After a burst of exposure to new heights on the blogosphere, the Oakland based quartet Trails and Ways graced Bell Memorial Union Auditorium at Chico State University last Friday night.
With the release of last summer’s “Trilingual,” the bossanova pop group has been making the rounds by touring and exposing crowds to a new sound that flirts within the lines of a delightful tropicana dream pop with a warmth of Brazilian jazz.
“A lot of the ideas for the songs that were on the first EP where once that Emma and I wrote when we moved out of the country as we struggled to communicate and have and identity,” explained singer and chief songwriter Keith Brower Brown.
After graduating from UC Berkeley and exploring new countries and territories along with Brown lead singer Emma Oppen teamed up with producer and drummer Ian Quirk and guitarist Hannah van Loon to form the band at the end of 2011.
Having spent the time abroad they returned home with a vision that led to the craft of their sound. With voyage, experience and the traditional exposure of different sounds from around the globe the band had no limitations when it came to inspiration.
“Recently i’ve been getting a lot of desire to write from thinking about extinction and ecological crisis which is a hard thing to know how to write about but it has been a concept coming up a lot for me,” Brown said.
“Trilingual,” is a combination of both Californian topical musical tradition and gathered inspiration of international influences. The band explores with the idea of using various languages in their songwriting. Perhaps Rosetta Stone might come in handy when you listen to it. Sung in three different languages English, Spanish and Portuguese was more of a natural mix than an actual concept.
“I don’t think it was premeditated that much, it was something we thought about after the fact,” said lead singer Oppen.
The track “Como Te Vas” which is translated to “How You Go,” kicks off the EP. It incorporates a melodic harmony with high tempos of Spanish pop that makes listeners reach for the dance floor, all in moderation of course.
When it comes to the band’s songwriting process the ideas are brought to the table and in a collaborative effort the band dissects into a compare and contrast format giving all members of the group a voice.
“Usually it will start with one person and they’ll bring up and idea or a pretty flushed out song and we’ll sort of run it by each other and jam with it but try to flush it out and figure out parts to improve it, “ said Loon.
The band’s offering also extends from just their own original material. They has been known to tackle some heavyweights including the likes of Frank Ocean, M83 and Miguel.
“It’s always been a really fun way to introduce yourself to new people,” explained Brown “It’s a fun way to go into conversation with an existing song and I feel like in a lot of different musical traditional its way more common than it is in western pop music right now”
The band is currently in the process of recording their debut album with no rush.
“We’re not putting one out there just yet, we want to make sure we get it right before we start telling people,” said Brown.