Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Maple Trail interview

The Maple Trail's Aidan Roberts talks to about Cable Mount Warning, his new album:

How does Cable Mount Warning differ from what has come from you before? 
With every new recording I feel like I’m trying to capture a period of life, a span of time. This album feels older to me, it’s less cluttered than the first record – the sounds are subtler, and the lyrics reflect the older me. This is my favourite of all the albums I’ve done.

You focused almost exclusively on using acoustic instruments for this record. Was that a conscious decision from the outset or something that came about organically? 
The album’s gone through many changes since I started recording the first songs a few years ago; finally I think the album was taking shape when I was living with very few instruments around me – so by necessity, I just tried to fill it all out with the acoustic instruments I had around me, find interesting ways to record them, and I found I really liked not having many amplified sounds. There’s a couple of electric guitar parts, but only subtle ones.

The album was written and recorded in various different places from New Zealand to Stanmore in Sydney via the Blue Mountains. How important is location in the creation of your songs? Does where you are have much of an affect on what you write/record? 
I’m always inspired by wide open spaces, and people-watching when I’m in the city. I wish I could write while I’m travelling – but the reality is you collect ideas in your mind but never really get to sit down and fill them out. But I always, always carry around my songbook because I do get inspired everywhere I go, and at least I can scribble down a few lyrics or a picture, and later I can get behind the guitar or piano and make something of it.

From where did you take inspiration when writing the album? Musically or otherwise. 
Some of these songs (The Dinosaur Hunters for example) are actually quite old – the lyrics have survived a decade or so, and I’ve used my current musical inspirations to build them into something new. Some songs are very new, and grew out of the process of making the music itself; Captain Dies was initially about the frustration of recording this album and where I was at emotionally in everyday life. There’s a few songs that have stemmed from my responses to a good film, or a hard time I’ve been through or whatever. Really, once I had a collection of songs, I assembled 11 of them into what I felt was the album that makes the most sense to me – and it sort of took on a life of its own.

Will you be touring the album? 
We’re doing a couple of very special launch shows in Sydney and Melbourne in April/May, then we’ll tour some more as the year progresses. The Maple Trail is like a rare forest creature. Doesn’t come out of hiding very often! But we’re hoping to turn that around this time.

You recently were part of the Broken Stone Records Roadshow. Did you have fun on the road with the other bands? What were your highlights? 
The BSR tour was one of the best months of our lives. So rarely do you get to tour with the same 17 people, playing night after night in remote and beautiful venues, just having a daily life together while playing beautiful music. We would all go for nice long ocean swims against the current before breakfast, play acoustic sessions at cafes during the day, it was like the most amazing working holiday with my best friends.

Were any friendships forged/strengthened that could lead to future collaborations?
Most of us on the label are already friends, but there were a few new faces who are now definitely a part of the musical family. We really did make some excellent music on the road, and Ella Bancroft is making a film about it, so I can’t wait to see that.

The Maple Trail Cable Mount Warning Launch Tour: 
MELBOURNE: Tuesday 24 April (Anzac Day Eve) - The Gasometer
SYDNEY: Tuesday 3 May - The Vanguard 

Interview by Bobby Townsend

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