Q&A with TEST
Los Angeles trio TEST are starting off the new year on the right foot. With the release of their new single, "7th Street Metro," upcoming shows in their hometown and plans to release a full-length to follow-up their 2016 debut EP, Tremble and Vibrate, 2017 promises to be TEST's year.
The gritty sound that can be heard on the band's new single didn't come about on accident, either. Tremble and Vibrate and the newer "7th Street Metro" are the product of guitarist Blake Stokes, bassist Wayne Meza and drummer Morgan Ponder writing music from the heart while living in their practice space in LA. The result? A new track that hosts more unbridled passion, energy and talent than ever. Read more about the band and their plans for 2017 below!
Interview by Dom Vigil
Can you tell us a little bit about TEST for any readers who might not be familiar?
TEST is band from Los Angeles CA. We formed in 2015. We are a trio (Blake Stokes - Guitar and Vocals, Wayne Meza - Bass, Morgan Ponder - Drums). We could be called Alternative, but we have strands of punk, britpop, noise, post-punk and garage in our sound.
Before forming TEST, Blake and Wayne played in bands alongside each other for quite a while. When was it that you knew you needed to start creating music together?
We were always among a small handful of guys that were closing the same bar down every night (the one our other bands played together). We hit it off and the first song we wrote together, we wrote really quickly and recorded straight to a cassette player with one mic. It sounded amazing and I’d never recorded any of my previous music in such a DIY, immediate way. The chemistry was right.
When you first started writing together, did you have any goals in mind for the music you wanted to create?
We just wanted to make sure we followed our gut instinct first and foremost. If it sounded good to us then it was the right music to be making. Whatever feels like the right choice to make, is usually the one we go for, generally bypassing over-intellectualization. Generally the songs you dissect too much and spend too much time with end up being the worst ones.
Last year, you guys released your debut EP, Tremble and Vibrate. What goals did you have in mind when working on these songs?
We wanted it to sound big, aggressive and immediate.
From what I understand, you guys were living at your practice space when you wrote the songs on Tremble and Vibrate. How do you think this affected the EP?
That way of life is in every inch of our music, including Tremble Vibrate. Living in our space in sorta the middle of nowhere and spending a lot of time on late night buses and trains and walking around abandoned factories and empty streets when those buses and trains stopped running for the day, impacted me in a way that will stay with me for the rest of my life. There isn’t one particular aspect that was influenced by that time, living like that, because it’s in my DNA 100% now and always will be. We did it for years.
You’re kicking off 2017 with your new song, “7th Street Metro.” What inspired this track?
Musically the three of us hit that vein of inspiration every musician knows. An idea hits you out of the blue, its good, you go with it and half an hour later you got the song. It doesn't happen often but when it does its magic. Lyrically its an impressionistic take on the time I used to spend in downtown LA. 7th Street Metro was the subway stop I’d get off at to go downtown. The studio is pretty close to downtown so on my days off I’d head in and wander around. Sometimes meet up with people, sometimes day drink alone, maybe see a movie. Lost afternoons, lost nights.
How do you feel your new music compares to the songs on Tremble and Vibrate?
The new stuff is an extension and natural progression from the Tremble and Vibrate EP. We kept the aggression and immediacy of tracks like Psychic Surgery or Graveyard and coupled it with the wall of sound and layers of the song Tremble and Vibrate.
When can listeners expect to hear some more new music?
We’ll have a second single out soon and then a full-length later in the year.
Do you have any other big plans or goals for 2017?
It’s all about the full-length album this year. We’ll also be making time to get out there and play in our hometown of LA and all those lovely surrounding areas.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Of course! I’d like to say we appreciate anyone who takes the time to check out our music, it’s an honor to have people listen to what we’ve created.