ERIC'S TRIP INTERVIEW ARCHIVE Jun-Aug, 1995 - Moncton, New Brunswick
- Rick White
|Shabby Issue No. 2||There's Other Ways I Can Get It, You Know That Don't You? eric's trip.||Yes|
Eric's Trip are awesome. They write songs about stuff that really happens to them. They can have the most fragile acoustic lament that barely crawls along dragging you and your emotions with it, next track BANG some feedback ladden 'sludgefest'. If you get a chance listen to 'Float' off the Summershine Records 7-inch they released last year, or 'Smother' from the Sub-Pop Never Mind The Molluscs compilation. Then click up 'Sand' from the Song's About Chris E.P. For the bulk of their life Eric's Trip have been Julie Doiron on bass and vocals, Mark Gaudet on drums, Chris Thompson on guitar and Rick White on vocals, guitar and he also looks after most of the bands recording. I spoke to Rick on a rainy Saturday afternoon.
Do you guys play live much. Some of your more 'fragile' songs would be difficulty to re-create.
Yeah, like a lot of those aren't even done live. Usually live is more .... it's a lot like faster and stuff. Which we try not to capture even that much on record. We kinda make the records in a different way. But we've done a couple of shows were we've done mostly all the quieter ones, 'cause we can't do them normally. Live you just can't seem to get it the same way you did on record anyway so we don't bother trying too much. Two-thirds of the songs on this new record are kinda full band songs anyway. The other ones are more constructially... like the quieter ones, we don't usually do many of those live. We do 'Stove'.
You seem to use the very process of recording almost as another instrument that you play the song with.
Yeah, I really like production the old ways, like production when they first started doing stereo stuff in the 50's and 60's. I like the sound of that and, I don't know, I find it adds a lot to the mood of things. The way it's recorded.
The only criticism I've heard of you guys is that you go out of your way to be deliberately 'lo-fi', like you add in background noise.
Um I don't know. Sometimes we get the opposite now that we're not low-fi enough. Like there's starting to be this big 'it's cool to be low-fi', and we're starting to learn how to record a bit better. So it's like 'How come you're not low-fi any more?'. 'cause our early records were a lot, even more you know hiss and stuff, as we got to learn to use our equipment a bit better.
How do you feel about that big 'low-fi' banner you seem to get grouped under, like with Guided By Voices and Sebadoh and people like that?
Well yeah, there making I guess like this new-wave out of it but it's just really all bands that would rather do it at home, and they don't mind sacrificing quality. 'cause I find that there's even more of a quality in it anyway, I find it sometimes has a warm sound to it, the hiss.
You don't give songwriting credits on Forever Again or many of the previous records. Are they group compositions or do you bring stuff to the band?
I guess I end up writing most of them. Chris wrote like four or five of them and Julie wrote one, and I wrote the rest. We all make like demo's on our own of the songs, 'cause we all do other stuff too. The songs that we think would be good for us to play together we bring in and let every one hear it, and then we learn it as a band and it ends up sounding a lot different from the original. But that's the way we usually write.
What other stuff do you do? Other bands?
Um I do a lot of stuff by myself and with this other band with the drummer and two other people, and Chris does his own stuff and Julie has a record coming out. We all have stuff coming out, on different things too so. It'll just be when we get together and tour as a band.
What's the other band you're in called? Have you recorded anything?
Elevator to Hell. I did a record that's coming out on Sub-Pop as that and as a band we've recorded a single, but the albums mostly just me.
How does that differ from Eric's Trip?
Well it's more I guess like the quieter stuff on the Eric's Trip records. It more comes out on my records. Not that it's all quiet there's like a good deal of music but it's more of a psychedelic sort of stuff. Whereas Eric's Trip's more on the heavy side. I have extra songs that won't fit with Eric's Trip so I have to kinda do something with them.
Have Elevator to Hell played live?
Yeah we played about three or four shows with the Elevator To Hell band, which we just kinda did songs off that record that I did.
Will Julie put her solo record out under her own name?
She puts stuff out under Broken Girl. She has one seven inch that she did herself and she has another one coming out pretty soon too. She has her own little label called Sappy.
But Eric's Trip is still your main thing?
Yeah it's our main concern but we had a big break recently 'cause Julie had a baby, so we couldn't tour or anything, 'cause she had to stay around. And so we ended up all doing.. more concentrating a lot on other stuff for a while, now we're getting back into Eric's Trip again.
Do you do any big tours, like overseas or anything?
