What's the meaning behind the band's name?
one of a class of medieval lyric poets who flourishedprincipally in southern France from the 11th to 13thcenturies, and wrote songs and poems of a complex metricalform in langue d'oc, chiefly on themes of courtly love.
We're two songwriters writing about love and life and came together. Two Troubadours just wasn't a solid enough name so Jill said "What about Troubaduo"? And we laughed and said that's great!
How did you guys get started with all this??
I moved from Arkansas to Los Angeles to find some solid musicians and start another band and hopefully obtain a deal where I could create my art freely and not get ripped off by the label. Jill moved to L.A. from the small beach town of Carpinteria, California to do music also but she never really cared about getting a record deal and just wanted to perform and do her music in L.A. with other great artists. L.A. really kind of went pop techno, and we felt like their was no place for our music. When we'd both met we had had three record deal offers between us and an offer for "Rockstar Season 2" but we declined all because none of it fit with our path. The musical styles and lack of artistic control wasn't an interest to us so we ended up meeting at the same very cool PRG Acoustically Speaking Showcase at the Room 5 Lounge (PRG for Poet Roni Girl). Roni had been booking both Jill and I for a while but we'd always seem to perform on different nights. Roni got some great artists in the venue over the years and when we saw each other perform in February 2008 we were hooked on each other. We met in February 2008 and by September we were in a relationship and had vowed to leave our leases and become homeless to hit the road in April when both of our leases were up. In late 2008 we began booking our first Western U.S. tour and had become Troubaduo. Before that we were writing and performing as solo artists and in bands for 10 years seriously pursuing music as a career and artistic lifestyle.
What's the message to transmit with your music??
Peace, hope, life situations and not the same ol' topic every tune. The music's about being songwriters so the style can vary a bit from tune to tune. We're trying to cut to the soul of a person with our words and relate so they can get out of the mud easier. We want to spread a non-judgemental message with our music and openly admit that we also like learning through others no matter their age, race, sex, etc. At first we had some heavier subject songs but we've let go of the past now. We're really focussing on positive life messages with rock, Americana, folk, blues, vintage soul, jazz and performing all of this acoustically, while we still write a lot of songs that feature full bands in the studio. This will be the case on our upcoming "We Live in the Gray" album with bassist Al Aguilar and world-renown drummer "Curt Bisquera". Then of course we do some gospel tunes as well so we're in the Mavis Staples/Gillian Welch vein of gospel. That's a huge difference but we're somewhere in there with our gospel wailing and an occasional mandolin or harmonica with the message we believe Jesus is God and Psalm 22 said so 1000 years before He came, but we're not going to thump anyone on the head with our Bibles nor force our beliefs anywhere. Because we're not ashamed of our beliefs doesn't give us the right to judge and force our opinions on others. I had a tumor in my head God took out in April (story at www.troubaduo.blogspot.com) and am forever grateful for his mercy and healing hand in my life. So knowing we're not going to force our opinion everyone gives us the option of not being a gospel only artist, and we write tons of Americana to rock to psychedelic music, but it all has a positive message that most people can directly relate to no matter their background in almost every tune.
What's your method at the time of writting a song??
Just let it be, let it happen. We're spiritual so we'll meditate and know the Higher Power's helping us and writing through us, but as for the method, we're far from the modern day Nashville way to write. Jill can do that and write really nice songs, but she prefers to just wait and let the best art come naturally like me. Man, I've tried to co-write with others before, but Jill's the only one I've had success with. We like to take time for a song to flourish with good melody and purpose.
Which is your music influences??
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Gillian Welch & Dave Rawlings, Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals, Tracy Chapman, Van Morrison, Chris Whitley, Mavis Staples, Ella Fitzgerald, Willie Nelson, Johnny and June Carter Cash, Malcolm Holcombe, SRV, Ryan Adams, the Allman Brothers, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, Ryan Bingham, Buddy Holly, Otis Redding, Elvis, Lonnie Johnson, Darrell Evans, Robert Johnson, Slash, David Crowder, Fiona Apple, The Avett Brothers, Ray Charles, Steve Earle, Tom Waits, and of course the Beatles. Even great comedians such as Mitch Hedberg influence us on the stage and Peter Schiff when insulted. Like the Peter Schiff youtube videos as he stands up for his purpose/art to help. Most everyone on Fox news laughs at him and calls him crazy in 2006 when he said we were headed for economic disaster and in 2007 or 08 CNN even cut him off while he was speaking dropping his feed when he tried to warn the other side of the government prolonged recession. Whoever believes in something for a purpose that results in helping all people (our neighbors) influences us.
