SUNDAY CLASSIC GTC: TREBUCHET – Volte-Face LP Track x Track with Eliott Whitehurst
Trebuchet – Volte-Face LP is available at Bandcamp.
by Walter Price
Petaluma, California indie-pop group Trebuchet’s new album  “Volte-Face” is deeply rooted. Rooted in depths etching thoughts of struggle, forgiveness, hope, love in tracks beautifully constructed. With every listen, new textures unfold in cinematic landscapes. Music is therapy, bending the author’s words into your own realities are the reasons we all remember moments in time when that imperative song or album plays. Trebuchet’s “Volte-Face” is instantly one of those time and space albums. Immediately tangible, long lastingly thoughtful.
Trebuchet’s Eliott Whitehurst stopped by to go track by track “Volte-Face” but before he got started he had this to say, “Before getting into these songs on an individual basis, I want to mention just how much I value everyone’s interpretation of them. There’s nothing more gratifying than speaking with someone who’s listened to and appreciated your music, and when they’ve actually taken the time and paid the mind to something that you’ve done, enough to be able to derive their own meaning from it, it’s truly humbling.
“With that being said, I obviously had my own themes as these songs were being written. I’m breaking down the lyrical content of these songs below as I write them myself, however, I want to be really clear that all 4 of us in this band own these songs. We write the music together, as a group, and that includes melodies and harmonies. Also, it’s difficult to be vague through a practice like this, so I apologize if my descriptions taint anyone’s personal interpretations. OK buds, it’s time to party.”
Very simply put, this song is about my own complacency. There are a lot of different things that I touch on in this song, but overall, it’s about my own dissatisfaction with myself in pushing hard to reach my full potential. I’m not a slouch, but no one’s looking at me and saying “cool it, you’re gonna kill yourself”. As I get older, it’s hard to not wonder whether I’ve seen my best days already and when you’re not convinced that you’ve given life your all, that’s a pretty tough pill to swallow.
This song is probably the most literal of all of the songs on the album while also being the most personal. From a lyrical standpoint, this song really doesn’t mince words or hold much deeper meaning for me than what appears on the surface. Based on real-world experience from what was supposed to be a fun night, this was one of the hardest to write but also feels like one of the most honest.
Impressing a Ghost
I struggle with the role of music in my life from time to time. I love music. I’ve been playing music at some capacity for nearly my whole life, but I question my motivations behind it a bit too regularly. My older sister is a spectacular musician and I really look up to her a lot, for many reasons, but her musicianship is near the top of the pile. My oldest brother, who I placed on a pedestal, was also an extremely gifted musician before he lost his battle with cancer a little over 10 years ago. There are a number of really talented musicians in my family, but the successes of those two, in particular, have really driven me to continue making music. While I know that at the end of the day, I’m making it for myself, I sometimes wonder just how motivated I’d be if it weren’t for them and what they’ve accomplished vs what I have… and that’s a bit unnerving.
More on the constant struggle to find contentment. Personally, I’ve had to do a lot of searching in order to find what it is that truly makes me happy, and I know that’s not at all uncommon. Everyone’s constantly trying to get that thing that makes them happy – Money, things, relationships, status, more often than not something totally stupid. I guess with this, I was trying to highlight the fact that the search for happiness is often misdirected… that it won’t often be found anywhere near the places we expect to find it. Beyond that, experiencing true unhappiness really serves to amplify anything on the positive side of the spectrum. The lower the lows, the higher the highs. If you can pinpoint the causes of those lows and remove them from your life, you may find a much easier time of seeing all of the good in the world.
The first passage in this song contains the lyric “Dear, I adore you, but I won’t sing”, which are words spoken to me in a past relationship. As someone who is constantly singing and who always needs to be surrounded by music, hearing the person I loved say those words to me was pretty devastating. I want for everyone to be singing and expressing themselves all the time and I hope to never let down the ones I care for. Through my actions, to have caused someone so special to me to feel as though they can’t sing around me because I overshadowed them was really very hard to come to grips with. This song grabs onto that concept: the idea that someone’s light, though beautiful, might just be so bright that you can’t handle standing next to it.
Life on the Shelf
“Life on the Shelf” is a call for introspection and honesty. Some people go through life pointing fingers at everyone else, never showing a glint of thought that they themselves may be part of or the root of the problem. Deciding to learn one’s self is one of the scariest and most difficult things that anyone could ever do… but it’s also the most important thing in life. Fuck going through life not knowing who you are. Your skin is the only one you’ll ever have, so why would you not strive to be comfortable in it? I’m fully aware that people’s flaws and maladies can and do go much deeper than “Hey! Buck up, figure your shit out, and party ‘til you puke”, but we all owe it to ourselves to at least try. I believe that people are inherently good. Find that good in yourself and look for it in others.
A Page From Someone Else’s Book
To tie directly into the last song: don’t let anyone else define you. I did once and I’ll never do it again. This song is about losing individuality without even realizing it. Life can get really weird and confusing when you lose yourself in someone else’s reality. It’s totally ok to put yourself first in life. After all, there is no one else in your life who will undoubtedly be with you through your entire life aside from you. Live your life for yourself and don’t stop living in the red.
The Climb/The Fall
This one is about constant struggle. It’s about working towards and end when there’s no end in sight… and not really knowing if any end exists. If you start climbing a mountain with the intention of reaching the top, only to find that you keep climbing and climbing until you’re ready to die, what are you working towards? Certainly, if you knew how far you were from the top and how long it’d take you to get there, you may have an achievable goal on your hands. If there comes a point however when you ask yourself “why am I even climbing?” maybe it’s time to consider not. If you continue to climb without knowing why and with no end in sight, the better move may be to jump off the side, throw your ‘chute and start on another adventure.
Mostly about my own naivety, I wrote these lyrics while heavily considering some people’s predatory nature and how much growing I needed to do in order to recognize that in others. Outside of the lyrics, this is probably my favorite song to play live. If you come to a show and we play this song, when I look out into the crowd at the end, I want to see you go wild.
She’ll Be Fine
I was in a relationship some time ago and, although I was young, I did truly love this person. On more than one occasion she asked me why I’d never written her a love song, which brought up a lot of really confusing thoughts. Why hadn’t I written her a love song? It wasn’t because I didn’t love her. I knew that I loved her, but why hadn’t I ever been motivated to write her something? Why did the act of her asking me to write her a love song sour me to the idea of actually doing it? I really was a child about the entire thing when I could have capitalized on an opportunity to do something nice for someone that I really cared about, knowing that it would have been more than appreciated. Years later, I’m much clearer on a lot of this stuff. She is beautiful, she’s moved on and she’ll be fine.
I hope this has been insightful. I definitely didn’t intend for this to be a very strangely formatted motivational speech. I’m not that person at all… but if this has helped anyone to understand that you need to live by your rules, then I’m stoked.
[ 24. May 2017 ]
Band photo via Facebook
Lyrics By Eliott Whitehurst
Produced by Trebuchet
Mastered by Michael York
Recorded and Mixed by Paul Haile at Greenhouse Recording
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“Many years of studying and working on various other musical projects together have afforded its members a strong musical chemistry: one that has helped them achieve a level of honesty on their second album, Volte-Face, which reflects the two years of drastic change in the life of lyricist Eliott Whitehurst that inspired it.” – bio