In 28 years and more than a thousand concerts, I’m not sure that I’ve ever been as excited for a venue-change as I am for …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead’s local appearance this Sunday, November 18th, getting moved from the First Unitarian Church to the far more intimate Johnny Brenda’s. I’ve been going to see the Austin-bred, post-hardcore, art/prog rockers for more than 10 years now and have seen more than said number of shows. I’ve seen them when the band (and their equipment) were infamous for ending sets scattered across the four corners of the room. And I’ve seen them at their most intellectually introspective and refined. I’ve seen them as a four-piece and I’ve seen them when the number of people onstage was nearly in the double digits. However, I’m yet to see them in a 300-capacity room like Johnny Brenda’s. And, as far as the current state of the band? Well, they are currently a quartet, comprised of bassist/vocalist Autry Fulbright and drummer/guitarist Jamie Miller (of Snot and theSTART), in addition to founding members and multi-instrumentalists Conrad Keely and Jason Reece. Last month they released their eighth studio album, Lost Songs, their most aggressive in quite some time. I recently got a chance to chat with Fulbright about the current state of the band and what we can expect of them, both this Sunday and in the near future.
Izzy Cihak: The band recently released Lost Songs. How would you characterize the album, compared to the band’s previous work?
Autry Fulbright: It’s definitely more aggressive and a nod to a lot of bands that influenced us. Also, it’s probably the most collaborative record. It’s actually the first record with this lineup.
IC: What were the album’s biggest influences, whether musical or otherwise?
AF: KARP, Unwound, Sonic Youth, The Cure, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Nation of Ulysses, Bikini Kill, Kenneth Anger, Charles Baudelaire, T.S. Eliot, Pussy Riot, The Syrian Civil War, Frederic Chopin. But that’s just me, personally.
IC: So …Trail of Dead is a band that is historically known for regular lineup changes and you’ve been in the band for a while now. What were your thoughts on the band before joining and what have been the highlights since you’ve been part of the group?
AF: Jason, Conrad, and I have been making and performing music in some form or fashion for roughly the past five years and we’ve known each other for close to a decade. The first album I appeared on was Century Of Self. Shortly after, Jason and I formed Midnight Masses. I began writing and playing bass on Tao Of The Dead. Conrad recorded and performed with me in Shock Cinema prior to that. I was always a big fan of the music they’ve done. I’m very happy with our new album, Lost Songs.
IC: How would you characterize the working dynamic between the current four-piece, with you and Jamie Miller, as you work with founding members Conrad and Jason?
AF: We have a great time recording together.
IC: What are …Trail of Dead’s plans for 2013?
AF: Lots more touring, music festivals, more music videos, special collaborations, and a couple secret special things I can’t talk about.
IC: What should fans expect of the current live show, both in relation to the setlist and the general energy?
AF: Wear a helmet and/or a condom.