ERIC"S TRIP INTERVIEW ARCHIVE December, 1994 - Canada
- Megan Mallett
- Julie Doiron
|Discorder Magazine #143||Julie's Trip||Yes|
Not just another swell band from the Maritimes, Moncton, New Brunswick's noise-pop rockers Erics Trip were one of the first east coast acts to gain the praise and attention of the all-mighty media and are the first Canadian band to sign to Seattle's Sub Pop records. Following a successful tour in support of the band's latest album Forever Again, Eric's Trip bass player and soon to be mom Julie Dorion spoke to Discorder about the band,the Maritimes, and why girls don't play lead guitar.
Discorder: Tell me about Moncton.
Julie:"It's pretty small, there's prob- ably about 100,000 people. There's four high schools - one of them's French - and there's not really all that much to do. But it's the same dung as any city, you pretty much have to find things for yourself to do. Even when I go to big cities I don't find that there's that much more to do, except for there's more concerts. You still have to find things to do, just kinda entertain yourself. So it's pretty nice. I just found out its the fastest growing city commercially in the Maritimes. I don't know what that means - if there's going to be more people or just more businesses. Its pretty OK."
The media sort of leads us to believe that there's this "Maritime Scene." Is there? Is there a sense of community between the Maritime provinces?
"I think it's funny that they said all that because every city or every region has a music scene. If there's hands and there's people who go to shows. Then there's a scene, right? I thought it was kind of funny that they made all that big fuss over it. Halifax is about three hours away from Moncton and then there's St. Johns and Fredencton, wluch are in New Brunswick, and they're about two hours away. But they're in the opposite direction, on the way to Quebec. There's bands in all those cities, and in the smaller cities, so it's the same as anywhere else: Some bands in some the cities."
Do you have to take a ferry to get to the different parts of the Maritimes?
"You have to take a ferry just if you go to P.E.I. But they're building a bridge, which I'm totally against."
"'Cause it's only like an hour ferry and and [the bridge] is gonna be really long. I'm not drivin'on it. Theres no way. It crosses the North Umberland Straight and that's a really strong current of water and in the winter they have to have ice-breaker ferries because the ice is really thick. I just don't want to drive across at all."
Are there earthquake problems?
"Well, apparently there's a fault line - I'm just finding out all this stuff now. We've had small earthquakes: I remember when I was 10 or 12 there was a small earthquake where all the stuff rattled on the walls and that was about it. We were like, 'Holy, did you feel that?' I just found out, though, that they have a nuclear power plant at Point Lepreaux, which is kind of close to St. John in New Brunswick, only I just found out that it's built on a fault line. Our drummer was telling me that, and I was like, 'Don't they have any brains?' I don't understand who designs those things. And they wanted to put another power plant in New Brunswick, so that would mean two and it's such a small province. We don't need two nuclear power plants; we don't even need one. Anyways, I there is a fault line. I didn't know, I thought it was all just on th west coast. I was wrong."
My friend who's in Fredericton said that there was a rumour that you're going to leave Eric's Trip.
"Oh no, no, no. No. Never."
So we'll dispell any rumours now.
"Yeah. No, no, never - I'm not quitting. I can't wait to go back on tour, but we have to take a little time off because I'm having a baby in December."
Oh, wow! That's so exciting.
"Yeah, I'mreally excited, but it means we can't tour for a little while. We'll wait until next May or June."
Will you bring your baby?
"No, I think I'll leave it at home - I don't think I'll really want to have it around all the loud music. The father is definitely gonna look after it. I'm sure he'll be really excited cause you know how babies usually grow more attatched to their mother because the mother's always with them? But I won't go away for more than like two weeks at a time. Unless we have to go across Canada, which takes at least three weeks. I'm saying this now, like its gonna be really easy to leave my baby at home - I think that I wanna go on tour next year, but I don't know. I think that when it comes time to go it'll be really hard, but I do really like playing."
What is Stereo Mountain? A friend of mine bought a Stereo Mountain t-shirt at your show last year and we were trying to figure out what it was.
"Stereo Mountain...Well, the t-shirt came out before the record. The record came out I think in July and its a four song 7" with each of us d o ing our own song; all the instruments on our own song. I have one on it. Rick has one. Chris has one and Mark has one. We sold out, but I think I'm gonna reprint it. I get a lot of letters for diem. Stereo Mountain is also our stuio as well."
You guys have your own studio?
"Yeah. We do all our own recording."
