Check out my interview with Richmond, VA based indie folk quartet The Trongone Band. The guys just released their brand new album "Keys To The House", along with some tour dates down South that reflects their down home charm, beautiful hair, and Southern hospitality that is reflected eloquently in their music, and their ability to showcase all their talents cohesively on stage along with their penchant for sometimes playing barefoot that shows how down to earth and right at home they are. The guys were nice enough to sit down to do an interview as we find out more about the gents, their origins down in VA, their experiences recording their debut album, and how their experiences growing up make them who they are today. Here is the transcript from our chat:
Give us your names and roles in the band?
Andrew Trongone- guitar/vocals
Ben "Wolfe" White- keys/vocals
Todd Herrington- bass/vocals
Johnny Trongone- drums
Take us behind the formation of the group and how you all met?
AT- Well, my brother and I have been playing music together forever. We formed this band with our old man years ago; playing covers, in local bars. We had just began our weekly residency in Richmond at Cary Street Cafe December of 2012, and needed a keyboard player. We had a few that would come play with us at the time but no one was available that night so our sound man Nat Hyman suggested Wolfe. Hyman had run sound for Wolfe's previous band The Former Champions and said "I've got a guy, Wolfe. he could do it, he can play anything". So I went and picked him up that night, we played the gig, and he's been with us ever since. Later on down the road Todd, RVA bass hero, had been tossing around the idea of getting together and playing some with johnny and I. He'd come sit in at hometown shows and such. At this point in our music careers we wanted to write, and tour so we were on the hunt for a new bass player. Johnny reached out to Todd knowing he taught and asked if he had any students that would be a good fit. Todd responded with "No, but I could be into it." In June of 2015, Todd joined and we solidified our line up as a 4 piece original rock band that we are now.
What were some of your early influences that helped shape your love for music?
AT- My dad, I really looked up to him and his love for music. He got me into all the good stuff; blues, southern rock. and classic rock. Clapton, SRV, The Stones, Zeppelin, BB King, and Peter Frampton were some of my early favorites. Lynyrd Skynyrd's live album 'One More From The Road' really changed my life and made me fall in love with music and guitar.
BW- First song I ever heard was Billy Joel "For The Longest Time".
How would you characterize your sound to those who are discovering you for the first time?
A lot of people have been saying southern rock, Americana jam, soul and such. But we're just a no bullshit honest rock n' roll band. We pull from a lot of different influences, and we feel it shows in our music. We don't really like to categorize ourselves and any one thing.
Is the sound of your band reflective of your Virginia upbringing or is more reflective of who you are as people?
AT- I would say more reflective of who we are as people. Each of us brings our own personality to the sound and you can really feel that in the music.
Describe the energy and nature of your live set, and how well the songs manifest itself and how you communicate on stage?
AT- Our shows are pretty high energy and intense. We really want the audience to feel what we're feeling in the songs. We tend to open the tunes up live and feed off of each others' energy.
Go behind the recording of your debut album "Keys to The House" and what the whole process was like for the each of you?
AT- Recording an album is a lot of work and can feel very overwhelming at times. But i had a blast throughout the process. We recorded the drums, rhythm guitar, Wurlitzer, and bass all live and in the same room so capturing that energy was awesome and 'key' for what we wanted to get out of it. Tracking took 5 days, we didn't waste any time. We wanted to capture those special moments and feel at ease than over think anything; of course without compromising or settling. Mixing was the fun part though, that's when things really started to come to life and creativity came into play.
BW- I've probably spent 10 times as many hours playing live as opposed to studio time. I could have stayed in there forever. I loved using all of the great equipment like the Hammond organ, Wurlitzer, synthesizer, etc. The studio is where you really figure the song out.
JT- The recording process was intense. We went into the studio to work. Driving around the country is the fun part.
Besides music, what do you like to do for fun and leisure in your spare time?
AT- Spend time with family, go see live music, paint, swim, cook, golf, cold one with friends, and sleep!
JT- Playing golf, enjoying time with family and friends, travel as much as possible, be play around on the acoustic guitar and sing.
BW- Follow soccer, read, and run.
What's on tap for the rest of the year, any chance you'll be stopping by Boston sometime soon?
JT- On the road as much as possible supporting our debut album. We'll be in Boston in July, check our website for details. We've got a lot of family up there, Andrew and I were actually born in Lowell, MA.
Lastly, how has being in this band changed or enriched your life?
JT- one hell of a geography lesson *laughs*
AT- Music (the stage) is the best escape.
Thanks once again to Andrew, Ben, Todd, and Johnny for being so gracious in doing this interview. I've definitely developed a fond impression of them just from hearing them talk, and knowing that they have some connection to the Boston area in Lowell just makes my heart grow even fonder for these delightful guys who know how to put a smile on everyone's faces. To check out their latest album, "Keys To The House", it's now available on most streaming providers, and for more on The Trongone Band, please 'Like' them on Facebook from this channel over here and check out their beautiful homepage for more in depth surrounding them at this locale here.