Hi Peter, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Busy but excited! Thanks for taking the time to talk to me.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Bring Me Down?
It’s an anthem! “Bring Me Down” is a song for listeners to turn up and release their frustrations, letting music give them hope and inspiration in the face of tough times. I always loved hard rock and metal songs that inspired me or made me feel that all is not lost and that I could stand up for myself and believe in my abilities. That’s why “Bring Me Down” gets such a strong response at shows.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
“Bring Me Down” is a collective of short observations of regular folks being forced to sacrifice their dreams because of social expectations and repression. And one day, these same individuals decide they won’t be held back any longer—it’s a song that resonates with people who don’t want to remain voiceless or powerless at work, school, in their families or when confronting so-called authority.
How was the filming experience?
Intense—because we wanted a closed in, claustrophobic and ominous feel, we were stationed in one corner of our studio space under hot lights for many hours. It was raw because of the ultra close-ups of my face. I had to project emotions tied to the lyrics without physically moving too much—a welcome challenge indeed! To The Bitter End Productions did a great job with a limited budget.
The single comes off your new album …And The Fire Within – what’s the story behind the title?
“…And The Fire Within” is emblematic of finding your inner motivation to rise above your circumstances and to dream without apology. The goal was to identify songs that shared common themes and told stories of how people faced and either overcame or succumbed to challenges. “…And The Fire Within” lives within a backdrop of individuals maneuvering within their particular social and political realities.
How was the recording and writing process?
We tracked the album at our home-away-from-home, Spin Recording Studios in Long Island City in Queens, New York. We are really comfortable there—the staff is like family and has been supportive of our music for some time now. Spin also has a killer live room and an amazing 68-channel SSL board, which lends itself for big, fat rock sounds. The actually tracking process really didn’t take very long—two long weekends for the basic tracking and then another two months in and out of the studio recording guitars, bass and all of the vocals. We worked with days off to allow us time to listen to what we’d done and to make sure we had everything we needed. Nothing was too labored over however—we knew when we had what we needed most of the time. We really worked hard in pre-production to make sure the songs were great and that our performances were on the mark as soon as we stepped into the studio to record the album. The goal was to keep the tracks organic and energetic while capturing the essence of the songs and the magic when we all play together.
What aspect of politics did you get to explore in this material?
We didn’t really explore politics—we write about what we see, hear and feel around us. In that sense, it’s political, but then everything is political. The music was written during late nights in the heart of Midtown Manhattan at our rehearsal space, lyrics were often written and rewritten on subway trains, going to and from these sessions. All of the people we live amongst and the urban jungle we live within inform the music and take root in the themes presented.
Any plans to hit the road?
We are playing some shows in NYC and plan to do some touring in the U.S. in the summer and fall, if we can get on the right bill. And if “…And The Fire Within” gains some traction in other markets outside of the U.S., we would love to tour Europe and beyond.
What else is happening next in Four Trips Ahead’s world?
FTA intends to shoot another clip for “December” in the coming weeks. And we want to get true global distribution for the vinyl of “…And The Fire Within” so more people can hear the album. We hope to be on the road promoting this record for a bit. We’ve also been writing some terrific new music that you’ll hear debuted at shows in the future. I think we’ll be thinking about recording again in 2018.