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…And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead

Trail of Dead

Get ready to meet your new favourite band. If you’re not already smitten with …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead then hold on to your stetson ‘cos you soon will be.

The best bands, the ones that get you over-excited in a jump-up-and-down, running around, over-enthusiastic kind of way are the ones that look like they’re the coolest gang in town. They look special and different in a way you’d never imagined and you really want to join. I’m talking about the Nation of Ulysses, Huggy Bear, Mogwai and now Trail of Dead. Trail of Dead remind me so much of the Nation of Ulysses, the coolest band/gang ever. They had matching haircuts, uniforms and a manifesto of nonsensical revolution.

Trail of Dead – They’ve got style. They got the matching hairstyles, Conrad with his quite fantastic collection of groovy t-shirts and Jason with his stetson hat which he wears when not onstage, thus making him instantly recognisable even from a distance of half a mile and round a corner. If they’re going to be rock stars then everyone’s going to damn well know it, even if they’re just at the petrol station.

Jason and Conrad spent most of All Tomorrow’s Parties wandering around the site talking to and hugging anyone who cared to approach them and talking complete and utter hilarious nonsense to anyone who would listen. Everyone at ATP had a ‘my bizarre meeting with one of Trail Of Dead’ anecdote and everyone who saw them wanted to join the band. They were the total hit of the weekend.

Their live shows are fantastic crazed riots with Jason and Conrad swapping instruments and running around the stage ranting into any spare microphone available. I’ve spent each gig in a state of over-enthusiastic glee, laughing at their antics. In Edinburgh Jason wandered through the audience ranting at them while Conrad balanced himself on the barrier. And in Nottingham, Jason dived headfirst over the waist high barrier at the side of the stage, landed on his head, ran to the bar, stole someone’s drink, wandered back onstage and then trashed his drumkit. Now that’s cool. And that’s all without even mentioning the music – a mix of early sonic youth guitar wonders, godspeed-esque melancholy and teen-punk speedery.

Give in to them now – adore them, worship them. They’ll have your soul eventually whatever you do..

This is Conrad answering my questions with the seriousness they deserve…

What or who influenced you to start a band?
The Lord Jesus Christ.

Over here the music press is pushing you as the new thing in US Garage Rock. As some kind of sleazy goth rock’n’roll band. How happy are you with that description?
I find it strange, considering all the garage rockers here in Texas think that we’re pretentious art fags (that being the US use of the word fag, meaning effeminate, as opposed to the British meaning).

How close do you feel to post rock bands like Godspeed You Black Emperor! and Mogwai?
I don’t believe any of us have listened to either of those bands. Not out of choice, but purely proximity. I keep meaning to listen to Mogwai, because we heard that they liked our name. But really, we mostly listen to black R’n’B music. I imagine that isn’t very popular in Britain, because the context might be misconstrued. I don’t particularly like the label “post-rock”, though. That’s decidedly absurd. If we’re post-anything, we ought to be post-man. Get it? Postman?

You’ve been compared to various eras of Sonic Youth so what is your favourite SY album?
We’ve never listened to Sonic Youth. But if we sound anything like them, I might say I liked their first album. Do they rap at all?

Do you think people take music too seriously or not seriously enough?
I could easily escape this question by answering “both”, but that would be too easy. Instead, I will recite a poem:

By all the happy see in children’s growth-
That undeveloped flower of budding years-
Sweetness and sadness interwoven both,
Source of the sweetest hopes and saddest fears.

That’s Shelly.

Trail of Dead

How is the US underground music scene doing?
Underground music, by nature, is impossible to gage, except regionally. Generally, I would say it’s not doing a s well as it was in the eighties. But the overground music is, in my opinion, better than ever. That isn’t what you wanted to hear, is it?

What’s your view on the internet as the new way forward for music?
I for one am very optimistic about cyberspace’s role in the future of not just music, but all the arts in general. I think that sometimes nothing is more thrilling for an artist than when people invent a brand new medium. The challenge of bending one’s creative skills to that medium can be very fruitful. I imagine Bach must have felt the same way when they finally tempered the clavichord so that you could play it in any key, and not just C, F, and G major (and their relative minors of course, for all you theory-heads).

Are you happy with your current level of success?
I hope we’re never happy with our success any time soon, or we might stop striving to achieve it. I think an Eastern mystic would reprimand us by saying success cannot be measured by worldy belongings. But that’s probably why I don’t keep many Eastern mystics as friends.

What inspires you?
A really good movie. And being rejected.

What have you been doing today?
I just folded some clothes, and hung some shirts in my wardrobe. Later on I might see a play. What have you been doing?

What were the last records you bought?
I haven’t had to buy anything in a very long time, ever since I got this c.d. burner. I could tell you the last c.d.’s I burned, though. They were this latest Auteurs album, which I knew nothing about but a friend recommended, the Dexy’s Midnight Runner’s BBC sessions, a band from LA called W.A.C.O., and the latest TLC record.

What have you got in your pockets?
Two hits of acid. And a zip disk.

What’s the best thing you’ve been given for free?
My freedom. And a beautiful, cream-colored Hondo copy of a Dan Electro Longhorn.

What are your upcoming plans? Any plans to come over to the UK soon?
Yes, in either May or June of this year. We will do our best to tour as much of your wonderful country as possible. Do they still have those Stonehenge festivals, or did the police keep beating the shit out of everyone until they stopped? I went to one, you see, when I was about nine years old.
I’m sorry that interview ran so tongue and cheek. Seriously, if you’re not satisfied, return it and we will refund it with a brand new interview, absolutely free. We feel proud to put customer service above everything. If you’re not satisfied, then we’re not satisfied.

website: www.trailofdead.com