Category: Concerts
Article by:  Michelle Fultz On August 19th Know Hope Record's Triangle Shirt Factory and selfhelpme released a split 7" EP which included 4 songs.  Through The Lens had the chance to interview JD Perry of selfhelpme and Trevor Leonard of Triangle Shirt Factory. TTL:  Where did the concept of the Split EP come from? JD:  The Split idea came from Shawn, my partner at Know Hope Records. The Split 7” EP is such a punk rock classic and we wanted to bridge the gap into the folk world since both Trevor and I followed a similar path having been in punk bands and now have our folk-inspired solo projects. We worked on these songs in different cities (myself in Nashville and Trevor in Philly) and the artwork reflects that exchange. Trevor:  JD called me up one day and said he was starting a label with Shawn Dorsey (Know Hope Records) and asked what I thought about the idea of doing a split 7" with his knew project Self Help Me. It was clear right off the bat that the label cared about the physical medium that accompanies songs and vinyl in particular. The split 7" was a staple of the punk scene that JD and I both grew up on and it harkened back to those roots while we could put a spin on it with our current projects, which are both more acoustic based. I instantly loved the idea and was thrilled that these guys thought of me and wanted to put out some new Triangle Shirt Factory material. I was stoked on the idea of the americana similarities and the vocal differences that TSF and SHM have both being celebrated through a split 7" record. TTL:  There are four songs on the EP, I was able to listen to "Clash" and "Wreckage" which sound great! Are you able to tell me the inspiration behind the songs? JD:  Thanks! I’m glad you dig them! Wreckage was inspired by my dynamic with onlookers of a relationship. I first came up with the melody - “I’m fearing my wreckage,” as the song begins - and I knew I wanted to write a simple song around that idea that spoke about my path, or as the song states, “the steps that I take.” Trevor:  "Clash" came out of a time when I was literally deciding whether to move out of state or stay in my hometown. It's also kind of the story of my musical path that I've chosen. It's a constant balancing act with the creative process, with touring, with supplementing income, being home with loved ones and the struggle of making a living from art. My life seems to be at a crux most of the time, like I don't know which way things are gonna go in some respects. It's terrifying and exciting all at the same time and it drives me. TTL:  What is your writing process? JD:  I wrote the Split songs within the same batch of songs from my previous release “the road,” so they all have the same process, sound, and style. My process was to keep things really short and simple; almost elementary. For “Wreckage," the melody and lyrics came first and I built the music around that, and for my second song on the Split, “Waiting,” the guitar progression came first and I wrote lyrics to that. Trevor:  It's always changing, but I like to have a concept to develop, or even just a simple idea to explore. Sometimes a chord progression will come along, sometimes a melody. I like to practice writing and I know it's something that the more I do the more I'll have to work with and hopefully the better the songs will get. Even in dry spells, I think it's important to keep writing something. It's like a muscle that needs to be worked regularly, which is always easier said than done. TTL:  JD you were in Valencia, Trevor you were in Punchline and The End of America.  How would you say your sound has changed since your last bands? JD:  Genre and sound: Dramatically. But, I’ve learned so much from being in Valencia that I carry everything over into my music today. After Valencia I got really into the blues and my pursuit of being a lead guitarist. Trevor: With Triangle Shirt Factory I feel like I'm trying to set up a scenario where anything is stylistically possible. I want to be able to play a rock song, and then a folk song, and then something that's just so groovy. Obviously I have my own filter that every song moves through. On these songs I feel like the blend of heavy and light comes through, whether it's the instrumentation or just how high and intense my vocal melody goes. I like that contrast and the idea of creating a mix tape. Bowie was always such a master at that. TTL:  JD, how have the shows been going since the release of The Road? JD:  The shows have been freaking great! It’s been a while since I’ve played out consistently and this is the first time I’m playing shows on my own, so it’s been a really fun experience taking on this familiar, yet new world. TTL:  Trevor, it has been a little while since you have played a show, anything you are doing to prepare? Are you at all nervous? Trevor:  Typically I don't try to over-rehearse, mainly just because the songs seem to be in my head somewhere and come back as soon as I start playing them. But it has been quite awhile since I've played a TSF show and I do care about solid performances and the flow of a set. So I take some time to run my songs and smooth out rough edges. Also think about song order, again creating that kind of mix tape for the crowd. TTL:  You guys had a release show on 8/23 in Philly at Kung Fu Necktie, how did it go? JD:  I’ve been playing at open mics to get a feel for new songs and I sing while driving. I work a lot these days so it’s a matter of finding clever ways to fit in rehearsals. Trevor:  The show was so rad! Wish you were there.   Be sure to check out the songs below!

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