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WITF Music: Trash Juice

Only taking the music seriously. Everything else is a joke.

  • Joe Ulrich

 Jeremy Long / WITF

We’ve all been touched by trash juice at some point in our lives, maybe when carrying a sopping bag out to the garbage can. Trash Juice the band however is a different but still very juicy experience. Their music sloshes together different styles dripping with tight beats and melodic bass lines while the keys and electric guitars shimmer like oil on top of a puddle of trash juice. Trash Juice is: Baxter Bevins, guitar; Austin Bundy, guitar; Reed Cormier, keys; Eric Mannering, bass; Tyler Samsel, drums.

Joe: What is Trash juice?

Tyler: Me and Austin came up with the name. [We] started playing together in 2016. We worked together at Plato’s Closet. I was taking out the trash and the bag ripped and Austin’s like, oh you got trash juice on your leg. So that’s what we called ourselves.

Joe: I’m curious about how you name the songs. Is there any rhyme or reason to how that happens?

Austin: Absolutely not.

Reed: We go through a couple joke iterations before we have a final one usually.

Joe: And then why are we throwing out the pancake? What’s the story there? [During “Pancake”, the band at various points shouts “Throw that pancake in the trash”.]

Tyler: We had a live session at Think Loud in New York, and then we had a bad take.

Reed: Just I specifically had a bad take. I didn’t know what else to say, but I just said, well throw that pancake in the trash. And then they clipped that and it was at the like, end of the live session.

Joe: How do you guys describe this style of music?

Tyler: I think it’s just fusion. Jazz, funk, ja-runk.

Reed: Honestly, everyone has said “jazz?” But like a question. We’ve played gigs with bands that are real jazz bands. And we’re always like, oh shit, we can’t play jazz.

Eric: The real problem is the name. When we were first starting out, we kept playing metal shows. Because the promoters were like, ‘Trash Juice, yeah, that’s hard’. So it’d be these thrash metal bands and then we’d get up on stage.

Joe: Who are some of the people that inspire this music?

Austin: I would say Cory Wong for myself. He’s a great guitarist. And Herbie Hancock as well.

Tyler: Probably Chon for me.

Joe: What’s your gigging life like?

Eric: We’re definitely selective with the shows that we play. Places reach out to us, but we’re not really interested in playing a bar gig at 10 p.m. for 35 people.

Tyler: We don’t really make a lot of money, so we might as well do the ones we want to do.

Austin: We’re definitely here for the music. So we want to play good shows and not have to worry about traveling to a terrible show, loading in and out.

Eric: The songs are not easy and if we’re just always playing shows and not rehearsing that would not good.

Joe: If you were on a stranded island, what album would you take?

Reed: I was going to say Aja by Steely Dan.

Austin: I would pick Meta by the Funky Knuckles. That’s the band that I feel like sounds the closest to us. They’re just crazy fusion, phenomenal players based out of Austin, Texas. You guys would be forced to listen to it.

Joe: I didn’t say you were all on the same island.

Tyler: He’d play it loud enough for us to hear it. Maybe The Common Man’s Collapse by Veil of Maya.

Austin: That’s a really good one.

Baxter: Maybe Band on the Run? Wings.

Eric: Maybe Tommy by The Who.

Joe: Any favorite local businesses you guys frequent?

Eric: Tone Tailors up in Lititz, they’re always fun. If you want something a little more eclectic, you go to Tone Tailors.

Tyler: Aldi. They got the deals, man.

Eric: I really like Callaloo in Lancaster. It’s a restaurant that does Trinidadian cuisine.

Tyler: There’s this local coffee shop I go to all the time. I wish I could remember the name of it.

Austin: Shout out to that local coffee shop.

Tyler: The local coffee shop in Mohnton. It’s something hill. [The author looked this up. It’s Hill Road Coffee Roasters.]

Austin: We’ve been going to Rolled Cold Creamery. It’s an ice cream shop in Lancaster City. They have a lot of vegan options.

Reed: Lemon Street Market. They definitely have a bunch of cool vegan food.

Austin: Mr. Baxter?

Reed: What’s the gym you lift at?

Baxter: It’s called The Foundry. Callaloo also is amazing. Issei Noodle if you like ramen.

Joe: What’s the feeling you get when you guys are having a really great jam?

Eric: It’s relief. It’s like, we got through it no issues.

Austin: It’s nice to look over and see either you [Eric] or Tyler really just like stank face pretty much. I’m like, alright, sweet, we’re doing something good.

Tyler: When we’re really tight with our rhythms, I guess I feel really cool. [laughs] I don’t know why. That’s the best way to describe it.

Austin: I didn’t know that’s what you were thinking when you’re making that face.

Eric: When we rehearse, we just rep songs or a certain part so many times that how we play that part is just ingrained in our head. And then when we play a show and something different happens, and it works out, that’s pretty exciting. It’s like, did we just go off script? And it worked?

Baxter: The best is when someone does that and then it’s just like you can’t not laugh.

Reed: There are certain moments where it feels like I’m playing but I’m just watching myself play, but the moments where I know we’re locked in and I’m not worried about it are really good.

Austin: We don’t take anything seriously besides the music. Everything else is a joke and we don’t care.

Eric: I use this as a vehicle to try something different and make it hard, make ourselves good musicians. Definitely just trying to make myself better.

We’re working on a song right now and if we’re just playing like [taps out a steady beat] [and we’ll see] how many different drum beats can Tyler play to that and it would still align after a certain number of measures.

Tyler: What song is that? Telemetrical?

Eric: Yeah. Because we’re playing in 4/4. He’s playing in 3/4. I’ll be honest, it’s been like four years? I still don’t know what you guys are doing.

We don’t take anything seriously besides the music. Everything else is a joke and we don’t care.

Reed: I’m just listening for [Tyler’s] pulses. And I know how my part sounds. It’s probably not really in the same… phrasing as you guys.

Eric: It usually starts with just a joke idea. And then we try it for 10 minutes, and we realize, oh, this works out. Yeah, we can do this. And then we’ll just rep it for 30 minutes until we can’t not play it correctly.

Joe: I remember an interview with a couple guys from Radiohead and they apparently didn’t even all agree on where the downbeat was.

Tyler: Yeah, we do that all the time.

Eric: We tried talking through it the one night and it was like, it’s better if we don’t try and figure it out because it’s already working.

Austin: Whenever we like isolate our parts to record them and it’s time for each person to go up and start recording, we’re just like, oh, you’re playing that. Oh, you’re feeling it that way.

Reed: It is always a little surprising, isn’t it? Where you’re like, that is not the feel I have on my part at all. I think that allows us to have a bigger general feel where there’s multiple parts linking up as opposed to all following one basic groove.They’re a lot more open ended until we nail them down with the recording, honestly.

Joe: Do you guys feel like each person in the band has a certain character, or fits a role?

Tyler: We each have a different personality that we bring to the band.

Austin: I definitely find myself as a rhythm guitar player. And I’ll take solos and try to write some melodic stuff.

Eric: [Tyler’s] the extrovert and then it’s just four of us.

Tyler: Austin’s like the dad.

Reed: The way I perceive Eric as a bass player is he’s actually always doing something I wouldn’t think that a bass player would be playing. You play a lot of lines that are like more melodic than other bass lines, or you’re usually not playing the root note that I think you’re gonna be playing.

And then I perceive Baxter and I as usually either floating on top of a rhythm section or sometimes we’ll have parts that go together. So we either lock into groups because it can be too many notes with two guitar players, one keyboard player. It’s a lot of notes at the same time if we’re not making good choices… we fit in. We’ve learned. We still got much to learn.

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