We got the chance to chat with Trevor Hall, whose unique brand of acoustic reggae music has brought him to collaborate and tour with artists like Matisyahu, Colbie Caillat and SOJA. Hall recently played at the Belly Up, one of the first performances on his North American tour.
You just released a new E.P. in March called “Unpack Your Memories,” what was the motivation behind it?
Trevor Hall: When we record albums, we only put 12 or so songs on it, and typically it’s the ones that make sense together. When you’re writing songs it’s different. Some of those songs we write get lost and so I wanted to do something to give those songs a place.
I read somewhere that this album is entirely self-produced. What is that process like compared to recording an album in the studio?
Trevor Hall: With first demo I ever made, I got on my computer and recorded it at home. So this is coming back to that. These songs kind of have a sweet mood to them because they’re completely untouched by producers. These songs are really personal to me. When you write a song, you’re writing through all of these experiences. And so now to go and revisit it, it’s kind of like looking back and experiencing things again, but in a different way. So the album is about going back and finding those experiences.
The songs on your E.P. all have very spiritual themes to them, it’s very cohesive. Could you explain a bit about where that comes from?
Trevor Hall: That just sort of naturally comes out for me. Even if I didn’t necessarily set out to write a song and have it be something in particular, it’s hard for me to keep it from going there.
What is it like to perform such personal songs in public?
In some ways, it really kind of hurts. As soon as the song leaves that kind of safe chamber, it’s almost like a kid going off to college. A lot of people comment on songs and say things, and it’s not that what they say is wrong, but it’s that I’m so emotionally attached to the lessons that I learned. On the flip side, you have a lot of people who emotionally connect with songs in ways you never would have expected.
What can we expect from your tour?
Trevor Hall: For me, every show is so different. You can play the same exact set one night and there’s no energy, and the next night it’s just raging. As a band, we like to mix it up and keep things fresh. On stage with me will be Brian Lang on upright bass and Doug Smith on percussion.