Feature Friday- If These Trees Could Talk

Posted: February 25, 2011 by Is This Revolutionary? in Interview
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We had been waiting on this one for a long time, and it was well worth it. Currently working on a new album, ITTCT is at it again, just waiting to blow your mind with their music. We spoke to Michael, who has such a sweet last name, and he gave us the need-to-know about the Trees.

Ben: What bands really got you into post-rock?

Michael: Mostly bands like Mogwai and Explosions In The Sky.  Our drummer Zack had gotten into those types of bands early on.  In his first year of school in Pittsburgh, he pretty much wrote a good portion of the basis for what was to become our first EP.  Being that I was in another band with him, he just asked me as well as the other guys if we wanted to try to play the tunes as a full band.  We all really liked what he had come up with, so everyone was on board from there.
B: Did you really expect your self-titled release to take off the way it did in terms of popularity?
M: Absolutely not.  In fact, we never had a really solid plan to turn this into the band that it eventually became.  It was more of “let’s just jam and see what happens”.  When we first started playing out, no bands were really doing what we were so getting on suitable shows proved to be a bit more difficult than expected.  We mostly played our first shows with our other band (which was Culture of the Poor at the time), which was brutal metal!  [Laughs].  3 of the dudes in the Trees were also in the metal band, so it made it easy to play shows together.
When we released the EP, we had no grand plan of infiltrating the market with it.  We were just wanting to put out an actual product with the tunes we had come up with.  Akron proved to be very receptive to what we were doing, and eventually, The Sheath came along and wanted the EP to be the first release for the label.  We really like the way they were approaching the whole thing, so we pretty much signed up immediately.
B: What is it like hearing your music on shows such as 16 and Pregnant or on trailers for video games?
M: Awesome, weird,  and strange all at the same time.  With the level that we are at as a band now, most any exposure is good, so we are all pretty stoked on being approached about these licensing requests.  Also, were all big fans of PS3, so it was a nice feather in the cap.
B: I believe I read that you are recording for a new release. Can you give us any updates or information?
M: Yes, we are working on the new record.  We are about 6 songs in, and we are starting to demo everything out.  Since were not a band that tours all the time, we are really trying to take our time and not rush the process just so we can have a release out sooner than later.  We are about 2 years past our last release, so I feel like we have given ourselves enough time to breath and really concentrate on writing the best material that we can.  In doing so, we also don’t want to repeat ourselves, but we do want to maintain a level of musicianship that has become synonymous with the Trees.
B: Is your band friends with any of your Mylene Sheath labelmates?
M: Sure.  We actually try to meet up with Gifts once or twice a year, and we’ve been doing so since The Sheath thing went down.  The roster of bands are very friendly to one another, so I’d say we are friends with a good portion of the artists that are currently on the label.  In the past few years, we’ve gotten to play with Gifts, Caspian, Beware of Safety, LVNGS, Beneath Oblivion, and more just from our associating with the label.
The Sheath is all about community and collaboration, whether that’s in regards to getting the word out about releases or just helping set up a show when a band comes through town, and I think that mentality is something that they look for in the bands that they sign (my opinion).  It helps to weed out those who are in it for the wrong reasons.
B: What has been your favorite tour experience?
M: In my opinion, my favorite was the run we did with Gifts from Akron all the way through NYC.  From there, we split up and went to Boston, but anytime we are on the road with those dudes is just a blast.  We are actually going to be playing with them in a month or so here in Cleveland and again in Chicago.
B: What gear do you use?
M: Mesa, Marshall, Ampeg, Gibson, PRS, ESP, Gretsh Drums, Music man Basses.  Just the normal arsenal of bad ass gear.
B: Knowing how well-regarded your EP and full length were, do you find it difficult to try to live up to such high expectations?
M: Not really.  While it can be a little daunting if you’re trying to live up to those expectations, we try to stay grounded in the way that we approach writing new material.  I always say that if we think it kicks ass, than it’s just a bonus if others feel the same way to.  While we do not want to disappoint our fans, we also don’t want to disappoint ourselves by writing things that only cater to what they want, as opposed to what we feel like we should be putting out (I hope that makes sense).
B: What are some of your influences from any genre?
M: Tool, Red Sparowes, Isis, Mogwai, and a variety of others.  We are all over the map when it comes to influence, but those are the few that pop into my mind.
B: What are some of your favorite post-rock contemporaries?
M: Gifts From Enola, Caspian, Megachurch (from Cleveland-look ’em up!), Mr Gnome, and others.  Basically, friends and area musicians who have struck us in a positive way.
B: Do you feel it is more difficult to try to portray your emotions through music without any vocals?
M: None of us have ever been vocalists, so I guess the answer would be no.
B: Why did you go with your decision to not have a vocalist?
M: We’ve always said that our vocalist died on the way to the first show, so to preserve his memory, we never found a new one.
B: What is behind the name of your band?

M: Zack (drums) and Cody (guitar) are brothers and their grandfather used to say the phrase all the time.  It’s a phrase that stuck with them, so that’s what we used.

We’ll be on top of the next album when it comes out. Promise.

B .

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