Good day Jake, hope you`re alright! That is awesome that agreed to do this interview, so let`s talk about your new album!
Alex, thank you so much for the interest and support! With the world unfolding as it is, especially in near you, I hope you are holding up as best you can and that music and conversations like this continue to offer a positive outlet.
To be honest “Pure Joy” surprised me a lot. This album totally smashed me, ha! How the hell did you manage to create such a fast and aggressive album?
Thank you! I am so glad these tunes made an impact. I know you listen to a ton of this stuff!
We had no clear goals with this album other than to put out something that was respectable in our own eyes and that pushed the central instincts of the band further than in the past. That said, this time around the process was different for many reasons. For starters, we had a lot of material written, then we parted ways with our longtime bassist Chad and brought in our great friend, certified maniac, and incredibly talented musician, Tim Mullaney (Genocide Pact, DOC). With Tim in the mix, we started writing the record from scratch but developed a much more fluid and nimble writing prcoess within this new dynamic and we were able to run in different directions easily. Having Tim on board has been simply fantastic on all fronts.
With a new energy and a fresh batch of tunes, we approached recording differently as well. Our guitar player Kevin runs his own studio (Developing Nations Studios), so we were free to try new moves that we’ve never used in the past, like tracking the drums in a small vocal booth for a much tighter drum sound. Plus, the guitars/basses we used were all prototypes made by Kevin as part of his guitar company (Developing Nations Guitars) which was a fun nuance to explore as we went along. On top of that we were even comfortable enough to come up with some new song structures in the studio and had the freedom to enjoy the process in a very open ended manner. So tracking was stress free and easy. Then covid hit and slowed things down but we eventually got back to it and things continued to be different and new in a good way. For example, Kevin had to record all the vocals by himself since we were all quarantined but this meant he was able to take more time with vocals than before and really deliver a stunning performance that I don’t think we ever could’ve gotten if me and Tim were all watching him in the booth like a traditional recording situation. As a result of all of this, the record is a totally fresh and fun leap forward for the band despite, and as a result of, bringing Tim into the fold, covid, etc… In the end, I think we came up with something that is sincere and the tunes speak for themselves.
I was trying to figure this cover art out but I didn`t succeed. So did you mean by that wicked collage?
Thanks for soaking up the cover, since a lot of time was put into the art for the record! As a whole across the entire release, the art offers what I believe is a pretty uniform sentiment, but hopefully, it may mean different things to different people. Accordingly, as the guy that made it, I do not want to over-explain what it is. However, I will say that in my eyes it simply depicts an “appropriate response”. I’m not trying to be cryptic. I honestly hope that helps people enjoy it in their own way.
The boss of Regurgitated Semen rec has good taste. Is it hard to make a deal with such a big label? And do you happy with the results?
Put simply, this new triac album exists because of Sandro and Sven and their profound patience. Farther back than I care to admit Sandro asked about releasing a Triac lp, and we were delighted. Then we took ages to write material, ended up doing other releases, some with rsr and some on other great labels, and “kicked the can” down the road on the full length. Sandro never took the offer off the table and it became a beacon on the horizon for us once we decided to bring Tim in on bass. Frankly, had we not had such a goal, the band may have folded under the pressure of Covid, member shifts, and all the things that really make any group effort difficult. So in the end, I can confidently say Sandro’s persistent request for an lp kept the band going in a sense, and to him and Sven I am incredibly thankful. We are 100% happy with it. I am delighted with the freedom and ease they have offered and all the details came together exactly as we hoped.
The previous release was out 6 years ago, so why you was so silent all that time, that was hiatus, or did you have a creative crisis or?
We’ve been busy with triac the whole time comically enough but mostly live stuff around the US and Europe. Beyond that some of the basics were covered above but also it is important to keep in mind, that we all play in a long list of other bands, have full-time jobs and lives to live.
