THE UNWOUND SOUND // Ten years on, the Olympia, Wash.-based punk rockers have delivered an epic album that finds them... well, artier than ever.
|Interview Jenny Tatone Photography Jim McGinnis|
"To me, [Leaves Turn Inside You] seemed like a pretty natural progression. But some people were like, 'Woah! You guys sound totally different!' " Justin Trosper
Tatone: Many believe that writing whether it be fiction, poems or songs reveals the writer at his or her utmost realness. That is to say, to be a writer means to be as honest with yourself and the world as you possibly can be, and it exposes the writer to sometimes-harsh realities. As the saying goes, the truth hurts. Is it ever hard to write songs? Can it be painful?
Trosper: Yeah, there's buffer zones that you find in fictional subjects. I like writing. I like to be real on some level. I like to expose myself, looking back and finding that level of being honest, or digging out the garbage inside of you.
Tatone: Do you think the fact that you've written as an artist for so many years has kind of shaped the way your life has become? Like, if you had never written as much as you have, you wouldn't be as consciously aware of your life?
Trosper: Definitely not. Like doing interviews you just talk about yourself and become very self-aware. Yeah, jeez, I don't know where I'd be without writing. It's so much a part of my normal life, I couldn't imagine not writing.
Tatone: Do you think of the music you make as being art?
Trosper: I have a pretty broad idea of art. I think a lot of artists interpret things differently. Some people feel empowered by the art. But, then again, I don't walk into a craft store and look at ducks made out of twigs and consider it art. I mean, on some level, yeah. What's the difference between that and a Picasso? I guess the medium that we use is rock and at some point in time came art rock. I think [what's more important is] enjoying the creative process and then letting other people decide. To me, it is [art]. But I could see someone disagreeing with that.
There's definitely a craft involved in the process. Just the same as other arts, it's translating what goes on inside your brain onto canvas or paper. I'm an artist, yes. This is what I do, this is art. So, it's art, but it's also just rock music. Rock music is pretty easy to understand. Art doesn't necessarily have to be hard to understand.
Vision is key: that's the difference between a band like us and a cover band. A cover band is sort of a copy machine. You take a piece of art and you copy it off. Anything, like an art book, you can look at it there or you can see a piece of art on the wall is that the art or is this the art? How diluted is art? Is art just the thing when it happens, or is it like when it's finished?
Maybe the highest point to experience us would be live, on a good night, not on a bad night. Is a bad night art? I dunno. I hope people forget the bad nights. [laughing]. Or the albums, especially the new one, I think are a culmination of the art process. The live band is more there to bring whoever wants to go to the same room and sort of experience the loudness, the sonic experience.