WR827: Trío Telfær

Episode 827 September 13, 2023 01:00:04
WR827: Trío Telfær
Witchpolice Radio
WR827: Trío Telfær

Sep 13 2023 | 01:00:04

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Hosted By

Sam Thompson

Show Notes

As regular listeners know, I like weird shit, and long-running Winnipeg experimentalists Trío Telfær certainly fit that description!

I had a conversation with Corey and Brian about their process of improvisation, being ideologically — but not necessarily sonically — a “jazz” group, their other gigs backing up high-profile locals (i.e. Amos the Kid, Boy Golden, and others), their deep catalogue and upcoming release, and much more!

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View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

WITCHPOLICE RADIO: Welcome to Witchpolice Radio. I'm here today with two members of well, I guess we're going to talk about various projects here. But I think before I try to introduce you, maybe the best way to start this off is if the two of you want to introduce yourselves and give a bit of background about what it is that you do musically. COREY: Sure. Yeah, I'm Corey Hickaway.I'm in Trío Telfær. Obviously. And I have a side project called Yawn Care, which is kind of in the same vein as Trío Telfær. And then I'm a freelance bass player, play with some bands around town: Boy Golden, Mise en Scene, Lucas Roger Band, and Bush Lotus, which Brian also plays in, and a couple other projects that come and go whenever we got the time. WR: Cool. BRIAN: Yeah, I'm Brian Gluck.Yeah. Here with Trío Telfær. My other projects include Amos the Kid, all on drums. My other bands are Tarp, which is formerly known as Heiney, which is formerly known as Heinrich's Maneuver, also Bush Lotus, as Corey mentioned, and Fast Tripper, which is the latest incarnation of previous bands called Umami. WR: So you both have obviously a lot on your plates musically. Is there sort of a priority right now? I mean, I know we're going to talk about Trío Telfær, of course, but how do you juggle that time with all of those projects on the go? COREY: It can be difficult, but usually most of the time it works out so that when one is busy, the other one usually slows down. So I'm able to make it work. But for me, Boy Golden is the priority for me because we've just been super busy and had lots of opportunities to tour and stuff. So any chance I can get on the road, I try and take that. But yeah, it can be tough. This month is super busy with three different bands having shows and learning a new set for one band. And then we try and fit in. Trío Telfær, we have a standing date every Monday. We try and get together and record or mix, but it doesn't always work out. But usually at least like two, three weeks out of four in a month, we make.... Brian's got a full time job as good times. BRIAN: So, yeah, scheduling is honestly sometimes a great difficulty. But, yeah, it's nice to have the day locked down with Trio, just like always knowing that basically Mondays are there for Trio, which is probably the most committed. Most of my other bands don't stick to a weekly thing, which is what Trio tries to do. So, honestly, yeah, it seems like Trio gets the most attention out of me and my schedule, but usually Amos the Kid is next up there. And then also kind of depend on the ebb and flow of projects being more busy or less busy so that you could devote more time here or there. Because, yeah, you can't play five bands consistently, of course. WR: Well, and I guess it's interesting too that both of you are playing in these kind of much more I don't know what the word is, I don't know if commercially successful is the word, but more like sort of a wider appeal to a wider audience. I mean, a lot of these projects you're in have kind of wide appeal, whereas Trío Telfær is a little weirder, I think maybe has more of a niche audience. What is that like? Is that kind of why this has lasted as sort of a committed thing? Because you can kind of take that experimental side of what you do and then kind of exercise that? COREY: Absolutely. I feel like having a creative outlet is super important for me personally because a lot of the bands I'm playing in, I do get to be creative and play my own parts and write parts. But it's mostly working within a structure of the band and a style of music and less wiggle room in terms of what you're doing. And with Trío Telfær and Yawn Care, there's none of that. We just do whatever feels right. And so it can be really freeing to have that. It's I think it's definitely important for me personally to have that. WR: Trying to think of what the most I think probably the highest profile thing that Trío Telfær has done that people might recognize is that event at the Human Rights Museum a few years back. And I think obviously it's been a project for a while before that, but maybe what is the best way to define what it is that you do? Because I think, like, we've sort of hinted at it's a little experimental and different and kind of stream of consciousness sort of sound. How do you define it? BRIAN: Yeah, I think Trio has always been without any defining characters, which is exactly how I think we enjoy it to be for a while. When we were a younger band, sometimes there would be people that would come to us with a specific vibe in mind for a show, and that's when we were comfortable going out and playing live gigs completely improvised, and we'll be like, okay, let's do something scary for this Halloween show. And so we would just make up something spooky. And then there'd be, like, other times where the Human Rights Museum, we never played music like that before we got into that building. So it was just like or since. COREY: Yeah. And