Since the last release, we have all been a part of many other releases and tours. Too many to count really in many different directions and scenes. So it is simply that Triac is a slow-moving but consistent machine that never stopped. The cool part is that these other obligations fundamentally help the band as well. Everyone’s efforts elsewhere help bring us back to triac with new experiences, skills, and insights. Speaking as a drummer, every musical situation I enter into helps every other musical situation of which I am a part. If that is not the case, I’m doing it wrong. The same goes for the other guys and I see it first hand. We all come back to triac with something more. As a result, the band has become something we get to do and enjoy. It’s a release from the rest of life (and even other bands) which is really at its core what this is all about. This prevents us from putting pressure on the band too which can swiftly pull the vibrance out of any creative scenario. That doesn’t mean it has been free of frustration, difficulty, or hard times but the reasons we keep doing it have never been lost. The moment its a job, an arduous task or ceases to be fun, it will stop without issue.
Jake, I know that you`re using your skills not only for Triac. Let us know about your other bands, please.
Like all drummers, I am busy (or tolerated) in a bunch of different bands. Most directly related to Triac, I play in Backslider from Philadelphia which is a great musical challenge, and Reeking Cross with one of my oldest friends in the world named Mason (Enemy Soil, Autoerotichrist). Additionally, I have recently put out a release with a band called Magt with Janus (Kusari Gama Kill) in the Netherlands and Paul (Wadge) in Canada and also released a fun demo by a band called Caul with Adam Jennings (Mortify, Disrotted) in Japan on vox and Gonzo (Sick/Tired) from Chicago on guitar. There is also a new DC grind thing I’m doing that is going to record sometime soon with some local speed enthusiasts for fans of “more bass” in the mix and Assuck vibes. More on that later.
Further from triac, I’m writing this from a studio with my other band The Arkaics which is a garagey band that does lots of fun stuff in a whole different musical universe.
I spent many years in a noise rock band called Multicult, which has just released some new music that is worth anyone’s time. This new record doesn’t have me on drums but it is worth checking cause they are nasty.
Plus, a while back I helped record percussion stuff with a project called Yellow Bulbs which may appeal to fans of This Heat, Brighter Death Now, Coil or Z’ev, etc…
And of course, there’s always more in the future and lots of stuff in the past but that’s what is happening now pretty much. Kevin from Triac plays in a noiserock-related band called Eye Flys, runs the fantastic recording studio and aluminum guitar company referenced above. Tim puts a lot of his time into his band Genocide Pact which released a fantastic album this year and has released a bunch of stuff with DOC over the years and has a few tricks up his sleeves for grind-obsessed listeners and has a fulltime career outside of all of these shenanigans.
Could you describe you`re feelings and emotions when you`re playing in front of the crowd?
Playing live is so much fun but it is hard to describe. Big venues, tiny clubs, festivals, squats, its all a blast but if you think about it too much things can go wrong. For me, I try my best to stay calm and clear mentally because there is a lot riding on the drummer. When its great, you put in the work and ideally you slip out of reality for a brief moment, you are totally there in the second by second passing of the set, unburdened and unaware of life’s stressors. When you snap back into reality you’re refreshed and may have a few seconds added to your life expectancy. That flow state is far more likely at high speeds cause you’re really pushing your whole body into high gear which is why I love fast music.
However, when things are going wrong, as a drummer in the bands I play in, and with triac especially, I can look to my right/left and know that I have some of my all-time favorite players there to cover up my mistakes. I screw up live ALL THE TIME but everyone else on stage catches my mistakes and makes them work. They need to keep up with me no matter what but I am doing my best for them. The audience gives back a ton of energy too which is incredible but in the end I’m playing for my bandmates first. When I start thinking about the other drummers in the room, who came out to the gig, where my damn drink tickets are, or worse, “I’m gonna screw this up”, the gig suffers, fun vanishes, and my chances of reaching that brief moment of total freedom are out the window. So comically enough, what feelings or emotions to have on stage? Ideally none haha!!
So you have a new record, and a bunch of new shirts… but what about live shows, or even a tour to support the album?
We were entertaining a few release shows but the scheduling didn’t work out on any of them since shows had returned a bit before the planning began and everyone’s schedules were complex. Nevertheless, we can’t wait to play this stuff live. We have a couple shows in the works and a tour lined up for later in the year, the details of which are being sorted now. We will be doing other shows near and far as well and can’t wait to get back to Europe and beyond! If anyone reading this is eager to have us play in your town or country, please reach out! Only one of us smells bad I promise!
