According to a recent press release: “TRENCH — Jay Breen (vocals / synth); Tony Chan (bass); Bryce Jassmann (guitar); Cole Young (guitar / electronics); and Tommy Chan (drums) — have shared the song “Be All End All.” The Calgary, Alberta-based band will release its new EP, Encased in Chrome, via New Damage on March 18. As the pandemic brought most of the music industry to a screening halt, Trench had to walk away from a tour lined up with Misery Signals as opening support across the east coast of the US and Canada. Not letting a cancelled tour come between them and their will to succeed, Trench quickly adapted to their circumstances and wrote new material, which landed them a deal with New Damage Records (Dine Alone Records), serving as a testament to the undying determination that drives the metal quintet. Constantly pushing the envelope and developing a catalogue of songs that will forever leave their mark on the industry, there is just no telling how Trench will leave us feeling after consuming their carefully crafted chaos.” We get guitarist Bryce to discuss new music, influences, and more…
1. Tell us a little about your latest release. What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through? Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?
Encased In Chrome is a six song EP and is our first release under New Damage Records. Trench is a band that has never been shy to experiment and in many songs there are layers upon layers of sounds that provide new things to hear through multiple listens. I don’t want to name anything specific because I personally love discovering musical “hidden nuggets” naturally. But I will say that “Unforgiven Remains ft. Guilty Simpson” is a great example of a song where each of us really explore our instruments independently while also coming together to create a unique and cohesive experience.
2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?
When I was growing up music was always something that was very present in my household. I learned about country from my dad, classic rock from mom and hip-hop from my sister. My dad had an acoustic guitar that he would occasionally play and some of my earliest memories are of me picking it up and trying to create different sounds. At twelve years old I really began to fall in love with punk and metal. I bought my first electric guitar from a garage sale down the street and music became an obsession ever since.
3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?
Influence really came from many different musicians and genres but the most influential to me as an artist was the guitar playing of Omar Rodriguez-Lopez. Being the guitar player of bands like At The Drive-In and The Mars Volta; Omar is a musician who seems to have no rules and is constantly thinking outside the box. I’m constantly inspired by Omar and the “no rules” approach to songwriting is something that has always stuck with me.
4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?
This is a hard question for me to answer because I feel that the spark to collaborate outside of Trench is so dependent on the feeling of the specific song or the focus of the lyrical content. Although there are many amazing artists that would be amazing to collaborate with, it’s the sort of thing that would be done with intent.
5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour? What do you like to do to unwind?
Like many other people, I’m a lover of all forms of art and creativity. Listening to music, watching movies and experiencing art are all enjoyable things. Besides that, I love to spend time relaxing with my partner and our two dogs and cat.
6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?
Trench is aggressively heavy but is also soft and sorrowful. It is familiar but also unique and experimental. I can’t really say that I’ve heard a comparison that I disagree with because music is subjective depending on the listener. But we have been compared to other bands that also play in low tunings.
7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?
Tony definitely does the most cooking! It’s always amazing and always vegan as some of us are vegan or vegetarian. I can’t say one of us gets the drinks in more than others as it’s all dependent on time and place. Tom won’t bust out an acoustic but besides being an amazing drummer, he has an amazing ear for music and can cover any song you can name within a few minutes of getting his hands on a guitar.
8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?
On a personal level I don’t think I’ve ever really experienced that starstruck feeling before. I try to keep my expectations low when meeting people I admire. That being said, there are definitely musicians out there who I’m sure I would get that feeling over if I ever have the opportunity to meet them.
9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?
If I could no longer be a musician my dream job would definitely be something creative. There is nothing as amazing as creating something out of nothing and getting to share it with the world. It would definitely be along the lines of being a writer or being a part of the creative process for film or tv.
10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?
I can’t say there is a specific question I’ve ever desired while being interviewed. I’m grateful for the opportunity whenever anyone shows interest in our music. Maybe there’ll be a question in the future that I become tired of answering but so far I’ve been blessed with only having to answer thoughtful questions.
11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?
I can’t say that there is. People or groups of people are the culmination of their experiences. We had a lot of plans for 2020 but along with everyone else in the world, those plans came to a halt. We made the best of the situation and I’m proud of what we accomplished. Encased In Chrome wouldn’t be the record that it is without that time and it’s best to live without regrets and not focus on the “what-ifs.”
12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?
Korn has always been a band that I’ve admired and I would’ve loved to be a fly-on-the-wall for their 2002 record Untouchables. Along with being masterfully written, the production on that album for its time is astounding and still sounds better than a lot of records that come out today. It’s the first album to be recorded in 96 kHz digital sound and although I’m not the most learned person when it comes to music production, I would love to take anything I could from their experience making that absolutely massive record.
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