UK high-intensity emotive post hardcore / rough 90s rock band TRIALS OF EARLY MAN have just released their debut album ‘Attachments’ and I am proud to give you an exclusive feature on the band, their new effort and various other subjects. With members located in London, Bristol and Southampton, TRIALS OF EARLY MAN was created from friendships formed sharing stages in other bands including CARETAKER, ACTION AND ACTION, CIRCUSACT and THE GOOD WIFE. The band released its debut EP, ‘Life Goals’ in March 2014 and this new exciting follow up is both emotionally and intellectually satisfying. Despite not entirely matching the greatest achievements of the iconic bands that inspired their sound, the new record from TRIALS OF EARLY MAN is a very worthwhile journey. The band has a few shows lined up to coincide with the release, including London (28th), Brighton (29th) and Bristol (30th), so please be sure to drop by. But first, check out the interview below and tell us what you think about ‘Attachments’ – share your thoughts in the comments.
Photos by Julie R. Kane.
Hello guys! How are you? How’s London?
We’re well, thanks! Only Dan (guitar) actually lives in London which is sometimes great and sometimes rubbish – overall, the others are probably slightly happier, a little better off and less tired for living in Southampton and Bristol!
Oh, sorry! Ok, so why don’t we start off with a cliché intro :) and drop our readers a little about yourself? Please tell me who you are, how you first got into punk related music and how did TRIALS OF EARLY MAN form.
So we are four guys who have been playing in bands for most of our adult lives, which include CARETAKER, ACTION AND ACTION, CIRCUSACT and THE GOOD WIFE. Dan (drums) also played in WRECK OF OLD 98 many moons ago. Dan and Dan have known each other for ages, and probably got into punk initially through the likes of Dookie- era GREEN DAY before quickly moving on to Fat Wreck bands and then Dischord/No Idea and a host of other stuff.
We met Am through playing and putting on gigs in the Southampton/Basingstoke/Wycombe DIY scenes in the 2000s. Am initially got into punk through watching UK DIY bands like CAT ON FORM, THIS AINT VEGAS, and so on.
He convinced us to form a band about a year and a half ago and luckily persuaded us to keep it going during the search for a fourth member. Am then met Seb at a stag do and we were completed as a quartet.
What’s the status of your other projects? Compared to these activities, what’s the priority of TRIALS OF EARLY MAN?
TRIALS is the only active band for three of us. Am also plays bass in the THE CORRECT ARC and generally manages to devote enough time to each band.
How do you feel everyone’s experience in previous acts has affected this new project?
There’s certainly elements of most of our previous bands in there and helped us to establish a sound pretty quickly, but we still try to evolve from what we’ve done previously. There’s always a period of establishing a songwriting dynamic and working out how the people in a new band can best write together, but we’ve settled into a pattern now where songs can be written really quickly.
Is there a deeper meaning behind the name of the band?
Not really! The search for band names is always a tough one. Am suggested a few ideas including this and also ‘Life Goals’ – the band opted for TRIALS and in the end ‘Life Goals’ worked well for our first EP.
Your new LP “Attachments” is a truly impressive debut and a fine reference to various emotive post hardcore artists from the 90s. Can you tell us a bit about your inspirations?
When we were originally talking about starting this band we wanted to do something drawing on bands like DRIVE LIKE JEHU and HOT SNAKES and there was perhaps a bit more SHELLAC in one or two of our earlier songs. We think there’s a running theme of JAWBOX in a lot of what we do as well. Essentially we usually get to to the end of writing a song and then realise which band we think it sounds like, but that’s incredibly subjective so other people likely wouldn’t hear those comparisons. Also, the idea to start this band came about on the day most of us were attending a BRAID gig, if that tells you anything.
Several people who’ve seen us play have said they could hear a lot of END OF A YEAR/SELF DEFENSE FAMILY in what we’re doing, and a couple of people have told us we remind them of BEAR VS SHARK. I think both of those are incredibly flattering comparisons that we possibly don’t deserve.
In reality, songs are built from a guitar or bass riff and there isn’t one particular sound we are aiming for so hopefully that’s why you can hear a range of influences. Having said that, LA DISPUTE is a band we may well rip off in the future!
Our other main inspirations are frustration, which people have told us comes across in our songs, and our drummer Dan is a fairly serious runner, so that’s always there in the background.
What was your state of mind during the recording process?
It was a really enjoyable but fairly gruelling process, to be honest. The bulk of it was done over two weekends in August while we were also busy with work and other commitments. On the first weekend, Seb rolled up having had only three hours sleep after a stag do (possibly still intoxicated) and that night, Dan had to pick up some stranded drunkards in Oxford at 2am in the morning and only got a bit of sleep before the session on Sunday!
We were recording all three instruments live as we wanted an energetic, authentic sound but as happens with that approach, we could play 90% of a song great but there would always be an issue with one of the parts so with limited time, we sometimes felt the pressure. Luckily, Wayne at Bear Bites Horse studio, who we’d worked with before, was a calming influence and in the end we came up with the goods.
What are your thoughts on vinyl and its relation to other mediums like CDs or tapes? How did you decide to put this new music on vinyl and who’s helping you out with the distribution process?
We are so far only releasing ‘Attachments’ digitally but we’ll consider a physical format if people want it. Vinyl would be good, and as some of the reviewed have pointed out, the linocut artwork for ‘Attachments’ by Theo Peters would look great on the sleeve. Vinyl pressing seems to be getting more and more expensive and time-consuming, but if people want it, we will press it. Tapes were discussed but there wasn’t quite enough enthusiasm with only one of the band currently owning a tape player. For now, there’s download and streaming.
Ok guys, what else? It would be super cool to learn a bit about your view on London’s independent music scene. What is it all about, and what focus does it have nowadays?
We’re no experts on it as we don’t get to as many shows as we’d like but it seems there’s loads of stuff going on punk wise, but there is no single focus. It seems to be really multi-faceted, with different promoters catering to different crowds.
The brilliant Rip This Joint folks put on some of the best London shows, and are about to put out their second compilation LP. Rip This Joint is a real melting pot of seasoned heavyweight bands such as SILENT FRONT, NITKOWSKI, YARDS, DEATH PEDALS, USA NAILS and so on, and some of the newer RTJ-related bands are awesome (DEAD ARMS and LEY LINES we’re looking at you).
Vested Interest also put on some really good emo and post-hardcore amongst other things – CARSON WELLS were great last year – and we’re also looking forward to getting down to some of the nights at the DIY Space for London when we can.
Can you give us a couple of names from your area that IDIOTEQ readers might not have heard of, that we should be checking out this year?
Well, SAD BLOOD (poppy emo) and BROKER (experimental post-hardcore from Brighton) are playing our launch show there’s a good start! We also enjoyed playing with BLOODBUZZ and PERSONAL BEST at an all dayer in Southampton recently.
Ok guys, so you’ll be celebrating the release of your debut album on January 28th in London. Will there be more gigs in support of the new record?
We also have Brighton on the 29th and Bristol on the 30th which we are really looking forward to. We are playing Bristol again on the 18th March and ‘Deprestle Fest’ in London on the 3rd April which is being organised by SAD BLOOD and should be great. We hope to be getting out to a few more places during the year and we’re always open to offers!