What plans do you guys have for the future??
Continue to tour Nationally and begin to tour Internationally. We've also rejected the labels and idea of signing for so long but it looks like we could go with a three album indie deal by late 2011 if the offer is right. We just know the offer includes full free artistic control concerning the songwriting and that's a big plus to know they're going to let the artists be artists.
Which has been the greatest day in the band?
We really like performing the Hope Mountain Barter Faire every year in Cave Junction, Oregon with a community of folks we just feel like is our extended family. There's only about 5,000-10,000 in attendance but there's a lot of truly friendly people and we have some nice fans there.
What has been the funniest prank you guys have been or took part while on tour or after a show??
I almost went to jail for a prank in high school and learned to stop because my pranks were too intense. If it's cool with you, I'm going to venture from this exact question into a story that is more so the most intense equipment breakdown we ever had. We'd been performing in front of no more than 300 person crowds for a while and all of a sudden got an invite to go perform on Time Warner Cable TV's Local Access Channel program Mallet's Place TV. It's local access to New York City and Los Angeles in from the Staten Island broadcast center reaching up to 900,000 viewers. We booked the show and the night before we were performing, I decided we had to both change strings (and we each only had one guitar on the road with us at this point because we were traveling in our personal truck still and had yet to achieve van or tour bus status.) When I was changing Jill's guitar strings I was replacing her broken pegs in her Martin with the cheapest package of acoustic pegs Guitar Center has to offer. They were completely too big and I ended up getting the peg stuck, then ripping the bridge off of the the body of the guitar. I had some old Gorilla Glue in the truck and it was late so we opted to go with it for a try. Jill prayed over it and glued it down without even using a clamp and played the show the next day with the Martin, and it worked like a Martin. The glue lasted about 10 more shows for the rest of our tour before we came home and got it professionally repaired. Don't buy the cheap acoustic pegs at GC though if you book a gig in front of 900,000 viewers... spend the extra $.
If you guys were stranded in the middle of nowhere after a show or while on tour. The help is 65 miles away from where you guys are, ¿Who would you guys send to look for help? And if while the rest wait, there's no food and the only way to feed yourself is by eating each other, ¿Who would you eat first?
65 miles is a beast but we'd hack it. You may not like this answer but we're not even going to go there on human eating human. We're that rare happy married couple because we're exactly alike and not opposites. We're just two pretty road experienced young songwriters who would get out and walk 65 miles if needed to, just hope it wouldn't be in the Mountains of Chile.
What are your hobbies?
Camping, hiking, fishing. And besides the fishing we do the other stuff frequently being on the road we like to say at campgrounds a lot and have really got to see some beautiful country and National Parks in the Continental U.S. so far. We like picture taking and have taken a lot of natural shots around this beautiful country while touring from SoCal to Washington and Florida to Maine. Our Facebook photo albums have many photos listed if you'd like to view them at www.facebook.com/troubaduo
What country you guys would love to play?
With what bands you guys would love to share stage??
Mavis Staples, Dave Matthews, Slash, Gillian Welch, Counting Crows, Willie Nelson and Malcolm Holcombe, and if they were alive Shannon Hoon with Blind Melon, Layne Stayley with Alice & Chains, S.R.V. and Chris Whitley who in our opinion is one of the greatest poetic and unique songwriters to walk the earth.
Are you guys OK, with the direction the band is moving so far?
Oh man, dude, so happy. A lot of peace songwriters throughout history whether successful or not have wanted to do the "change the world" thing, and we do as well. It's nice that we've been able to do it through four tours now for 2-3 people at a time at some bars and many more at the festivals we've been blessed to perform at. If one person is a new fan after a show that means so much to us because we've touched their spirit. We don't care about age, it's a number and not how you have to act so we'll straight up tell you our age always throughout our career because we hope to be able to do this full time when we're 77 years old like Willie Nelson. I'm 31 and Jill's 26. We've both been doing this seriously now for almost 12 years. We've gone through almost any situation a songwriter from a small town to Los Angeles could from being a solo artist to having a band. When we met in 2008 it was like finding the promised land because we get along so well mentally, spiritually, socially, emotionally, artistically and so on...
After just 2 years of touring now we are extremely content with the direction of Troubaduo. Long live art for a purpose and forget the facades of the pop world. It's a beautiful ride we're getting to take right now and we're thankful to God for it. Not doing what your heart says is suicide. If you feel called to do something for a greater cause go for it in this one life and one chance we get.
Peace to all and thank you so much Rafa and Vents Magazine for taking the time to talk to us.
Check out more: www.troubaduo.com