Tell me about your name?
Joe Stewart: It’s from a Thomas Pyncheon Novel, The Crying of Lot 49. We’ve all read it.
Jack Kerrigan: Ben’s seen the cover.
JS: Trystero are a secret underground mail delivery service, there’s a conspiracy theory about whether they exist or not. We really liked that name.
Ned Blackburn: There’s always been problems with pronouncing though, TRY-stero, tryst-airo, tryst-eero.
Ben Kerrigan: I met a guy at our gig at the Firehouse who asked”How do you spell that?” I told him and said we should have a sign for when we’re on stage to help people.
Who would you list as your influences?
JK: We all have diverse listening backgrounds, but the unifying thing is 90s emo revival. Things like American Football, The World Is A Beautiful Place, Algernon Cadwallader, Snowing.
BK: Jack and I are brothers and over the summer we tried to write. I’m into Jazz and Jack is a total hipster and what we’ve tried to write is something that tows the line in the middle of that, without sounding too out there.
NB: There’s a lot of post-rock in there as well.
JK: We write the bare bones, and then the rest of the band fleshes it out in practices.
So how has the involvement in EUJO of many of you (Ben, Joe and Ned) changed your songwriting or performance?
Ben: Well we decided we wanted to set up a band.
JK: We just listened to loads of music over the summer while we were playing video games.
BK: In the end we got eight songs and we just needed people. I knew Ned from EUJO and from outside as well so I asked him. Joe had come back from the States and was looking to do something, and he auditioned for EUJO with a piece by Toe.
JS: I auditioned with a completely non-jazz piece.
BK: I picked up him because I was on the auditioning panel and he plated math-rock! I got on the phone and said “I’ve found our drummer”.
JS: We’ve played with each other so much we know how to play live.
NB: But I wouldn’t say that is necessarily a EUJO thing. That is more what has brought us together.
How did you find the heats?
BK: The first heat was our first performance. We weren’t necessarily intending to perform as Trystero as originally is was a break to do something different from jazz – we would get together and write over the first term and we ended up with just about enough finished material for the set. We entered as the last band in it and we didn’t have anything set up, and we were like “lets just use this as a test.” It was really, really fun. We really enjoyed playing it and from there we took it more seriously, so we started gigging at the Firehouse and Underground Shows.
NB: We definitely got more into it as it went on.
JS: We didn’t think we’d try to win it, we just wanted to play to a crowd.
JK: At Battle Of The Bands there were going to be people and they had to watch us as they had to stay till the end to vote! (Laughs).
BK: Yeah, I bought some mates and they fully expected a fusion jazz project, we’d been labelled as a Jazz Band and they were surprised.
What can we expect from your set in the final?
BK: Energy, of all the things we try to do is try to provide the crowd with energy.
What do you do before a gig?
JS: We run through the song order and complain about why The Grove closes at 6. Why? It’s a restaurant!
NB: That’s why we formed to be honest, to eat there.
BK: In all seriousness, seen as we play so many shows with EUJO, you do so much performing, it doesn’t really phase me.
JS: It doesn’t matter, if we mess up, a lot of our music is jammy anyway so no one would really notice.
NB: We’ve never taken it that seriously.
BK: Yeah we’ve taken the opportunity at Battle of the Bands just to play to people to have fun and perform together.
What are your plans for after Battle of the Bands?
JK: We have plans to record.
JS: We have some time pressure as I’m graduating and the band will continue without me, but we want to record something as soon as possible together.
BK: We want to record with all the initial members and get an EP out.
NB: Or even a short album.
What are you guys listening to at the moment?
JK: Deerhunter and Broken Social Scene.
JS: Steven Steinbrink – he’s an American singer-songwriter who just has the best grasp of songwriting. Otherwise, probably the new Young Thug Mixtape I’m Up.
NB: Car Seat Headrest. It’s a guy called Will Toledo who recorded 12 albums on bandcamp – it’s like really ambitious lo-fi. He got signed to Matador a few months ago. He’s just on the cusp of making it.
BK: Masashi Hamauzu, his new piano work, things like Giant.
NB: What would Harry say if he was here?
JK: Probably something like GodSpeed You Black Emperor.
JS: It would have been a different interview if he was here, he is very meme-y.