Trevor Hall Interview
So, I’m a bit of a newcomer to the music of Trevor Hall. Listening to his excellent new album, Chapter of the Forest, I was struck by how truly soulful his voice is. The vocals just drip with earthiness and honesty and that just might be a result of his recent sabbatical to India, Nepal and Vermont. We had an opportunity to chat with the talented artist about the album and his upcoming Small Is Beautiful Tour, which is headed to Florida soon.
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Cretin: When you took the sabbatical, was there a chance that you were done with music or was it more just a chance to decompress and recharge?
Trevor Hall: Yeah, there was a chance I was done. I was really in a place where I was exhausted and music just had become a job and I wasn’t enjoying it anymore. It was kind of scary to say stop, I’d never taken a really long break before, and when I said stop I didn’t know when or if I’d come back it was kind of an interesting time, I didn’t know which way I was going to go.
Cretin: So, how long of a break did you take?
Trevor Hall: It was like a year and a half pretty much. I did a few things here and there but it definitely was a very long break.
Cretin: Chapter of the Forest, your recently released album was written during the sabbatical?
Trevor Hall: Yeah, over that period is when I was really writing a lot of it.
Cretin: You were in some pretty diverse environments when you wrote that music, did the songs change substantially when you got back in the studio to record them?
Trevor Hall: I usually would record them as I go. I had a little laptop and could record some demos pretty easily. I like to record it right when its coming out because it’s fresh and it has this quality that you don’t get if you record it seven or eight months later. The majority of the songs were written during the sabbatical but because of my time in the forest and other places, I was really reminiscing about other songs that I had written but I had never released, so those were starting to come up, as well.
Cretin: Is there one song on Chapter of the Forest that has a deeper personal meaning to you than the others?
Trevor Hall: They all have deep personal value for me. Each one teaches me a different thing. I think the one that really helped me out a lot was “O Haleakela.” That was a song that really provided a lot of healing for me. It was just a source of comfort to return to it and listen to it. But every single one heals me in a different way so it’s hard to choose.
Cretin: Now that you are playing them on the road, have any of them evolved to have a very different feel or different meaning for you live?
Trevor Hall: Every time I play the song it’s different. It’s kind of like you never meet the same rive twice. Every time I play I get something new or I learn something new. Also, from sharing with people I definitely learn a lot. Where you probably learn the most is when you play in front of people. They evolve; a lot of times I write the songs, I’m not sure what they are about or what they mean, they just kind of move me in a way that I can’t really put my finger on. Maybe in a few months, or a year, I will realize what the song was about or meant to me. I think that’s part of the mystery and part of the beauty of discovering and finding yourself in the story. It’s one of my favorite parts about music.
Cretin: A friend of mine compared you to Jack Johnson with a soul. What do you think about that comparison?
Trevor Hall: I think it’s great. I love Jack, and Jack was definitely an influence when I was growing up. Because I was a surfer and before Jack was doing the professional music thing, he was an incredible surf movie maker. Big inspiration and I appreciate his character and what he is doing.
Cretin: For someone like me who is new to the Trevor Hall music scene, what can we expect to see at your live show?
Trevor Hall: There’s so many different factors that come into play when you have a show. Sometimes you show up at the club and it’s a loud place or a drinking crowd, and it can be a wild environment. So we have to keep the crowd interested. If it’s a loud crowd you have to grab their attention. This tour we’ve been playing a lot more theaters. It’s a little quieter and more focused listening crowd. It provides for a really intimate experience. Regardless, I hope that the shows provide spiritual inspiration, and I know our shows are a lot of fun. We always have a lot of fun and I know the fans have a lot of fun, but the main thing that I hope gets across is inspiration.
Trevor Hall: Inspiration is a key to life. All of these songs that I’m singing they’re my teachers, they’re like my children. They are inspiring me every day. So, I hope that when I play them that that inspiration can spread to others and inspire them in a good way… You just got to come, that’s what you have to do.
Cretin: Well, you’re swinging over to Florida in a few weeks and I’m going to get that chance (see the dates for the tour below). Are you touring with a full band? What’s the set-up on stage these days?
Trevor Hall: It’s a trio. It’s a little of a broken down thing where before I took break I had more of a bigger band where it was more rock ‘n roll. It was loud with more energy, whereas this tour is called Small Is Beautiful. It’s about exactly that; kind of providing a more intimate show for our family.
Cretin: You’ll be playing The Social when you hit Orlando, have you been there before?
Trevor Hall: Yes, last time we played there it was a fun show. We hope that we can do that again.
Cretin: You are doing something special on this tour with your affiliation with Kevin Pearce’s Love Your Brain foundation. Can you share why that’s near and dear to your heart?
Trevor Hall: Yeah, it is dear to my heart, and it really happened through divine arrangement. My wife’s oldest sister passed away when she was twelve from a brain injury, so it’s always been a thing that I’m passionate about. Then a year ago, I saw Kevin’s movie called The Crash Reel, and I was really taken with his story. It was just an amazing movie and I was really touched. It made our family think a lot about what had happened to our older sister and it was really inspiring.
My wife’s mom had gotten in touch with his brother Adam, and Adam came to the house. One day, walked into the kitchen and there was Adam Pearce and we started talking. I said, “We’re going on tour and this other foundation we were going to work with never got back to us, and here you are in our kitchen, I think this is divine arrangement.” He was just super sweet and like a brother and he said “Let’s rock this.”
Love Your Brain is a foundation providing yoga and natural healing for people with severe brain injuries. And yoga is obviously another passion of mine. It’s so wonderful and at all of our shows, we sell a Love Your Brain t-shirt and for every shirt that’s bought, all of the money goes to love your brain.
Make sure you catch Trevor on his Small Is Beautiful tour and grab a T-shirt or two!
Chapter of the Forest is out everywhere including through iTunes at the link below.
Small Is Beautiful Tour Dates:
9/24 CRYSTAL BAY CASINO, CRYSTAL BAY, NV
9/26 MOE’S ALLEY, SANTA CRUZ, CA
9/27 THE COACH HOUSE, SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, CA
9/28 TROUBADOR, WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA
10/7 THE MUSIC FARM, CHARLESTON, SC
10/8 ZIGGY’S BY THE SEA, WILMINGTON, NC
10/10 THE RINGSIDE CAFE, ST. PETERSBURG, FL
10/11 THE SOCIAL, ORLANDO, FL
10/12 FREE BIRD LIVE, JACKSONVILLE, FL
10/14 THE GREY EAGLE, ASHVILLE, NC
10/15 EDDIE’S ATTIC, DECATUR, GA
10/17 MULBERRY MOUNTAIN, OZARK, AR
10/18 OFF BROADWAY, ST. LOUIS, MO
10/19 SPACE, EVANSTON, IL
10/21 MUSIC BOX SUPPER CLUB, CLEVELAND, OH
10/23 HIGHER GROUND, BURLINGTON, VT
10/24 THE MIDDLE EAST, CAMBRIDGE, MA
10/25 GRAMERCY THEATRE, NEW YORK, NY
10/26 JAMMIN’ JAVA, VIENNA, VA
10/28 WORLD CAFE LIVE, PHILADELPHIA, PA
10/29 STAGE ONE, FAIRFIELD, CT