Um we don't tour a lot. We usually do like maybe three week little things. Sometimes down the east coast of the States, and usually just across Canada a couple of times 'cause usually that's where we do our best.
Canada seems to have a pretty cool music scene. All the groups seem to know each other and be friends.
I guess when you tour Canada, a lot of the cities aren't that big so you get to meet people in all the cities who are usually people in all the other bands. But Halifax is only like three hours away from where I live Moncton, and that's like the first place to go to play out of town shows. So the Halifax bands, most of them know each other pretty well.
Sloan actually recorded a medley of a couple of your songs, and you guys wrote one about them?
Yeah and we did one of there's. Um we did a song about them once but we also did one of their songs. Oh was that song you were talking about on the 'Geffen Rarities' compilation. Okay, 'cause it was originally done for a split 7-inch we did with them. They covered our song and we covered theirs. It's on Cinnamon Toast records. Then they released it on that Geffen compilation CD.
You have a lot of records come out on lots of different labels. How does that come about? Do you approach the label or do they approach you?
We meet people just like here and there, from smaller labels. Sub-Pop they wanna do an album with us again, like next January. So until then if we wanna release a few singles we just kinds look for anyone who'd wanna put it out. So we try to put out as much stuff as we can come up with, we're just throwing it away I guess, but it's nice 'cause we're all record collectors too so that's why we do it, to get like rare things. We don't even have some of the stuff we've put out. We're still trying to get these European copies of our vinyl, it was on like purple vinyl and white vinyl. We don't have those yet.
There's apparently a move back towards vinyl in the U.S.
I hope so. It's funner to make.
Love Tara had a lot of light and shade but on Forever Again you seem to have lost that in favour of a more happy medium.
I guess we just want it to go together more dreamier a bit than like Love Tara. Love Tara was I guess like the cover, black and white kinda. Whereas this one's just kinda, I don't know they're just excerpts from like diaries of our lives. This was just a different stage.
You guys just write about yourselves and what happens to you.
Pretty well, yeah.
Yeah I was freaked when I rang and your answering machine message was for Rick and Tara.
Yeah, most of that whole thing was about, all the lyrics were about just Julie and I, we used to go together. Then we had the whole changeover of girlfriends and boyfriends, it all got kinda documented.
And you can still play in a band together? That's great. That's usually a band breaker.
Yeah she ends up now bringing her baby to shows, and her husband.
I was curious why you got Bob Weston in to help mix Love Tara because prior to that and since you've just looked after yourselves.
Well yeah. We had it all recorded and everything on our little 8-track. It was all ready to go but we needed someone, well we just wanted someone to come up and master it onto the 2-track. Like we had to mix it and I didn't have anything to mix on. And we'd met him from doing the Never Mind The Molluscs the Sub-Pop thing, he was the guy that did that. So he was pretty comfortable to work with and relaxed. We just got him to come up here and he sat around in my basement for 2 days and pushed the record button. So he helped just organise the mixing but we recorded it all ourselves.
Do you take a long time to record?
Well Forever Again was put together more in pieces. Almost on purpose I guess. We did it all like different days, some songs have different tracks that were done different days from others on the same song. The drums were all kinda done late at night and Mark did them by himself some of them. We tried to do the songs all together but it didn't really work. The next records gonna be the opposite.
Live the songs from Forever Again must sound very different?
Yeah the songs come across a lot more like, almost heavy metal it seems in comparison. But yeah we just want to make I guess a record a different experience, something that's just more dreamy to listen to.
The new record also seems a lot more simpler than previous.
Yeah. I really like simple melodies and simple chord changes. I always thought it was the catchiest to have a melody. As heavy as it gets you have to have a nice melody.
What's Stereo Mountain? Is that your own studio?
Yeah that's just what we called our house for a while. We had to give it a name. I was recording a lot of other local bands at the time too, so it was something for them to put on there records.
So are you like the 'local music guru' in the area?
I don't know. I guess I'm starting to be. Well I guess just from recording everybody and everyone knows everyone around here `cause you've all played in the same little shitty clubs .... there's nowhere really to play in Moncton, so it's still really like an all-ages scene where you organise a gig for yourself and don't make any money.
The earliest record of yours I have is the Peter E.P. that was released on Murder records in Canada. Do you have much really early stuff that you put out yourself?
