With the upcoming re-release of two albums and a new one on the horizon, what better time to fire a few questions at Ohio instrumentalists If These Trees Could Talk?
Drummer Zack Kelly put down his sticks long enough to rattle off the following responses…
I know you’ve probably been asked this a lot, but how does it feel to be recently signed to Metal-Blade records?
It feels great to now be a part of the Metal Blade family. We were never actively searching for a label but this collaboration just feels right and I can’t wait for what the future holds.
I recently reviewed your album, Above the Earth, Below the Sky. I really enjoyed it, and was wondering how you came up with all the song titles. Is there like a specific process you go through, or is it more like “Oh, that sounds good”?
Song titles are usually the last step in the process for us. We like to have all the songs done and then shoot ideas around that sound fitting. It’s fun to get creative and think outside of the box, you can really set the mood of the song with the title.
You’ve got a new album in the works from what I heard. Is the song-writing process any different from the last two?
No, the songwriting process has always been the same throughout the life of The Trees. My brother Cody and I usually come up with a bulk of the riffs and flush out structures, and then the rest of the band can add their flavour to what we already have shaping up.
I remember reading on your page that you self produce your albums. Does this save you any time and does it allow you to have more control over how it sounds?
It doesn’t necessarily save us time but it does give us complete control of the songs. With a total of four guitars sometimes things can get overcrowded or complicated, let alone letting a new person in the mix to throw their two cents on what they think it should sound like. Self producing our albums has always been an important step.
How would you describe your music to someone who’s not heard it before?
We are basically just a rock band without a singer. So it’s hard to try to explain to someone who’s never heard of music like that. I like to call The Trees a non-lyrical exploration of emotion.
Being an instrumental band, does it make it more difficult to come up with several riffs, or do you think it’s easier as you don’t have to worry about a vocalist or lyrics?
What’s nice about our genre is that there are no rules. We don’t have to stick to the standard song structures like getting to the chorus within a certain amount of time. I don’t necessarily think it makes it easier without a singer because everyone’s attention is solely on the music. That being said it’s all about the guitar riffs and how they sound and make you feel.
Have you ever considered a vocal track, maybe just as a one-off?
Personally, I have no interest in adding lyrics to our songs. People have always tried to ask us to sing to a track or if we’ll ever get a singer. The truth is, not having a singer is what makes The Trees The Trees.
Are there any touring plans, or is it just straight on with the new album?
We have never been a big touring band but we do like to get our shows in when we can. We are definitely trying to make it out to the West Coast in support of the new album but it’s just too soon to say.
My final question, when can we expect the new record?
We are hitting the studio in late January and expect to have a lot of the tracking done by April. Plans are for a fall/winter release depending on how things come along.