I first ran into Tereu Tereu with Andy Zipf at SOTA and was struck by their unique heartfelt sound,
“If you took Thom Yorke’s most frenetic performance combined it with the seductively smooth riffs of Spoon, threw in TVOTR’s sweating intensity, and then topped it all off with a jazz band fresh from Jackson Square— you just might get Tereu Tereu.”
While not mind-blowing or life changing, Tereu Tereu teases the senses and can hardly be dismissed with the introduction of the headlining act. This is a band that has been near the top of my, “to investigate” list, but due to time, monetary and ADD/mental constraints, I just haven’t made it over to their side of the tracks. Disregarding the horrible wordplay, the group’s playing with piano-pop rockers Jukebox the Ghost at the Rock and Roll Hotel on Saturday Night and you should seriously check them out.
I caught up with Ryan via Facebook earlier this week, so here’s a peek inside part of the mind of Tereu Tereu.
1. It’s not the most standard part of the typical indie band (although i guess it’s your novelty part like the cello in cursive etc). When was it decided that a trumpet would be part of the equation that is Tereu Tereu?
Early on, before he was in the band, we were getting ready to play a show in town with Matt’s other project, Junk Science. The thought struck me as I was sitting at the bar, so I grabbed the only napkin I could find that wasn’t beneath a beer and haphazardly wrote down a few bars from Farmer John. I handed Matt the makeshift transcription just before we started, and when we got to the last song, he jumped on stage, napkin in hand. That became a regular part of the act, so we worked Matt into a few other songs and he pretty naturally became a part of the band.
2. How’d y’all start making music together, was it a deliberate, “let’s start a band” thing, or something a little natural?
In 2005, I started working pretty seriously on my own songs and I knew I needed a band. I met Ross through a mutual friend, and his taste was just unusual enough to convince me we should play music. After a couple shows as a two-piece, I met Adam. As soon as I heard that his old band opened up for Q and not U, I knew he’d be a perfect fit. Matt worked his way into the band shortly thereafter.
3. Have you primarily played in the D.C area, what’s the farthest date you’ve played so far?
We love DC, so we do play there fairly regularly. We’ve managed to get as far North as Club Midway in New York, but Adam has been fairly intentional about booking solid shows within a reasonable distance. After school lets out in May, we should be touring a bit more adventurously.
4. You make music that sounds like it’s not sure if it wants to be mellow lounge lay back and drink music, or if it wants to rock a little bit harder… when you think of tereu tereu, what’s the music that comes into your head?
Good question? My favorite bands combine noisy, even abrasive sounds with catchy pop music. I’m hoping we ride that tension–I love challenging music, especially if it gets stuck in my head. I’d like to think we explore some unusual sonic territory while managing to write a good hook here and there. Whether that means more rock or more ambiance, only time will tell.
5. How serious do you actually take this band, or how serious can you really take it? What’s the day job?
I think all of us take this band as seriously as our present situations allow. Matt and Ross are both actively involved in various music ensembles, from the college’s jazz band to an occasional noisy improv group. Adam commutes to DC during the week and organizes local all ages shows on the weekends. I work at a compliance call center, which is probably about as interesting as it sounds.
6. You’re a lit major, right? What’s the last great book you’ve read, Favorite author etc?
Recently, I’ve been reading through a few Flannery O’Conner short stories, which has been awesome. I reread Hemmingway’s The Old Man and The Sea the other day, which may end up working itself into some lyrics. As far as favorites go, I’ve always had a soft spot for Allen Ginsberg, and in college I came to love Derek Walcott.
7. First live show that blew your mind?
When I was 14, I saw Pearl Jam with my Dad on the night before my first day of high school. That was my very first concert, and it was pretty incredible. Last year I went to see Wilco with my Dad, and that was even more incredible (Nels Cline is unreal). I’d say being able to connect with those bands while sharing the experience with my father was pretty mind blowing.
8. If you couldn’t make music, you would______?
If I couldn’t make music, I’d probably travel more often. I’d love to visit South Africa some day–if I didn’t spend so much time and money on the band, I’d probably be able to do that.
9. What’s on the horizon for Tereu Tereu, immediate future all that?
We couldn’t be more excited to play with Jukebox The Ghost on Saturday; they’re wonderful people and remarkable musicians. We’re playing with Georgie James in April, which is equally exciting. After that, we’re hopefully going to make a record. We’ll be in the studio in May, which means the full-length might just get finished this year!
Nathan Martin is an assistant editor at Patrol.
All Photos by Shervin Lainez.
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