Trojan Horse are a progressive rock band from Manchester in the UK. They have kindly agreed to take some time out from their busy gigging schedule to answer some questions about their passion for music, how they came into what we know as Trojan Horse today and the gig circuit in Manchester. Its pretty funny too so read on and enjoy! 😉
Q: If you could use a tagline of less than 20 words to describe your music and who you are what would it be?
We.play.A.mixture.of.styles.some.say.its.progressive.rock.mainly.its.just.loud.or.Prog. Nouveau.to.you. (That’s 20 words exactly…)
Q: What is your musical background?
We’ve all played in bands around Manchester, where we’re from for the best part of half a decade. Me (Nick- Guitar/Vocals), Lozz (Bass/Vocals), and Eden (Keyboards/Vocals) are all brothers and our dad is a musician and has been his whole life, as was our grandad. So to coin a cliché “It’s in our blood”. Guy (Drums) has been playing in various bands around Manchester for years also, we’re lucky to have snagged such a great drummer when we needed one, as he’s in high demand.
Q: How was 2010 for you?
2010, was…interesting. Managed to get through 3 drummers, played some awesome gigs, met some great people and FINALLY after 3 and a half years of recording, released our debut album to critical acclaim!
Considering we started the year not knowing if we were gonna be a band anymore, we ended it on a massive high.
Q: Who inspires you musically?
A more apt question would be what inspires us, because I don’t think a day goes by where we aren’t picking up inspiration from everything around us. Bird song, the insane noise a bus makes as it thunders by while you’re rolling around on the floor tripping on acid (this actually happened). Currently my niece singing along to Thomas the Tank Engine songs, and replacing the words with “de de de” to the melody is a source of amusement and inspiration, those songs are really catchy.
Q: Which modern day artists do you look up to?
Dj Shadow, King Crimson, Mastodon, Bowie, all innovators in the type of music they’re doing. They’ve all brought something to the table, added to the mix. In some cases managed to morph and create entire genres of music. We’re always looking for a challenge, to keep what we do fun, and if that’s walk away from the beaten track like some of those guys did, then we’ll do it and explore to dark musical caves, and prod under rocks for anything innovative and interesting.
Q: Is there anyone you would like to collaborate or gig with?
Yeah, we’d absolutely love to play with Mastodon (well I would – Nick). In terms of collaborations, I’ve always wanted to do a Trojan Horse album where we collaborate with loads of local bands and artists that we gig with, and some people from further afield. Just to see what we could come up with. We’re all about trying to make something fresh from the tools we’ve got in front of us, and new ideas and ways of working are always welcome. We tried it at a gig I put on a while back, and had an improv session with loads of musicians we know and it kind of worked. I’d be really into doing it again but on record. Manchester has a lot of creative talent knocking about in various forms.
Q: What songs are on your ipod at the moment?
My headphones are broke at the moment and I cant afford any new ones to listen to stuff, perils of being a full time musician. But off the top of my head, ive got loads of Cave In, King Crimson, Converge, QOTSA, BBC Radiophoic Workshop bits, Torche, Beecher, Soft Machine, Oceansize’s latest album. I have to admit I’ve got our album on there as well, that gets quite a lot of plays, I listen because I need to figure out where to go next haha. I know Lozz has been blasting out Elliott smith and Tim Buckley in his car lately. And we’ve all been hammering the last Field Music album because its friggin’ AMAZING.
Q: What is your creative process for creating a track?
We stand in a room, and virtually take each other to the brink of nervous breakdown, each writing, playing and arranging each others riffs and ideas. Its one of those things where the process is so monumentally annoyingly, hard, sometimes, that I think we end up blacking out for the most part and when we come out the other side its like “Ah now that wasn’t THAT hard, lets do another one” and the vicious cycle starts again. That sounds a bit like we don’t like it, we love it. Its masses of fun, we’re just perfectionists and we want to write the best song in the universe…and we will, again.
Its just about trying to constantly top yourself as to what you can do. We’ll write something we think “No way will we be able to do this live” and we get used to it, and it becomes easy to play so we try and up the game. Four years down the line and we’re still demoing songs that we couldn’t possibly play live there and then, but its about setting yourself a goal of being better and working towards that, constantly changing the goal posts for yourself. I really don’t see the point in writing “safe” songs. If it takes me months to play something properly then I should be putting in the maximum effort to get there.
Q: What’s more important, melody or lyrics?
You can’t have one good thing without the other. I was having this very discussion with Guy our drummer the other night at practise. I listen to music as a whole, so the voice is another instrument to me, but I don’t get wholly instrumental bands for the most part (barring NASDAQ from Manchester who are truly fantastic, word, or lyrics in this case, cant describe!).