Now, you have that "Warm Girl" 7" on Derivative. How does that work?
"Sub Pop lets us. I don't think we can do a full album, but we can do singles with any label that isn't in strong competition with them. And if we ever want to put something out on Sub Pop, we just tell them and they say 'OK, just record it.'"
Was it a hard decision to sign to Sub Pop?
"They gave us an offer first and it wasn't really all that great of an of- fer, so we turned it down. Then we played at the Sub Pop festival be- cause they had invited us to play when diey gave us their first offer and they still let us play after we turned it down. After that, I guess they still really liked us a lot so they made us another offer and we got to talk to all of them in person at the festival, rather than just one of diem, and it was a lot better. We got to ask them questions and really talk. We weren't trying to get signed or anything, we were just gonna put out independant stuff. Then all of a sudden a label is willing to distribute our stuff worldwide and it's like, 'Wow, okay.' They'll pay you to record and they'll distribute it for you for free. Well, it's not free, but we don't have to worry about it So that's fine. They're really great. They let us do pretty much anything we want and they don't make us tour. As long as we do a little bit of touring, I think that satisfies them. I hope. We're having a meeting with them in Seattle next week about our album. Marketing ideas. Seeing as we can't tour, we're gonna do some videos, I guess."
What about your side projects? You all have side projects, right? You have Broken Girl and there's what, Purple Knight and Moonsocket?
"Yeah, and Rick does a lot of solo stuff, bul he hasn't really released anything on a large scale. Ever since Eric's Trip started he's put out solo tapes but mainly his friends got them. He's really really productive. Chris has Moonsocket and he's put out a 19 song tape and he just put out a 7" with aboul seven songs on it. And I've just put out Broken Girl. All I've put out so far is my 7" and I think that when I get back to Moncton I'm gonna start working on an album."
Do you remember your first show?
"Yeah, it was on Earth Day. It was April 22nd or something. We had already put demo tapes before we played our first show. Our second demo came out the week before. We were supposed to play outdoors but it was really raining, they put it in city hall. It was so funny because we were really really loud. We've actually turned down quite a bit now cause we realized that its really not that comfortable. And all of us wear earplugs now except for Rick - he still hasn't started but I'm hoping he will soon. I keep trying to talk him into it. Chris has been wearing earplugs for the last couple of tours. I only used to wear earplugs when I watched other bands and when I'd practice, but in Quebec City I wasn't wearing any, and half way through the set it just went 'pkhewwww' and I couldn't distinguish any different sounds at all. So I said that I'd try earplugs for a while, and actually it's been working out really great. I can sing a lot better because I can hear everything. My grandmother taught me. She's an amazing singer. She said that if you cover your ears, you can hear your voice in your head, and that's exactly what's coming out."
Do you ever get nervous on stage?
"Once in a while I'm really not nervous and I feel really confident and comfortable, but it depends where I am and what the crowd is like. It depends who's watching. I get nervous just being around people. I'm being very talkative today, but I used to be really really really shy. Chris was really shy, too - when we first started playing he had to sing with his back to the audience. He didn't start singing till last year, so he didn't have any reason to look out or anything. Even Rick last year was playing with his back to the audience, he'd put the microphone so he'd face away..."
Yeah, I remember that.
"Yeah. Actually, when I was in high school I used to like doing oral presentations, oddly enough. I was never really well prepared, but I could get up there and really talk about what I knew, which would never really amount to anything. I kinda wish I could do it now. I would really be a lot better. Yeah. I guess I'm not all that shy on stage I'm more shy when I have to talk to people. But on stage they have to listen to me, so it's a lot easier. I guess that's why. I don't really have to make a whole conversation, I can just play."
If you weren't in a band, what would you be doing right now?
"I'd probably be working a lot more on my photos."
You're a photographer?
"Yeah. I do a lot of photography - I did two years in college. I take a lot of pictures of people in bands and people we tour with. Not live shots. more like band photos of diem just outdoors and when we're hanging around and stuff. Really editorial. And I like portraiture too. My time is divided between music and photography and drawing and stuff."
Do you have a job back home?
"I used to. I used to work at Harvey's Hamburger's..."
"I worked there for two years and when I tried to quit they were like. 'Uh, you don't have to quit you know' 'cause I could leave anytime I wanted to if we had to go on tour and stuff. So they were really great, but then I went on tour last July for like a month and I was gonna be going away in September to England and then away again in October-November, so I thought that I'd better quit cause, I don't know..."
Are you a celebrity back in your town? Like do people stop you on the street and ask for your autograph?
