Interview: Terraplane Sun
Fri, 28 Jun 2013 11:45:23
Terraplane Sun Videos
"We can weave in between genres and sounds," says Terraplane Sun guitarist Johnny Zambetti. "That's definitely a big part of what we do".
The quintet definitely does that exceedingly well on their forthcoming EP, Ya Never Know. It's a slick, swirling, and soaring amalgam of kinetic alternative rock energy, folk harmonies, and danceable grooves. With just the right amount of pop panache a la The Naked and Famous and Youngblood Hawke, Terraplane Sun take flight in their own lane as one of the most exciting local Los Angeles acts.
You can catch them at the KCRW Twilight music series at the Santa Monica Pier on July 11 and at the Sunset Strip Music Festival August 3 at the Roxy.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Terraplane Sun talks their new EP and so much more.
What ties the Ya Never Know EP together for you?
We put out an EP ourselves called Friends last October. That had five songs. We went back into the studio, remixed, and remastered everything. This new EP is like our formal introduction with proper backing and everything. Before, we were just doing it ourselves on our social sites as any band can do. Now, we got signed to Trauma 2 Records so we have the ability to do it properly. The full-length is basically done. We're too excited and stoked on these songs to be sitting on them. We wanted to get these out so people could sit with them and marinate for a minute. Then, we'll put out the full-length, which needs to get touched up a bit, in September.
Is it important for you to paint pictures with the songs and tell stories?
I think so. With the songwriting process, it's definitely taken on a new life since the first record. It's more open. Beforehand, it was like one main record. On the next record, some songs have people writing on them. No song is solely written by one person anymore. It's definitely more of a collective unit. All of our influences come into these songs. They seem more vivid because it's not only one person's interpretation. With that, there's no life and vision to these songs. We're definitely into storytelling too. It's fun for us. Even if it's something insular for us, it's cool to know that there's some meaning behind these tracks when we're playing them every night.
What does "Get Me Golden" mean to you?
Our singer Ben called me in the morning and said, "I've got this organ riff". We send each other voice notes all the time. Every once in a while, something will make its way through the crowd [Laughs]. I went down to his studio, and we hashed it out musically. More or less, it's talking about getting what you want and not having to look for handouts. You're not waiting for it to come to you. It's about being proactive. It's a universal story. We had a bit of frustration at that point. L.A. is a crazy scene. It doesn't just take talent. There's a bit of luck involved. It was partly our frustration with that process. We wanted to write a song about what we were going through at the time.
What song from the EP resonates with you the most at the moment?
Off this EP, I'd probably say the title track, "Ya Never Know". It's definitely one of the most fun to play. We went into the studio with the verses and the chorus. We had to write a bridge. To me, that's the most fun part of the song. We had a great time with the horn parts. It shows all of our influences. Four out of five of us have been born and raised in Southern California—Los Angeles, in particular. That's a bit rare. With that comes all of our West Coast and Cali influences, the song has a bit of a Dr. Dre vibe with the piano loops the cushiony backbeat. It shows a bit of our dark side. It's my favorite at the moment.
Where were you coming from lyrically?
Ben and I demoed it, and then we brought it to everyone else like "Get Me Golden". Lyrically, it's up for interpretation. I like telling people sort of what it's about, but I love it when they have their own interpretations. It's about trying to stick out in the crowd. A lot of our music is based on the competitive nature of being in L.A. There's a bit of a hollowness of personalities that you come across especially in Hollywood. It's interesting meeting people who aren't from Los Angeles but they take on that persona of what they think it means to live here. You can always pick them out in a crowd really quickly.
If you were to compare your EP to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
Good question! It'd be like one of the first Star Wars movies. It's the introduction to what's about to go down. It's like the beginning of a trilogy. Hopefully, it can last as long as the first few Star Wars movies were out.
What artists shaped you?
I was born and raised on Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. My parents were full-on hippies. They lived in Topanga during the heyday. That music made it into the crib when I was an infant. I absolutely love Buffalo Springfield. That's what I bring to the band. I'm a massive Beatles fan too. You can come back to them any day and feel so insignificant because they're completely on another level.
Have you heard Terraplane Sun?