actually, I think that's a really important element that we hadn't mentioned yet is that everything at its core, chiotel fair, is improvised and generally recorded live. And I think that, I guess, would be how I define it mostly, is that it's just improvised and it's all nothing kind of premeditated, aside from maybe the energy or the vibe that we're feeling that day when we pick up sounds before we jam. But other than that, the music is all written in the moment. WR: So naturally each of these is a one off then, right? Each performance is going to be kind of a unique experience. It's going to be different music, it's going to be a different vibe, probably. And people aren't going to get the same thing more than once, even if they want to. COREY: Yeah, exactly. And even for us, even if we want to. We have tried to relearn some of our jams that we've done for live shows. And it's tough because sometimes those little mistakes you make in the moment that aren't your natural thing you would play are what make the song. And trying to recreate it. When you recreate it, it just doesn't have the same kind of energy. It feels forced or something like that. WR: Is there sort of a structure? I mean, there's not a structure, like you just said, but is there sort of a structure to how you guys jam at this point, after having done this for as long as you have? Is there sort of a format you sort of naturally go into when it comes to making these pieces? COREY: I think there is, but I don't know if we've ever actually never vocalized it or talked about. There's, like, communication that happens. And the more serious we've gotten, the more the people that are playing melodic instruments. We do have to be conscious of, like, oh, what key are you in or what if someone just starts playing a chord progression? You try not to talk so it can't be heard in the jam. So you try and just watch or listen and figure it out. But yeah, that's an interesting question. I haven't really thought about I guess there are natural things that we like, we've been playing together so long, if Brian does a certain thing, I can kind of tell where he's going to go with it. And then I'll try and predict that and sometimes it doesn't work out, but sometimes it works out great. And then we go somewhere that we would never have been able to achieve just thinking about it beforehand. We had to jam to get ourselves. BRIAN: There and thinking back to the old days when we actually lived in Telford House. It would be like us sitting in the basement and maybe somebody's sitting there with a guitar and they're playing a little riff or something. And then all of a sudden they're, like, hey, you know what? I'm going to plug in. Plugs in and starts playing the riff. And it's like, oh, okay, I'm going to go sit on my drum set. And then you sit down there and then okay. Corey picks up his bass and then all of a sudden we're like, know, basement suite or like, whatever thing is just like, okay, yeah, that's an album now. WR: Yeah. BRIAN: So it's not always like, other than spontaneity, we kind of rely on that a lot for like, oh, somebody's just like, playing something and then you don't have to say anything. You have enough musical knowledge and vocabulary to be able to be like, okay. I know what to do. COREY: Brian and I are like the main rhythm section on almost all of Trío Telfær stuff, and Daniel Diamond plays drums along with Brian on a lot of it. But we've also been very lucky to have really talented lead players, like guitar or keyboard players that we kind of just set a foundation and let them do whatever they want to do on top of it. And then Brian and I kind of lead where the jam goes. And then if you have someone as talented as, like, Micah Ehrenberg or Scotty Petrowski or the guys that played on a lot of the early stuff, if you just give them something to groove on, they can go off and then feel it out when we make a change. And I feel like that's kind of like part of the structure of what we did back then, especially. WR: Well, with not to dwell too much on the on the Human Rights Museum show, but just because just thinking about that and being part of the Jazz Festival, obviously a lot of what you're describing has similarities with, you know, more experimental types of jazz, more avantgarde types of jazz. Do you feel like you fit in with that at all? Or do you feel like this is something different that just sort of uses some of the same techniques? BRIAN: Yeah, jazz is hard to define. If we're talking about jazz tonally, sure, we're maybe not a jazz band, but I fullheartedly feel like we are a jazz band in terms of our ideology and our approach to music. I think the way you can define jazz is it's a process. It's not so much like what it sounds like in your ear. It's more of like, how are the musicians relating to each other and how is the music being formed? I think that's the thing that truly defines what jazz is. So in that context, I feel like we're right in there. Even though it might not sound like it for most of our music, like, the way that we approach it is fully jazzed. COREY: Yeah, I agree with that, for sure. WR: I like that idea of being ideologically jazzed, but not sonically jazzed. It's a thing. WR: There are lots of types of music where you take from that kind of experimental nature of it and just what you were saying earlier, too, about playing off each other and knowing when changes are happening just from experience, playing music together and stuff. That's all, I think, part of the same sort of continuum of what jazz is. COREY: I agree. WR: What was the reaction like at that show? Because you're playing the Jazz Festival big marquee event, so presumably the fans there who are there to see all