A chat with Triptides' Glenn Brigman
Since their early formation back in 2010, Triptides have evolved to become important front runners in LA’s buzzing psych scene. Having recently completed a European tour of their sixth studio album “Visitors”, released in April 2018, we thought it was about time to catch up with Triptides vocalist and multi- instrumentalist Glenn Brigman, to talk band history, tape machines and what’s in store for fans in 2019…
Hey Glenn. How’s it going?
Hey Ciara! It's going well, thanks for having us for an interview.
No problem! Tell us a bit about the evolution of Triptides... When did you decide to move to L.A from Indiana?
We actually moved out to LA in the Fall of 2014. The group started back in 2010 in Bloomington, Indiana where I was attending university. I met Josh Menashe during our first year of school in a rock and roll history class and we started jamming together shortly after. I went home to visit my family in Atlanta over the summer of 2010 where I bought a 4 track cassette recorder (Tascam 414). I brought the recorder back with me to Bloomington in the Fall and at the same time Josh, myself and a few other friends moved out of the dormitories into an old house with a basement. Once we had a place to record and a tape machine the rest was just a matter of writing and learning. We played locally quite a bit; house parties, basement shows, various bars and clubs and did a few small tours. We were a trio for a long time but since we we are always overdubbing more than one guitar we eventually needed a bass player so that Josh could switch to guitar.
In the summer of 2013 I was chatting with Dylan Sizemore at an underground bar called the Root Cellar. I had seen him perform a few times with his then band Dead Beach but he told me of how he wanted to record a lot of new songs and needed someone to help him. I invited him to come over to my house and record in my room onto my Tascam 488 (we had upgraded to an 8 track cassette machine by this point). I performed the drums while he played guitar with one microphone picking up everything. These sessions became the Frankie and the Witch Fingers "Sidewalk" LP. Josh was living in the room across the hall from me at the time so he came in and played guitar on a few songs and I invited our buddy Alex Bulli to play a little bass on the album. We even had our then Triptides drummer Josh Morrow drum on 2 songs. We got along so well with Dylan that we invited him to play bass in Triptides and became his live band for Frankie and the Witch Fingers.
Flash forward a few years to 2019 - Josh, Dylan, Alex and I all live in LA. I've stepped down from drumming in Frankie and the Witch Fingers to focus on Triptides. Josh stepped down from Triptides to tour as a full time guitarist in Frankie and the Witch Fingers and with Miya Folick. In order to keep things a little more simplified Dylan and I decided that Triptides should find a new bassist to keep things easy on everyone's busy schedule. Luckily some good friends of ours moved to LA in perfect time to fill the gaps in the lineup - Stephen Burns, an incredibly talented guitarist and lifelong friend of mine from Atlanta and Brendan Peleo-Lazar, an insane drummer, recording engineer and friend from Chicago. We've had our buddy Patrick Tsotsos (from Brendan's other group Lucille Furs) covering bass duties for our last couple tours as well.
That’s quite a story! So, it’ll be soon approaching a year since the release of your sixth album, Visitors. The musicality of the record is so rich- tell us a bit more about the recording process and techniques involved in the studio.
We usually start by creating a demo of the song. We try our best to make the demo as good as possible and experiment with anything that comes to mind. When it comes time to make the final recording we try to make it even better than the demo without losing any of the nuances that made the demo sound unique. We then make sure everything is meticulously engineered and dialed in, hit record and let the tape do it's magic.
Were you happy with the reception of the record? What have you been up to since it’s release?
The record was well received - some people said it was our best work to date. That was really nice to hear! We had worked on some of the tunes when we were still living in Bloomington and wrote more of them upon arriving in Los Angeles so that the record represented an interesting transitional period for the group. It was also the first record we recorded on a proper tape machine (Tascam 388) which made the sound a bit bigger and clearer.
We did a European tour last summer and another one in November to continue promoting the album. Right now we've been in the studio night and day working on our next record. We're using a new tape machine, some new sounds and a lot of new ideas. We think it's some of the best Triptides music to date and we're really excited to share it with everyone.
We're also working on some vinyl reissues of some of our earlier material which we're really looking forward to! Aside from that we will be hitting the road next week to tour with the fantastic Winter in support of our collaborative record "Estrela Mágica"!
Were any shows or venues during your European tour particularly memorable?
It's always hard to pick our favorite shows... every night is so wonderful and we have such a good time performing to European audiences. That being said, we always have a wonderful time in London because we've got some really great friends there who always bring a good vibe to our shows. Playing in León for Purple Weekend was also a really memorable experience. We performed in a beautiful art museum to an incredibly receptive audience. It was really cool playing a long standing festival with such a cool history.
How do you think the psych scene in the US compares to that in the UK? Are there any UK bands that you're particularly keen on at the moment?
Both scenes have their strengths... It's tough to compare! We've always been into British music and the UK psychedelic bands from the 60's and 70's have had a really important impact on our sound. As far as modern bands go we're really excited about the new Temples record, the new EP from Creatures and we're currently enjoying Toy's "Happy In The Hollow" LP they've just released.
Anything else for us to look forward to in 2019?
We're looking forward to releasing a lot of new music and embarking on some more tours. We're also excited to travel to places we've never been to before. I wish I could say more but I'll have to leave it at that for now!
If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in the US this February, be sure to experience Triptides in the flesh at one of their upcoming shows:
2/7 || San Diego, CA || Whistle Stop
2/8 || Costa Mesa, CA || The Wayfarer
2/9 || Goleta, CA || Mercury Lounge
2/10 || San Francisco, CA || Rickshaw Stop
2/12 || Portland, OR || Mississippi Studios
2/13 || Seattle, WA || Sunset Tavern
2/14 || Vancouver, BC || Static Jupiter
2/15 || Bellingham, WA || Bellingham Alt Library
2/16 || Eugene, OR || Sam Bonds Garage
Interview by Ciara Bains