Interview – Trojan Horse

#IFOWONPRO ! That means I For One Welcome Our New Prog Rock Overlords! Some say we are paraphrasing Grand Theft Auto Vice City, the less knowledgeable points out to a brilliant episode of The Simpsons but the true origin of the “I for one welcome our ___ overlords” is from an obscure 70s film based on H.G. Wells’ Empire of the Ants.

But, yeah, TrojanHorse, a prodigious fantastic quartet from Salford. We’ve reviewed them before, we even offered you with cupped hands one of their tracks. Heck, we even had to post again about them just to remind them their awesomeness (and the Power of The Beard ….compels you!) Now, we  sent them an email and the lovely band took some time from their heavy riffage exercise to answer them. 

1. First of all, I would like to know about the story of your band name and logo (it would evoke duality to me).

I’ve always been interested in Greek mythology, and the most fascinating part for me is the way the mythology is so intertwined with the history. The stories are full of grandeur, and I suppose that’s what we wanted to project into the band. The story of the fall of Troy is one of the most well known stories of all time and instantly conjures up images of everything that a brilliant story has: love, hate, deceit, tragedy, heroism (on both sides), and plenty of battles. The whole idea of the Trojan horse is brilliant in its simplicity. This huge wooden horse is concealing something, and that’s what we try to do. If people know what’s coming next, we aren’t doing our job properly. That tale would be very different if the Trojan’s knew there were Greeks hiding in the horse.

2. Prog Nouveau means to you:

To me it’s a very loose genre with extremely blurred edges. Prog originally was never something that had completely defined barriers, which is why there are no two Prog bands that are alike. Take Jethro Tull and King Crimson, Yes or The Soft Machine, none of these bands sound alike yet they are all lumped into one category, because they all had one thing in common; they weren’t afraid to push things a little further.

‘A Day in the Life’ by The Beatles is often hailed as the birth of Prog; Why? Because it’s five and a half minutes long and changes style various times. I think by saying that, the brick walls are up round the genre and then it’s just as limited as everything else. Why can’t a Prog song be two minutes long?

Unfortunately in the end Prog became a bit of a parody of itself with ELP demanding that they have Persian rugs to stand on whilst they play, or Rick Wakeman’s fucking wizards hat. So that’s why we’ve tried to reinvent it a bit, to distance or selves from the ridiculous bit, but keep the freedom “Prog” can grant us when making music.

3. How is the creative process of a song for you? How do you know when to stop and finish a song?

The creative process is very difficult at times. If we haven’t got the right head on, it’s like pulling teeth. Which is probably why we’ve got about 3 or 4 songs that are half finished that we keep coming back to, to pilfer bits.

That’s not to say it’s hard work all of the time. Some days we go into the rehearsal room and it flows. We can even write a song in one session.

To answer your second question I’ll throw in a family guy quote:

Peter Griffin: “How do you know when to stop painting?”

Artist (I can’t remember who it is): “How do you know when to stop making love?”

We know a song needs to stop when it feels like we’re just adding bits in for the sake of it. Some songs that comes in a bit later, ‘Brazilian’ for instance.

4. What do you care about the most? The creative process itself or the result?

That’s a bit of a chicken and egg question; neither would exist without the other. And for us the creative process never really stops we are constantly changing songs even after we’ve “finished” them. Even tracks that we’ve been playing for 3 or 4 years.

There is something really satisfying about getting a cheer at a gig for playing a song that’s been 3 months in the making. There isn’t a definite answer to this, both have their charms.

5. You have previously published on your twitter account the references in which your lyrics are based on. Why did you decide to take this period of history in specific for your music?

Why not write songs about it? Pretentious to answer a question with a question I know but, the industrial revolution is probably the most important age in human history. The way society was run changed dramatically; from a feudal system to the current capitalist system. And although most of us didn’t benefit too greatly from it, no one can deny the importance of that era. It birthed possibly two of the greatest minds we’ve ever seen. Marx and Engels.

6. Logic vs. lack of sense. What has been the most inspiring side of this coin for Trojan Horse?

I think we live in a world where neither of those two things means what they should (an excellent book to read on this is: How mumbo jumbo conquered the world by Francis Wheen). Society is structured in such a way that 1% of the population own most of the wealth on the planet, while the other 99% live a hard fucking life only to make that 1% richer. I don’t see that as logical as we are led to believe. So I suppose our music reflects that. Life is never as plain and simple as we would like it to be. Most of the time is hard, sometimes it gets a bit easier but never easy to predict.

A perfect reflection of that (il)logical veneer is ‘Disciplining the reserve army’. That song is about a supposedly upstanding member of our society. An ex military magistrate (Major Harold Banks JP) who sexually abuses young girls.

7. What has been the most difficult aspect you have coped with being an independent band?

Like everyone else on the planet, it’s time and money. I’m a father of one and trying to hold down a full time job as-well-as trying to make my band a full time job. Unfortunately things aren’t like the old days where a record company would come along and plough loads of money into you. Now bands are expected to plough loads of money, which they don’t have, to make it work.

8. You have listed a number of bands in your Facebook page as your references, going from Tears for Fears to Mastodon. What is the factor that really captures your attention and makes you favor certain bands?

We all have our favored genres we prefer to listen to, but it’s what sets those bands apart in their own genre. Tears for Fears were writing amazing pop songs in an era full of shit pop songs. They had something that ran a little deeper than just trying to make loads of money from writing songs about love. And although they make loads of money from writing songs about love, when you listen to an album like Songs from the big chair, there’s a bit more to it than ‘Never gonna give you up’.

9. In the middle of this explosion we find a track called “… And the lights went down”. What’s behind this song?

It’s one section of a 3 part song that we wrote in the studio, including ‘Ballad of the Swell Mob’ and ‘Patricroft Way’.

For me (someone correct me if I’m wrong) it’s about those moments of clarity you have at 2 in the morning when you’re lay awake in bed, unable to get back to sleep. Maybe you could look at it as the eye of the storm. The calm, caramel centre of a chaotic album. In some ways writing a song that is so straight forward and simple in its structure, gives you a bit of breathing room in terms of what you do with everything else. Huge harmonies and layers of guitars in their tens.

10. The plans for Trojan Horse in 2012 include:

An EP, a van, a European tour, a new album (hopefully). In that order.

Thanks! 

 

PS: You can download the album for GRATIS (that’s free, angloparlantes!) from their Bandcamp. GO GO GO.

Trojan Horse  FacebookTwitterBandcampTumblrMyspace.

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