"Not really in Moncton. Once in a while... well, actually, I was in Ottawa a lot visiting my boyfriend - 'cause he's living there - so I wasn't in Moncton very often when we weren't on tour. I guess when we go to the mall. There are a couple of malls. There's Champlain Mall, which is like the main mall. We used to go there once in a while, like on Friday nights, which you don't do anymore; you don't go on Friday nights or Saturday nights. Y ou can go during the day. or you can go like Wednesday night. When we used to go there sometimes junior high kids would come up to us and get us to sign stuff. Not very often though. It might have happened four times. Everyone else who comes to talk to us, they know us now 'cause they've talked to us so many times. They ei ther have bands of their own or they've gone to all of our shows so we know them or they're friends of our friends' brothers or sisters. Stuff like that."
What about on tour?
"I guess in different cities. We don't mind when its just people talking to us, it's just that when we're in clubs and the people are really drunk and they keep talking and talking and you just played your set and you're like 'I uh, gotta go sit down' and they're like, 'Oh, but you guys are so great' and its like, You're drunk, stop it'. But even that doesn't happen all that often. It's not that bad. Usually people just talk to us for a minute and ask us where we're playing next. We can walk around a lot of places and you can kinda tell that maybe someone recognizes us, but..."
They don't wanna invade your personal space.
What are your favourite bands?
"We really like Love a lot. They're an old band from the sixties. They're so amazing. And we toured with Cell. We played like nine shows with them. Arthur Lee, he's the main guy of Love, decided he wanted to tour again so he did a few shows, and the bass player of Cell got to play bass for Arthur Lee, like as Love."
"Yeah, so everyone was all excited when they found out. 'Wow, you met Arthur Lee, what was he like?' He was really nice. The bass player, he talked about it cause he's a really big Love fan too, and diat's how he got the gigs. So that was really neat. Mark is a big Love fan and he was freaking out. We also like Redd Kross. Dinosaur. My Bloody Valen- line and those kinds of tilings."
I read in your press release that you are a cross between Sebadoh and My Bloody Valentine. What do you think of that?
"I don't know, some people actually say that we have our own sound. Which is really nice. They say you can kinda tell our influences but eve- rything together has it's own sound, you know? That was really nice, I thought. But yeah, some people say dial and I guess I can see it, die acoustic stuff is probably kinda like that."
How do you guys write your songs?
"We each write our own and then we bring them to practice, or we'll do a demo and then we'll play it for the other person and either they can make up their own part or we'll have a part made up. Either way, I think we're all pretty flexible. A few times Rick and Chris have collaborated."
So does the person who writes the song usually sing it?
"Yeah, except Rick has written some songs that he actually wrote for me to sing, like in his music he had me singing."
Is it true that you're working on something with Lou Barlow?
"Well, when we talked to him last time we asked him to do some four track stuff, and maybe not put vocals on all of it; do some with music, and some with vocals and then send us a tape and we'd add stuff to it and release it on Sappy, which is my label. So he said he was gonna do it. Someone heard him do an interview with a Halifax station and he said he was trying to get around to working on it, but he's been recording and doing a lot of side projects as well. He told us not to worry. He just sent Chris a big package. We're supposed to make a single. He seemed really up for it when we mentioned it to him, so now we're just waiting for him to get it done. It might never happen, though, 'cause I think they're gonna start touring a lot."
What's he like?
"He's really nice. He used a photo I took of him for the back cover of one of his singles that came out in January. It was the last singles of the month club ever for Sub Pop. So I guess only members could get it. But he sent me two copies and a $50 checque."
"Yeah, I was so excited. I wasn't planning on getting paid. I was just excited that he was using it, you know? So he was really nice about that. He just said that Sub Pop gave him some money, and that he wanted to share it."
Wow, that was really nice. How do you know him?
"A long time ago, like three years ago, I wrote him a letter and when I wasn't even expecting a reply, I got one. I said I was in a band, blah, blah, blah, and then Chris wrote him and he ended up writing back. Then our friend Peter Holt in Halifax, who's "Peter", wrote him a letter and it said call me and he put his phone number. So Kath, Lou's girlfriend, said, "Let's call him", so they did and they started talking on the phone a lot. They got to know each other really well and he got to know more about us and then he heard Eric's Trip on the radio and he liked it. Anyways, eventually he played in Halifax last year and we played together. THen we hung out with him all week, sort of off and on 'cause he was there for a week. Then when we played in Boston in November, he came to our show and he looked at my photos and stuff and that's where he saw the photo I took of him in September at the festival in Halifax. I should probably write him a letter. I have to write a lot of letters though."
