Interview /w Knoxville electronic group Arpetrio
Arpetrio: And so it was written…
Electronic music gets dogged on these days, and for good reason too.
Many believe it is the easiest form to imitate and they’re usually right. DJ’s spin Bassnectar albums into the ground and assholes raid Best Buy to produce carbon-copy sounds that reflect exaggerations of expired compositions. It takes a unique outfit, with their heads screwed on tight and their hearts on the right beat to really electrify our hearts, lost in an American musical landscape scattered in lights and sounds. Tuesday evening I found that band, only two stories above me of all places. Local band Arpetrio are making waves in the regional scene, having played the Trinumeral festival and DexFest, presenting an absorbing resonance built for dancing, geared to party. Alex Mindermann (guitar, synth, keys), Wes Taylor (drums) and Trent Little (bass) have been serving ears since 2007. I kicked it with Trent and Alex as the two took me back to Arpetrio’s baby days and into the future of electronic sound. Albeit his absence from the interview, I got the sense that Wes had served as not just a drummer, but an oddball inspiration for the trio.
AM: I ran into Wes at a party, he was blackout drunk and like ‘dude we’re gonna make amazing music’. We started doing Sound Tribe and P-Groove covers and got more into our own stuff.
TL: We actually went there (Trinumeral) the year before just to see the bands. Wes apparently speaks some truth when he’s belligerent, once he’s blackout he was like ‘we’re playing here next year!’
What were some early musical tastes you guys shared?
TL: He (Alex) took me to my first Pnuma Trio show and that changed my life.
AM: Wes… Yanni.
TL: (laughs) Wes is a big Yanni fan.
What’s more important to the electronic band, the show or the album?
TL: Show I would say. We’re working on the album really hard, but I’d say live because it’s the energy.
AM: The best genre to put us in would be live-tronica, because we’re making this music in front of the crowd. We’re not just standing behind computers dancing.
Is there a misconception that electronic bands are all show, weaker albums?
TL: I think a big part of that is that music is so easily pirated, but the best way to get your music out there is going out and doing shows.
AM: We’ve opened up for some big DJ’s and they’ve said the only way to make money is to do shows. Eskmo told us that, some of the best advice he’s given us.
What electronic records first turned you onto the genre?
AM: Reunion by Flashbulb, Drukqs by Aphex Twins.
TL: Definitely Daft Punk.
How do you guys set yourselves aside from other electronic groups?
TL: I’ve seen more live looping, but by someone twice his (Alex’s) age. He’s on top of his game for how young he is.
AM: I’ve sat back and produced some live loops to base our songs off of, but onstage we all have our instruments. It’s really a live band, we try to do something you don’t normally see, something futuristic.
Does a name like “Arpetrio” (Ahr-peh-tree-oh) ever get difficult for some to say or relay?
AM: We’ve been called Arpa-trio, Ape-trio, Apple-trio that happened in Nashville. The sound guy kept calling us that.
I go to a bar and order an Arpetrio, what’s in it?
TL: Whiskey for sure.
AM: Whiskey, absinth and a roofie, but not the kind that make you fall asleep.
TL: And a sugar cube.
What is the trend that pulled electronic music out of its shell for this generation?
AM: I think it’s really the jam bands were getting old and people wanted something faster. Disco Biscuits came out of nowhere and started putting techno in their jams, and Tribe comes out. All the sudden you have people going from Phish shows to Sound Tribe shows.
TL: I think Pretty Lights has been important lately, people that like rap go to his shows and he’s just got music that nobody can hate.
What’s wrong with the music biz today?
AM: Somebody that I respect a lot told me the music business is just as corrupt as the drug business, mostly cause a lot of its funded that way.
TL: I’m going to say emo, but my dad was in the music business for years and he said it’s pretty evil. The business execs are making a ton more money than the bands.
On a brighter note, we’re a party paper, so what song do you throw on to start the party?
TL: ‘Electro Cali’ by Pretty Lights.
TL: (laughs) That’s the perfect party song dude you can’t beat that.
For for tour schedule, music and info, visit http://www.myspace/arpetrio. Any booking inquiries? These guys rock house parties you know… email email@example.com.