Yeah Peter was before Songs About Chris and Love Tara. Yeah, before that we had four tapes. Three of them with a different drummer even before Mark. We started in like 1990 I guess with those. And then we put out that 7 inch by ourselves Belong, which is the one before Peter, it has Chris on it, but it has Julie playing guitar, and he's playing bass. Which is what they used to do before they decided that Julie was a better bass player and Chris was a better guitar player. Chris was doing too many licks and stuff. So everything's been the same for a little while now.
So was that much different sounding then?
No I think probably now we're going a little more kinda back to early stuff like Peter but yet with more kinda psychedelic stuff. I guess not psychedelic, I guess that's a bad word 'cause you can think it's like the 60's. Yeah I don't know, I guess more into like rhythms that kinda just go on. Like beats which are steady.
Your recording quality is just getting better and better.
Yeah we're still doing that at home. We might go into a place that has more equipment that we can use for the next record. But just still do it ourselves.
Do you have any songs ready for the next record or is it too soon?
Um we just recorded a new single like last week. I don't know where it's going to go yet but we're trying to put it on Drag City. They kinda wanted to do one so we sent a copy to them.
Do Sub Pop get first refusal on this stuff or how does it work?
Yeah well we just asked them if they would let us do a single and said they're not really interested they'd rather wait for the album. They let us go somewhere else. So long as it's not really in competition with them, we can go to any smaller label.
So you'll start the album soon?
Yeah well we're starting to work on that, like writing for it and stuff. That should be I guess December or something like that.
Would you ever tour Australia?
We'd love to yeah. But it'd be a bit expensive getting there. Sub Pop may help us, sometimes they send bands there and help them pay. That'd be good.
So how long was the break you just had?
Well we played our last two shows in October last year and Julie was starting to get big at that time. So that was our last shows and then we all started doing other stuff until the middle of February.
With Sub-pop would you guys sell much stuff?
I don't know. We're not one of the bigger sellers, maybe in Canada. we're the lowest but we cost them the least money. They helped us buy a bit of equipment think us and Sebadoh are the cheapest.
How did you guys first start playing together?
I was in a couple of bands like when I was young, hardcore bands and stuff. We just kind of all got together, not the four of us but with the other drummer, his name was Ed. And we just started playing around Moncton and putting out tapes. And we kinda got a bit of a following in Moncton so we decided to got to Halifax, that's where we met the guy who manages us now. And that's where we recorded our first single and Sub Pop ended up seeing us and offering us a deal. Before we were really ready to do anything.
It was that easy to sign to Sub-Pop?
Yeah, she just happened to see us one night at a club and we happened to have a good show. It was lucky.
Is that what you think it comes down to: luck and timing?
Yeah well I guess, I hope that we're actually O.K. too, but, it was pretty lucky.
What kind of music affects you?
I don't follow much music now, I'm not really interested. A lot of bands they all seem to be going in a way I don't listen to. I think it's starting to get better though, there's more bands now that are....Not even home recorded I find 'cause I listen to a lot of like 50's and 60's records , and I find our stuff doesn't sound low-fi really compared to that sort of stuff, it seems. Like their recordings that's what I'm trying to get it to sound like. But yeah I really listen to a lot of that stuff.
So was there any plan behind Eric's Trip when you started it? Something you wanted to achieve?
Um no. When we started it was more just like, we all were into You're Living All Over Me by Dinosaur Jr. We just wanted to play like our amps really loud and we were really slow, more like My Bloody Valentine. But we just would play loud and then we slowly got more faster as we went along. Especially once we got Mark, 'cause Mark used to be in like these Death Metal bands. Not the kind you're thinking of with long hair but these kind of crazy, fast bands. And once he joined the band he kinda gave us a little more energy.
Where to now? New direction?
We're gonna try to get more of a sound like we are live, instead of like Forever Again. Forever Again was more really studio album-like. You know it was all built in our apartment. We're gonna try to get more of a loud kinda sound for at least, you know, half of the next record.
What of your recordings would you say you are happiest with?
Did you ever hear The Gordon Street Haunting? It's one of our E.P's between Love Tara and Forever Again. It's on Sub Pop but it came out on 7inch. It's on CD in Canada. But it's five songs, that's about my favourite thing I've done so far. I still like Love Tara a lot, too.
You guys don't seem to do many interviews?
Yeah well I guess we're usually pretty private people, when we're not on tour we just kinda hang out. I never mind doing them I guess I just never get around to doing them.
A few days after speaking with Rick I received a fax from Eric's Trip's management talking about the possability of an Australian tour in Febuary '96.
© Nick Corr?, 1995