Welcome to BuzzMusic Four Trips Ahead. How did this exciting band form? How did you guys mesh together with your individual interests and styles?
Brian, Dan, and I have known each other for quite some time as we played in different bands on the NYC scene. When my old band broke up, they invited me to get together to see what would happen as they had wanted to work with a different singer. Without sounding cliché, there was immediate chemistry as we liked much of the same music and shared many of the same influences. We also began writing new music almost immediately, which is always a great sign. Ken joined us about five years ago and brought a ferocious new vibe to our rhythm section—a perfect fit. Coming from NYC, we grew up loving hard rock and metal, but we listen to many different genres of music. As a result, I think those diverse elements naturally creep into our music more often than many of the current hard rock and metal bands that I hear.
Let’s talk about this new hit of yours “December”. Can you tell us in-depth about what inspired the lyrics behind this single?
“December” finds someone looking back on the year and, eventually, on their life, feeling pain and regret. It also talks about trying to find inspiration and hopes even when the people you look up to are no longer around. Hence the lyric, “Your heroes died a long time ago. And though you’ve tried, you just can’t let it go.” Many people get excited about the end of the year because of the holidays and the promise of a new year. I decided to take a different approach and recognize how painful the end of the year can be for individuals who’ve lost someone they loved. It also can be soul-crushing as it brings into sharp focus deferred and unfulfilled dreams. I’ve definitely been there.
What was the most challenging aspect for you when creating “December” and how did it benefit the growth of you as a band?
“December” came together quite quickly musically. We wanted to marry different feels that rocked, yet were a little tumultuous. At the same time, it’s important for our songs to still groove and have emotional weight. There are lots of different shades in “December.” It was just important for the vocals and the lyrics to match the intensity of what was being played musically. That’s always the challenge when we write and arrange our music. I feel whenever we finish a song that we deem worthy of releasing, we grow and add more colors to our palette so to speak. “December” possesses a quality of fearlessness that I enjoy in good hard rock music.
What’s the most differentiating concept between performing live and recording a single? Do you guys experiment with new arrangements when delivering a single in a live performance setting as opposed to in the studio?
Performing live is a totally different beast than recording, although we do capture the basics of all of our tracks live as it keeps a cohesiveness and vibe that can’t truly be replicated. Playing songs to a live audience truly gives us energy that is empowering and invigorating. It emboldens the way we play—it’s also great to see and hear how fans react to new songs as well as their favorites. We tend to stick pretty close to our recordings when performing live—sometimes, we may extend a solo or vocal harmony for emphasis, but for the most part, our arrangements remain intact. Our live sound will always be slightly different than our recordings in that we track several layers of guitars, vocals, and other instruments on our recorded songs so there will always be a rawer, slightly more aggressive feel during live performances.
What can we expect to see from Four Trips Ahead throughout 2020?
We are super excited as our latest album, “…And The Fire Within,” was just released via Dr. Music Records with global distribution. Three songs are being played by rock radio throughout Europe: “Bring Me Down”, “Step Into My World,” and “December.” Moreover, we’ve been getting some positive press ahead of the album and since its release at the end of February. We hope to get over to Europe to do some touring this summer. We have some shows lined up in the spring in NYC where we will be playing songs from “ATFW” and debuting new tracks. In the midst of all of this, we’ve already recorded half of what will be our next album at Spin Studios, while we continue writing and working on new songs—so this year promises to be quite busy and exciting within the FTA camp.
Listen to "December" here.