Producer and musician Trent Campbell of the electro-funk group Tnertle came up with an out-of-this-world storyline for the band's upcoming album, Burning Down the Sun.
The album debuts on November 2, but you can stream the track "Peace Sign," with MC Ray Salazar, first right here:
"I wrote about fifteen songs and chose about eight songs for the album, and after listening to them all, they gave me a cosmic vibe," Campbell says, explaining the origins of the project. "I was listening to the tracks, trying to pick out the emotion each song gave off and work it into a storyline, and that’s when I came up with Burning Down the Sun."
The song titles on the album tell the journey of a turtle named Enzo, who must save his planet by burning down the sun. This thematic exploration is a first for Campbell, who is releasing documents alongside the songs that explain his creation in depth.
"'Peace Sign' is a song created by myself and Salazar. I worked [Enzo's storyline] in there. It's the second song on the album. I envision this race on a planet going through some turbulent times, as they will be soon burning down the sun and relocating to a new solar system. So it’s a song about preserving the peace on the planet instead of destroying the planet," Campbell says.
Coming from a classically trained background, Campbell studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. He finds it both a blessing and a curse that he can no longer create music without the knowledge of music theory. "I definitely create a lot of diatonic songs, so songs that follow the rules of harmony and knowing when to break the rules, how long to break the rules for, makes me more of a mature writer."
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Tnertle will be going on a West Coast tour before heading home in December to play Kyle Hollingsworth's Hoppy Holidays show on December 8 at Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom. Playing live is Campbell's favorite part of making music, because, he says, he gets to "relive that initial feeling you wanted when you picked up your first instrument."
This feeling of discovery plays into the fantastical album and also explains the origins of the group. Campbell and drummer Kyle Ayervais started their post-collegiate music careers playing in a rock and metal band prior to 2009. After relocating back to their hometown of Denver, they were eager to branch out and explore new genres, especially with the blossoming electronic music scene which was selling more tickets than rock.
"It didn’t make sense to do rock anymore. It was like knocking on a house where nobody is home," Campbell says. "Maybe I'm more biased, but it seems like [Denver] is a big electronic city. I think the entire music industry is thriving because people want to go out and see live music. People are equally as interested in local acts because they know there are some good ones coming out, and Pretty Lights and some other artists have validated that."
Tnertle, at Kyle Hollingsworth's Hoppy Holidays, Saturday, December 8, Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom, 2637 Welton Street, $22-$25.