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When our store opens this week, we’ll be featuring a special, Vinyl Me, Please edition of Communicating, the sparkling new album from Hundred Waters. We caught up with band member Trayer Tryon via email while the band tours South America.
Vinyl Me, Please: How is the tour going? What’s most difficult about doing the new songs on the album live? Any new challenges for the live show?
Trayer Tryon: Tour is fun. We drink a lot, eat little, work hard, meet a ton of people, and play music for hours a day. The hard part is getting there in one piece and building the show. The music itself, once the show gets going, isn’t meant to be overtly difficult to play.
Your stage show and aesthetic is pretty distinct for each tour/album. What are the things that are different for the tour and album this time? What’s the inspiration this time out?
We’re touring as a three-piece now. The way I play the songs, instrumentally, is completely different. Nicole’s got her voice going through all these pedals she can play with. She uses only a piano now, no midi control. Zach and I have microphones, which has been fun. We’ve gone through a couple different lighting and set design zones so far.
You’ve said this album is about the arc of a breakup from needing independence to realizing that though maybe you weren’t right for each other, you’ve learned a lot from the experience. Which part of a breakup is hardest to you? Which part was hard to capture in song?
That whole side of things is very unresolved, but it’s not really weighting us down right now. It’s definitely strange to have this thing happening in life that naturally comes out in our music have to be explained and talked about with strangers. It’s probably better for our sanity to divert attention from that when possible.
What was the biggest challenge in finishing this album? It took three years from when you started on it, right?
It came out three years after the previous record, and a lot of that time was spent touring, so it really didn’t take that long. We made a whole lot of music along the way that hasn’t been heard. We’re pretty hard on ourselves through all parts of the process.
You’ve got a reputation for using unconventional items to make sounds on your record (like an earring on your first album). Is there anything like that on the new album?
Plenty. First thing that comes to mind is the song “Firelight,” there’s this Spanish talking near the end. That comes from our friend Miriam. One night she played me this voicemail she had saved on her phone. Her dad had gone missing, she hadn’t seen him in a long time, and one day he called her and left her that message. So intense and beautiful and sad. So I asked her on the spot to send it to me, just to have. A couple weeks later she had lost her phone and with it the message, which was really upsetting. Then we remembered she sent it to me, thank god. I was down in Mexico City and was working on “Firelight.” I dropped it in on a whim and it fit absolutely immaculately. The feeling, the message, the sound, the length, the cadence, everything. So i just left it exactly where it fell, and that’s that. He says:
Good morning honey
Call me okay?
I’ll have my phone ready when you do
Okay my daughter
I love you,
Try your best,
I congratulate you …
God bless you my daughter.
Do you ever get tired of people asking you what it’s like to be on Skrillex’s record label? It seems like he’s really supportive, and let’s you guys lead your own way with where you want to take your music.
It’s kind of an easy question to ask, so it not very interesting to us. It’s much more fun for us to talk about stuff that we haven’t talked about before. That said, it does feel good to talk up your people, so: Skrillex is a really good dude. His record label is obviously a strange fit for us, but strange beats boring.
How did coming from Gainesville impact your music? I think the general perception of Gainesville is that it’s the party school of Florida and not much else. What was good and bad about coming from there?
Gainesville was in a little renaissance when we were there. There were really dedicated people in the DIY world that were bringing people from all over through town and doing crazy ambitious stuff. I want to get a longform audiovisual book together somehow about it. Outsiders typically only know about Fest, which is a punk thing that we had nothing to do with. Our world was way weirder and more open ended. Total weirdos. We were a little piece of it for maybe two years.
You guys are roommates with Moses Sumney; he was just our Record of the Month artist in October. What’s it been like to watch him come into his own as an artist?
Bless his heart. He works his ass off and deserves the world.
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