And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead
As trakMARX goes live - the best value band on this planet - Texan hombres, And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, are ensconsed deep in the confines of recording hell putting down trax for the follow-up to the arsequakingly wonderful disc that was the "Madonna" LP. The band's profile has risen substantially in the UK after a blistering series of recent live performances. Debate rages re the validity of trashing instruments over the fine art of composition but we cant find anything wrong with this band whatsoever - here @ trakMARX we don't care how many instruments they smash up as long as they get all of Noels gtrs.
Knowing full well that T.O.D. won't suffer fools gladly, we cyber sent Jean Encoule down South some to ask some dumb arsed questions and, not surprisingly, we got some smart arsed replies;
tM - Bonjour, je m'appelle Jean Encoule & j'ecrite pour trakMARX.com, le webzine dangerous. Could you spare the time to answer a few questions?
T.O.D. - Bonjour, je m'appelle Conrad Keely. Je déteste l'autorité, mais j'aime le guerre. We don't spare anything, let alone an old curmudgeon like Time.
tM - You look like mods, you sound like the Stooges dressed up as Sonic Youth covering Who songs & you smash up a lot of equipment. Is it where you come from or where you're @?
T.O.D. - No, we come from Texas, which also happens to be where we're at as well.
tM - You recently likened a stage ruck in the US to the Alamo with gtrs for flintlocks and cymbals for shields. Live by the sword, die by the sword?
T.O.D. - There were no swords actually involved. And I prefer to live by the pen.
tM - Texas is chucking out some well definitive sounds @ present. Yr.selves, ATDI & Knife In The Water not withstanding, who else can you recommend from yr. part of the world?
T.O.D. - I would recommend Don Walser for a taste of the true Austin sound, and some of the most beguiling yodelling in recorded history. I would suggest downloading his "Cow Poke" from Napster. Also worth checking out are the Crack Pipes, American Analog Set, Spoon, Rhythm of Black Lines, the Motards, Explosions in the Sky, the Swells, Search for Saturnalia, Windsor for the Derby, (the now defunct) Glorium, Stars of the Lid, Bobby J., Black Lipstick, Fivehead, Silver Scooter, Adult Rodeo, and Blue Lies. That's all I can remember right now, I haven't had my coffee yet.
tM - You bury yr. tunes @ wounded knee (& that's not a criticism), do you foresee any broadening of the palette for yr. 3rd release & when can we expect it?
T.O.D. - You can certainly expect a certain "broadening of the palette" on our next release. A lot of what we did and didn't do with "Madonna" was limited to time constraints and our budget. Since then we have met a lot of people who share our vision, and we hope to recruit their talents for our next recording venture. We've never felt that ...Trail of Dead was limited to a set number of people - if we did, we'd still be a two-piece, wouldn't we? - so I should hope there is still more room to grow. We'll need a bigger practice space, though.
tM - Any bands operating on the world's stages today you feel a kindred spirit with?
T.O.D. - Oh, certainly. Although I doubt many of them even know of our existence. Like the Jurassic 5, for instance, probably don't even listen to shitty rock music, and personally I don't blame them. But outside of the hip hop scene, I really think the Flaming Lips are approaching the art of album-craft the way it was intended to be approached - as an "art". And I recently heard a band from Bellingham Washington called "Death Cab for Cutie" who I think have revived another lost art, that of tune-smithery, which was kind of devoured by the over-zealous acolytes of Emo-core (of course, we're obviously guilty of that ourselves, n'est pas?)
tM - Can music change anything?
T.O.D. - Ask yourself: "Has music change my life?" If you say "yes", then there's your answer. On a more historic precedent, it has been said that had the Wright brothers not been heavily into listening to "Montagues and Capulets" from Prokofieff's Romeo and Juliet, they would never have gotten the idea to put a lawn-mower engine on their glider. But I mean, that's all a bunch of fuckin' academic speculation to me.
tM - Yr. name & the look of yr. website hint @ an interest in palio-centric philosophy, are you students of Hancock's lost civilisation theory?
T.O.D. - I'm not familiar with Hancock or his theory. I think beyond searching for lost civilisations that may or may not have existed, just unravelling the ones that we know did exist is interesting enough - I mean, why go searching for Atlantis when we still don't know what the fuck happened to the Incas and Mayans? I would admit that throughout my education, history, more so than art or music, was always my favourite subject. But then really, it's all about history, isn't it? Let's just hope we have more than ten years of it left, because it sure as fuck ain't lookin' so good.
tM - You recently lost all yr. equipment, what went down there?
T.O.D. - We were stupid - we parked the van in the French quarter of New Orleans. Our equipment was systematically distributed among various participating pawn-shops around the city in exchange for crack-cocaine, which we did not get any of, unfortunately.
tM - Yr. UK tour had to be rescheduled, how did those dates go off & what did the UK make of you?
T.O.D. - Those tours were a splendid experience, we were amazed with our reception. To be honest, we simply were not expecting it. I mean, we had only dreamed of one day coming over there. But to go three times in one year? It's just inconceivable. My only concern about coming back in November is the weather - remember, we're from Texas.
tM - What constitutes success for TOD?
T.O.D. - I know what constitutes success for me is when I can afford to pay not just my rent, but my mother's rent, and pay her back for raising me and my brothers in lieu of making a career for herself. Beyond that, I suppose just hanging out with Snoop Dogg and Dre smoking the fucking chronic, yo.
Jean Encoule 2000