Do you get a lot of fan mail, so you have to write?
"Yeah, I write all mine back, but anything that goes to Eric's Trip doesn't really get answered. Before, when we'd only get a little bit of mail, we'd all keep up really good and before every tour we always made sure that all the mail got answered, before we left. THen we'd go on tour and have more when we got back. But then it built up so much when we were away last time and no one could find the courage to ven start them. Chris already has enough regular writers that he has to write to and I get a lot of mail to Sappy Records, so I always have to answer that. I answer everything that comes to my PO box, sometimes it takes me a long time and sometimes my Mom helps. We get mail from England and Wales and Spain and Australia."
So, tell me about Sappy Records.
"It's my label. Originally we started it to put out music by our friends that we knew would never get heard, 'cause a lot of our friends do really, really, really greeat stuff. We started it off by putting out Stereo Mountain to make some money to be ablee to put out other stuff. We knew that if we started with something we did, we'd prbably sell thm all on tour. The first release was the Stereo Mountain four song, and then the second one was Broken Girl, which is mine, and then Chris's [Moonsocket] 19 song tape was the third release, and now his 7" single. So we're geetting all our projects out of the way before we start to put out friends', I guess. That's about all that's out right now, so far. I'm gonna start working on putting out another 7" by someone, and then I'm gonna reprint the first two that were out 'cause people have been ordering them. I thought I was gonna do another Sappy single of my own songs, but Cinnamon Toast from Halifax said I could do one with them, so I think I'll do like two songs for them and then maybe I'll work on a full length. I have to keep busy for the fall and since we're not touring and I really like playing, I gotta do something. Just before last Christmas I recorded lik six songs, but I didn't put them out or anything. I sang - just me and my guitar and Rick mixed it as I was playing, so it sounds really nice. I kinda want to do a band thing. I want to start a band. I don't know. I have a feeling if I started a band it'd still be the same people only we'd all be playing different instruments."
Did you start off playing bass?
"No, I played guitar and Chris was on bass for about two years until he didn't want to play bass anymore and was gonna quit. He wanted to play guitar so I said rather than have to find a new bass player, I'd just go to bass.
Do you like it?"Yeah, I do like playing bass with Eric's Trip 'cause when I do my own stuff I play guitar. I get to have a little bit of variety. I'd probably be a lot better if I was on guitar, because I'm a better guitar player, but that's okay, I play enough at home. I'll play a lot more in the fall cause I know that I won't be doing much else, which is fine. I really want to take th time to practice and get a lot better. At first I didn't want to play bass because of the whole bass player girl thing."
Yeah, I've noticed that.
"I was like 'I don't wanna play bass' cause at the time there was Kim Deal on bass with The Pixies, and Kim Gordon. There were quite a few girl bass players, even back then. I switched to guitar because I didn't want to be a girl bass player."
Why do you think girls play bass?
"I think it might be because you don't have to play chords and chords are kind of harder to learn than to play bass. But I find that it's harder to be a really really good bass player than it is to be a really good guitar player."
"That's what I find. But it's easier to be an okay bass player than an okay guitar player 'cause you have to learn to change all your fingers to do all your chords, and strumming's kinda different. All my girl friends think bass is easier. I started a band with two of my other friends a couple years ago and wanted to play guitar and the other two both wanted to play bass, so one of them had to pick and the one who started playing drums really hated it. She really didn't want to be playing drums, so eventually the band just stopped, because I didn't want to do it anymore 'cause she really didn't enjoy it. But she wanted to play bass and the other girl wanted to play bass andd my other friend wanted to play bass and I was like, "Why are you guys all wanting to play bass?", but I guess they just like that instrument. The one who was playing drums is actually in a band now and they practice all the time and she plays bass. I guess that's what she really wanted to do. The rest still haven't really started playing bass. I don't know why that is. Maybe it's because they have boyfriends who play guitar. I think that a lot of times if a girl starts a band with her boyfriend, he's usually a guitar player, so..."
"But Rick and I were going out at the beginning and we both decided to be on guitar and get a bass player. I didn't want to play bass. It's weird, but it happens a lot. I don't know why it's like that. I really like drums. I have a drum kit, I practice in my room with my music really loud. My Mom used to say when I' be out, she'd go upstairs and play my drums."
© Megan Mallett, 1994