We caught up with Truckerbomb following the release of the superb single ‘Irregardlessly’. Enjoy!
Tell us about yourself?
I grew up in Minnesota. I’m an only child, and I kept myself entertained by reading and writing my own stories. My grandpa sold forklifts for a living but played the guitar a bit, and I thought that was pretty cool. I wasn’t from a musical family by any means. That they knew so little about music probably helped to keep them from trying to stop me from going into it. I went to Berklee College of Music in Boston and stayed in the city after I graduated. I moved to Los Angeles several years ago.
What is your songwriting process?
You’d think with a degree in songwriting from Berklee, I’d have it locked down, but honestly, I’m a bit of a mess. I have notebooks, scraps of paper, voice memos, email drafts, and notes on my phone, all with different song ideas. I don’t have any set way I start a song. It could be lyrics first or last. It could start with a bass line.
When I do get it somewhat together, I use an app called Masterwriter to finish the lyrics. Whichever way I started the song, I ultimately make sure I can play it on acoustic guitar while I sing it. If a song doesn’t stand on its own that way, there’s really no hope for it no matter what gets thrown on top.
Tell us about your latest release ‘Irregardlessly’?
I started writing some quirky lyrics about being in a relationship and getting older. I expanded it to include a few of the mishaps couples may face as they stay together. It wouldn’t be a very interesting song if they weren’t larger than life, so that’s where I took them.
At the time, a few people were getting annoyed by the misuse of “irregardless” as a word. A word that was incorrect but also in widespread use was perfect, to sum up, the relationship I was crafting in my song. Not sure if I had anything to do with it being added to the dictionary later or not, but it was probably headed that way anyway.
What made you choose ‘Irregardlessly’ as Truckerbomb’s debut single?
A band can only have one first single, so we probably spent way too much time deciding on it. It’s a little sarcastic; it’s a rock song with country elements, hopefully, interesting and a little different than whatever else is out in the world right now. It was just a good solid choice to let people know what the band is all about and where we’re headed.
‘Irregardlessly’ was recorded at Reseda Ranch Studios by the legendary Fernando Perdomo, what was the process like?
I’m not sure if “effortless” would be an exaggeration, but it sure was easy. Fernando actually loves music. No disrespect to talented engineers I’ve worked within the past, but sometimes it’s hard to tell. And some of that is my fault. I booked a pretty major studio one time. They give you whichever house engineer is available, who’s competent but probably doesn’t want to be there.
I’ll do a few takes and ask, “Which one’s better?” to hear the engineer say, “The levels were good on all of them.” No help at all. Who knows — maybe my songs were terrible back then? Anyway, Fernando steps in like an extra band member. He’s genuinely excited about the creative process. I think that can be heard in the final result.
Who are your musical influences?
Being from Minneapolis, I have to say Prince. Even if no one can hear any Prince in my music, I’m not sure I’d have gone to music school and made a go of it if it weren’t for him. The only thing notable out of Minneapolis was a one-hit-wonder song called ‘Funkytown’ before Prince. Bob Dylan didn’t count since he was before my time, and he made it by going to New York City. Also, I don’t really like Bob Dylan’s music.
Prince was the first musician who was from Minnesota and readily admitted it. Paul Westerberg and The Replacements came later for me — and there’s a pretty good chance someone may hear that in my writing. Johnny Cash, too, although it took me years to realize it. I was standing in a bar in Boston, and I knew every word to every Johnny Cash song. I think my grandparents played his records and the music got stuck in my subconscious.
Who are your non-musical influences?
Ray Bradbury. He’s like a science fiction writer that doesn’t really write science fiction. The storylines are so engaging, so well developed and defy a single genre. Robert Frost for poetry. I could always see, hear and feel what was going on. Mark Twain for being unmistakably American, incredibly progressive, and getting his point across without ever being preachy.
What’s the best gig that you have ever played?
I always think the next one will be the best one. Apart from that, we opened for Eagles of Death Metal at a bowling alley. Coming up to the day, it was going to be one band or another, maybe Jesse solo, maybe him and a couple of members. Anyway, we didn’t know until the day of it would be the whole band. The crowd was amazing, even though we’re a completely different style. Everyone was there just to see great live music.
What do you think are the biggest obstacles for bands/artists today?
The biggest obstacle is probably just them not being able to be bands and artists. No one gets better except by doing it. The serious live music scene is long gone, but people used to be able to make a living playing five-six shows a week or more. Of course, a new artist can’t sing live, and needs autotune — how many hours could a young singer have spent in front of an audience?
There’s that, and then how rapidly the state of the business changes. Like, it was crazy to think someone would get signed by way of YouTube videos. And then they were. And now it’s crazy to think it could happen again. What’s next? I don’t know.
It’s too bad that music itself can’t sustain a career anymore. I mean, think of someone groundbreaking … like, what if Miles Davis was coming up now? If he couldn’t get you to buy a T-shirt or watch an IG story where he’s drinking a Red Bull, his career would be over.
What advice would you give to other bands/artists starting out?
But seriously, give up on trying to be anyone else, sound like anyone else or jumping on the next big thing. Imagine your music won’t make any money — because it likely won’t — and do what you’d do if you had all the money in the world. Music that’s uniquely you and honest is much better to look back on compared to trying to do something that your heart wasn’t in.
What are your hopes for the next two years?
We have plans to get back in the studio soon. We’re shooting to release a single every few months and if we can get that up to once a month, even better. I’ll keep writing new material. I’m pretty excited about where it’s all going. I think I’m writing the best stuff of my career right now. In two years, I’d like to see us have something in a film soundtrack and have all the singles compiled into an album or two. And then, you know, sell some T-shirts and do IG stories where I’m drinking a Red Bull.
FV Music Blog November 2020
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