Interview: The Tragic Thrills
Mon, 01 Dec 2014 16:29:45
The Tragic Thrills offer up their own kind of "alternative". It's an artful concoction of indie and folk that yields instantly catchy songs. It's also the hallmark of their phenomenal self-titled debut. The San Diego five-piece bottle up California into one infectious dose that'll leave you wanting more. We promise!
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, The Tragic Thrills frontman Zach Porter talks the album and so much more.
Did you approach the album with one vision or vibe in mind?
Not that I knew what I was doing and it definitely didn't turn out exactly how I imagined it, but from a lyrical and music standpoint it was important for me to have some cohesion. I didn't want anything to be contradictory. I like the idea of the narrative coming from one viewpoint and perspective as opposed to having a breakup song following a love song, etc. I wanted the perspective to stay the same, not necessarily the subject matter, as the songs are about different things. I wanted the perspective of the narrative to feel like it's all coming from the same source. It's definitely something I was thinking about.
Is it important for you to tell stories and paint pictures with the songs?
I think so. I think it's what makes a song your own in a lot of ways because the melodies and the chords are universally shared by all songwriters. The craft is pretty well used up at this point. The way you take those simple chords and identify yourself in them is one of the things that's most interesting to me about writing songs. The fact I get to put my stamp on it is the point of writing for me.
What's the story behind "Main Girl"?
That was one of the weirdest ones on the album. It was definitely fun to do. I had written it a few years ago with Rivers Cuomo. It was a co-writing session for a totally different thing. It was a unique song that stuck with me all of these years. I thought it would be a cool thing to put at the end of the album. I didn't know how it would come out. I didn't think it was something somebody would necessarily cut because it was sort of weird. It ends the album in a less serious way. Lyrically, it's a silly song. It basically is a story about a guy, and he's this character that's some sort of player and he had lots of side girls in another life. Now, he's trying to settle down. He's trying to convince this girl he loves that he's a changed man. It's really fun.
Where did "Alive" come from?
The lyrics are all over the map. It's a lot of feelings. There's no real direct thing. All of the verses start in a different place. It's the frustration I have with different things in my life and my thoughts on them. It's a broad sense of my feelings on everything.
What artists shaped you?
I'm a huge fan of music, and I listen to it all the time. Bruce Springsteen got me into the music I like. He's fun, but he's also a great storyteller. I go back to him. He's a great performer as well. My taste is pretty broad as far as folk and country. I try to listen to a wide range of people.
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