Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 5th 2015 Contents B3
Born to create
space for young
voices ---Page B38
T&T rock and roll band jointpop are back
with their sixth full-length album, Quick-
For this effort, the group---singer, songwriter
and guitarist Gary Hector, lead guitarist Damon
Homer, bassist Jerome Girdharrie, keyboard
player Phil Hill and drummer Dion Camacho---
recruited Paul Kimble, formerly of US indie-
rock band Grant Lee Buffalo, to be producer.
The album of 11 original songs (plus the
lagniappe of a cover of London s Burning by
the Clash, appropriately rechristened Trinidad s
Burning) was written in a house at Point Radix
in Mayaro, which is also where it was later
recorded, over a two-week period.
Recently jointpop converged at "Gabby
Road"---as Camacho s wife Gabrielle s office,
which doubles as a music-recording space, is
wittily known---to discuss the creation of Quick-
sand while simultaneously listening to the
album. Paul Kimble Skyped in his salty, tongue-
in-cheek contributions from his base in Seattle,
The genesis of Quicksand
Hector: For us, deciding to make another
album is always deciding if we re going to con-
tinue as a band: "You cool? You in? You good?
Well then okay, let s write an album."
Camacho: Yes, let s write an album, but let s
write a feel-good album this time. Let s not
complain about not being able to get out of
Trinidad and make it "out there." So it s more
about getting out of the quicksand than being
stuck in it.
Kimble: Gary contacted me via the Internet
and I thought he was pretty weird, but he
offered me money and so I said, "Sure, I ll
come produce your band." Nothing went wrong
the entire time we were recording, which is
unusual. It was a hell of a lot of fun. If you
don t feel happy after you listen to this album,
you re a robot.
The album s first single, Simply Beautiful
(bit.ly/1DwqOgn), with its arresting piano riff
and rip-roaring guitar solo, catalogues a series
of personal shortcomings---to a fed-up lover?
To bandmates at the end of their tether?---
before the plaintive declaration: "You re simply
Hector: Phil listened to the Queen Live DVD
before we recorded this.
Kimble: This song kicks a----. Just listen to
the drums and bass and guitar. The groove is
Homer: I think this song was the easiest for
us to write, as it was so familiar to us---to me,
at least, as I ve been in the band for so long.
This song follows a thread that we ve been on
for the last 19 years. It could be on any of our
Down to Me
Sung over a disarmingly sweet acoustic guitar,
Down to Me sees Hector make a prodigal s
return to overt social commentary. The song s
a laundry list of things that pointedly fail to
impress him: "learjets and all-inclusive fetes;"
"Miss World and sex-tape girls;" "sinister min-
isters;" and "PNM, UNC, ILP and PPP," all get
short shrift because, in perhaps the album s
single best lyric, "That thing they selling/ I get
it for free."
Jonathan Ali: This is the most direct you ve
been in a song about your feelings about
Trinidad in a long time.
Hector: Yeah. It came from the fact that this
is one of the first records we ve made that
didn t follow an overseas tour. We were here,
and I was feeling I had something to say. So
I didn t shy away from getting involved in the
Ali: Everyone knows that we don t have a
Camacho: Yeah. We discussed it and Gary
was like, "Perfect. It now globalises the whole
thing. There s a PPP somewhere."
Fittingly, no song on Quicksand embodies
the band s insistence on the album s upbeat
vibe than the title track: hand-clapping, foot-
stomping, pure rock-and-roll goodness. There ll
be a broad smile on your face even as you sing
the worrying refrain: "Do you know that sinking
Phil Hill: There s a dance to go with this
song---the "Quicksand" dance. A jitterbug.
Ali: It does have a Cab Calloway feel to it.
Hector: My daughter bought me a book on
American Indian tribes. I read a lot on the sub-
ject. And the introduction, the first paragraph,
had the word quicksand in it, and I had this
conviction: "F--- it, that s the album title."
Not only is the band in quicksand, the country
is also, as you hear in the third refrain: "This
land, we re in quicksand."
Camacho: But we stayed with the whole
positive thrust of getting out of the quicksand.
Hector: Actually, part of the quicksand myth
is that there s nothing called quicksand. When
last you hear about quicksand? It was only
used for Western movies. It was a thing of the
Reality and T
Reality and T is a boisterous and punkified
sea chantey, an urgent, ramshackle state-of-
the-nation snapshot and slap upside the head
that captures the country in all its excessive,
paradoxical, exasperating madness. "Who s
fooling who? Who s gonna love you, tomor-
row?" Hector bawls on the refrain, a sobering
warning for the political silly season now under-
Hill: The crazy piano was Paul s idea.
Ali: You mean the Jerry Lee Lewis piano
Hill: Yeah, the mad, Liberace-on-crack vibe.
It was four o clock in the morning. Paul said,
"You re a virtuoso, you know what you re
Camacho: When I first heard the solo I
thought it would be edited out of the song.
Now I can t picture the song without it.
Hill: Paul then said, "I m hearing this thing
for the end of this song, so let s drink." He got
everybody drunk and set up a room microphone
and was like, "Sing the chorus to the song."
Kimble: It s the entire band singing at once,
which I think really adds something to the
song, because it s that kind of "we re all in this
together, it s us against the world, kicking against
the p----s" kind of sentiment. And the spirit
of that chorus is exactly what it should be---
just trying to survive in the face of overwhelming
Hector: The lyrics came out of a January
writing session---Old Year s, fireworks, the dogs.
Then again, we were liming here one night and
it came up: "We re living in reality and T!" But
the concept is cool; it works for anything.
We re actually copying American reality TV
on our local TV. We re getting carried away
with the whole thing. We had the whole island
life; we had that to sell to the world. We decide
to buy something else and use that as the reality,
as the real thing.
Camacho: But the real thing here is also
imitating the whole gangsta thing, the drug
Hector: It s like the reverse side of the tourist
brochure---the nice sunsets and Maracas beach,
let we wine down in the road and have a good
time. Nobody s addressing the other side of
the brochure. And then we re all shocked when
we end up on the list of countries with the
highest murder rates. Trip Advisor warnings
and so on. Nobody s revealing that side of it.
Camacho: But you re not going to change
Hector: I know, but have a say. Say some
f---ing thing. Somebody have to reverse the
brochure a little bit. Somebody have to say
Reality and T bites for jointpop
From left, Jerome Girdharrie, Dion Camacho, Gary Hector, Phil Hill and Damon Homer.
PHOTO COURTESY JOINTPOP
Quicksand is out on iTunes, Amazon.com
and CD Baby. There's also a limited-
edition CD---check jointpop's Facebook
[www.facebook.com/jointpop] page to
find out how to purchase a copy. See the
Facebook page, too, for details of their
next performance, which will be at the
Big Black Box on Murray Street in
Woodbrook on May 16. Cowboy hats are
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