ZT INTERROGATION: WHAT’S THE VERDICT GOING TO BE WITH TRIALS?
Hailing from the Windy City, Trials are hoping to blow people away with their forthcoming release This Ruined World. ZT asks the questions and Trials frontman Mark Sugar puts the case for the defence.
ZT: Hi guys, many thanks for talking with Zero Tolerance. Your third album, This Ruined World, is released later this month – Can you tell us a little about it?
Hey Paul, thanks for having us! So, about this new record…We tend to make pretty big strides between albums, and this is another significant leap. This is easily the most focused and collaborative thing we’ve done. We went into this with a shared goal of making music that was even more aggressive and complex than in the past. We felt we had something to prove, we wanted to push ourselves, and I think we accomplished that. We also worked with a different studio and engineers than on the last two records, which made a tremendous difference. This Ruined World is very raw, with minimal studio trickery, and it’s a pretty good representation of how we sound live. I honestly think the album will surprise people who are familiar with our older stuff.
ZT: Do you feel it is a more intense album than your first two?
I think that’s a fair assessment. When we started writing these songs, we wanted to focus on the heavier elements of our sound, the thrash and death metal influences, and have everything else kind of work around that. We also tried to make the songs more direct and to the point, whereas our older songs would maybe take a little longer to get there. I think the combination of those two things would make for a more intense listening experience.
ZT: Is it fair to say that much of the subject matter of the lyrics is quite heavy and even depressing?
Looking at it now, I guess we might’ve gotten pretty heavy with the lyrics. I see it as letting go of idealism and optimism. Our last record addressed some dark stuff, but with a mindset that some kind of solution or closure was possible. The new album explores some similar subjects, but by the last track, the only solution offered is self-imposed isolation. Mankind can be the worst kind of predator, and these days I try to keep a safe distance from it. The album artwork ties in with that idea as well. I should add that there’s always a tiny bit of humour and sarcasm in there, and upon closer inspection, some of the songs are about pretty ridiculous stuff. So it’s not all as grim as it seems. Ha!
ZT: Did everything run smoothly for you in the studio – any unexpected problems?
Thankfully, we got most of the ‘unexpected problems’ out of our system on the first two records. This one seemed to get made without much incident. Sorry, I wish I had some insane studio disaster stories for you, but I got nothing!
ZT: Your first two albums helped establish the band. I’m sure there must have been chances to sign to a label – so why is This Ruined World a self-release?
There’s always been label interest in the band, even before our first record. But those conversations usually turn into something like ‘hey, so we’re gonna have some guy you’ve never met remix your album’ or ‘hey, leave your jobs and families to go sit in a van and tour for five months,’ or ‘you have a girl in your band, maybe get her to wear more makeup and dress differently…’ To put it mildly, we’re not interested in doing things that way. It’s also worth mentioning that in this day and age, there are very few things a label can do for you that you can’t do for yourself, with a little resourcefulness.
ZT: Could you see yourselves with a label at some point in the future?
We do have talks with labels fairly often, so if we find the right arrangement for us, anything’s possible.
ZT: Presumably without the support of a label every single step of your journey as a band has to be managed by you?
Yes, but we are OK with that. We’re control freaks, we’re stubborn, and we like making our own decisions. The buck literally stops with us, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
ZT: As a unit, have the four members of Trials been friends for a long time?
We sort of vaguely knew each other when we all joined, and became much better friends later, I guess. But this line-up’s been going strong for years now, we get along really well, and at the risk of sounding cheesy, it does feel like family at this point.
ZT: What tour plans have you got for the new album?
We’re trying to figure that out right now. I suspect we will do some dates in the later summer or early fall.
ZT: Any chance that we will see you in Europe, or even the UK?
We would absolutely love to play Europe and/or the UK, and we’re aware that there are people there who have been waiting for us. We don’t really have the resources to make that happen on our own, unfortunately. So if any promoters are reading this, hit us up!
ZT: Are there any bands in Chicago that you’re good friends with?
No, we hate everyone here – except for Czar, Mexican Werewolf, Without Waves, Immortal Bird, Dawnbringer, High Spirits, Suns of Ra, God Dementia, Scientist, Nequient, Jar’d Loose, Bear Mace, Stuck Underwater, Kastasyde, and the original line-up of the Blues Brothers.
ZT: Many thanks for talking with Zero Tolerance – Finally, just highlight for us what the second half of the year has in store for Trials?
The next few months will be somewhat determined by the reaction to This Ruined World, and by our commitments back in ‘real life’. Ideally, I’d like us to play any place where people want to hear us. Thank YOU for your support, and taking the time to check in with us!
Thanks for dropping in!
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