I was excited to make the trip out to the backwoods land to photograph and chat with Trevy more about his music and life in general. A few freeways, back roads, a ferry, a forest and a seemingly nonsensical muddy road into the middle of nowhere finally revealed Trevy's compact abode sitting above a thicket of trees, with the sounds of running creeks drifting in the background. I pulled up as he was washing a couple dishes in a bucket of rainwater and settled in over a hot cup of tea before embarking on a hike (or as I like to call it, ’me getting stuck in mudholes’), with nothing to distract us but the running water, frogs ribitting and a few birds chirping.
Nark: So tell me a bit of your history and getting started with making music.
Trevy: 1997 is when I started using Pro-Tools, when I was a freshman in college, my dad was an architect and he had a fancy Mac, so I got to use special tools like Sound Edit, and make samples with heavy beats. I've been thinking of getting a bass guitar and taking lessons, I've been really resisting the guitar for so long as some sort of anti-rock and roll thing but I would use it to create my basslines, as opposed to a keyboard.
Nark: Do you play your music around here?
Trevy: It's a Pacific Northwest thing that people want you to play your music around campfires- but I haven't played around here, I've been a little shy and reluctant- but coming from LA and New York I'm a little used to playing in venues or clubs. There's also a whole fag-identity thing and I'm still figuring that out in this area, I still feel really aligned to culture in urban spots, and even the more cultured kids around here or in Port Townsend aren't used to it and gawk if you call yourself a fag or something, but it's really not that freak to be who you are.
Nark: So you moved here from LA?
Trevy: I moved from LA in 2007, but I didn't move directly to Washington, I was WOOF'ing for a little while so I went to different peoples farms- one of the best experiences was at this farm on this island outside of Juneau Alaska, about a two hour kayak ride out, I found them in the WOOF catalog-
Trevy: Workers On Organic Farms. It's alphabetized by state and I saw Alaska and said- oh that's interesting, maybe it would be cool to go there, and one of the entries was this guy and it said basically our shitter is out in the blueberry patches and we have woodfire hot tubs every night undernearth the stars, and we're cool straight people!- and I was like oh! So I called them up. That was kind of the gateway moment for me. Shortly after that I lived at Wolf Creek faerie sanctuary in Southern Oregon and I got roped in somehow and decided to live there for a year, and so I was kind of an honorary caretaker, it was pretty fantastic. It was also difficult living there too, but it was super social with lots of people passing through.
Nark: What is your creation process?
Trevy: Not every song starts the same way, but there a couple ways that they tend to start I guess. There's the lyrical and singing element, and the beats and the chords and all the instrumentals. Sometimes, the song will start as something that I just start humming or singing on a hiking trail, or from a poem or something, and they will often find their match, like I will have a poem written up and then find a melody, maybe something that I wrote when I was a kid, and they will just start to come together- but the majority of the practice for me is about making the beats and tweaking things, very laptop oriented, and that process is pretty fun- it plays to the geek in me that just wants to make beats all day long.
Nark: So would you rather be in some crazy fancy studio to make your music or just out here in the woods?
Trevy: I like both. Last year I got to have a little studio downtown, and by downtown I mean downtown Quilcene [laughs], it's like- 'Where is that in Quilcene? Oh it's between Peninsula Foods and the Post Office,' ...the whole town is between Peninsula Foods and the Post Office! But I had this old garage, lots of reverb, and it had electricity which made it convenient since I was living off the grid at that time too, and that was a great space for my practice since I got to be very loud and it felt urban even though I got to walk outside and there were trees everywhere. It is definitely important for me to be out here for my music, I do feel a bit self concious about practicing my music if I have neighbors downstairs and upstairs and all around, it's really nice to just yell and sing and make bad sounding music in the process, and to hear the echo coming off a stand of trees is just- well, there's nothing like it.
We left my stockade of lighting equipment and fancy tricks behind (no electricity, not surprisingly) and ventured off into the woods to work with only the elements at hand. Besides, I couldn't find any smoke bombs like I originally intended to use, and making my own proved difficult and potentially illegal, but we made do with the beautiful scenery, and continued on our conversation.
Nark: Does the album have an encapsulating theme?
Trevy: A lot of the album deals with the forest-nature metaphor, and at the same time it's all really technical, with bass music in it's blood. It's something about this moment in human history, we have iPads and we can have them out here in the woods, and being in the woods for me isn't necessarily about being some purist and I think a lot of people feel that way, it's not about being perfect.
Trevy goes on to tell me a story about a blacksmith, a hunter and a messenger, working together with the noise of industry and the quietude of hunting to find balance.
Trevy: It describes a major part of what I see in the world, human wise, either someone is digging in the dirt, farming, making food- or they get to live in the city, make the technology and stay hidden from the forest and sky. The bridge there between the two is the important part, sharing the same cauldron. It's about being out, in a club, and being in nature at the same time, pounding beats out in the forest.
Trevy Trevoix' current in-the-works album is due out in the autumn season, you can keep track of it on Trevy's Soundcloud, as well as listen to (and download) all his current bass heavy, "forest/faggot/R&B" tracks. Maybe we can rope him into some live performances soon? I promise to not start any campfires.
Check out all the photos from our hike below.
- Category: Feature
- Published on Sunday, 29 April 2012 00:39
- Written by Nark