Ten years ago, all I wanted to do was put out a real album. If you told me I’d be part of a project that put out the first studio album on a beer can, on a beer brewed for us, I would have fallen out of my chair.
There were moments writing the songs on T.R.I.P. that didn’t seem real. There’s a weight that’s deeper than we thought we could go. There’s a lightness that’s as free as we could allow ourselves to be. In 2012, we were at a crossroads of ‘Do we break up, or do we push ourselves outside the vision of the band we’d doggedly pursued for years, and become a whole other act, and risk tarnishing what we’d built?’ We took the risk, wrote, built, allowed these songs to mature for years without playing them for anyone, and recorded them quickly.
When we heard the final mix of one track called, “I Dreamed Of You Again,” our singer, Rish, said, “They can never take this from us.” It wasn’t a specific “they.” When you’re in a band, so many things seem like they’re working against you. There’s an opposition, real or imagined, you’re always fighting. T.R.I.P. is a record from a seasoned group of musicians, who’ve learned a lot, and are still learning. It’s the next step in our evolution as writers and players. There’s intensity. There’s space. It breathes. It screams. It accuses and reflects. We reached the next level. With every album we’re about to release, I play a rough mix for my father. When he heard this one, he said, “This is your grownup album.”
We’re not the same people we were when we started writing it. You never are. It takes years for an independent band to start and finish a project like this. A lot of things happen. People enter and exit your life. People become strangers, and some of them even die. There was a stretch where I couldn’t think of some of these songs without feeling pain from what I considered a brighter time and a better me.
When I walked into the brewery at the end of October for a photo and video shoot, I thought about my first visit there this summer. Releasing the album on a beer was just an idea then, and now it was real. I couldn’t hold the label without shaking. The next morning when I saw the can in my kitchen, part of me still couldn’t believe it. I thought even if nobody cares about this record, this thing happened, and “they can never take this from us.”
Of course, it’s a temporary feeling because you need to make people care. The beer happening just two weeks before the release show felt like getting the silver arrows in the final hour of Zelda: powerful weapons and very little time to use them. Even with a silver arrow story to tell, it was incredibly difficult. Just as things started to happen, world events happened, too. The noise got denser and the road got darker.
We launched it at a crazy aircraft hangar of a space, lit up like the Acropolis, and dropped our singer 50 feet from the air onto the stage. We played it with the synchronized wearable L.E.D. light show our drummer invented from scratch. We watched people interact with the world’s first beer can album, posting photos of it, putting the label on their shirts and tweeting at us about alternate realities. Despite what was happening in the world, people still cared. It wasn’t just us anymore.
When we were writing T.R.I.P., we were trying to create a timeless batch of songs that would be around after the beer ran out, and after we’re gone. Each of us gave everything we had to all the phases of its creative development. Every band wants to poke its head above the clouds, if only for a second. The beer can was the Titan-Centaur booster rocket that launched T.R.I.P. out of a Boston recording studio and into the world. It made a tiny cylinder-shaped dent in the universe. We’re proud of that dent, and now we can start thinking about the next one.
“A new strategy” (MarketWatch)
“Yes, it’s real” (Alternative Press)
“Out of this world” (Men’s Journal)
“Tangible pleasures” (Paste Magazine)
“Unconventional ingenuity” (The A.V. Club)
“A new high in album dropping” (UPROXX)
“We’re actually living in the future” (WIRED)
“This is a very, very cool innovation” (Fortune)
“Takes co-branding to the next level” (ADWEEK)
“Some of the biggest developments for packaging” (Food & Wine)