Trampled By Turtles is a funny name for a band — in the general sense, yes, but also because it implies someone/something slow enough to be trampled by turtles — and the so-named break-neck bluegrass outfit is anything but. This five-piece is challenging notions of what bluegrass music can be with their fast-paced acoustic sound, gaining converts left and right alongside fellow roots revivalists like The Avett Brothers and The Infamous Stringdusters. Just before a big show in NYC tomorrow, TBT frontman Dave Simonett found a minute to catch up with LimeWire Store, giving us the low-down on producing their latest record, Palomino, and the petty crime that sealed the band’s fate.
Trampled by Turtles – “Wait So Long”
Q&A with Trampled By Turtles:
So you got started a few years back in Duluth, MN — how did you first come together?
Dave Simonett: Most of us were playing in rock bands in Duluth. When mine split, I started doing solo shows and then duos with Erik [Berry] playing mandolin. At one of these, Dave Carroll was in the audience and after the show introduced himself and inquired about playing some banjo. In these days we were playing a lot of traditional music and just a few original songs. It was more of a novelty I think — playing in a string band. None of us had done it before.
I understand you’ve all done time in more electronic-based outfits — how did the decision to go totally acoustic come about?
To be completely honest, for me it was out of sheer necessity. At the last show of my last rock band, my electric guitar and amp got stolen out of the loading area of the club. At this time I was a very poor musician and all I had left was my acoustic guitar and could by no means buy a new electric rig. Serendipity I guess, but it sucked at the time.
Loving the name of your new record, Palomino. Any story behind it, besides just being a lovely word to say?
Thanks! I’m glad you feel that way. That’s really how it came about actually. I was brainstorming words to combine in a record title when ‘palomino’ came up. I liked the sound of it and so did the other guys.
You produced this album in addition to writing, playing, and singing on it. Is it hard to keep a producer’s objectivity when you’re so inside the music already?
I really don’t see objectivity as being that important as a producer. Being in the band, I have a good idea of what does and doesn’t work in some aspects of recording, so I think that is an advantage. There really isn’t a lot of “producing” going on with us anyway. It was more to do with finding the right room for the song (we recorded in several different places), finding the right engineer to work with for each session, and going through all the material at the end to put together what I thought would be a cohesive record. There were a few arrangement suggestions but no sweeping string sections or midi synths, know what I mean?
There is a serious element of speed to your brand of bluegrass, that must take a lot energy to sustain. What’s your pre-show routine like?
Usually trying to keep anxiety at bay with a cocktail and a walk around the block.
Do you all ever switch instruments around, or is everybody pretty true to their main axe?
It’s happened, but not very often.
We’re catching you at the top of your fall tour — any special guests or unexpected covers up your sleeves?
Well, we’ve done some of that lately with These United States, whom we’ve been on the road with for the past week. We’ll see, but I’m hoping for some collaboration with The Infamous Stringdusters when we tour with them in November.
What’s the roots scene like in the Twin Cities these days?
Healthy, I’d say. There are a lot of bands working with some kind of Americana sound around here. I think it fits nicely into the greater scene.
Fuente: LimeWire Music Blog