NS: Greetings! I`ll start by saying your new album; "The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw" has one of the most unusual names I`ve encountered within the metal genre. Could you please give some insight into the meaning of this title?
Trevor de Brauw: We believe that while "The Fire..." still retains some aspects of the metal genre, it is not exclusive to the metal genre, therefore rendering your question somewhat irrelevant. Sorry. A lot of different influences from each members` background contributed to the overall sound of this record, from emo to punk rock to seventies rock and roll, so to strictly attribute the record to the metal genre would be limiting. That said, the title is meant to confuse people. The original title was going to be "Black Doom on Tuesday."
NS: While names are being discussed, your previous album "Australasia" seems to have turned a few heads with the name alone. And on top of that, "Pelican" seems a very bizarre name for a band, don`t you think?
Trevor de Brauw: I don`t see the question in the first question, but it`s a good thing to turn heads and confound expectations, especially when people are dedicated to constantly referring to the band as "metal." The band name "Pelican" is hardly as bizarre as "Pork Tornado".
NS: All of your recordings carry a very strong sense of many different emotions within your instrumental movements. In "The Fire in Our Throats" that feeling seems emphasised by a stronger post-rock influence than formerly. Was this an intentional shift, or was it simply a logical step for Pelican? How have the fans reacted, generally speaking?
Trevor de Brauw: There was no intentional shift between the records aside from a general goal of just writing better songs and becoming better musicians, which I hope we`ve done. The only fans I`m really in contact with are friends and family, who seem to all see the record as a growth for the better. Jason Hoffman said that he misses the suffocating heaviness of the old stuff, but I think he`s more than balanced by my dad who thinks it`s a great accomplishment. Thanks, dad!
NS: How did the recording process for "The Fire in Our Throats" differ from the Australasia sessions? And for that matter, was the song-writing process any different?
Trevor de Brauw: The `Australasia` sessions were rushed because of budget restrictions. They were also done in a studio that was still under construction and had a lot of kinks still the work out. Looking back on those sessions kind of stresses me out. The new record was done in a fantastic studio with a little more time to concentrate on details and make everything turn out the way we wanted. I could have used twice as much time still, but I`m a nitpicker. The primary difference in the song writing is that it`s become a lot more democratic.
NS: How do you feel about the result? What has the fan and press response been like?
Trevor de Brauw: As I said, friends and family seem pleased with the results. Simon said the record`s helped him through some tough times, and that means more than any review in any publication. Thanks, Simon!
NS: The track "March to the Sea" from the album was released as the "March into the Sea" EP a few months prior to the album, in the form of a 20 minute version of the song. Why was the extended version released separately?
Trevor de Brauw: It`s a completely different recording of the song that was done a year prior to recording the album. Since the other version existed and we wanted to have it released, it made sense to give a little teaser single before the record came out, as well as a collector`s item for completionists.
NS: One of the most apparent highlights of Pelican is the purely instrumental take on such unique music. Was the decision to not include vocals simply done by default, as the result of not having a vocalist in the band while writing the songs? Or was it intentional from the very beginning?
Trevor de Brauw: No, we just didn`t have a singer. Luckily, none of the songs we`ve written have any space for vocals, really. Hopefully none ever will, because I doubt we`ll agree on what kind of a singer to get. Personally I`m leaning towards Will Oldham.
NS: How long have each of you been playing your respective instruments, and what sort of background (such as previous bands) do you have?
Trevor de Brauw: I don`t know about the others, but I`ve been playing for 14 years. I`ve played in a lot of different bands from pop punk, to dub, to powerviolence, to d-beat, to emo, to folk, to free jazz, etc. The door`s always open for new shit.
NS: Have you considered adding vocals into your music? If so, what vocal style do you believe would be most suiting?
Trevor de Brauw: I think I just answered this. Will Oldham. I would also settle for Vast Aire.
NS: Australasia simply blew me away when I first heard it. There`s such a huge level of depth and feeling expressed in the music that can take me from a feeling of enjoyment and fulfilment to desperate sombre reflection and despondency. My question is simply: how can anyone be so precise in creating such evocative music?
Trevor de Brauw: I`m flattered that you think it was precisely executed. I`m simple too self-critical to answer a question like this. When I listen to my playing all I can hear are things I wish I`d played better or differently. I`m happy that you get something so meaningful out of the music.
NS: There`s obviously quite a large range of influence to be heard on your recordings. I was hoping you could list a few of the more prominent musical figures in your life and how they`ve inspired you?
Trevor de Brauw: Blake Schwartzenbach of Jawbreaker is the person who, in me, creates the reaction you described to our music in the previous question. His emotional depth in his lyrics, singing, and playing is unparalleled. He is a unique genius.
NS: What is the significance of the untitled track on both of your albums, and do they have any relation to each other?
Trevor de Brauw: They were both songs that were mostly unfinished when we brought them to the studio and were completed in the recording process. The only other similarity is we didn`t both naming either of them.
NS: You seem to be doing pretty well on the live circuit. What sort of responses do you get in a live situation? How has your touring to support the new album been going?
Trevor de Brauw: We just got back from very successful tours of Japan and the US. Responses seem to vary anywhere from people closing their eyes to mediate on the music to full scale moshing. I can`t really relate to the latter category, but that`s neither here nor there.
NS: What are some of your memorable live experiences? What about some of the more easily forgettable?
Trevor de Brauw: The first time we played San Francisco the crowd simply demanded an encore, a practice we had never indulged in and haven`t done much since. It was very flattering, but we were so tired that we kind of fucked up the song, making the night both very memorable and very forgettable. I also wish I could forget all the nights people called out requests for songs while we were playing a song. I find this practice to be reprehensible.
NS: Is there any chance we`ll see a Pelican tour through Australia?
Trevor de Brauw: Yes.
NS: Are there any other bands or albums that you think would have benefited from being purely instrumental?
Trevor de Brauw: Yes, Eminem`s records. I don`t know why Dre keeps wasting perfectly good beats on that poser.
NS: Any ideas on where you`ll be heading in the future with Pelican?
Trevor de Brauw: Hopefully Australia.
NS: That about wraps it up. Thanks for your time in responding to these questions and best of luck with your future musical ventures. Feel free to make any final comments.
Trevor de Brauw: People should really think more about nutrition. Besides the fact that crappy food is destroying consumers` bodies, the production of crap food tends to create pollution that harms the enviornment. My favorite food is raw, organic spinach. No joke!
Interview kindly provided to our readers by Decadent of Northern Shadows metal zine. ~ NorthernShadows.hailmetal.com