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ERIC'S TRIP the Brave New Waves profile
- Subject: ERIC'S TRIP the Brave New Waves profile
- From: "James R. Covey" <JRCOVEY\!/ac.dal.ca>
- Date: Thu, 27 Jan 1994 16:59:37 -0400
************ profile of ERIC'S TRIP Monday, January 24, 1993 ***********
************ Brave New Waves on the CBC Stereo radio network ***********
************ host: Brent Bambury transcribed by James Covey ***********
Eric's Trip from a seven-inch released in March of '92; that is called
A big music "it" has happened to Canada, and we can lay part of the
blame on Moncton's Eric's Trip. The Maritimes is alive with bands
emerging bravely into the light of day thanks to Sloan and Sub Pop and
cinnamon Toast, a phenomenon which proves that a little attention goes a
long way. Journalists are flown in and mythologies abound, which leads
us to the question, is something happening somewhere only because
someone says it is?
Well, there is no snappy answer to that one, but the last year and a
half, combined with sporadic touring, ceaseless spotlighting, and a
debut album, have given Eric's Trip plenty to reflect on and freak out
about. Julie, expressing the vertigo she's experienced, you know those
moments when you realize what you're doing and you can't believe it,
said recently, "I actually had this idea of putting out a zine of what's
happened to me from last October to October. I was talking to the
guitar player from Bettie Seveert and Lou Barlow about how our glasses
fall off when we play. I used to worship Lou, and now I talk to him."
Continuing to fulfill contractual obligations with Sub Pop, the Trippers
have released their debut long-player *Love Tara*, which came out last
year. Their idea of technological advancement means graduating from the
four-track to the eight-track. Julie calls what they do "noisy love
garage," and says in defense of their aesthetic, "I find that once you
get used to listening to lower-quality recordings they don't bother you.
It's the ones done in twenty-four-track studios that bother me, because
they're too clean and unreal."
"Sickness." Eric's Trip, from *Naked In The Marsh*, the ten-inch
compilation released in '92.
The four members of Eric's Trip have a thing for mall culture and
four-track recorders. They come from Moncton, which is not Halifax, not
even the same province. According to an interview given in January of
'93, the distinction is an important one to the group. Julie says,
"when we were interviewed on Brave New Waves, they did a sort of setup
interview beforehand, and they thought we lived maybe a half-hour out of
Halifax -- it's more like three hours." But she adds, "I guess it's
partly because the rest of Canada doesn't know eastern Canada very well,
and playing in Halifax is where we started getting a lot of attention.
So, thanks for being so understanding, Julie.
Anyway, like legions of young folk around the world they started well,
you know, doing the "j" thing -- jammin'. And they had deep affection
for groups like My Bloody Valentine, Neil Young, Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh,
and of course, Sonic Youth, and they managed to come out sounding
vaguely and nothing like any of the above. In June of 1990, Chris
Thompson, a guitar player, Julie Doiron, who's bass player and sometime
singer, along with Ed Vaughn, drummer, all found themselves in Rick
White's basement. He's the guitar player and the singer. They probably
met at the mall the first time, it's hard to say. Rick says that, "if a
band starts in Moncton, they usually go to Toronto or something." There
chosen name Eric's Trip came replete with a namesake, that bug-eyed guy
that graces the cover of some of their releases, and they plucked the
name from the title of a Lee Rinaldo song on Sonic Youth's *Daydream
Nation* LP. Julie says, "You'd be surprised how many so-called Sonic
Youth fans don't know about the song 'Eric's Trip', 'cause they only
got into it after *Goo*. When we took the name we never thought we'd
get this far. We thought we'd play a couple of gigs in Moncton, and
that'd be it. Lee Rinaldo told us that it was totally cool with him,
though, so we're not gonna get sued."
Eric's Trip from the *Peter* EP, released in '92. "Tangles" is the name
of that track.
By December of 1990, Eric's Trip released their first cassette, called,
I think, *Sappy Music*. The *Caterpillars* cassette followed in April
of '91, *Drowning* in August, they lost their drummer Ed, they found
drummer Mark, and they went on to record *Warm Girl* in January of '92,
and then finally the *Belong* seven-inch in July. All this time the
group had been commuting to Halifax, where the nightlife apparently
rivals Moncton's. Being cosy with Halifax's Sloan turned a lot of eyes
and ears to their direction. Sloan scored a deal with Geffen, of
course, so they were in a position to talk about the Maritimes -- the
music scene, and their favorite pet band, Eric's Trip. Constant
comparisons began between the bands, and these were generally
unwarranted, and it drove Eric's Trip a little bit nuts. Julie says,
"We don't get compared to Sloan so much anymore. It's kind of weird
though, because it makes me nervous -- there's too much hype. It's
great that Sloan's bringing all this attention to the scene out here,
though," she is quick to add.
The hype in question began when Sub Pop's East Coast rep started
snooping around. She landed amidst a whole heap of bands when she
travelled northward to investigate. Sub Pop made an offer to Eric's
Trip -- the band declined, which scores them high on the integrity
meter. And then in the fall of '92 Sub Pop organized a little music
festival called "Vermonstress", in Vermont. Eric's Trip and Sloan were
invited down. The Sub Pop guys saw the show, they sweetened their
original offer considerably, so the myth goes. And Eric's Trip claims
that it wasn't a case of rock star posturing or brattish negotiating,
they just didn't want to belong to anyone. Anyway, a four-record
agreement was struck between the two parties. Eric's Trip will forever
be burdened with the distinction of being Canada's first Sub Pop band.
