After four studio albums and the massive touring that came with it, Triggerfinger decided it was time for a change. While writing their latest album, COLOSSUS, the Belguim three piece wanted to add a few new flavors to the mix. Tomatrax caught up with Mario and Ruben from the band to talk about their latest work.
Your up to album number 5, is it hard to keep coming up with new material?
Ruben: It’s always challenging to start a new album. Although I really looked forward to work on new stuff after a long time of touring, you never know if you’ll be able to come up with good material again. Best thing to do: start working.
You know from experience that not everything will come together smoothly. And that’s OK. Sometimes it takes a while before all the pieces fiend their place. You basically start with an idea. It can be some chords, a riff, a vocal melody… Anything.
The cool thing up ’till now seems to be that ones you have a couple of songs you create a certain atmosphere, which might trigger other ideas.
I had a lot of fun writing these songs and providing the early ideas with an exiting outfit.
You’ve said that when working on this album it was time for a change, what prompted this need?
Mario: We made 4 albums already in a certain way and felt that we needed to fresh things up and open up our minds. For some bands it works great to record and work the same way over and over but for us we needed new food for our brains, I guess. By opening your mind you open so many different doors so everything looks like it’s very new and fresh. It gives energy and especially a lot of joy.
Following your decision that it was time for a change how did you determine the musical direction to take?
Ruben: Our two previous albums were maybe more orientated around our live sound and live interaction. We rehearsed every song and arrangement intensively so the basics of the tracks were pretty much live performances.
When I used to make demo’s for songs sometimes there were elements in there that were already very cool and had a great vibe but the whole thing wasn’t good enough to stand on it’s own legs. It was still a demo. Because we bought the gear from a small recording studio a couple of years ago we could record the early ideas and demo’s in a pretty high sound quality. I’m not much of an engineer so there were still lot’s of strange things going on sonically. Some of them more useful than others.
Together with Mitchell (Froom) we decided to keep an open mind about what to use on the final tracks. If some elements of the demo proved to be more exiting than the newly recorded material, nothing would keep us from using the demo stuff, or adding it to make the track more interesting.
What was it like working with Mitchell Froom and Tchad Blake?
Mario: Working with Mitchell was really great. He helped us being as creative as possible at all times by pushing you towards different directions in a very subtle way. We had so much fun because we could try whatever we wanted. He’s so musical and after making so many great albums (Crowded House, Elvis Costello, Los lobos etc etc) there’s still this open mind that keeps everything fresh. Mitchell works with David Boucher as engineer is his studio, who has amazing ears . While Mitchell would suggest something to us, David would have a set up ready that he wanted to try which made it feel like we always where on a playground.
As a fan of a lot of albums that Mitchell and Tchad Blake did we always questioned ourself “What if Tchad Blake would mix our album “ so we asked Mitchell and David what their thoughts where. They reacted really positive. Mitchell didn’t work with Tchad over 15 years but gave his approval and contacted Tchad.
Tchad had little time and could do it in between other albums he was mixing. During a period of a few weeks he would send us track by track. We never talked to him by phone, everything was through mail but every time he send something it sounded so great.
Making this album was so much un from the beginning till the end.
What was the inspiration behind the video for ‘Flesh tight’?
Ruben: Pieter Van Hees, a very cool Belgian movie and television director basically came up with the final idea. I talked with him about the song, send him some images and pictures that were drifting around that headspace and he took it from there. Part from his inspiration came from Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers. We filmed the whole thing with his amazing crew in one day on various locations in Brussels.
Are there any other videos planned from the album?
Mario: There are definitely gonna come more videoclips. The next single will be COLOSSUS and for this clip we’re working with Matt Newman. He did a clip for The Pixies ( Blue eyed hexe). It’s more of a collage clip. When we saw this clip we wanted to work with him especially for this song.
What was the inspiration behind the album’s front cover?
Ruben: First there was the song Colossus.
When we got all the songs written it seemed to be a good title for the album.
When you’re lucky lyrics might work in multiple layers. The first one the words that are there, how they are written. The second one the headspace you can plug it into.
With Colossus it can be for instance a love song, it can be about greed.. or about your uncle Gerard,… or about your greedy, lovesick uncle Gerard.
Even with that open mind it seemed fun to try to construct a face around the Colossus idea. We sat down with Victor Robyn (the art director who provided the artwork for the album), bounced some ideas back and forth and explored the possibilities. In the end he literally molded the Colossus head out of a lump of clay, adding eyes, teeth, a rock formation in the middle.. It was an amazing process watching it evolve over couple of days.. Anxious to open new mails with the developments.
Until it ended up being this weird, scary, funny, beautiful cover.
What is the music scene in Antwerp like?
Mario: Belgium is a very small country. To give you an idea. From one side to the othe other side of the country it’ll take you 3 hours. There’s also 3 languages we speak, Flemish (dutch), French and a little German. For being such a small country there’s not a specific scene in a city. It’s all mixed with genres coming from every different city but being such a small country it’s amazing to see how many good artists we have in such a little space. Check out bands like DEUS, SOULWAX, THE BLACK BOX REVELATION, GOOSE and many more.
Where did the name Triggerfinger come from?
Ruben: I had a notebook where I wrote down lyric ideas and stuff. It contained sentences or words I liked I picked up from books, movies, on the train..
The word Triggerfinger was in there (Probably from an old Western).
I liked the image of a finger triggering something.. Putting things in motion..
Do you ever listen to your own music?
Mario: Sure we do, when it’s on the radio, hahaha
After an album is finished there’s time you need to kind tp let it go. Then after a few weeks you go back and listen to it again. Then it’s time to rehearse your set for the tour and playing all these songs.
What other music do you listen to?
Mario: All 3 of us are listening to a lot of different music. I think it’s great that in a band you share a lot of ideas of albums or someone would suggest you something to listen to. The other day i heard ruben talking about an album he got from a friend so I checked it out and it’s great. It’s Xylouris White. For me I’m listening to the new album of Algiers these days.
What do you have planned once the album is out?
Mario: When the album comes out, we go on a huge European tour. It takes us to UK, Germany, France, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Poland, Czech republic, Hungary, Spain, Norway. We’ll be away from home for a long time promoting this album and we want more of that hahaha
Thank you and hope to see you all in Australia at some point.
Check out Triggerfinger’s website to find out more!