Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Interview: Trever Keith

Trever Keith has worn many hats over the years. His band, Face to Face, was one of the best pop punk bands of the 90s and 00s. He mashed up punk and hip-hop with Legion of Doom. He even runs his own record label. I recently had the chance to get some of Trever's insights into all the facets of music that he touches.

RnRnMN: Face to Face has recently done some reunion shows. How has the response been? What's it like being reunited after five years apart?

TK: The response has been overwhelming. Such an amazing vibe coming back from the live audiences. It's like nothing we've ever experienced.

RnRnMN: You've played a number of roles over the course of your musical career: band member, producer, mash-ups, solo artist, label owner, etc. What are the ups and downs of each?

TK: The job descriptions that require creativity are the most rewarding (band member, solo artist, producer, etc) because even if they don't ultimately pay much, they are satisfying in their own right. The flipside is that criticism feels personal.

Owning a label is a lot like work. I pretty much hate it and I'm not sure how much longer I will continue to do it.

RnRnMN: You chose to release Melancholics Anonymous digitally. What went into that decision? Will the album ever have a hard-copy release?

TK: The "release" of Melancholics Anonymous is really not official. I look at it as more of a pre-release. I wanted to get the music out there to the fans first. Making it available digitally via my website allowed me to do that almost immediately after it was completed. I did also press up 1,000 hand numbered and signed limited edition CDs which I sold out on the road at the shows.

I plan a more official release of the CD with new artwork etc and most likely some bonus material.

RnRnMN: The price of digital music seems to vary widely. iTunes and Rhapsody want $0.89 a track (making a whole album the same price as buying a CD); A lot of digital releases fall into the $8-10 range; Radiohead let fans pick their price; some give it away for free. You're selling the new album for $5. How did you come up with that
price in a market that seems to have no real pricing standard?

TK: It seemed a fair price to me. I just asked myself what I would be comfortable paying for a download-able album.

RnRnMN: I was surprised that Melancholics didn't have a real pop-punk sound. Instead, you seemed to delve more into Brit pop influences. Was there anything you were listening to a lot of as you wrote the album that influenced its sound?

TK: I've been a long time fan of bands like The Smiths, The Cure, The Psychedelic Furs, Echo and The Bunnymen, etc. So I think this album afforded me the opportunity to sort of channel those influences in a way that F2F never could.

RnRnMN: The album's title certainly sets some expectation of emo leanings, but many emo bands can't seem to avoid being over-dramatic. Your album is emotional, yet avoids crossing that line. How did you accomplish that?

TK: Because I really have no idea what "emo" music means. I just wrote songs that reflected my own thoughts and feelings. I also don't think that any style of music has the market cornered on certain terminology in the English language.

RnRnMN: What's on the horizon for you as a solo artist? For Face to Face?

TK: A whole lot of live performances for the foreseeable future.


Check out the review of Melancholics Anonymous.

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Blogger Holmeslaw said...

Best album of the review from the Troubadour on my blog.

5:33 PM  
Blogger Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

really good questions, Bob, especially the downloading cost question

10:23 PM  

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