ERIC'S TRIP INTERVIEW ARCHIVE October 02, 1994 - Halifax, Nova Scotia

Steve MacLeod
Julie Doiron
Peter Rowan
Publisher Title Transcript
The Times Colonist Make No Mistake: Eric's Trip isn't a Tribute Band Yes

They take their name from a Sonic Youth song, but make no mistake: Eric's Trip isn't a tribute band.

"We like them but it's not like they're our favorite group," said Julie Doiron. the Trip's bass player and co-singer.

"We don't even play Sonic Youth songs."

Still, you can't help but get knee-knocking nervous in the presence of indie rock royalty.

Opening for Sonic Youth at a gig in Toronto two years ago was both a traumatic and unforgettable experience for the up-and-coming hand from Moncton, N.B.

"Oct. 11. 1992." said Doiron. reciting the date that's indelibly stamped on her memory.

"It was one of the fastest sets we've ever played because we were really nervous. When we get nervous, we play really fast — almost hardcore."

Eric's Trip was clearly relaxed while recording their second Sub Pop release, Forever Again -- a low-fi treasure trove of distorted, introspective pop and sweet acoustics.

Sprinkled with the sounds of falling rain, singing birds and playing children, the album is remarkably quiet for a hand often described as noisy popsters.

The vocals are upfront and decipherable — a rare occurrence in the muddy sea called grunge.

"People tend to put labels on something because they feel they have to," Doiron said Sunday before Eric's Trip closed out the five-day Halifax Pop Explosion — a gathering of alternative bands from Canada, the United States and England.

"As far as the noise-pop thing, I think people just say the same thing they've heard every time and don't even think about it. "Bands do progress. They evolve."

Eric's Trip has evolved a great deal since forming in June 1990. They released their first independent cassette a few months later and things quickly took off.

Two years later, Sloan, a Halifax grunge band, signed a deal with Geffen records that turned a spotlight on Atlantic Canada's previously untapped pop scene.

Early last year, Eric's Trip became the first Canadian band to sign with Sub Pop, the influential indie label from Seattle. Halifax's Jale and Newfoundland's Hardship Post quickly followed.

Doiron believes there were advantages to forming a band in smallish Moncton, population 55,000.

"It was good for us because there wasn't a lot of competition. I think if you grow up in a big city, and there are other hands like you, it's hard to get people to see you because there are so many shows going on. "But in Moncton, where there's only a few shows once in a while, everyone goes."

Led by guitarist-vocalist Rick White, Eric's Trip takes a homemade approach to its music. White recorded the drum tracks on a DAT machine in drummer Mark Gaudet's basement, then transferred them to the hand's new eight-track recorder. Guitar and bass were laid down in a work shed.

They mixed the album themselves.

"It didn't cost us much more than a couple of reels of half-inch tape." Doiron said with a laugh. "Every time Rick records, he gets better and better..., I don't know if we'll ever use a big studio."

Love Tara, the hand's first Sub Pop release, sold a modest 10,000 copies. Its unlikely Forever Again will do much better because the hand can't tour to support it.

Doiron is expecting her first child in December, and the band won't hit the road until next summer.

"We're calling this our world tour." band manager Peter Rowan joked before the Halifax show.

© Steve MacLeod, 1994