the different artists are jazz aficionados. Right. What did they think of when they saw your set? COREY: It was hard to tell because we weren't necessarily on a stage. I think it was like a main stage area where Brian Blade, Brian Blade and the Fellowship yeah, they played. Josh Redman, I think, also played there. And then we were kind of like auxiliary part that you would walk away from the main stage, and we were in the hall of Hope right at the bottom, so there wasn't really anybody in front of us that we could see. They were all above us. WR: Okay. COREY: And where I was seated, I couldn't see them. You could probably see them from... BRIAN: I could see a couple of people. But honestly, it was great because it felt like us in the jam room, they were just alone in this big, amazing sounding hall that just made us sound huge. And we were able to just kind of let go of the crowd and just be in our jam room again, just experimenting and not really feel the pressure of a crowd. And then yeah, because the crowd wasn't as involved in the show specifically because people were probably walking by or only hearing it through in the building. It was like, yeah, we didn't get a whole lot of feedback. There was a handful of people that was there for us specifically, like Jen Doerksen, for example. They loved it so there's always a handful of people that were like, that's sick. And that's obviously what we're here for. We don't need thousands of people to see us. Even though there was like 1000, there was only in the other room, right down the hall. I know they heard it and I don't know, hope they like it or hope they made them think or something. COREY: Yeah, I was actually kind of nervous for that show because I don't play jazz. I've never learned how to play jazz. And not that I felt like we needed to be jazz to justify being there, but I just at moments felt like, oh, there's going to be a bunch of jazz fans here that are like, I can't play jazz, but we just did what we did and it worked out. WR: Well, that maybe kind of leads into another question then, about like you said right at the beginning, a lot of what this is, is you're recording these live performances wherever they're happening, whether it's in your jam space or, for example, at the Human Rights Museum, that one I know is on your Bandcamp and stuff, too. What is sort of the ideal way to experience this? Would you rather have people watching you do this live, or do you think that they can get the same impact, I guess, from a recorded version of it? COREY: That's a good question. I think in the past it would have been seeing it live, but just being in our basement because that's where we were most comfortable. But there's kind of been like in the last two, three years, our process and sound has kind of changed with the new gear and the new space that we have. And I feel like the best experience is listening to the records because especially the most recent three or four are all our best work, I think, and they represent what we want it to sound like. And it is different from the live jam. It's like the live jam is the basis of this song, but there is extra production that we've done and extra mixing that we've done that kind of make it the optimal experience to hear it. Hopefully one day we'll be able to repeat that live, and we're working on that, but it's a slow process. BRIAN: I think that's one of the things that I really enjoy about Trío Telfær that I find hard while making music with other projects is a lot of times the songs you hear from other bands that I'm in or in general, for a lot of people, recording music is like you're trying to replicate a moment you had in the jam space when you were writing a song for the first time, like trying to hit this solo or make this change or whatever riff you're trying to do is that first time you hit it in the jam space is like an ultimate feeling. And sometimes in the recording process, when you're trying to recreate that, it's lost a little bit. But with what we do with Trio is like, you're hearing us discovering this music for the first time and creating it. And I feel like that's just like, such a magical musical thing that we're able to preserve by having these be our first moments through these musical movements. It's like you're able to hear us truly create this thing rather than it's an approximation of a moment that we had in the past with some other music. You're hearing the moment. WR: Yeah. I like that. It's not like the 19th time you've rehearsed the same part to make sure you get it right. This is the actual the experience is happening in real time. COREY: Yeah. And like I was saying earlier, it's sometimes impossible to recreate that. BRIAN: Yeah, sometimes we're able to do that. We had a couple of live shows where they were really good. There's a couple on Bandcamp, like, Live at the Legion, which is like, an amazing show and we did really well there. But we played a couple of other live shows that are not on Bandcamp. Yeah. I feel like anything that's on Bandcamp is, like, the way we want you to listen to it. And if we're able to get out there and play a show, eventually yeah, come to that too, because I think it'll be entertaining. But for now, I think there's so many great moments and great music that we've come up with that's just, like, sitting out there in the atmosphere waiting for people to listen to it. WR: Do you have an archive of recorded stuff that's not going to see the light of day? Are you recording literally everything you do? COREY: Yeah, and there's a folder on the Trío Telfær hard drive that has actually a couple of weeks ago, Brian and I were looking through it, and I think there's got to be at least like, 50, just full session