Eric's Trip Interview Archive March, 1995 - Halifax, NS, Canada
- Steve MacIsaac
- Rick White
|The Coast Vol. 2, Issue 19||Rick White's personal Hell||Yes|
With each member of Eric's Trip pursuing solo projects in recent months, guitarist Rick White is set to release Elevator to Hell –and only on vinyl.
It seems like every magazine, newspaper and TV newscast is putting out a story about the "Vinyl Resurgence" these days. Yoou know the scenario; it's an intrepid tale of how the trusty vinyl record has been saved from extinction, due to the efforts of big name artists who demand limited edition vinyl pressings of their new recordings as part of their contract. We all know that vinyl never really died, the 7 inch vinyl single is the lifeblood of independent rock. Major-label vinyl pressings are often little more than half-hearted attempts at maintaining some kind of street-cred, it still makes good copy. This despite the inevitably closing sentence of such news pieces, which append the disclaimer that vinyl buyers are still more or less an anomaly, a statistically insignificant curiosity in an industry driven, above all else, by the number of units sold.
It's not really a surprise that Sub Pop, the label often credited with saving the 7 inch single from extinction, is releasing Eric's Trip singer/guitarist Rick White's first solo record as a vinyl release. What is surprising is that Elevator to Hell isn't going to be available in any other format. Not on CD, not on cassette, not even on 8-track. Just on that 12 inch lab of shimmering, jet black plastic that everybody thought would be extinct by now.
When asked about the marketing logistics of this decision, White confesses that limiting the format was Sub Pop's idea. "I had recorded the album already and was trying to find somebody willing to put it out, and Sub Pop offered to put out 1,000 copies on vinyl."
"I wanted it to come out on vinyl especially, but I didn't necessarily want it to be just on vinyl. I would have liked for it to come out on CD so that more people could hear it, but right now I'm just happy that it's out. I'm hoping that if it does okay I can talk them into repressing so that it's available to more people."
Elevator to Hell came about as an outlet for songs that didn't really fit into the context of Eric's Trip. "I've been working on other stuff besides Eric's Trip since before we started the band. I've always had different kinds of songs. Most of the stuff on this record has been around since before we started working on Forever Again, newer stuff that I didn't think fit in with that record. I save most of my favourite songs for Eric's Trip, but with Chris putting out his Moon Socket stuff, Julie doing Broken Girl and Mark doing Purple Knight, I decided I should do something with all these songs I had lying around."
Elevator to Hell isn't a radical departure from the low-fi, Barlow-esque rumblings that Eric's Trip favour; nevertheless, it has a sound that is distinct from White's work with the band. Aside from a minimal vocal and instrumental assistance, White plays everything on the album himself, and he has used the oppourtunity to explore instruments and sounds that fall outside the framework of what Eric's Trip usually does. The most prominent of these "guest instruments" is an old Yamaha keyboard which White has on a semi-permanent loan.
"I have a whole bunch of cassettes from a few years ago that were all done on this Yamaha that belongs to Julie's Mom. It's not too big, it's got a drum machine and eight or nine different sounds. One of them is this really great jazz organ sound which is what I mostly use, putting it through an amp to make it sound more real. "I've recorded all of these three-chord songs on the keyboard which I might put out someday, just to let people know that I do stuff with this funny little keyboard."
Solo projects aside, Eric's Trip the band, is still very much a going concern – a mini-tour of Ontario happening in April, and a possible summer tour. Recording plans include a non-Sub Pop 7 inch which the band is currently shopping around, and a new record to be recorded in September. White predicts that the next full-length effort will be a departure from the more introspective Forever Again.
"The last record was more of a studio record that we put together more in a dreamy way, rather than trying to capture any of our live sound, which we thought was being really well represented in our recordings. Now that we're each doing more of our own solo stuff, maybe the quieter stuff won't end on Eric's Trip records as much. I think with the next record we're going to try and capture more of what we do live."
Until then however, we're left with Elevator to Hell, a record as complete and satisfying as anything Eric's Trip has recorded.
Vinyl only? I'm not complaining, and who knows? Sub Pop started a trend with their singles club, so maybe we're going to be seeing a lot more vinyl-only releases in the near future. But until the format wars are over and the last 12 inch record has been broken and tossed into a shallow grave, I'd break that dusty old turntable out of storage if I were you. You might be needing it a lot more often than you thought.
© Steve MacIsaac / The Coast, 1995