The Reincarnation of Trees Speak Breeze

Trees Speak Breeze is an alternative indie-rock project hailing from Halifax, Nova Scotia. What started as a teenager’s basement solo project has recently transformed into something much greater; a full band, indie-rock anomaly. I sat down with Josh Horner, the backbone of the group to get the scoop on where the project is going.

After releasing Shoreline, a solo project in 2013, Horner was ready to try something a little different — something a little bigger. He has since been in the studio working on a new LP called Paisley Days.

“It all kind of started as an idea I had. I recorded an acoustic EP in 2013 and saw the potential of what I could do in the studio. I had a couple songs in the bank; a couple songs I was like working on, and wanted to do something that was a little more “full” band, a little bit rockier,” says Horner, “I wanted to get as many friends on it as possible, so that’s sort of where it all stemmed from.”

“I basically would write a bed track and send it out to a couple friends. Guitar, bass; there’s 6 drummers over 12 tracks so there’s a lot of variety”

According to Horner, there are more than 20 musicians featured on the album.

“I just got a lot of buddies to come in. It was a lot of fun.”

The name of the album, Paisley Days, comes from a creative analogy that Horner came up with to represents his out life.

“I sort of reached a certain point where everyday is the same as the next and it’s a great visual that represents that. It all bleeds into the next. It’s a pattern; life’s a pattern, and so are paisleys {laughs}.”

Though Horner broadly describes the project as being indie-pop, he notes that Paisley Days doesn’t fall under one specific genre or style.

“With the new album being influenced by different musicians and different playing styles, each song sort of sounds different from the rest. I like a good folk tune, but I like a lot jazzier stuff too. It all just filters through my day to day; not just one specific style.”

With so many musicians featured on the album, Horner has spent the better part of a year recording at OmniArt Studios in Halifax.

“Initially it was going to be like 7 songs. Then every time I was in the studio I’d be like ‘Two more Chance [Gillis, OmniArt Studios]’, and eventually it made it to 12,” explains Horner. “At first, because the project I had done at OmniArt before was a lot more stripped down, Chance didn’t really know what I was coming into the studio with. So at first I think he was a little overwhelmed.. All of a sudden it’s like full band, and a lot of people. It takes a long time.”

“Then, we were recording over the wintertime, and Wednesday was our usual day to hang out, and there was a storm every Wednesday for like six weeks straight or something like that {laughs}.”

Five extra songs and unfortunate weather weren’t the only surprises that arose from having a large cast of talented musicians on the album. What gives Paisley Days its unique charm is the unexpected sections and sounds that can only come from good friends coming together to create music.

“The opening track on the new album is called ‘Fizz Pop’ and it started as a quick little, under-two-minute snappy song. Then we were just hanging out in the studio and Chance was just twiddling the ivories and just sort of jamming out after a couple beers — just hanging out. It just sounded so beautiful and we got so into it that it just sort of became the intro. So a two minute song is now like a 6 minute song. Then I went into a restaurant, had a drink and recorded some ambient sound to go over top of it. So now it’s kind of like this silly cinematic intro. None of that would have happened if we hadn’t just been hanging out after a few beers”

“We had some silly drunken vocal nights [too], especially on ‘Board Games.’ We were basically just cracking beers and smoking too many cigarettes and just singing really goofy {laughs}. Yeah, just brought a lot of beer into the studio and had too much fun. I probably passed out in the grass outside the studio as well that night while other people finished the singing parts. So, I actually don’t have a real memory of that night besides listening to the recordings after {laughs}.”

Horner’s creativity doesn’t end with different music styles and snappy album names. Being a graphic designer by trade, he has also taken on the task of creating the album art.

“I’m doing the album art, except it’s taking me a long time. It’s all little paisleys, and I’ve got to cut them out for a stencil. I just haven’t gotten around to stencilling it because it’s going to take for fucking ever {laughs}. I’m going to stencil, then spray paint it afterwards. Then, I’m going to tag the whole city. Don’t let the HRM know {laughs}.”

To top it all off, Trees Speak Breeze has recently released a great new music video with Fuguists Productions for the song “Illusions” from the Paisley Days LP.

“It’s a silly video; it’s a silly idea. I just wanted to do something that would be quickly shot in like a day, and something goofy to keep it light. […] I basically went to the grocery store, bought $150 worth of groceries and was like ‘well throw them in my face while I sing this song. It’s really simple.”

“We were able to do it in a gymnasium and there were all of these ridiculous cheerleading outfits and cheerleading trophies, like 55 trophies {laughs}”

“It was just sort of a really fun day, and also really uncomfortable because I took like 3 showers that day, and the molasses in my eyes. The next day I was still having a hard time blinking. My eyelids were sticking to my cheek {laughs}. It was brutal. It was really uncomfortable.”

While Horner was in the studio, the project has taken on a new form: a full band. ‘Trees Speak Breeze’ now includes six additional permanent performing musicians.

“Over the past year and a half, I’ve had a couple reincarnations of the band but none of the line-up would have stayed the same between shows. But as I was recording the new album, a group of old friends, and new friends approached me and were like ‘Hey, we should make this. We should play as a band.'”

From Left to Right: Eddie Spriggs, Braden Nelson, Shileen Gillis, Josh Horner, Devon Bennett, Adam Ritchie, Daniel Bennett. Photo by: Joe De la Plante

From Left to Right: Eddie Spriggs, Braden Nelson, Shileen Gillis, Josh Horner, Devon Bennett, Adam Ritchie, Daniel Bennett. Photo by: Joe De la Plante

The band currently includes: Adam Ritchie (guitar), Devon Bennett (guitar), Daniel Bennett (drums), Braden Nelson (keyboard), Eddie Spriggs (bass), and Shileen Gillis (vocals).

“It’s a really sweet line-up we have, and it’s a lot larger than I ever thought it would be.”

Since the newest reincarnation of the band came together in March 2014 they’ve seen a lot of support from the local music scene, playing their first show at The Company House in Halifax over the summer with Take Part (HFX) and The Pick Brothers (TO).

“The Company House show was awesome. People were super pumped on it. It was our first show together but everyone seemed really jazzed about it.”

Trees Speak Breeze has since played several shows in Halifax, including one with Dub Kartel at the Marquee Ballroom since their debut at The Company House in July. They hope to play more shows in the coming months. The new Paisley Days LP is scheduled to drop sometime in October.

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One thought on “The Reincarnation of Trees Speak Breeze”

  1. fatmanscoop says:

    very talented group of young musicians that we have here

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