Troika – Interview

Saturday 15th October 2011

Troika – what a great name for a band. I saw the definition on your MySpace page “Any group of three persons, nations, etc., acting equally in unison to exert influence and control.”

How did you come up with that?

Thanks, the name was actually suggested to us by a friend when we were first getting the band together. We knew we wanted to be a three piece and we all wanted to have our own equal input into the band in reguards to music, lyrics and everything else that bands have to do so we felt the name really fitted. People are always impressed at how relevent it is when we tell them the meaning so I guess its a good way of getting the name to stick in peoples minds, and obviously when they see us live that’s an experience they wont forget in a hurry!

You class your music as progressive rock, but how would you describe it to anyone that hasn’t heard you before?

For us I would say the term progressive evokes ideas of different moods and movements within songs, like how classical music goes through many different feelings, tempo changes, even time changes within the song – thats what we try to do. But we also try to let influences from different genres into our music. Not letting ourselfs be confined to just one genre when composing the songs allows us to expand our sound and bring in unique and different elements whilst still having an overall heavy, rocky feel.

We try to make our songs as intresting for audiences to listen to as possible and by including all these different elements we feel this is a good way to keep peoples attentions. It also helps make each song sound unique while still having the overall Troika ‘sound’ and makes the songs great fun for us to play too.

How did you all meet and when did you decide you wanted to start a band?

Ever since we started playing instruments we have all been in bands, me (Paul [Drums]) and Mark [Guitar/Vocals] started playing in bands together when we 14/15 and have stayed together ever since. We both like similar kinds of music and enjoy writing music together. Then when our previous band split about 6 years ago we decided to carry on working with each other. It was just meeting up every now and again to bounce ideas of each other as I (Paul [Drums]) was away at uni at the time but towards the end of my course it was pretty evident we had some really good song ideas and would need a full lineup to get them gig ready. Paul [Bass] was suggested to us by a friend as he had lots of experience playing in lots of local bands. Plus Mark had just sold him a new bass rig so had seen his skills first hand and he knew he had some decent gear!

After Paul [Bass] was on board it was just a case of letting him have some input into the songs we were working on and getting a set gig ready. We played our first gig in May 2006 and havnt looked back since.

You all hail from Sheffield and it looks as though you’ve built up a big fan base. Have you done any touring with other bands?

We havn’t done any touring as such but we have played the odd gig with touring bands from classic rock bands like Wishbone Ash, to currnt well established bands such as Lacuna Coil and even up coming tourning bands like Devil Sold His Soul and Shaped by Fate. These have all been great experiences helping to promote the band and bring our music to new audiences which is always a good thing.

You have four songs available to listen to on MySpace, and a free download available, when can we look forward a future release of an EP?

We have been working on a new EP for the last few months actually.

It’s three tracks of our most popular songs and the ones we enjoy playing the most. The music side is all finished, we just need to get the artwork completed and it will be made available to the general public although it has been played on the radio and soon there will be some short samples of the songs made available on our MySpace and Facebook profiles

Where do you find your inspiration for song writing and lyrics?

Inspiration can come from anywhere for us. Sometimes it can be from hearing a song by another band that might spark an idea, other times you might just start humming a melody out of no where. Then what usually happens is we bring these ideas to band pracice let the other guys have a listen to it and start to come up with ideas around the riff/beat/melody and out of that a song is created.

With reguards to our lyrics they can come from personal experiences, wether they be good or bad, as well as from films, books and even current affairs.

Take for instance the lyrics for the three songs on the EP, one is about war, one is based on a film and the last is about a personal experience. We try to be as diverse with our lyrical themes as we are with our music so we dont get pigeon holed as a band that only writes about love or war or politics etc and besides its not like there is a shortage of things in the world to write about. But we always try to make the lyrics work with the theme or feel of the song to make all the elements feel unified.

How difficult do you think it is to get yourselves known and what’s the best bit of advice you have for anyone wanting to start a band?

I don’t know about the best but a piece of advice I would give to bands is always try and be unique and draw inspiration from as many genres as possible. Don’t be afraid to experiment. If you are in a metal band but you love jazz try and incorporate those elements together. Never be afraid to be different or stand out. There are hundreds of bands about that all sound like other famous bands or are just recycaling the same old styles. If you do something different you will be noticed and not in a bad way. Thats how you get yourself know!

Another piece of adivce I would give is always be professional. If you know you are sound checking at 6pm get their early, make sure you tune up before you go on stage, finish your set on time and make sure all your gear is ready the night before.

Things like this will go down well with venues, promoters and the other bands you play with. Before you know it you will have a reputation as a reliable and dependable band and those are the kinds of bands that get asked back to play again.

I noticed that you started a Tumblr alongside your MySpace and Facebook. How important do you think these websites are in helping bands promote themselves?

As said in the previous question to get your band known you have to get your music to as many people as you can. Websites like Facebook and Myspace make this a lot easyer to do. People from all over the world can find your page, see what you are about and listen to your music and if they like it they will probably tell their friends too. Plus you can send out invites to gigs or get feed back from where in the country or world! People want you to play.

It also makes hunting out new fans easier as you can go on other bands fan pages or specific music gere forums and let people know you exist. All they have to do is click on your band name and they can then listen to your music right there.

Have you had any airplay or mentions on mainstream radio?

We have featured on Sheffield live’s Local tallent show promoting our new EP and discussing the band in general as well as there rock show. We are also trying to get the EP played on other stations such as Radio Sheffield and even Radio 2.

What’s the dream or the ultimate aim for the band?

Short turn it would be to try and gain more media exposure, play gigs with more touring bands, expand into other citys in the UK and try and grow our fan base on the web and at gigs.

Long turm the goal would be to record an album and go on tour ourself wether that be with or without record lable backing.

But I think getting Troika to be a name known all over the world and associated with amazing songs, brilliant live shows and tallented musicians would be a dream come true for us all.