When you speak to singer/musician Trevor Hall on the phone, you get
the impression that he is, in the words of Eddie Izzard, "relaxed
and groovy." When you listen to his self-titled album, that vibe
comes through, but so does a very chill energy that reaches out and
relaxes you while you're tapping your foot along to the music.
Phillyist was fortunate enough to ask Trevor a few questions before
he performs an acoustic set with percussionist Chris Steele at the
Electric Factory tomorrow with Colbie Caillat and Howie Day.
What inspires your music?
A majority of it is other music, but I think if one is an artist,
one has to be particularly open to all things, everything that's happening
around him—the weather, current events, other art, even simple
things like colors. I get inspired by everything.
What's involved in your songwriting process?
The songwriting process is very spontaneous for me. I can't really
sit down and say, "I'm gonna write a song right now," because
then there's too much thinking involved. I find it works best when
your head's out of the way, and you're just kind of letting it flow
through. So, whenever it comes, great, but when it does come, the
music usually comes first for me, and then I'll hum some words to
it, or try to figure out how I want the words to fall in. Other times,
I may write a verse or some words, and then try to put music to it
later. But most of all, it's the music before the words.
Who are some of your musical influences, and what artists are you
currently listening to?
I'm a big Bob Marley fan. I really love his music but also love his
whole message, his whole vibe. I really like Ben Harper. Those were
two musicians early on that really shaped me.
Right now, I'm listening to a lot of Michael Franti and Spearhead.
We just did a tour with them so I'm kind of still stuck on them, missing
them, and so I've been playing a lot of their music, his CD, All Rebel
Rockers. I've been listening to a lot of Matisyahu, his new CD. Mostly
friends, I've been listening to all my friends. But I also like a
lot of world music.
How would you describe your music to someone who hadn't heard it
This is a hard question for me, 'cause I have no idea what I sound
like. I usually just say it's like acoustic reggae, rock, a little
folk, with a very spiritual vibe.
Are you enjoying the tour with Colbie Caillat so far?
We're enjoying it very much. I've done some tours with them in the
past and she sang on my new record, so we know each other a little
bit, which is nice, we're friends. But it's also an adjustment because
the crowd is a lot different, it's a very young audience, and it's
important that we learn to bend to that crowd, but not break from
our own style. I think it's a good growing experience, and we're making
a lot of new fans, which is great, and Colbie and her band are just
really sweet people, so it's been going very well.
How do you stay connected with your fans?
I answer as many messages as possible on MySpace. If somebody sends
me something, I'm usually pretty good about getting back to them,
if it's a sincere message, if they're asking a question, I do try
to get back to them. But mostly through the Internet.
If you could collaborate with any musician/singer, who would it be?
I would really like to collaborate with Michael Franti, just because
we really hit it off and we became really good friends. We have very
similar styles so I think that'd be a lot of fun. But I'm also a huge
Björk fan, and I know it's very left-field, but I think it would
be really fun. Not even to collaborate with, just to be a fly on the
wall in the studio as she's writing a song, I think that'd be awesome.
Finally, if you weren't a musician, what would you be doing instead?
I don't know. Music is a big part of my life. If I wasn't a musician,
I would probably be on some kind of spiritual path, spiritual journey
in some form or another.