Wednesday 24 April 2013

...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead // Interview & Live Review

...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead is back in the UK and, with a reputation for a anarchic live show preceding them, we knew we had to head to Manchester Academy 3 to check it out.

We also caught up with drummer come guitarist come vocalist Jason Reece to chat about touring, having that political message and the band gaining a starring role in a movie...

Trail Of Dead's Conrad Keely on stage in Manchester

How’s the tour been going so far- you’ve been in mainland Europe before this, right?
Yeah, we’ve been on tour for about a month and seen a lot, done a lot; it feels like a long tour but also we seem to be having these on fire shows.

It’s the first night in UK tonight– do you approach the shows differently or do you notice a difference in the crowds?
Yeah, some people in Europe like certain albums of ours more, and they make requests and there are definitely songs that people react to.

In terms of setlist how do you go about choosing which songs to favour?
We try to mix it up because you don’t want to play too much of one thing; I guess we’re trying to please everybody and ourselves at the same time. We want to have a good show, but don’t want to be self-indulgent and be like “yeah, we’re going to play our entire new album”. It’s crazy how much we have to choose from and it can be overwhelming at times.

And you’re DJ’ing after the show. What can we expect from a Trail of Dead DJ set? What are your top tunes to spin on the decks?
Autry and I are probably going to be DJ’ing a lot of 60s soul, RnB and maybe play some 90s hip hop too. We will feed off the crowd.

Trail Of Dead take to the stage at Manchester's Academy 3

You’re renowned for smashing up your kit at the end of shows; do you feel like people expect it now?
I guess in a way, yeah, but we kind of forget expectations when we’re caught up in the moment and we’re playing; you loose any sort of perspective and if it happens, it happens.

Bassist Autry Fulbright II
And are people now wary to lend you kit, knowing they probably won’t see it back in one piece?
[laughing] Well, the good thing is we’ve always been very nice to other people’s equipment. We only destroy our own bodies and own equipment, and not other people’s property.

Your most recent album “Lost Songs” you recorded live. Is that the first record you’ve done live?
No, but I think earlier a couple of records back we started doing recording with the drums first and layering, and this time it was just all of us in a room going for it. I respect each way and I think with us we try and approach music with an open mind and experimenting, and see what we can possibly do.

Is it important at this stage to try new methods and especially capturing that live feel?  
Yes definitely. I think with this album we were trying to go for a more German, electronic sound, bands like Kraftwerk, but then we ended up with this punk rock record [laughing]. You think you’re going in one direction then suddenly you’ve stumbled on to something else.

Conrad [Keely- vocals, guitar] said that the lyrical content of bands nowadays is vacuous. I guess you think that in today’s climate it’s important to have bands that are willing to be outspoken?
When I was growing up there was Public Enemy, Rage Against the Machine, a lot of these political bands and I appreciated that message. As a kid you need something, food for thought and now there’s just a lot of love-song sort of things going on. In the end everybody just do what you want. We don’t want a bunch of political bands, but for us we need to put out lyrics that for us say something.

Trail Of Dead lead vocalist Conrad Keely
How do you feel about yourselves appearing as role models?
I would hope that they would see us as a creative force trying to dig a little deeper and they wouldn’t think we’re just a party band.

Do you feel as your career has grown you’ve been more willing and open to being political or has that always been present?
We’ve always been flirting with political ideas. We have this one song “Worlds Apart” which is totally critical of American society; a total blistering criticism and that was really early on. And some songs affect us personally, and books influence us and movies. Sometimes you get inspiration from totally different things.

And finally, what’s next for you?
We’re working on an EP and there might be a movie too. We’ve been working with a director, which is kind of crazy. He wants us to be in the movie, sort of a comedy-drama, a bit like “Juno”. We’d be this band that is in this girl’s mind, but we’ll see and hope that comes together. And yeah, we have more touring too. We’re doing “Pitchfork” festival in July with Bjork and R Kelly!

 And here's what happened When Trail Of Dead took to the stage...

Jason Reece on stage in Manchester
When you first think Trail of Dead you automatically think trail of chaos and destruction. Renowned for their electric live shows which often result in absolute anarchy and destroying of equipment, Trail of Dead are back on UK shores and proving that their reputation for a thrilling live show goes far beyond just the obliterating of instruments.

With a large back catalogue of Trail of Dead classics to choose from, their set in Manchester is a musical journey and from beginning to end the four-piece goes at it guns blazing. Dynamic in every sense, tracks such as “Another Morning Stoner” pull the audience in with subtle and melodic beginnings before usurping with psychedelic riffs and epic breakdowns. And not only dynamic in terms of songs, Trail of Dead flits between different instruments. “Catatonic” sees Jason Reece switch from drums to guitar, whilst bassist Autry Fulbright II is down on bended knees his bass behind his head playing as strong as ever. Feeding off the crowd and vice versa the set builds in pace and energy. “The Spiral Jetty” is progressive and building whilst Homage is thrashing, raw and frenzied seeing Jason venturing out into the crowd. The Punk infused “Caterwaul” soars out through the venue before Trail of Dead leave the stage. As they make their return the crowd boo at the announcement of stage curfew, however Trail of Dead still have time to fit in two final tracks.

...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead rock Manchester Academy

The set comes to a close with political anthem “Worlds Apart”, before the exhilarating “A Perfect Teenhood”, ending with an epic breakdown, wholly transfixes the audience for one last time.  They may have left their on stage destruction behind tonight, but Trail of Dead’s live show is just as engaging and exhilarating as ever before; the music does the talking. 8/10