We’ve officially reached the halfway point in the 5 Questions For… interview series, and this time we’re taking you to the West Coast to introduce you to the Oakland area standouts known as Trails And Ways. While we did dive into things like the evolution of their sound as a band and their eventual tour plans, we also got the opportunity to learn a few of Trails And Ways’s favorite things… which will list now… their favorite hot spring is tidal hot springs near Bolinas, their favorite director is Agnes Varda, favorite junk food is the Bugles (original flavor), favorite comic book is Blankets, their favorite play is The Fever and their favorite type font is Futura Medium. And without further ado, 5 Questions For Trails And Ways…
You guys have been able to make some very impressive music while doing things that aren’t necessarily traditional – such as having each member of the band sing and having lyrics in both spanish and english to make multilingual master piece in “Nunca” – are these things you set out to do from the beginning or did they just come up in the creative process and stick?
I’d say our music has always been about intersections; where different musical histories meet, and different voices, and different creative visions. The first songs were written when I was living in Brazil, my first time living abroad, dealing with all the lessons and alienation that entailed, learning bossanova and samba songs, and mixing them with the Microphones and Clash songs I played out of homesickness. We’ve been pretty intentional about our songwriting ideas and lyrics, but the form of each song is always from an intersection of our four different ideas.
Our first introduction to Trails and Ways were the singles off Trilingual, after going back and listening to Territorial and Temporal we hear a much different sound from you guys. Is the difference as apparent to you guys as it might be a new listener and if so, what factors would you attribute to that evolution?
Oh yeah, no doubt the sound has evolved a lot. The band started with just me and Ian, acoustic guitar, pedals, drums, two mics. Emma and Hannah came in for recording Temporal, but it was once they joined the songwriting process, on Tereza and Nunca, that I think we really hit our groove. They bring so much balance to our sound and so many dynamic ideas to the songs.
You guys recently did a spilt with Danger Beach, can you tell us about how that came about? Also, what made you guys decide to cover each other’s songs opposed to each adding an original to the project and calling it a day as we see with many splits these days?
The split with Ghost Beach: Ian dug their songs–the 90s pop groove, the play with distortion, the big hooks–and so he just sent them an email. They got back to us, said they were into what we were doing, and hey, we should do a collabo. Since they’re in NY and we’re in Oakland, a co-written song didn’t even cross our minds. We love doing covers; in the jazz tradition, it’s the core of what most musicians. Doing a cover puts you in the most intimate kind conversation with another band’s ideas. What comes out is always a surprise, a synthesis you’d never have done on your own.
Now we know you guys reside in sunny California and probably never want to leave, but do you have upcoming plans to go on tour?
We’re taking our time to get Trilingual as good as we want it to be. That’s the top goal. But it’s hellof moving when people write us from Toronto, Rio or Linz asking us to come play, and we dream of heading all over their three continents. Hope to tour behind that album when it’s done early 2013.
You recently released the music video you “Mtn Tune” which I believe was the band’s first music video. Can you go into the concept and filming process of the video and tell us what it means for you guys to finally have some visuals out?
We did an official found footage video for Nunca, but yeah, the Mtn Tune video is our first real live action visual. We wanted to give a little window into who we are, what we look like, the things we’re doing when we get the materiel for our songs.