Trails And Ways are an Oakland, CA band who deliver remarkable rock music flavored with a heavy dose of melody and pop. The sounds are mostly sun-soaked and sand filled and are as satisfying on the way to work as they are next to the lake or beach. Maybe more so, because the atmosphere for the latest tracks on Trilingual really put you there.
After writing about “Mtn Tune”, I asked if Trails And Ways would be willing to answer some questions for Sirens of Decay. Here’s what the band had to say about Trilinguals, free music, and some of their favorite acts in their local area.
Sirens: Your past releases (Temporal and Territorial, excepting the Ghost Beach split) were both six track EPs. Trilingual features only three tracks. Did you guys head into the studio with only these tracks in mind or is the potential still there for more goodness to be released from that session?
Trails And Ways: Tereza, Nunca and Mtn Tune are lead singles for a full-length which we’re aiming to release early next year. We’ll be putting out singles, videos, and more ephemera on the path up to the release.
Sirens: When I look back through your music, you’ve featured a cover on three of your four releases. It’s always interesting to me to hear what drives a band to cover a track, or steers another band into never covering any other group’s music. It really seems to be a clear line that some musicians have strong opinions on. What led to you guys covering the tracks you have, and what work would you like to tackle next?
Trails And Ways: We were initially drawn to cover “Animal” and “Midnight City” because they felt something like jazz standards of our time; bold, canonical songs with an emotional heart and rad electronic wizardry, and we wanted to remake them organic, radical, warmer, our own. For Midnight City and Miracle we added/changed lyrics, either to not talk about cars or to pay homage to the youth protests in Chile/Spain/Mexico that have been awing us for months. Habermas said that comprehension happens through communication, and I think doing unfaithful covers is a tremendous way for us to communicate with another artist’s work and comprehend new ways of making tunes. Next up we’ve talked about an R&B standard (I’m in a major D’Angelo and Atlantic Starr way right now) or an old socialist folk song.
Sirens: Everything you’ve released sits on Bandcamp in a “name your own price” capacity. While these releases are also found on iTunes I get the impression it’s not a real concern for the band. Why did Trails And Ways decide to give away your music for free/NYOP, and do you feel like this has helped your music spread more quickly via word of mouth?
Trails And Ways: Everybody needs music + not everybody can afford to pay $10, so name your own price feels fairest. Still haven’t settled on how we’ll release the LP, but might do it more traditionally, to recoup all we’ve put into it; maybe we’ll figure out something cleverer.
Sirens: If your music careers ended tomorrow and you could never play another note, yet you had just enough funds to keep yourself afloat pursuing any other field or craft for the next two years…what would you do with your time?
Trails And Ways: I should note I think we we mostly feel pretty lucky to have fascinating day jobs. But beyond that, Emma would probably build a rad biodynamic wooden house somewhere with a great surf wave, and garden & paint everyday. Quirk would either rocket to CEO at some clean energy company or van around the globe surfing. I might go backpack and rockclimb the weirdest climb routes along the Pacific Crest Trail, or go write poems and draw in Berlin or Sao Paulo, or do organizing for climate justice/just renewable energy. Hannah might build innovative salvaged wood furniture or start a petting zoo.
Sirens: I receive more music submissions and discover more awesome music from all around California than I do anywhere else. To help educate me in my position as a somewhat capable music blogger, what bands/artists in your area are criminally overlooked or uncommonly good that I or my readers should check out?
Trails And Ways: Bells for some spellbinding groove-afro-r&b–jazz-pop. Dreams are amazing jazz-pop geniuses who just put out an epic first LP. Birds & Batteries just put out an ill LP of brave, bold synth-pop. Astronauts, Etc. is just too dreamy for words. Waterstrider are our longterm friends and longterm font of inspiration. Sister acts Ash Reiter / Sugar Candy Mountain are the best evocation of California sunshine I know.
Now you all have your musical homework assignments for the weekend. We also have more Trails And Ways melodies to look forward to early next year at the latest. I’d like to thank Keith Brower Brown from the group for taking the time to talk to me, as well as Ian Quirk for conversing with me originally.
If (somehow) you made it through this without knowing who Trails And Ways are or what they do, let me educate you. You can pick up two six track EP’s, Territorial and Temporal, as well as Trilingual (Singles) on their bandcamp page for name your own price. We’re talking some absolutely delicious ear candy only a click away. While at bandcamp you can also grab their split with Ghost Beach, where Trails And Ways covers “Miracle” and Ghost Beach remixes “Nunca”. If you wanna get it the old fashioned way, Trails And Ways can be found via this link on iTunes.
Last but not least you can clamber up on Trails And Ways on Facebook and listen to “Nunca”, as well as the band’s very interesting (and stellar) cover of M83’s “Midnight City” below.