Oakland-based band, Trails and Ways, first surfaced back in 2012 with a string of impressive covers that reinvented some of the year’s strongest pop songs in unexpected and refreshing ways. Unsurprisingly, their subsequent debut EP, Trilingual, proved that their unique style is displayed in an even more powerful way through their original music. The 5-song project, true to its title, features lyrics in English, Spanish and Portuguese–a reflection of the group’s travels in Spain and Brazil. Aside from the evident international influence, Trails and Ways have an incredible take on dreamy California pop, teaming addicting lush acoustic and electronic melodies with the diverse vocals of all 4 band members.
We had a chance to catch up with Keith Brower Brown (guitar, synths) and Ian Quirk (drums) at this year’s Outside Lands to discuss their travels, musical influences and fantastic covers among other topics. Considering the quality of their library thus far, we could not be more excited for what Trails and Ways have in store in the next year.
TMN: First of all, we’re here at Outside Lands. Did you come here when you were at UC Berkeley?
Ian Quirk of Trails and Ways
Ian: I’m from the East Bay. Hayward, which is a little south of where we live now in Oakland. I went to Outside Lands twice growing up. One of the most memorable experiences was at Radiohead. The sound went out, like the main speakers went out during their set, but they totally just kept playing. Everybody was dead silent—it was crazy at a festival that big—just trying to hear basically the stage monitors and a few little speakers. I’ve never seen that before at a festival where there’s dead silence. And then the sound came back on and after the most quiet I’d ever heard, it was the loudest thing I’ve ever heard immediately afterward.
TMN: Did the whole band live together in college?
Keith: Three of us lived in a building called Lothlorien, not the the Land of the Elves although I’d love to live there. This was a co-op at Berkeley—one of the student bought houses. Hannah, the lead guitarist, lived very briefly there for a summer, but we all went to school at Berkeley. Graduated a few years ago. Continue reading