Interview: ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead
Tue, 26 Apr 2011 16:18:25
...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead Videos
There’s a dance music fan inside all of us. Just ask …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead's Jason Reece [drums, vocals, guitar]. "On ‘Strange News From Another Planet,' we were thinking of how a DJ spins records," says Reece. "A DJ will make it seamless. We grew up listening to house music and going to raves. We have more of an appreciation of that genre. It’s not like it'll necessary come into our music. However, we responded to the attitude and style of how DJs make it seamless.”
Trail of Dead's new album Tao of the Dead touts that seamlessness. It's a smooth aural journey into spacey textures colored by just the right dose of post-punk intensity. You’ll never know what’s coming next in a Trail of Dead song, and that’s what makes the band so goddamn good. There’s one surprise after another on The Tao of the Dead, making it the group’s most dynamic, daring, and diverse album yet. You might even dance to it—after the right chemical concoction…
...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead’s Jason Reece spoke to ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino in this exclusive interview about Tao of the Dead and so much more.
Do you feel like you had an overarching vision for this album?
That was definitely the case more so than the past few records. Sometimes, it happens later on in the process, and it happens in the middle other times. This time, going into it, we knew where we were taking the record. We already had a map. It wasn’t strict. We definitely changed a couple things, but for the most part we have this urgency.
What encouraged that urgency?
We hadn't played together for a long time. When we got back together, it was like a reboot of the band. We got rid of some negative energy and a couple of things that were holding us back. Once that was done, there was real inertia there.
Did that make the album more energetic in some aspects?
We wanted the music to have forward motion. We want to take you on a journey and make you feel like you've experienced some sort of story, even if you don’t know what it's all about. The story is up to you and your interpretation. However, it’s your interpretation of what we’re doing. We definitely have all these things that we’re trying to say.
You definitely construct a sonic roller coaster with this album.
We wanted to get where we were going. We didn’t want to meander. We didn’t want to spend ten minutes on some sort of psychedelic noise thing. At the same time, we wanted to incorporate what we love about experimental music, psychedelic music, and prog rock where people experiment with different tones, noises, and feedback. When you’re dreaming, dream scenes will melt into other scenes. One minute, you’re in a room talking to people and then suddenly it forms into another world. Then, maybe you’re on a mountain. That’s how we were trying to get to the music. It’s flowing, in a sense. Hopefully, it’s not a nightmare [Laughs]. Dreams do turn into nightmares, and that’s always part of the dreaming state. There are definitely some heavier, darker moments on this record, but there’s also a positive undertone to a lot of things that we thought were really upbeat.
There's definitely a visual sensibility to the album. Do you tend to read or watch a lot of movies while you’re making music?
Conrad [Keely, vocals] has always been into fantasy art. He would go to these fantasy art fairs and try to sell his paintings. It’s definitely our aesthetic. It's fun to play with. We also have an appreciation of anime. Hayao Miyazaki is a really great filmmaker. Conrad’s definitely influenced by a lot of classic art too.
What's the endgame for Trail of Dead?
If we could bring a new album to this day and age and have people respect it like they do old music, that's great. A lot of younger kids have no historical perspective. They don’t always know where the music they listen to comes from. Maybe you just don't know until you get older though.
Have you heard The Tao of the Dead yet?