Known for his tenure in acts like Yowie and Grand Ulena, guitarist Chris Trull has teamed up with drummer Danny Piechocki of Ahleuchatistas fame to form Terms, a project whose name Trull tells us Piechocki came up with, saying “What do you think of Terms for a band name?,” which caused him to get confused, thinking he meant what the ground rules for names would be.
With their sophomore album releasing next month, Trull spoke with Post-Burnout to discuss the album, the process of making it, how Terms differs from his other projects, how the pandemic and working remotely affected their sound, working with the legendary SKiN GRAFT Records, and more.
I guess the first thing I’ll ask is how Terms formed?
So, it started because Danny and I played in bands that were aware of each other and we started sort of an email…you know, social media message relationship, trying to set up shows together, and actually nothing ever worked out, and then, a few years later, he messaged me and asked if I wanted to collaborate, like, long distance on some recordings. And I actually just looked, and that was five years ago, just as of a few days ago. [Laughs] So, we’ve been collaborating for about five years now, just kind of through the miracle of the internet! [Laughs]
Yeah and, if I’m correct, this is your first time working in a rock duo. What’s that like?
Em, it’s not that different really from other bands I’ve been in. I mean, usually it’s been trios or more, but it’s kind of nice to streamline the decision-making process and just have it be two people.
How does that work in terms of scheduling and stuff? Does it make it easier, in terms of you only have to work around two people’s schedules?
That does help. I think probably the biggest hurdle is the distance because we actually live a thousand miles apart from each other. [Laughs] So, everything we do has to involve long drives or plane rides if we’re doing it in person, which is why we end up doing a lot of stuff just remotely.
Yeah. I mean that sort of remote aspect I think everyone can relate to, post-COVID, in a way; I think it’s something that everybody has experience with. How do you think that has affected the sound of Terms?
Well, I think in one way it’s interesting, because we started working long-distance before the pandemic happened, so we kind of had a leg up where we actually had an album completed that came out a few months into it and we kind of had our working method down. I do think it affects the sound because we end up treating the songs as recordings first, like, “What do we need?” Like, lots of the songs have multiple guitar parts and bass parts and things that would be unplayable for two people live but we kind of figure that out first – how we want the recording to sound – and then, more recently, when we’ve started playing live, we had to be like, “OK, how do we pull this stuff off?” [Laughs] and it actually has worked out well. There’s some songs that we just can’t play and we’re actually…we’ve talked about potentially bringing, you know, a bass player or a second guitar player for shows sometimes, just so we can play some of the stuff that has multiple parts but, yeah, so far it’s worked out really well.
How do you think Terms differ in terms of sound, compared to the other acts you’ve been in? Because, when you listen to it, it’s not like wholly alien to the type of music that you might associate with you – it has that kind of noisy sort of math rock vibe to it – but how do you think it differs, in your personal opinion?
I mean, there’s going to be some crossover because of my guitar style and my writing style but I think it differs…I think we have a wide-open approach in Terms with…we can basically do anything and I think on our new record – I don’t know if you’ve heard the whole thing or just heard the samples – but I think there’s some stuff we hadn’t really done before and some exploring of different sounds; things that would’ve been vetoed in my previous bands. [Laughs] We’re able to explore a sort of wider pallet of ideas.
Yeah. Well, your new album is called All Becomes Indistinct. What was sort of, I guess, the concept behind it, if there was one?
Um, honestly, it came together really slowly. Like, during COVID, things were sort of slow; the inspiration took a while to kind of come back and start working on things. But the oldest recordings on that record are I think over two years old – God, maybe even three years old at this point! – and so, it got compiled very slowly and actually as we were sort of putting together playlists of rough mixes – trying to figure out how this could be a record or not – we actually had the concern that it sounded like a various artists compilation, because we just were trying different things and seeing what worked and I think, via mixing and by kind of being selective in the stuff that we chose to put on the record, I think we were able to make it distinctive, at least to our ears. But I don’t know if there’s a specific concept behind the record but I think us continuing to sort of use the idea of recording itself as our songwriting vehicle, and so it ends up sounding very layered and I think it sounds cool.
The album’s out on SKiN GRAFT and I know you’ve been a long collaborator with them. I was wondering what it is about SKiN GRAFT that kind of keeps you coming back for more?
Well, Mark [Fischer], the guy who runs the label, is really great to work with and there is a really long history; I remember probably my favourite band ever, but definitely my favourite band at the time, this band from St. Louis called Dazzling Killmen, I was a fan of them before they ever put out anything on SKiN GRAFT, and SKiN GRAFT #1 is a split-single with them [and Mother’s Day] and, so, I’ve just been a fan since day one. Been a supporter before I was involved [with] putting stuff out on the label.
Perfect. I guess the final thing I’ll just ask is, what’s the plans for the future of Terms or anything else you’re doing?
Well, we definitely are going to play shows; we’re working on booking some tours and it’d be great to go back to Europe…well, not back with Terms but I did two month-long European tours with Yowie when I was in the band, so I would love to make that happen for Terms. We’re already working on songs for the next record, and, yeah, just keep making music. That’s the plan.
Perfect! Is there anything else you’d like to add before we wrap up?
Eh…I don’t think so. I mean, just we’re really excited with the way the record came and we’re really excited for people to hear it.
Aaron Kavanagh is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Post-Burnout. His writing can also be found in the Irish Daily Star, Buzz.ie, New Noise Magazine, XS Noize, DSCVRD and more.