Do you realize that next year Triac will celebrate its 20th anniversary? 🙂 How do you feel about it? Could you imagine that this band will make noises for so many years?
Never! Primarily it is worth flagging that the band in a sense has really been many bands over the years due to the different people involved at different points. That said the band has been cosnistant in its sound and sentiment for many many years at this point. Regarding the time, I prefer not to think about it, haha. It is significant but from another angle, and for me personally (and I think for the other guys) it carries little weight. We still need to deliver. No one should pay attention to us because we’ve been around that long. Also I see it as a mark against us haha cause you’d think we’d have much more to show for it. However, when your band sounds like rocks in a blender and your records look like a panic attack, you are clearly either damaged or using a different rubric of success. In this case, I think its both.
Overall we enjoy the tiny little hole we have dug for ourselves and the other bands with whom we share it. Hopefully, other people enjoy it, and will find some “shelter from the storm” within what we offer. If not, that is not our problem. It won’t last forever but it’ll end when the time is right. Having an effort like this into which we can pour a this type of energy for so long has been crucial to my life on so many fronts. That I see as a success and the most important factor when looking at the big timeline.
Everything has changed so much in recent years, especially in music. What would be that piece of advice you’d give to new bands that want to play grindcore or another extreme genre?
That is tough. I shouldn’t be passing out much advice frankly. However, I can say that in my humble experience, if you approach what you’re doing with a great sense of gratitude and respect from the start, you will have a richer experience. If you have a life that accommodates a creative outlet, interested collaborators, a unique context into which you can offer your best effort and access to the needed tools, in the grand scheme of things, you are doing pretty well. Bow to the whole experience, give it everything you have, and enjoy the good and the bad from the ground up. Life could be so much worse.
I forget this at times, just like anyone else. It’s not easy to do. But any effort offered from that place is a fundamental positive contribution to you, those around you, and the community into which you are entering. No one owes you anything and life will be better when seen through that lens.
For me, I love it all. Packing the van just right, navigating wacky venues, difficult sound persons, new people, old friends, finding the right chunk of cement to brace my kick drum outside some hellhole of a venue in a satrange place since I lost my drum rug, show’s relocated to LA parking lots at the last minute, confusing critiques from the only guy that came out to the first triac gig in Germany haha. Its all part of a massive and rich experience for me and I hope anyone in a new band can soak it up in the same way, especially early on.
Grind music is a field for experiments – do you agree with that? And what experimental bands do you like the most?
I agree fully and I think most underground music should be a field for experimentation, especially on the far end of a creative spectrum. Beyond grind I listen to a fair amount of experimental stuff from but within grind I am not the most well-versed. I do love bands like Sissy Spacek, Psydoku, Nuclear Death, Suppression, Scaphe, World, Final Exit, Crawl/Child etc… and others that lean in odd directions entirely or expand on particular facets of the instrumentation of the genre. I used to have an experimental grind/noise project called Jesus of Nazareth (check old RSR and Dotsmark catalogs) that existed solely because grind and related genres offered an expansive creative space. That open creative space was a fruitful center of focus for me for a long time.
Now (and my sentiments change with the seasons almost) I am very intrigued when bands simply but skillfully execute the basics with style and power. That can be rare. But in the same way one might enjoy the simplicity of a perfect cup of coffee, I love when bands deliver the solid rocknroll power right down the middle with zero frills. Love it.
Lastly, thanks again Jake for agreeing to do this interview, and please use this space for any final words, thoughts, plugs…
Primarily I hope you are doing well and really appreciate your interest in the band/record. Beyond that I hope the tunes are helpful to anyone interested in this style of music. We have received some very powerful feedback from people young and old that have found something significant for themselves within the record and that really means the world. The best scenario I can imagine for this band is that someone comes across this new record and has a hint of the live experience I mentioned above and it gives them a little extra something, when they go back to the rest of their life. That is what a lot of wonderful records did for me at really important moments. Beyond that, we are accessible in all the usual places and are looking forward to some gigs and more fresh tunes! Thank you!