Hailing from the land of peaches, Triathalon are spreading their motown-inspired surf jams across the country, and even though these dudes are on the last leg of their tour, they’re still bringing the heat. Before their Treefort performance at Crazy Horse, I caught up with Adam I. (Vocals, Guitar), Adam L. (Bass), Chad (Drums), and Hunter (Guitar, Synth) to find out a little bit more about their past, present, and future endeavors.
First question, how did the name Triathalon come about?
Adam I: Triathalon formed when I first started, I was just doing looping stuff by myself so I thought because I was doing things at the same time – a lot of things at the same time, it was kind of like a Triathalon. There was also some surfy stuff I was kind of playing at the time. I got more into it as we went on, but …. And water, and Triathlons are kind of surfy. Not really a lot of connection there. Yeah, I really like the name Triathalon though, I think I kind of just made an excuse because I really like the name Triathalon.
Chad: It’s definitely one of those things, where you name something and that’s what you call it. Nothing like, too complicated I guess. Like Adam came up with it and that was it, and he spelled it incorrectly, I don’t know if he explained that.
Adam I: It’s spelled incorrectly, but we aren’t the only ones out there who spell it incorrectly. If you look for it, tons of people don’t know how to spell Triathlon.
Chad: It was just an accident that also stuck, just the extra “a” because it sounded like that’s how you’d spell it. So that was it.
How did you guys all get together and form the band?
Adam I: So I played my first show with a group of guys that I didn’t know, I knew one of them. It was kind of a random show, we just said yes, randomly formed a band, and after the show, Hunter, whose next to me, came over and he was like, ‘hey I would love to play with you guys,’ I was like ‘cool.’ Hunter showed up one day at band practice and knew all the songs, [laughs] and it was awesome. So I couldn’t really say you can’t be in the band. So he just was a shredder, he stuck. Chad and I played in high school, but Chad is a year below me so he came later, after the band. He came played drums with us, and Adam, the other Adam -there’s two of us, Adam came down about six months ago to fill in and be our new bass player. We’ve known Adam, for about three years now. We played a show with him in Atlanta once, and so that’s how we came together and are here today.
How long ago was that?
Adam I: We’ve been a band since 2011.
Chad: It definitely started with Adam making initial songs and things, and the band kind of being formed around those ideas and then from there we just became a band. Adam definitely brings, as lead vocalist and everything, a lot of songs and things to the table, but it just became more of a band collectively working on everything.
Who or what influences you guys currently? Not necessarily just music, but anything?
Adam L: I think overall I think touring is extremely inspirational, playing with all of these different bands from all different parts of the country. I think we grow a fair amount just playing with other Americans.
Chad: I could list some bands we like, we like Alex Calder a lot, we like Connan Mockasin…
Adam I: We also like New Madrid, and What Moon Things, who played yesterday, I believe.
Any local influences from Savannah?
Adam I: Someone really great that we kind of look up to, Jeff Zagers. He just released an album; he’s fantastic, very skilled. We like to get together with him sometimes too and play, it kind of opens up a new world.
What is the writing and recording process like for you guys?
Hunter: We record ourselves a lot, so we do it at the house, and writing… a lot of times Adam comes up with stuff, and we arrange it. Sometimes one of us will come up with stuff.
Chad: I would say most of it starts with Adam bringing lyrics and kind of a chord progression to everyone, like a general idea, and then from there it’s like we add your parts, like a lead and rearrange things, and figure out a structure. So its definitely like Adam starts it off and then it becomes very collaborative from there. Hunter masterminds all of the recording, at the house.
Can we expect anything new this year?
Adam I: Yes. We’re about to record in Hunter’s studio-
Hunter: My bedroom.
Adam I: -his bedroom. Hopefully you can hear a new record from us in October, if everything goes according to plan [laughs]. Expect something in October. Don’t want to say it’s for sure, but that’s the plan.
Chad: That’s what next, after playing these shows, going back. We have a lot of material that we want to put into a second album, so then from there we’ll just be recording it and doing all that fun stuff. Which is going to be sweet.
Will there be a tour with that new album?
Adam I: Hunter was saying that we should wait and kind of relax, this tour’s been a lot. We should relax, focus on the record, focus on making music, and then maybe later in the winter, really focus on a solid tour, with maybe more members or something.
Hunter: Yeah maybe adding a fifth member for a tour.
Adam I: But we’re going to take our time for sure.
Chad: Adding keyboard things, that’s just random ideas that have been coming up.
Adam I: We were literally just thinking about this for the past couple days. This is just fresh. I can’t wait to see if you listen to this a couple of months from now… [laughs] hopefully we’re still doing what we said we’d be doing.
So has tour been good so far, has anything weird happened?
Adam L: My personal high and low, high I think, collectively, we drove through the Rocky Mountain National Park. Which is beautiful. Low was getting our van broken into as SXSW and losing backpacks and dirty clothes, but overall I’d say it’s been a pretty good experience, and will one day be a great memory.
Chad: It’s one of our longer tours, which has been interesting getting toward the end of it, being out away from home for this long. It’s definitely exciting seeing Idaho and Colorado, more of the west, a part of the country I’ve never been to personally. Lows being weird car stuff, like new brakes, the window getting broken, weird stuff like that. Feeling a little under the weather at times, but always fun playing show and just exploring.
Hunter: Lows definitely Austin, but also I think my highs were in Austin too. Seeing Thee Oh Sees play was really cool. Getting the van broken into really sucked, but we had a day off in New Orleans, that was a really fun night. It was non-music related, but it was nice to have a little fun time in NOLA.
Adam I: Lows, definitely everyone getting sick at one point, because everyone feels it at one point, and it’s a bummer. Also my Beats by Dre were stolen, that’s a low. High, definitely hanging out with all of our friends in Austin, some of our favorite bands that we love we got to just hang out with. That was really cool. And seeing Thee Oh Sees.
Adam L: I’d say my low would be, this is the dirtiest I’ve ever been, and I’m so dirty that I felt embarrassed when we went to Dallas, where Adam’s family’s from to do our laundry. I was too embarrassed to do my dirty laundry because it’s so disgusting. So, I am still currently swimming in dirty laundry.
How did you guys get connected with Treefort then?
Adam I: We had a friend of ours who manages a band who told us about Treefort and he said that we should get on, and then we had our booking agent, Toro Booking, he got us this gig. But I’ve known about it, it’s very, very cool.
Chad: Most of our curiosity came out of bands that are friends, like What Moons Things and New Madrid, playing this year or playing past years and talking about how awesome it was, and then again, just the opportunity to go so far west, where we’ve never been. We definitely wanted to do it, it’s been a lot of fun, this place is awesome.
Last question, is there anyone that you’re really excited to see at Treefort?
Adam I: We really, really wanted to see Foxygen, but they’re playing right now. I’m not saying that about you guys having the interview right now, we’ve got to load in and stuff here, so we won’t be able to see their whole set. I did hear that Of Montreal plays tonight, and I would love to see them. I’ve missed seeing them multiple times.
I got to see Psychomagic, I’ve heard a lot about them but I got to see them at a house show today. Which was really cool. I think they play tomorrow.