Eric's trip INTERVIEW ARCHIVE November 05, 1995 - Toronto, ON, Canada

Kurt Newman
Julie Doiron
Publisher Title Transcript
The McGill Tribune Vol. 15 Issue 10 Low fidelity virtuosos Eric's Trip Yes

About a year ago, I wrote a review of Eric's Trip Forever Again, in which I spnt half the space discussing how well they fit into my own private snowdome vision of Canada. Much grumbling was heard from two couch-bound, bong-sucking, Muppets Show-esque critics, apparently concerned with the fact that I had neglected to write about music, in favour of half-baked theorising.

I spoke with Julie, the reserved bassist/somtimes vocalist of Eric's Trip, in hopes of confirming my speculations.

Tribune: I always find that your music invokes all storts of Canadian elements - not in the Kim Mitchell sense, but more in a sort of stark, almost Group of Seven way.

Julie: I never thought of it like that, I dunno -- it's nice to think that we're heavy. That was all nic stuff you said. I know that Rick and Mark are always thinking about where to record. As far as the way we think of ourselves, we're very into nature and stuff. Rick likes riding BMX bikes, I guess we're inspired by a bunch of stuff like that.

In most ways, the fact that Eric's Trip are not conciously part of the nationalist propaghanda effort is comforting, rather than disappointing (somewhere, if they haave retained enough brain clls for literacy, my two critics are laughing at me). It is a well-documented fact that, while virtually very American place name is a supercool thing to say in a song ( see Tom Waits and Jon Spencer for evidence), the same cannot be said for Canada.

Lines like "I'm going back to Ottawa/people like there are more like me/ I hope that makes you feel a little more alone," from "Departure Song" on their 1994 EP, The Gordon Street Haunting, reinforces the commonalities that ET share with the somehow painfully desolate (figuratively speaking) cultural landscape -- "Hinterland Who's Who", "The Beachcombers", Robert Bateman and the whole damn Canadian Shield.

While some are tempted to place the pastoral, dying-Walkman-batteries sound of ET into the realm of Canadiana, most critics lump them into the category of lo-fi, Lo-fi is an anomaly among musical fads, in that it is not a musicially circumscribed sub-genre. It is not defined by contnet (like, say, jungle, or lambada, or the super-irritating tag "post-rock"), but a formal aesthetic -- a method by which unconventional songwriting formats (most successfully the short song, exemplified by ET's "About You", from 1994's Forever Again) merge with super-cheap recording budgets to form way more than the sum of parts.

Tribune: When you began, did you conciously try to work with the lo-fi thing?

Julie: I think it was pretty much from working with what we had. THe new record, which is coming out in January, we did in a studio. It was quite enjoyable, actually. The reason we did it like that was so we could all play together. It went really well. We pretty much work with whatever equipment we have. It just sounds bigger and thicker. It sounded good.

I don't know - we definitely weren't trying to be part of anything. I don't think we ever wanted to be part of the whole lo-fi thing. If there was a dog barking on the tape, we wanted it there. We weren't setting out to be a part of the whole thing. On Forever Again, they actually recorded the drums outside at 4:30 a.m.

Tribune: What's it like being a rock mom? (Julie was pregnant during the recording of Forever Again).

Julie: It's going better now. He takes naps every morning for two hours. Between 10 and noon. That's when I get to practice. He came on tour with us in April.

Cultural speculation exhausted, Eric's Trip music emerges as the dominant reason they have persisted, and emerged as probably Canada's gratest band, ever, period. Working in the relative seclusion of Moncton, New Brunswick, ET evolved from being unself-concious indiephiles (their Sonic Youth song title name a dead giveaway) to true innovators. Drawing on late-60's folk, psychedelia, and pure punk rock, ET construct ephemeral masterpieces of song/collage, as close to perfection as you can get in a Fisher Price universe.

Tribune: Any thoughts on playing the New Music Montral NMM's?

Julie: We're really excited to play, it's our first show on tour. I think that the tour will be fun.

© Kurt Newman, 1995