Eric's Trip INTERVIEW ARCHIVE July, 1993 - Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Brooker Buckingham
Julie Doiron
Publisher Title Transcript
U. Of Calgary's VOX Magazine issue 113 Redefining The Maritimes Yes

Pop music is constantly redefining itself. About eight years ago, The Jesus and Mary Chain fused sparkling melodies with raging feedback and gave the world fuzz-pop. Since then, Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., My Bloody Valentine and Sebadoh have expanded the field further by incorporating more melody and, yes, more fuzz.

Slowly but surely the aforementioned bands are influencing the twenty-something, nineties generation; those of whom were inspired to form bands appear to falter in their attempts to assimilate or transcend their influences. It was only a matter of time before a band would come along with something new to contribute to the genre.

Enter Eric ' s Trip. Hailing from Moncton , New Brunswick, Eric's Trip has been immensely successful in creating a fuzz-pop sound all their own. In the process they have become one of the most talked about Canadian alternative acts in recent memory. Not to mention groundbreaking.

Eric's Trip was formed in June of 1990 by friends Rick White {vocals,guitar), Julie Doiron {guitar, vocals), Chris Thompson (bass) and a drummer named Ed, who was replaced by Moncton local scene veteran Mark Gaudet in December of 1991. The band wasted no time in getting their material onto tape, recording four cassette releases in the first two years they played together.

Spring of 1992 saw the release of their first seven-inch on NIM records, a Moncion based label. "Being from Moncton it was easier for us to build the confidence to get out and play Halifax and other cities," says Julie. "I think if we had started out in a bigger city, it would have been harder to get people to come and see the shows."

The local support of the Moncton music scene allowed Eric's Trip to develop their live show and their recordings at an accelerated rate. In the fall of 1992, the band delivered Peter, a six-song EP on Murderecords, a Halifax label which had previously released Sloan's first effort. Also at this point, Julie took the role of bass-player, trading with Chris who moved to guitar.

1992 saw the music media spilling its beans over the Maritimes being the "next Seattle" or "the next big scene," ,something which Julie doesn't entirely agree with. "When we went out on tour last March, there was so much hype about the Maritimes it was frustrating. People were asking 'What it's like to be from the Maritimes?' There has always been good music and bands here; it's just that no one ever knew. It's just like any other city, really."

The attention that was given to the Maritimes' music scene paid off for the band, though . The East Coast representative of the monster indie, Sub Pop, heard a Sloan track on a Boston radio station . After discovering Sloan had been signed to DGC, she was given the number for Eric's Trip's management by Cargo Records. She learned about the blossoming reputation that the band was gaining and paid a visit to see them live. Very soon after, Sub Pop made an offer and Eric's Trip became the label's first Canadian signing.

The success the band has garnered hasn't changed their approach whatsoever. They are still using the same production techniques on their recent Sub Pop release Songs About Chris that they used on their cassette and seven-inch releases. The band utilizes a four-track recorder and does all of their recording at Rick's house as opposed to doing their sessions in professional studios.

"We like to do all the production ourselves," explains Julie, "and we don't have a lot of equipment. We don't exactly set out to make it sound lo-fi. It just turns out that way. There's a mood and an atmosphere that we get, whereas in the studio things sound too much cleaner."

Listening to Songs About Chris confirms that the band does indeed achieve a mood and atmosphere. It turns out that the super big fuzz sound that envelops the song "Hurt" was done by recording an acoustic guitar through a ghettoblaster with its recording levels on overload. The last song on the EP, "Sand," contains the aching verse ''Turn on the stove / in the little tiny rooms / that our friend calls home / My head fills with heat / from the knife in your hand/ to my sand" sung over a melancholy acoustic guitar. Their lyrics seem to capture the doubt and angst over life and love that everyone deals with at one point or another.

Asked if she thought some alternative music listeners might have had enough of the hardcore and grunge releases that represent a large percentage of current indie releases, and are looking for bands with pop sensibilities, Julie notes, "We like to listen to hardcore and punk for fun, but when we're in the mood to really listen, we like more melodic music. I think a lot of people are like that." Eric's Trip incorporates a guitar-driven edge with some of the sweetest melodies around. This individual sound has in turn received some favorable press.

One reviewer in Melody Maker had seen the band live and upon reviewing Songs About Chris he felt that while the EP was good, it failed to capture their live presence. "Live performances and recordings are two different things," answers Julie. "They both set different atmospheres. I don't find it necessary to capture a live sound on our recordings."

Eric's Trip truly does have a rare live presence. Their show at the Republik this past May found the band surrounded by shadows caused by a single bright light shone off the back wall of the stage. The shadows joined with the music and held this audience member nothing less than spellbound.

Those who failed to see the band will get a c~ance to see them at the Republik on July 26th as a part of the Sub Pop Trans-Canada Tour, which also includes Pond and Six Finger Satellite. Two American dates are slated for Chicago and Minneapolis and two more are to be confirmed in Seattle and Portland. A ten day tour of the UK has been booked for this September as an opening act, all of which should give the band the exposure they deserve.

It's exciting to see a Canadian band staying true to their original vision while achieving success that even the band themselves didn't foresee . Let Eric the angel (the doe-eyed girl who appears on their cover art and on their t-shirts) lead you through the dreamy blanket of guitars and harmonies and you'll be hearing a band that is only beginning their rise to bigger and better things.

© Brooker Buckingham, 1993