recordings that have like, two to three 20 minute jams on them that are just really bad or they're so old that bad is not the right word. They're just not what we feel is something we'd want to put out. It's just not the right vibe or whatever. But what was I going to say? Yeah, there's somewhere it's just not good. Or we've moved past the sound of a lot of it, and I feel like a lot of it's from 2014, 2015, where it's like, I don't even know if I want to put that out anymore because it just doesn't sound like the stuff that we're able to achieve now. So we'll just keep it for ourselves to giggle over when we listen to it. BRIAN: Yeah, I think most of our back catalog, we've, for the most part, gone through and picked out the good stuff. And maybe eventually, down the line, there might be another, oh, here's some trio oldies, b sides or something. But I feel like we have so much material. We're consistently jamming every week and making more adding to this backlog that's going to keep expanding. So to go even further back and try and dig into that is like, nobody got time for that. COREY: It's actually overwhelming how much music we're sitting on right now of recent stuff that we're really excited about that probably won't be able to put out for the next year or so. But we've at least got an album or two, maybe three in the hopper that are sitting there ready to go. Well, not sitting there ready to go, but there's one that's basically ready to go and a couple others that's picked out. Okay. These are going to be the songs. And then, I mean, more than a couple. Yeah, we got a lot of music that can be released in the next. WR: I guess that maybe is a good segue into what's in the cards for the near future. I mean, do you have music that's expected to be coming out within the next few months? [COREY: Yeah, we just got to finish mastering it. We just finished mixing. It's going to be called Electrocoma. It's a little album that in the similar vein of the last two albums we released that all of the tracks ended up being recorded on the same day from the same session. And we kind of noticed this pattern where we have maybe two or three jams of stuff where there's maybe, like, one or two songs and there's one day where every jam we are able to take something from, and that is this one that's about to come out. Or I guess four of the five tracks are all from the same day. And yeah, we're really excited about it. It's definitely our most different sounding record that we've done even like, compared to everything else we've put out. WR: Cool. COREY: So really excited about that. So that should be out hopefully early October. We'll have a date soon. WR: Cool. And then as far as your other stuff, I mean, again, I know you're both in a million projects, but do you have anything upcoming or recent that you want to highlight from those projects? I know Yawn Care released something relatively recently. COREY: Yeah, I can't remember the date, but I think it was July. I put out Unlimited Space, which is a record that I've been sitting on for been needing to get out for quite a while and I finally put it out and been stoked to have that out. Other than that, some Boy Golden tour coming out or Boy Golden just released For Jimmy, which is a record we recorded year and a half ago and really proud of that that just came out. And so we're touring that in the fall. WR: Cool. COREY: Other than that for me. BRIAN: Yeah. Next up on the docket is, I guess, like Bush Lotus is we're playing Harvest Moon. WR: Oh, cool. BRIAN: Okay, so that's the last of the Bush Lotus booked gigs. We've also played Rainbow Trout this past summer and then after that, for me, Tarp, aka Heiney, aka Heinrich's Maneuver, is Soup Stock. Okay, so going back to the old stomping grounds there, that'll be really fun going with those guys. So, yeah, I think those two gigs are basically like the next two things for me. And then Amos is a little bit of a break right now. And then we're probably going to look forward to writing some new stuff. Amos in the next before Christmas-ish we're going to get together, start jamming again weekly. WR: Cool. That's a lot. You have a lot of projects on the go. If someone is hearing about Trío Telfær for the first time on this show or if they already know who you are and they want to follow what's happening with new releases, upcoming shows, hearing old stuff, what's the best way to follow you? BRIAN: Instagram, I guess. Like our Instagram isn't super active. COREY: We pop in and out every once in a while. BRIAN: Yeah, honestly, just go to Bandcamp, start listening. COREY: Bandcamp, and we're on Spotify, has most of our newer releases, but if you want the whole back catalog, Trío Telfær dot Bandcamp.com and yeah, Yawn Care is on Bandcamp and on Spotify and all the streaming services as well as is Spotify. WR: Yeah, that's the future, I guess. I know you have a lot of releases with Trío Telfær. Are they all digital only? Like, are they all just streaming or do you have physical releases of some of them? COREY: We've never put out a physical release. We've been meaning to put out a cassette and we're just waiting for the right time. We're going to have some cassettes one of these days, but we've always just done it. So DIY and low effort isn't the right word, but it's kind of the right vibe. We kind of just put it on Spotify or sorry, put it on Bandcamp and without ever thinking anybody would ever hear it. And so just kind of kept it up with that. BRIAN: It'd be different if we played live shows a lot where we could be there selling tapes. WR: Of course. BRIAN: Yeah. Unless someone's really diehard, they're not going to seek us out for a physical.

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