Welcome to Lords of Metal with your very welcome breath of fresh air among all this metal/guitar/vocal/etc. oriented music! Still, Trioscapes is legitimately a hard-hitting, forward-grooving project, more extreme in approach than many (or perhaps even most) metal outfits. How would you describe what you are creating on an abstract musical level?
Well Trioscapes formed when Dan asked Matt and I if we would be interested in working up a cover of the Mahavishnu Orchestra classic “Celestial Terrestrial Commuters.” We immediately realized that we all had a love for 70s fusion “jazz” and Prog-Rock and wanted to set out to be like some our favorite's but to bring in elements of our own individual musical backgrounds. With Dan and Matt coming from a progressive rock/metal background and myself coming from a Jazz/world music background, I knew that we would be up to some weird shit. Matt has an electronic pad system in addition to his drum kit, which has allowed him to incorporate different percussion patches such as congas, tablas, bells…I feel like this helps us juxtapose the best of our musical backgrounds.
Now over to a more general introduction: Trioscapes came to be as a project while Dan Briggs had a summer off from Between The Buried And Me. Matt Lynch on drums and Walter Fancourt on saxophone and flute turned out to be more than perfect partners in crime; how do you know each other and where could we know Matt Lynch and Walter Fancourt from? (I found Matt Lynch is in a great band called Eyris - feel free to tell more about that as well :-).)
Dan happened to be living with one of my best friends in Greensboro, North Carolina and last summer he was trying to put on a show and couldn't find an opener. Him and I, having many mutual friends, eventually came in contact with one another and decided to become that opening band. I've been playing with The Brand New life, an NC based Afrobeat/Free Jazz band and Casual Curious, a super feel good pop band. Dan's idea for Trioscapes was a huge step outside of my box. Between The Buried and Me did a couple of shows with Matt's group Eyris a couple of years ago and kept in touch with him ever since. Eyris, unfortunately, is no longer playing shows.
Your music stands in a great tradition of powerful progressive / fusion, and perhaps quite a bit of RIO-influenced bands. I read Walter Fancourt is passionate about modern European jazz players as well. Do you feel that this project might give you more liberty in explicitly exploring these influences, since you have certain liberties to 'voice' your music as an instrumental band?
Definitely. There are absolutely zero rules with Trioscapes. I feel like our next record could more experimental and weird, it could be more jazz oriented, or it could just be a freakout metal album. Having absolutely no idea what will happen is very comforting, we all love exploring the depths of our creativity and seeing how wild we can get.
And as an effect of diving into this project, do you also feel that the influences and experiences with these other two musicians make you approach the things you've been doing from a new perspective? (I know the answer is yes, but feel free to elaborate ;-)).
Yes! Its great, I'm used to writing music with two other horn players and Dan with two guitar players. It's crazy how different the melodies lay on each other's instruments but I feel it's really pushed all three of us to understand how far we can really go. At times I feel like we all trade places in the writing process and that that has a lot to do with the sound we create.
Since I read that you are always interested in playing shows abroad but that it's hard and expensive to get it arranged, have there perhaps been any great offers since the official release of 'Separate Realities'? It would be great to see you tour Europe and include the Netherlands! Is it perhaps also an idea to try a different live circuit, the more jazz-oriented one? Because already around where I live there are some great smaller venues where your music would fit right in!
I honestly don't know about any offers abroad but we do want to do all that we can to play as many places as possible especially the Netherlands!!! Yes, I think it would be awesome to explore new venues especially since most critics seem to call 'Separate Realities' a jazz album. Also I can say that we'll be posting a hand full of U.S. dates soon.
As this project seems to turn out to be far more than a one-off, could you give a hint as to what we can expect from you on future releases? The unexpected? Quatro -or Duoscapes? Tours with both (the Norwegian) Shining and Der Rote Bereich? Signing to a jazz (I know you think it's funny to get the jazz comparison, but still...) label to attract a different audience?
It's defiantly more than a one off. We put over half the album together in just a couple of days before our first show. So I know we can write quickly I just don't know how soon we'll be able to sit down and do it. Matt lives in Atlanta, Georgia, Dan is working on recording the new Between The Buried And Me album as we speak!!! And I'm in a van with The Brand New Life so we're all on odd schedules. No, we don't plan on signing to a jazz label! HA! Metal Blade has done such an awesome job getting the record out and we thank them so much for that.
In an other interview you mention you feel different from being a jazz group (in the most traditional sense that is, I guess), in that you work more on riffs and composition. Would you like to elaborate on that, also explaining what you think is mostly the case in jazz that would set it so apart from other forms of music?
Well jazz, in the most traditional sense, has a very strong focus on the soloist and a good rhythm section that can fallow the soloist spontaneously. Our songs are charted from top to bottom with little room for stretching, not because we're trying to get away from jazz but because that's the way we like to write. Someone said in a review that it's an album that jazz artists are going to call metal and metal artists are going to call jazz. I think that just about sums it up.
In conclusion, I would like to thank you for your all-powerful record and for taking the time to answer my perhaps annoyingly vague questions! If there is anything you feel I really should have asked about because you'd have a good tale to tell about it, feel free to tell so below - along with a shout-out to your avid readers and listeners to end this interview with!
This is my first interview via email and my first European interview. Thank you Lords of Metal, thank you Netherlands! Hopefully we'll be near you guys soon. If you listen to jazz, call your metal buds: If you listen to metal call your jazz buds. There's plenty of music to be accounted for. This is my first interview via email and my first European interview and it's been cool doing it with you guys. Thanks again!