Organ Trail are competing in the finals of CITR’s Shindig and are totally awesome. I met up with Alissa, Caitlin, and Jeska (missing were Darren and Mike). Jeska got dysentery and we lost three oxen while trying to ford the river.
ONLY: How long have you been a band for?
Alissa: Exactly three years. Darren’s birthday–November 6. It was his 25th birthday and he realised he was not in a band… It was depressing.
ONLY: What’s changed in those three years? What was the idea?
Jeska: The original concept was based on the video game [Oregon Trail] from elementary school because we all played it and loved it. Then a friend of mine suggested the name. We developed the sound around the name really.
A: How we’ve changed is that I don’t think we rely on that anymore. It’s the broad concept of a hopeful journey.
J: We changed the concept to reflect the sound of adventuring. Also, I kinda realised that things like the Oregon Trail led to a lot of conflict with the native people of the West Coast and I’m part native so–
ONLY: Is that the reason for the spelling?
A: No. It’s because we have an organ.
ONLY: Do you care about winning Shindig?
J: No, I had no expectations at all going into this. We were just excited to play at the Railway with some good bands.
A: I hoped that we would be in the finals, as I’m sure every band does… but I hoped really hard.
Caitlin: I don’t want to say that I was indifferent to it but there was this weird sort of ambivalence. I knew that I felt solid no matter what, and that playing at the Railway would be comfortable. I knew that if we didn’t win I’d be fine, and if we did then fucking awesome. I just realised how subjective it is.
ONLY: What kind of comments did you get?
A: People said “more banter,” um, “more vocals.” But that would be changing our whole band.
C: That’s not something you can work on. I hate bands that “work” on their banter. Jessica and Alyssa’s vocals are amazing and unique, and really soulful. That’s something that I like, that it’s really sparse and not reliant on the vocals. The tunes are solid without it. As a non-vocalist that’s something that I think is awesome about the band.
J: I really like using vocals more as an instrument than a forefront, and making every band member equal. I’ve heard people say that we’re very atmospheric and with all the instruments playing its a very big sound, and I want to maintain that.
ONLY: Why don’t you kick the two guys out and start an all-girl band? I hear there is a big market for that.
A: (laughing) Our boys are in touch with their feminine side.
J: We can’t break it to them.
A: Having that little bit sexual tension in the room really adds to our sound.
J: (laughing) Yeah, maybe with you. Ahem.
Organ Trail play the Shindig finals Dec 5 @ the Railway Club