
Garrett Porter Tim Lopez
As for the origin of his stage name? Lopez says it derived from the meaning of Lopez in Latin, which comes from the word lupus, meaning wolf.
"Since wolves howl and I sing it felt good to me," he says. "I haven't been called Timothy since the day I was born but it sounded a bit more proper. Tim howls is a guy who might sell you insurance, Timothy Howls commands the stage."
As for his solo sound outside of the Plain White T's, Lopez describes it as both "introspective singer-songwriter" and "classic, old timey rock and roll."
"The difference this time around is that my canvas was completely blank. In the past, I have sat down with my guitar and wondered, how do I write a song that will make a good follow-up 'hit' to my previous works," he says. "These writing sessions were completely unencumbered."
And the first song to be released is "Lightning from the Blue Sky" with its dystopian Shape of Water-esque video, which features appearances from his wife Jenna Reeves and their young daughter Eloise, 3½. (They also have a 20-month-old baby named Violet.)
"It is a very weird video and to be honest I have a weird mind at times," he says. "The beautiful thing is that the subconscious mind is uncontrollable. You never know what you're going to get."
"We had to tell our daughter weeks in advance about her role so that she wouldn't be nervous once the camera was on her and she embraced it," he adds. "Jenna killed her part! Something about the sexy, psycho, carnivorous mom just came so natural to her."
Lopez also opened up about time during the pandemic and the lessons it's taught him and his family.
"One thing that the pandemic taught me was that I wanted to have more control over my own destiny. Because there were so many things that you couldn't do this year I thought, 'Well, no one can keep me from creating,'" he says. "It has been a difficult year to be a musician and I know that many are hurting. I found comfort in my family, grew extremely close to my kids and leaned on my wife."
As for life at home? "It's been a bit chaotic," he admits.
"Jenna and I have begun to get addicted to designing and selling homes. So, right at the start of the pandemic, we sold our house which we had just built to begin the design phase of a new home out in Dripping Springs, Texas," he says. "Unfortunately for our girls, it probably won't be the last time we sell."
Lopez adds that they've spent the pandemic teaching their daughter new things, "whatever we can."
Swimming, bike riding, ice skating, proper grammar," he says. "One of the main lessons I've learned spending 365 days at home with two young kids is that everyone still needs their own time and space. I've learned to work hard on my patience and when to walk away from a stressful situation."
"My family is fantastic though and this year has been an incredible blessing getting to spend so much time with them," he adds.
Timothy Howls' debut EP, The Rubble, will be released May 21.