But Eric's Trip would also release, through Sloan's MURDERecords label,
an EP that they called *Peter*, before they put anything out on Sub Pop.
*Peter* is a very strange record. It was recorded in a sixteen-track
studio, but only two of the seven cuts are recorded on sixteen tracks.
Julie says, "It's a four-track recording. We recorded some sixteen-
track and it didn't really sound like us. We started recording in a
sixteen-track and hated it, then we did a four-track after that."
["Listen", "Blue Sky For Julie/Smother"]
Eric's Trip, from *Never Mind The Molluscs*, released in 1993, and "Blue
Sky For Julie/Smother". Before that, "Listen", from the *Peter* EP
which came out in '92.
Back in the belly of the media machine, things were getting hectic for
the band. Apparently, Warner also had been interested, but they sat on
the demo for too long. When they heard that Sub Pop had been sniffing
around, they sat up a little bit, but it was too late. The chunk of
geography we call the Maritimes suddenly seemed for sale. Other
signings loomed. Island looked at jale -- and jale went with Sub Pop as
well. Of the Eric's Trip situation, Rick said, "We didn't want to sign
to any major label because we didn't feel ready and our music wasn't
The watchful eye of the industry was thrown a bone when Sub Pop released
a double seven-inch package called *Never Mind The Molluscs*, which
might indeed be the most cleverly titled scene compilation ever. Idee
du Nord, Eric's Trip, Sloan, and jale all threw in a song. And it
appeared that Sub Pop had effectively whizzed on the Maritimes -- marked
its territory, made it its own. By this time, people were shocked that
"it" hadn't landed on Queen Street, after all.
Eric's Trip from *Songs About Chris*, released in '93, and "Sand" is the
name of that track.
It's the first Sub Pop record for Eric's Trip -- *Songs About Chris* --
it came out in spring of '93, and on it they stuck to the four-track
basement principles that made them feel comfortable. They even threw in
a ditty called "Sloan Song". Besides the warm, fuzzy quality of the
group's recorded material, they stick to some vague song construction
ideas. Rick says, "We try to keep our music poppy. Even as noisy as we
get, we keep a catchy melody, but with a twisted edge." And Chris
says, "We just want to make it interesting, so even if people think we
don't play that well or something, it'll still be interesting to hear."
Combined with the requisite Sappy quotient, the songs come out sounding
Eric's Trip from the new album *Love Tara*, a track called "Stove", and
"Hurt" before that from *Songs About Chris*, the 1993 Sub Pop EP.
It's been more than a few years for the Trippers, and though they've
appeared to suffer from some amount of shellshock at first, they're
settling into indiedom nicely. They toured in '93, in that very
Canadian way -- transcontinentally -- through the summer, of course.
They did the Sub Pop trans-Canada tour with Pond and Six Finger
Satellite. They skipped over to England for thirteen shows with Redd
Kross. They seem to tour in clusters: three weeks max, then they come
home, refuel, do the Moncton thing, and then go out and do it all again.
Staggering the routine this way keeps them friends and it doesn't murder
their material for them the way that playing the same songs for six
months every night does.
And so, their first LP for Sub Pop could have been a studio "real deal"
with all the fixings: producers, buttons, gear. Instead, they opted to
record at Rick's place again. Rick says, "We like it to sound like it's
in our house. *Love Tara* was recorded at my house, in the back, in my
dad's workshop." Bob Weston was flown in to help them master it and fix
up some of the rougher edges, and *Love Tara*, like *Chris* and *Peter*
was inspired by a friend. It came out on schedule -- uncompromisingly
grit and fuzz and sappy songs.
["Secret for Julie"]
"Secret for Julie", that's Eric's Trip from *Love Tara*, released in
Hardly folks to pull any slack, they will be touring sporadically. They
have a couple of non-Sub Pop seven-inches coming out later this year.
Julie's been nurturing a little living-room label, called "Sappy" in the
meantime, and out on Sappy is "Stereo Mountain", which is a group
featuring Julie, a Broken Girl seven-inch is planned, which will be
Julie solo, and Carpetburn, an Eric's Trip side project. Julie
describes it as "loud hash-driven sex songs."
For Rick, the rock'n'roll road may be something he just happened to
travel along through a series of fantastic coincidences. He says his
dad was hoping he'd have turned out a little bit different. "My dad
wanted me to just be a hockey player," he says, "I guess I wrecked my
childhood for him. Now I have to compare the band to hockey for him to
understand. I tell him we've just been signed to a farm team. He
figures that's pretty good."
Eric's Trip from *Love Tara*, released in 1993, and "Sunlight" is the
name of that track. Eric's Trip performs January 27 at the Cafe Campus
here in Montreal, January 28 at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg
-- two shows, one at noon, one in the evening.
That's our profile tonight on Eric's Trip. If you have a profile
suggestion, send it to us, Brave New Waves, Box 6000, Montreal PQ, H3C
3A8 or email us at bnw\!/babylon.montreal.qc.ca.
James R. Covey <JRCOVEY\!/ac.dal.ca> What syllable are you seeking,
Department of English In the distances of sleep?
Dalhousie University Halifax, NS B3H 3H5 Speak it.