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I was at a show for Whores. (http://whores.bandcamp.com) the other night, and it got me thinking about the creativity of some of the trios that I’ve seen live. Bands like Russian Circles (http://russiancircles.bandcamp.com), Tera Melos (http://teramelos.bandcamp.com), Zozobra (http://zozobraofficial.bandcamp.com), and on and on and on have set some really high bars for other bands to aspire to.
So what makes those trios so good? Obviously there’s the fact that they’re just full of good musicians, but I feel like there being only three parts in the band forces a higher degree of creativity for each instrument.
Case in point: Helms Alee, seen here:
Ben Verellen (the guitarist) is playing some crazy guitar parts. Dana James, on bass, is often employing fuzz and chording to fill space while Ben plays solo type riffs. Hozoji Margullis is constantly driving the band forward with heavy hits utilizing the whole drum kit. And they’re doing all of this while each member sings. It all comes together for a unique sound that is just awesome.
Now, I understand why bands go with more members. By adding a rhythm guitarist, a band can allow each guitarist to focus on a different style of playing, and that eases the load on each of them. Adding a vocalist allows members to focus more on their playing instead of the vocals. As a bassist who has tried to sing while playing, I know that either suffers without a ton of practice if I try to do both at the same time.
So I’m not saying that having more members is necessarily a bad thing, but I’ve played in bands with 3 guitarists. One of those guitarists was described as “the guy who plays whale sounds.” I’m not sure that really added a whole lot to the sound, but a lot of post-rock style bands employ that idea.
There are always exceptions to the rule, but the more I think about it as I am working on starting my own band up, I think three piece is going to the be the direction that I head.
But that’s just like, my opinion, man.
Last semester, one of my professors turned me on to the band Girl in a Coma. Label mates of Sick of Sarah, and all around awesome chicks. I took another one of that professor’s classes this semester, and am writing a paper on the evolution of Chicano/a music, with a focus on the punk rock side of things.
So when it came time to talk about some of the influential bands in that scene, Girl in a Coma was on the top of that list. So I reached out through twitter, and Phanie, the drummer for the girls was awesome enough to answer my questions. Not all of the questions are related to music, but it’s a cool read nonetheless. So, without further ado: (My questions are in bold)
Thanks so much to Girl in a Coma for answering my questions!