- Photo Credit: Hubert Wojcicki
Earlier this month, TREKKAH dropped his debut album “The Enlightening” with a mega album launch party at Rough Trade. With an eclectic bunch of musical performers, singing in Farsi to French, and with all manner of musical instruments; Sitar, flute and guitar to name just a few. As our AOM we caught up with T to find out just how he put it all together.
Hey Trekkah, the album is based on our Chakras – how did you come up with that concept?
It came about around a year and a half ago. I was definitely in need of some ‘enlightening’ for my mental, physical and musical well-being. I had just come out of a long stint of endless gigs with THE AFTERDARK MOVEMENT and ORIGIN ONE, and in reflection I believe I was far too immersed in the after-show antics that presented themselves in their devilish ways at various festivals, club nights and free parties that we were frequenting.
I met someone, someone special and they opened up my eyes to the journey of the chakras. Not the spiritualist, meditating on misty hills journey, but a journey of looking at your inner self, your environments and the people around you. I became fascinated with this concept of becoming balanced; accepting your past, having positive interactions, balancing yourself towards a healthy ego and opening up your heart in order to speak with integrity. Without true love in your heart, I don’t believe you can have a voice and vision that is valued.
All this aside the concept won me over when I learnt each chakra had a theme, a tuning, a colour and even a scent. I said at the time that someone should create a performance piece around this… And that someone ended up being me.
The album launch party was an incredible amount of fun, were you happy with how it went?
I was overwhelmed with the launch. Rough Trade said it was one of the busiest mid-week events they had held and one of the most finely tuned launches at the venue. I had a lot of great people behind me that made it happen, and an entourage of some of Nottingham’s best vocalists and instrumentalists.
My intentions were to take the viewers on a sensory journey through the chakras and I feel the music, the soundscapes, the projections and the incense, transformed Rough Trade into an unique experience for the viewer. Also, the free camomile and honey tea on entry totally got everyone ‘zenned’ out and in the mood.
You have just about every artist you could think of featuring on the album. How did ya choose your collaborators? Did ya make the music first or?
The collaborators came about from interactions on the gig circuits with my bands, from Phlexx Records and all the events we have put on; and also my day job running YMCA Digital. All the interactions of… “yeah we should defo collab and do something bro…”, I followed through on that talk.
I started by compiling all of the productions (in the correct tunings) and then took to the studio will three amazing instrumentalists. I used only high-resonating instruments that would project the tuning with power. I was strict with the boundaries of the project and Lance Hume, Edward Reisner and Ursula Donnelly (the instrumentalists), got the tuning and one listen to each track and then improvised three takes… I then took this back to lab and chopped and changed it into what is presented on the album.
These backing tracks then went out to all the vocalists and it was a first come first serve delivery. When I got a response I sent them the writing brief around their chosen chakra and it really began taking shape. Some artists I wrote with, some I wrote for and some wrote for themselves. The whole piece is colourful account of so many conceptual interpretations and responses to a rather ‘out there’ subject, but I think we did it.
When you began with the album’s concept, did you know you wanted it to be so musically diverse.
I was completely open to whatever came along. I’m a big listener of world music as I am with watching world cinema, I think there’s something truly beautiful in not being able to understand a vocal and listening to the voice purely as an instrument; you feel and can hear the emotions but it isn’t as prescribed as it is in your native tongue.
The album features musical instruments from all corners of the earth, with 8 different languages spanned across 14 tracks. For me this shows how culturally rich Nottingham is and I think we should all celebrate and be thankful for that.
We know it’s like picking a favourite child – but do ya have a standout personal fav track on the album?
I honestly don’t. I love them all because the process was so engaging and every artist was truly amazing in their own right. As well as myself, ‘The Enlightening’ took everyone out of their comfort zone, seeing them perform on different styles instrumentals, or write about something they never thought they would, or collaborate with someone they never thought they would… Everyone except maybe Lance, he was in his element.
If you could compare it to anything – how does it feel to finally have your debut album out there.
It’s a massive achievement for me as a producer and a massive achievement for me away from working in bands with all your team around you – although in reflection I did create a team – Team Enlightening.
I said on the old socials in the build up to the launch that I hadn’t been this nervous about letting go of something I had created since releasing my sea-monkeys into a local pond in Long Eaton when I was 8 years old. I wanted a better life for them outside of their weird container, just as I wanted a better life for the album. The difference is I let the sea-monkeys out into murky water and the pond was stagnant and stale, although sometimes I perceive the world like this I think it was for the best. The music has travelled, I’ve had physical orders from around the world, airplay in 8 different countries now and lots of plans to grow and expand the performance of the material.
Ya know we’re all about spreading the love. So who does TREKKAH, in October 2016, want to spread his musical Notts love to?
I think spreading the love is a good thing, especially with the right protection. My daytime work with the youngsters of Nottingham sees me promoting the progression and development of the next wave of creatives, climbing that slippery ladder. So I’ll say ONKAUR as she’s an amazing young singer that is putting in that hard work and also RVR who are a solid collective of young rappers and their content and delivery is some of the best I’ve witnessed – regardless of age.
On a none ‘promote-work’ level… I’d say DAISY GODFREY as I think her and Ryan have the most pure attitude to their work along with an amazing sound… And also TWIN KIDD as I regularly bump their EP in the household whilst drinking wine and playing backgammon – also I have a cheeky remix with them guys coming to your ears soon.
And finally with “The Enlightening” out now, what’s next for you? World Domination?
I think the world has already been dominated and it’s a long way to fall once that’s happened. I’m happy enjoying the music I make, continuing collaborating with amazing musicians that continue to inspire me, and looking for that next concept that excites me to work towards. I’m working hard on developing Phlexx into the arts label that it was always intended on being, so expect more events, community based arts delivery and a base for all this creative collaboration to occur.
For ‘The Enlightening‘, I’m looking at ways to fund a tour of the material and I’m also in talks with local labels and producers to potentially release a remix album too.
And check out our next Phlexx exhibition HERE
We’d like to thank Trekkah for taking the time to answer these questions!
Yours in Love of New Music,
Angelica Giugno x