For those of you that read my review of Eternal Engines, you know I met Triad Eternal when I went to see Bobaflex at the Alrosa Villa in November of 2015. You can check out that review here. The band has been pretty busy since Eternal Engines released a little over a month ago, but I got them all to agree to do an interview!
How did the idea for Triad Eternal come about?
Jake: Triad Eternal came about in the wake of my last band and was originally supposed to be a solo outfit called Jake and the Schemers. After getting a band together and recording our first EP, Afterimage, by myself, the rest of the band expressed its desire to be more collaborative and wanted a name change. Eventually the drummer suggested “3” as a name but after discovering it was already taken, we decided on the name Triad. That version of the band eventually split and Tyler and Zach contacted me about forming a band, which eventually led to them simply joining Triad. Shortly before the release of Afterimage Foust auditioned for us and was a perfect fit, giving you the band that exists today. We amended “Eternal” to the name to combat any other bands named Triad so it would stand out more, it doesn’t really mean anything.
What’s the song writing process like for you guys?
Jake: Many different processes are used when writing songs. Some songs (like “The Catalyst: Celestial Machinery” and “The Catalyst: Volition Sequence”) were a deliberate, collaborative, structured effort whereas some songs like “Act Of Valor,” “Ghost In The Machine” and “The Catalyst: Astral Ascendance” were almost improvised and came together very quickly. There’s definitely variety in the way each song is constructed, so it never gets too stale or boring.
Eternal Engines is a story driven album. Do you feel every album should tell a story?
Jake: I think I can speak for the whole band here that yes, every album should tell some story, in a sense. Not every album has to be a rock opera like Eternal Engines or The Wall or Operation: Mindcrime or Tommy but every record should serve some central purpose or theme rather than being a collection of haphazardly thrown together songs. Personally, I think a central theme/purpose/concept makes it much easier to emotionally connect to the songs, which is a huge part of what music is about: connection.
You added some old songs to this album and a cover. What made you decide to do that?
Jake: Well, the easiest two songs to start with are “Reflections” and “Between The Wheels” which both appeared on Afterimage. On the EP itself, there is a note that says “’Reflections,’ ‘Nexus Of A Crisis’ and ‘Between The Wheels’ are chapters in Eternal Engines, a work in progress” or something like that. So “Reflections” was written with the 100% intention of including it on the LP as well as the Rush cover, “Between The Wheels.” I don’t really remember why I chose that cover other than lyrically it fit really well with the theme of Eternal Engines as well as it being one of my favorite mid-80’s Rush songs. “Nexus Of A Crisis” and “Subjugation In Black” were included on the record as an homage to my first band, Nexus Of A Crisis, a nice nod to the past while still being absolute quality songs that fit the themes and emotions of the overall record.
How many guitars and amps were used in making this album? Brian Banks bets on 6 or 7.
Jake: For guitars, I used my Gibson Les Paul Trad. Pro II, Epiphone ES-333, Steinberger GM-4T, Peavey Wolfgang Special, Hentor Sportscaster and Fender Stratocaster as well as some of the studio’s guitars, among them a 1976 Duane Allman Gibson Les Paul and ’52 Fender Telecaster Reissue. Tyler mainly used his Gibson Les Paul Slash model but he also used his Charvel San Dimas as well as Joe Viers’ infamous “Fall Of Man” guitar (every band that’s recorded at Sonic Lounge will know what that is). For amps we used a Hughes & Kettner Triamp MKII, a Hughes & Kettner Tubemeister 18, a Marshall JVM-410, a Bogner Ecstasy, an Orange Rockerverb 50 and a Marshall Plexi Reissue borrowed from a friend. For basses we used Jymmy Tolland’s (of Bobaflex) Rickenbacker 4001 and Joe Viers’ Epiphone Thunderbird IV and Fender Jazz Bass. We used an old 1970’s Marshall JMP for the bass amp.
What was it like working with Marty McCoy and Mel Washington?
Jake: Both Mel and Marty were awesome to work with. Mel was very good at recognizing when to be “hands-on” as well as when to step away. He was also crucial at introducing the concept of “cutting the fat” off the songs. “Nexus Of A Crisis” was originally a 6-and-a-half minute song before Mel cut it down to 5 minutes while still keeping the integrity of the song intact. Marty was very good at breaking down and reconstructing parts that better fit the song or mood, as well as being an absolute slave driver (in a good way) at getting the possible performance out of everyone in the band.
And let’s not forget the guy who produced most of the record, Joe Viers. Joe always knows what to say and when to say it in regards to our performance and how it can improve. His vast knowledge and experience helps make studio time less tedious and much more of a fun atmosphere that really fosters creativity from everybody.
Tyler: Marty was a lot of fun and super hilarious, but when it came down to business, Marty offered a unique perspective on our music that helped shape the songs we did with him. His criticisms were insightful and helped drive us. We gained a great friend during our process with him.
Zach: Marty gave a lot of creative ideas outside of just the physical playing. Some of the little studio “tricks” he showed us will now show up on every record from here on out.
Foust: Being relatively new to the studio when we started with working Marty, he taught me to “unleash the beast,” so to speak, which also applied to everyone else, helping get the best performance from everybody. His creativity also inspired a lot of unique sounds that added a whole other dimension to the record that we wouldn’t have thought of otherwise had we not worked with him.
What do you feel is the biggest pieces of advice they gave you?
Jake: Mel – “Always have your next album written,” a piece of advice I have totally failed to abide by. Marty… I don’t think that’s fit to print.
If you could work with anyone else in the future, who would it be?
Jake: For me from a producer standpoint, I’d love to work with Mark Hoppus of Blink-182 or John Feldmann. Terry Brown, Bob Ezrin or Eddie Offord would also be amazing to work with.
Tyler: I’d love to work with someone like Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Steve Lillywhite or Quincy Jones.
Foust: Neil Peart, Geddy Lee or Gene Hoglan
If money wasn’t an issue, what would you add to your live shows?
Triad Eternal: Pyro, light shows, video boards, stage props, Spinal Tap pods, you name it. Everything.
What is your idea of the ultimate show for Triad Eternal to headline? Who would open for you?
Jake: I think our ultimate idea would be to do a Rush-type show where it’s just us and we play for 3-hours and play a lot of obscure songs and everyone has this awesome religious experience. But if we had to play with someone, whether headlining or opening, there are ton of bands that would fit that bill. Blink-182, Yes, King Diamond, New York Dolls… there’s really too many to name. Anybody that would have us, really.
A huge thank you to Triad Eternal for agreeing to do this interview. You can catch them April 7, 2017 at The Scarlet & Grey Cafe here in Columbus! You can also connect with them on Facebook and Twitter!
Grab your copy of Eternal Engines from Amazon!