2005-04-14 09:16:27 (link)
...Trail of Dead Interview
…And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, like their name suggests, stands knee-deep in grandiose compositions that never fall short of epic. The Austin-based band first earned their stripes by conjoining heavy, guitar-driven rock with lyrics that drew inspiration from history’s darker corners. Now, on their new album, Worlds Apart, the Trail of Dead cut away from their rock roots and immerse their record in eclectic instrumental arrangements. Lyrically, the record is “more to the point” but still retains the gravity that pulls in so many fans.
Jason Reece, a founding member of the Trail of Dead, said the band will only continue to experiment with its sound. He recently shared some insight into their current tour in support of Worlds Apart and why a certain date in 2012 is circled on his calendar.
KVJ: So, how is the tour going?
JR: It’s going well. We played D.C. last night and it was sold out – can’t complain about that.
KVJ: How are you guys reproducing Worlds Apart’s intricate sound onstage?
JR: We have a piano player, we have a second percussionist/drummer. Also we have a new bass player. There are six people in the band; it’s a lot of sound. The change is apt to be a little more refreshing compared to year-ago Trail of Dead, which was four people slobbering on stage. Now the mechanics are very solid and it’s very powerful and it’s emotional at the same time.
KVJ: You guys have been known to have rowdy shows – even go as far as destroying your equipment. Is that what your sets are really like?
JR: No, we don’t destroy any equipment. We sit down on stools and we perform our music with sheer perfection and total concentration. There is no such thing as destruction in our book. We are all about creation and creating – making love not war.
KVJ: What kind of response has Worlds Apart gotten?
JR: The peeps like it. They seem to appreciate what we’re doing right now more than ever. After the shows we talk to the kids and some of them have never seen us before but like it. It’s a pretty mind-blowing experience for some of them, especially ‘cause they’re really young. Our audience has grown younger; it’s not older. We used to play to old people now they’re like, kids.
KVJ: Worlds Apart marks a significant departure in Trail of Dead’s sound. Was this change intentional or just evolution?
JR: It is definitely a bit of both – a little intentional because we wanted to redefine our music and who we are – but still remain us. On the other side is that things happen once you go into a studio (that) you don’t know about until they happen – kind of like order out of chaos. Somehow you’ll find some sort of idea just through pure experimentation. Then there’s also the analytical side to the process. Sometimes we were like scientists in the laboratory, sometimes we were apes banging on bone like in “2001 Space Odessy.” Have you ever seen that movie?
KVJ: Yeah, I have. It’s pretty good.
JR: They’re like banging on those bones and they find out the bone becomes a weapon and they can use the weapon to kill an animal and eat it… you know what I’m saying?
KVJ: Sure do. In addition to your sound changing on Worlds Apart, it seems the inspiration behind the songs did, too. The lyrics seem more focused on modern events than on your earlier albums. Was that intentional?
JR: We’re a little more reflective. I guess that’s what happens when we have this idea to be a little more to the point – to state things how we see it. Our earlier stuff is a little more abstract, lyrically. Sometimes you don’t even know what we’re talking about. It’s a bunch of mental-lyrical pictures but this time around we were a little more to the point. We were exposed to a lot through just traveling and once that happens you tend to soak up those experiences and you try to articulate them though the music in some fashion.
KVJ: Was there anything specific that happened on tour that opened your eyes, so to speak?
JR: No, maybe not necessary one event but the experience of being an American, of going to Europe. In much of the world there’s a certain amount of anti-Americanism because your country represents this arrogant monster. So you’re constantly having these discussions with people about what America means – and America means a lot to these people. But you notice how the world is tumultuous and there’s a lot going on and it makes you wonder, “Oh shit, are we gonna evolve and keep the planet going or just completely implode and go to total hell?” There’s always an apocalyptic feeling in our music and art and in the way I live and the way I view things. It’s not like I’m trying to be so bleak because I’m hoping there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe nanotechnology will save us if we use it for the right reasons… or it will destroy us.
JR: Yeah, nanotechnology is being developed to where these little robots – they’re tiny, like fuckin’ almost the size of a cell. Technology can be used to help or destroy. Most likely, (because) humans are fucking greedy assholes, they’ll probably use it to destroy the world.
KVJ: So you really think the end is near then?
JR: The end is in 2012 on December 23.
KVJ: Why that day?
JR: That’s the end of the Mayan calendar and it makes it the end of this time. But they don’t mean it as like, it’s the end of the world. They don’t say that. But they were more or less saying this era is over, or this time period is over. It could be something catastrophic that may happen or something incredible that would suddenly change the way we live and the way we might evolve.
KVJ: So what’s next for Trail of Dead?
JR: I think next is to really get into calipee music – that’s the wave of the future. It’s going to be dancehall/calipee with a mix of conjunto and some ghazal.
JR: It’s the music that they play at the carnivals: weird, creepy, satanic music. Mix that in with some dancehall rhythms and some heavy guitars, like something that Mayhem or Obituary would do. And then with some pretty vocals, like Kate Bush. That’s the new sound. Believe me; I’m going to do it.
by Kristin V. Johnson
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