Musical ingenuity personified would be American post-rockers If These Trees Could Talk. Creating albums that captivate the listener, I’ve always found the otherworldly element in the music of ‘The Trees’ to be this band’s strong point right from their debut self-titled EP that released all the way back in 2006. Since then, their sound has not only evolved but has also reached a greater audience, especially given how accessible their music is. Also being quite the DIY band, they released their second album ‘Red Forest’ in 2012 and also toured and as of 2014 have successfully joined the massive Metal Blade family, re-issuing both their albums and with a brand new one in the works. Metal Wani’s Prarthana V caught up with the guitarist Michael Socrates to discuss their latest signing, new music and much more!
1. Hey! Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions! I’m (Prat) a huge fan of you guys! How are things going at the ITTCT camp, you guys must be pretty busy what with the re-issues and writing the new album!
Yes, very busy indeed! Just trying to get this new record tracked!
2. The band got signed to the massive Metal Blade family last year which is definitely a big achievement for the band. How did that come about?
Brian Slagel is buds with a chef in NYC named Chris Santos. They happened to be hanging out one night and Santos played him some of our tunes. Slagel sent us a tweet, and within a few months of talking, we were signed to Metal Blade!
3. They wanted to re-issue the two existing albums. What exactly goes behind the process of re-issuing an album? Is there anything different with the re-issued albums?
Not really. We just wanted to have our back catalog available on disc for people to get ahold of. Prior to our signing, we were the ones who had to take care of printing up the albums and shipping them off. The reissue made it so Metal Blade will take of this going forward, which gives us time to focus on other things. The only difference is that “Above the Earth, Below the Sky” comes with updated CD packaging. It actually has the packaging that was used on the vinyl release of the same record a few years back.
4. The thing that has always appealed to me about ITTCT’s style and sound is that it’s very fluid and unique with all the layers of sound, there’s that element of unpredictability and it proves wrong the claims that post-rock can be very repetitive. There’s that atmospheric feel to it that makes your music so accessible as well. How is the sound turning out on the new album?
It’s coming along nicely. It’s definitely a progression of Red Forest, but still retains the qualities that our fans have come to enjoy. It sounds like Trees, but a little more grown up.
5. What’s the writing and recording process been like this time around for the new record? Is it largely different from how you approached the previous two albums?
Not at all actually. We have always recorded with our drummer Zack taking over the producer chair. He’s instrumental in achieving the sound that is created, so we went with what feels comfortable. In addition, we record at Zack’s studio, which allows us to take our time to get the best possible results that we can.
6. Over the past few years we’ve seen quite a number of post-rock/ post-metal bands coming out with albums – in your opinion how would you say that your music is different from other music that is categorized as ‘post-rock’. How would you describe it to someone who has never heard your music before?
My “go-to” description is usually that we are a rock band with no vocals. Kind of a mix of Pink Floyd and Tool. It may not be the best description, but one that allows a sound to immediately develop in the mind of a person you are telling this to. I think we are different in that we approach the songs in a bit more of a rock mentality. We tend not to wait too long to get to the meat and potatoes.
7. With post-rock and the like, it allows for more flexibility when composing the music. But do you find that it gets difficult to be creative and spontaneous at times?
In ways, yes and in ways, no. We try not restrict ourselves with what the general consensus of what post rock should like. In fact, we don’t really think about that at all. We just play what feels right and hope that the listener feels the same way.
8. Would you say the new material marks an evolution in the band’s sound? Or is it a continuation of the last record?
Evolution for sure. This new record is definitely covering some new ground for us, and we can’t wait to share it with everyone.
9. What would you say are the main things that influence how your music turns out? Being an instrumental band, it’s more of a mystery because there are no lyrics to tell a story, the music does that.
Life seems to be the biggest motivator at this point. We are all older and wrapped up in families and jobs, so I think our influences definitely come from living within that realm and stepping into the musical realm when we can.
10. What’s the touring been like? What are tour plans for 2015?
We’ve been hanging pretty low lately so we can just focus 100% on this record. We didn’t want to distract ourselves with shows while we were recording, so we’ve kept things pretty light lately. Having said that, we definitely plan to tour this record as soon as it’s out. We’d really like to get back to Europe as well, so we have ideas of what we want to do. We’ll just have to see how things play out over the next year.
11. Last message to ITTCT fans before your new album comes out and what we can expect!
Thanks for the years of support and patience. We think this new record will be worth the wait. Thanks for taking the time to talk to us!
Cheers to you rad fellas! I hope to see you at a show sometime soon! 🙂