Exclusive Q&A: Trevor Hall Lifts You Up With ‘Everything Everytime Everywhere’

Published by Reggie on September 22, 2011 in Features, Rock

Trevor Hall is a musician who is on an incredible journey. Starting young in South Carolina and landing a contract with a major label right out of high school, Hall has traveled far and wide, finely tooling his eclectic musical craft along the way. Even as he faced the hardships of being misplaced and practically forgotten by the same major record label who signed him, this spiritual artist has bravely journeyed on. Getting a fresh start with Vanguard Records, Hall continues to tune his unique blend of folk, pop and reggae. The aptly titled album Everything Everytime Everywhere demonstrates this young artist’s desire to share his vast knowledge and experiences to his critics and fans alike through his music. With this exclusive interview, we get an inside scoop as to what stories Hall has to share in his latest foray into musical bliss.

OS: I just wanted to get started with your origins a bit. You got your first record deal in high school. How was that whole experience for you?

TH: Yeah, I signed my first deal my senior year of high school. All through my junior and sophomore year, I was flying around the country and meeting presidents and stuff. It wasn’t until near the end of my senior year of high school that I signed a deal with Geffen Records. It was cool at first, being eighteen years old and signing a big deal and moving to LA. It was a lot of fun, but it didn’t work out the way I expected it to work out. I wrote a few records for Geffen and I was on the label for about three years. Both records got shelved and they never came out. At the end of three years, they dropped me from the label. It was quite a whirlwind but it taught me a lot. I don’t really regret the experience, but yeah, it didn’t really go according to plan. [laughs]

OS: You’re now signed with Vanguard Records. How would you compare the atmosphere there with Geffen?

TH: Well, Vanguard is a lot smaller than Geffen. I think part of the problem with Geffen was that it was really hard to communicate with people. If you wanted to talk to this guy, you had to call this person and maybe that person would call this person. It was just too much. I think our group and the vibe of our music is very family-orientated. And with Vanguard, if I wanted to talk to the president, I can call him right now. It’s not as big as Geffen, so things just work a bit smoother.

OS: Earlier this year, you wrapped up a bunch of tour dates with Matishayu. What is it exactly that you like about touring with artists that share your reggae influences?

TH: Well, I like to tour in the first place. Be on the road and play shows and be out there. When you’re touring with somebody, you’re with that person all the time, you know? It’s a lot better when the person you’re touring with is 1) your friend and 2) you enjoy their music. Maybe some tours you go on, if you’re not really a fan of the artist or if they’re not really nice to you, it just makes the tour a lot harder. [laughs] So, I’ve been really lucky to be touring with some of my influences like Jimmy Cliff or The Wailers and Matishayu. It’s such a blessing to be sharing the stage with artists that influence your music. And I watched them every night. You can take a lot of pointers and techniques that help your own performance. It was really nice.

OS: Matishayu’s guitarist, Aaron Duggan, plays on your newest album. What was it like collaborating with him and the other artists you brought in for the album?

TH: Well, I’ve always like Aaron’s songwriting style. So it was fun to write some tunes with him. We’ve known each other so long and we’ve always talked about getting together and doing some stuff, so it was nice for that to finally come to fruition.

OS: I was listening to your album earlier and one thing I found to be really interesting was that first part of the album where you start off with that ambient sound right in the city. Where did you record that?

TH: That was recorded in India in a bazaar, like a marketplace, that I go to a lot. That is actually from my digital camera. I was just taking a short video of that corner. It’s one of my favorite places to hang out. So, when we put it on the record, I just took the sound from that video off my digital camera and put it on the record and said that poem over it to start the album off.

OS: You tend to put a lot of those city ambient sound noises in this album. What made you want to do that this time around?

TH: Well, with this album, I wanted to create more a whole mood, kind of like a story. A lot of the songs are inspired by experiences I had in India, so I wanted to use those colors, those actual sounds, those actual environments and have them on the record, because it paints a mood. A feeling within yourself. So, I kind of wanted to bring that to the forefront to really make the listener get the vibe of the record and where the songs were inspired from. Because lots of times you hear a great song, and you’re like “Oh it’s a great song, but what inspired the song?” It’s lots of those experiences from India, so that’s why we threw those in there.

OS: One song in particular, “Dr. Seuss”, makes reference to One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. What was the reason why you wanted to do that with that song?

TH: Well, that song was written with Jimmy, the producer. When I had come into the studio, he had already written the music. The beat, the guitar progression, and stuff. And, I was like, “Aww man, this is such a cool song. We really have to come up with something cool for lyrics, because we can’t make it suck.” [laughs] And we were thinking and thinking and nothing was coming to mind. I said, “This is such a hard song, a hard beat. What can we come to heart about?” And Jimmy was like, “What CAN we come to heart about? Why don’t we just go with that line?” And then he was like “This morning, I was reading this Dr. Seuss book to my kids. ‘One Fish, Two Fish’.” And I was like, “Yeah! I know that book!” And we were like, “Let’s just make this song about that book.” So we just pulled the words of the book off the Internet and kind of made the song dedicated to Dr. Seuss.

OS: I noticed in the hidden track at the end of the record, you chant this Hindu prayer. Why did you choose to do that?

TH: Well, number one, I’m a very spiritual person and wanted to give thanks for the opportunity to play music, and write music and make a record. The second thing is there’s kind of a storyline through the whole record that starts from the first song to the last song in the mountain. It’s kind of like a journey through all different kinds of emotions and feelings. In the beginning, in the poem, when I say “Take me back to the palace of my eternal home”. The whole record for me is that whole journey back to my eternal home. Not my home geographically speaking, but spiritually speaking. So when you get to that last track on the mountain, for me, the mountain is a song of we’re going to the mountain. Not a physical mountain. It’s like a place of internal heights within your own self. You’re reaching high places in your own conscious, so to say. It’s not like we’re quite there yet, we’re hiking up there. Then, there’s this moment of silence. A couple minutes or so. And the prayer for me is “we’re there, that’s eternal above that I’m speaking about in the beginning of the record.” At that moment, we’re just praising that almighty above. So, to me, it’s a very important part of the record to have that hidden track, because it completes the story. In the track, there’s little remnants from the album. You faintly hear that girl singing from right before “Dr. Seuss”. There’s some street noises from the beginning of the album that are there. So, it’s like all those things, all those memories, they’re all together and you’ve reached your destination.

OS: You were also involved in some charity work in India. Does that tie into album at all?

TH: Well, I go to India a lot. I try to go every year. There’s an ashram there that kind of takes in underprivileged children. So, when I go over there, I just collect donations and give a bunch of it there. The place is very dear to my heart. It’s a very special place and I love very much. That little girl that is singing on “Dr. Seuss” is from that orphanage. And, in the hard copy of the CD, we have one of the little kids holding a tennis ball with the logo. I really wanted it to bring that place that’s very dear to me. I wanted to show that and express those feelings, because a lot of those songs are inspired by that place. I wanted to visually and sonically clue that vibration to tell the story.

You can pick up the inspirational Everything Everytime Everywhere at Amazon or iTunes and explore more about Trevor Hall at his official Web site.