Hailing from Guildford, Trails wear their influences of Reuben and Hundred Reasons on their sleeve and combine it with an angular, harder edge. From the opening moments of ‘Crooked Trees’ the quartet take you on an intriguing journey; from frantic moments such as ‘Forever Black’ and ‘Capgras Delusion’ to the intense ‘Echoes in Eternity.’ Whilst straight forward cuts like ‘Captain Hindsight’ and ‘Panthro’ have urgency that begs for related plays.
‘Crooked Trees’ takes in elements of post-hardcore, punk rock, and to an extent, prog with outstanding results, and it seems we’re not the only ones on board for the journey; the album was the result of a successful Kickstarter campaign.
Already Heard recently spoke to Sam from the band to discuss the album, its response, sticking to the DIY route and more.
Already Heard: To begin with can we get your name and role in Trails?
Sam: Sam, I sing and play guitar.
AH: Let’s kick off with a simple question. Can you give us a quick run down on the bands background and history?
Sam: We came together to harness the forces of rock power.
AH: So now you recently released your debut album (‘Crooked Trees’). For those who haven’t heard of Trails before, what they can expect?
Sam: ‘Crooked Trees’ is a mixing pot of everything we wanted to do, dipping in to punk, rock, hardcore and more. We didn’t shy away from anything just because it was different, we embraced every musical idea we believed in and pushed them to their fullest potential in that direction.
AH: From hearing the album and reading various reviews, it seems you’ve been compared to a variety of bands from different genres. What do you make of the comparisons and do you think it’s good to keep people guessing?
Sam: Most of the comparisons have been a pretty fair insight into our influences. And yes it’s nice to see different reviewers citing varied influences, as different bits throughout the album jump out at them. Hopefully that’s testament to the strong variety on there, and highlights the reviewer’s own tastes coming through based on what songs they deem most worthy of comment or comparison. Our influences are broad, and I think that comes across in our album.
AH: If you could pick one song from the album that defines Trails, which would it be and why?
Sam: I’m happy to say there’s no one song that could fully encompass everything we do or define us as such. Although I’m sure there are exceptions, it’d pretty boring if you could listen to one song by a band and feel you know them. That being said, track one ‘Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads’ is hopefully a strong introduction to the band, and the listener can then continue their journey from there!
AH: For the album, you decided to stick with the DIY route and funded the album through and Kickstarter. What was the reason behind this?
Sam: We’re not anti bigger labels. If the right label had come along and shown interest, we might have looked to make it work with them. Luckily we have a strong team of small indies around us, notably Lockjaw Records and Failure By Design Records, who share our ethos and help us out, whilst we keep complete control of writing, recording, videos, touring etc. The Kickstarter campaign was great as it really helped us financially to see this album through to the release stage, and strengthened our belief that there was fan interest out there in us doing an album.
AH: What advice would you give to other bands who are considering using services like Kickstarter? Is it important to have a fan base beforehand?
Sam: We only have a small fan base and it still worked well for us. We made sure we set our target low enough that there was no pressure in reaching it. In light of how quickly we reached our target we probably could have set it higher. In terms of advise, the obvious key things are setting this target figure right, and setting the prices of what you want to offer right (bearing in mind Kickstarter take a cut and you have to include postage). I would also probably recommend Pledge over Kickstarter for bands in light of certain issues we had, as it’s more tailored towards bands.
AH: In the lead up to the album release, you played a few UK shows. How were they?
Sam: Yeah the shows have been really cool and we’re particularly looking forward to getting back out to Europe again!
AH: How have fans reacted to the new songs both at the shows and online?
Sam: There’s been a really positive response to the new songs both online and live, which is always nice, especially after spending a year writing and recording an album, as it’s hard not to lose perspective on what you’ve achieved. But yea, great response!
AH: Now the album is out, what’s next for Trails?
Sam: We’re going to spend the next year touring the album in both the UK and Europe, and I’ve already starting writing for a new EP past that.
AH: Finally why should Already Heard readers should check out ‘Crooked Trees’?
Sam: If you like smashing riffs, souring melodies and scream, pounding drums, syncopated creative rhythms and punk rock passion and ethos, give ‘Crooked Trees’ a spin and hopefully it’ll tickle your fancy!
‘Crooked Trees’ by Trails is out now.
Words by Sean Reid (@SeanReid86)