'Puka Shells and Marley Keeps Me Warm...'
The young Los Angeles-based musician, Trevor Hall, is full of earnest hopefulness and positive charisma. Full of wisdom and insight, Hall exudes a confidence that only an old soul would possess. After traveling to the ends of the earth in search of spiritual enlightenment, Hall sings of the optimism, despair and exasperation of the human condition as it exists in modern society and world’s past.
The forthcoming release of Hall’s self-titled fifth album is a testament to his love for humanity. A beautifully constructed ensemble of light-hearted, reggae-influenced tunes, Trevor Hall pleasantly pairs modern guitar rhythms with Indian influenced instruments. The resulting product is an acoustic collage of feel-good, deity-driven compositions, leading all who listen a little closer to the elysium fields of contentment.
In a recent interview with Exclusive Magazine, Hall talks about his outlook on the world and how he hopes his music can influence growth and understanding in others.
Your music has it’s roots in reggae and acoustic rock. Who were your musical influences growing up and how many still factor into your music today? [Hall] "My main musical influence is Bob Marley. It goes beyond his music. I am really inspired by the way he lived his life and the way he carried himself. He really factors into my writing. I also enjoy a lot of world music...especially Indian music. My favorite Indian singer is Kumar Gandharva. His emotion and folky style really influences me."
As an up-and-coming artist, how would you describe the sound and style of your recently released album? "The new album really explores a lot of different styles. I tried to keep that reggae influenced sound but also went in a little more of a rock direction. We have electric guitars and keys which I never really experimented with before. I also tried to bring in the Indian influence with some sitars and drone sounds. Overall, I feel the album is a very positive and spiritual record which will hopefully lift people when they hear it."
You produced your first album at the young age of 15 with the help of your father. How has the support from your family helped in your success as a musician? "If it wasn't for the support from my family, there is no way I would be where I am today. They support me 110%. They allowed me to attend an arts boarding school all the way across the country. Because of our tight knit family, I knew it was hard for them. Yet, they sacrificed for me. I am greatly appreciative to them."
You've visited India twice in your life which has had a profound effect on your spiritual and creative life, as the Mumbai attacks were the inspiration for your collaboration, "Unity", with Matisyahu. What particular moments from your trips to India stand out in your memory as the most significant? "My journeys to India were filled with many intense experiences so it is hard to nail down a few. In general, there was a profound turn in my spiritual life because of the people I met there and the holy places I visited. God is alive there...not only in the land but in the peoples' hearts. To call it religion is a little strange for me, because they lived it every second and every moment of every day. This presence and devotion gave me intense inspiration not only in my music but also in my life. I am extremely grateful to Her and Her people."
You’ve now produced four albums; The Rascals Have Returned, Alive and on the Road, Lace Up Your Shoes and This Is Blue. Which album do you feel says the most about you as an artist? "Out of all the albums, I feel like the new self-titled really says the most about me. In a way, I feel like it is my first record."
Your song “Other Ways” was featured on the Shrek the Third soundtrack. How were you approached for this project and what has it meant to your success as an artist? "When I was on Geffen records, Ron Fair approached me about the song being in the movie. He heard it one time, called the producer then and there, and got it in the movie. It all happened pretty quickly. It really helped in a big way by getting the word out there."
How easy or hard is it to create a new, vibrant, wanted-by-the-public sound that both builds on and surpasses the musical wonderments and accomplishments that preceded it within the industry? "When I write music, I try not to think about anything. I try not to think about style, sound, singles, radio, or any of this. I try to keep it totally pure. I feel that if the music is pure and comes from your heart, then everything will be accomplished by itself."
You studied at the Idyllwild School for the Arts in Los Angeles. How did this experience help to shape your musical style and development? "Studying at Idyllwild was a very opening experience for me. Because of the school being international, I was exposed to all types of different art and creativity from around the world. It really showed me how art is universal and how it is a universal language. I believe it is the best form of communication."
Unfortunately you were dropped from your label, Geffen Records in 2008 yet went on to independently release the record, This Is Blue, on your own. How did this disappointing turn of events motivate you to produce this album and is this event at all reflected in the music and lyrics of the new record? "I don't look at it as an unfortunate situation. I try to see everything as grace. I am grateful for the time I had at Geffen. I learned a lot about the "business" and met many good people. As far as the new record goes, the event isn't reflected in the music. I just wrote some more songs and recorded them."
If asked to record one for charity, what '80s (and possibly cheesy!) pop/rock song would you love to cover today and why? "Unfortunately, I don't know too much of my music history. I wouldn't know which song I would do. We are back stage right now in VA so I am going to ask my band. They say "Cherry Pie" by Warrant!"
Interviewed by: Erin M. Stranyak
For more information on Trevor Hall, check him out on Myspace and listen to new songs from his upcoming self-titled album.
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