Then on the other hand, im being a bit of an idiot if I totally discount lyrics, because lyrics and make or break a record for me. I happen to think that a load of the bands round at the moment could do with re-reading what they put down as lyrics, because I would be completely ashamed if I’d put some of the shit they sing, out on record.
A great melody is a good thing but without good lyrics, its useless. So I’d have to say both are just as important.
Q: Where are you based?
We are currently based between Manchester and Salford. I say them as separate places, because if you’re from Salford, people get fiercely territorial about it hahaha. Manchester and Salford are VERY different places, although they geographically cozy up to each other, and the inhabitants will almost certainly jump down your throat to correct you if you should make that mistake. Alas its all in good humor.
Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?
Its great. Salford/Manchester get a bad rep for the dubious history they’ve both shared, but I don’t think I’d want to have grown up anywhere else. We have such a rich history, social upheavals, amazing music, and if you’re into that sort of thing, great sporting heroes, recognized the world over. It’s a place where you can find something to do at any time of the day, its very interesting but unlike London where its massively crowded, and you feel quite claustrophobic. Everyone is welcoming too, you just have to engage on the same level that people are coming from. Perfect example we had three, what most people would call “Scallies” come up to us at the end of a gig we played at The Thirsty Scholar in the city centre, and they stood and told us how amazing they thought the songs were. To me something like that means we’ve not only played well live, but also that we’ve written something that appeals broadly to loads of different people. Job done!
Q: What are you currently working on?
We’re gearing up for our debut album launch show, on the 5th March, at Kraak Gallery in Manchester. Its been a long time coming but we’re finally getting it sorted. Also started work on our second album, so just writing those songs and hopefully we’ll be in the studio again to start recording later in the year. We’ve got three tracks written already, and a fourth on the way, so we’ll be demoing them very soon.
Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
We’ve played with so many amazing bands, and met so many great people. Its hard to pin point one particular moment, getting good feedback about our album from the dudes in Mastodon, after me sending them a copy of the album. Mike from Oceansize, has been really supportive things like that are fucking incredible. We’ve had such positive things said about the music, its got to be that I think. Just people taking what we do on board and getting involved with us. So yeah thank you to everyone who’s helped us along the way, we really do appreciate it. We’ve been playing in this band for years, writing the music we want to hear, and playing it mainly for ourselves, it’s a bit overwhelming all the positive vibes we’re now receiving. Not that I’m complaining AT ALL.
Q: What are you hoping to achieve in 2011?
Start getting out there. We’re touring throughout March and more later in the year, I’m just in the process of booking those. Then get in the studio with album #2, and some support slots would be really nice, Oceansize should take us out on their next tour probably, I’ve dropped enough hints. You’d think they’d get it by now! Although if anyone else wants to take us out, wine and dine us like cheap hussies, get in touch. We love playing music, so as much of that as humanly possible would be ideal.
Q: Do you have any gigs or shows that you’d like to tell us about?
As I say we have the tour in March, so I think we have Nottingham on the 4th, our album launch in Manchester, Kraak Gallery on the 5th, and Birmingham on the 6th, and more that are still being sorted, Scotland towards the later part. We’re in talks at the moment for some incredible support slots in March and April with some truly amazing bands, but im not really allowed to say who yet haha, I have a big mouth so this is killing me not saying.
Q: What do you do to relax?
Sleep, or have lots of glorious, passionate, love making with a harem of women….mostly sleep though and none of the latter.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to let our readers know about?
Yeah, If you head on over to our bandcamp page you can pick up our album in digital form already for like £2/$4-ish. Its taken us three and a half years of recording and refining it, its something we’re very proud of. So yeah go have a listen and download it.
Other than that, theres a ton of brilliant bands from Manchester, all playing really great music that we respect, and not like they need our help at all, but we would like anyone who hasn’t heard them to check them out, so have a look for From the Kites of San Quentin, Arficeden, Hammers, Cyril Snear, NASDAQ, Beecher, Broken Teeth, Mind On Fire, Go Lebanon, Charlie Barnes, With That Knife, the list is endless, but im sure people would get really bored if I went on. Suffice to say there are a few there, and there are links to loads of bands on our facebook, and myspace so please do check them out.
Editor Comment: Trojan Horse are a progressive rock band with real potential. Next time I’m in Manchester I’ll definitely check them out and you should too!
twitter link: @trojanhorseuk
facebook link: facebook.com/trojanhorseuk
myspace link: myspace.com/trojanhorseband
web page link: http://trojanhorse.bandcamp.com