Giants In The Trees

An interview with Krist Novoselic from Nirvana, about his new band Giants In The Trees
by Tommy Rage
July 2019

Giants In The Trees Volume 2

Giants In The Trees Volume 2

If you were to name the most influential albums of the 90’s, Nirvana’s Nevermind would certainly be at the top of any music fans list. Selling over 30 million copies, Kurt Cobain, Dave Grohl, and Krist Novoselic helped usher in the grunge era of alternative music. With the chart- topping success of their second release, Nevermind, Nirvana set in motion a generational shift in the post baby-boomer music scene. The overpowering impact of grunge changed the musical landscape of an entire generation and propelled all three of the band’s musicians into the limelight. Following the tragic passing of Kurt Cobain in 1994, Dave Grohl formed his own band, the Foo Fighters and has remained successful over the years. Bassist Krist Novoselic took some time away from music, graduating from Washington State University and earning his pilot’s license. Writing a book in 2004, Of Grunge and Government: Let’s Fix This Broken Democracy! Novoselic continued to dabble in music. 2011 saw the collaboration of Novoselic and Grohl on a Foo Fighters song. Forming his own band in 2017, Novoselic has release two albums as Giants In The Trees bassists and accordion player.

Located outside of Seattle in rural Wahkiakum County, Jillian Raye (vocals, bass & banjo), Ray Prestegard (guitars), Krist Novoselic (bass, accordion), and Erik Friend (percussion) released their second album, Volume 2, in March 2019. Having released their first album in 2017 Novoselic shares how much he still enjoys playing music. “Music is not a job or hobby; it is something that I have been doing a lot of lately. I am having fun with something I am passionate about. I am lucky.”

The enjoyment of all four musicians is heard from the very beginning of Volume 2. Novoselic’s accordion along with the ease of Erik Friend’s drums allow Jillian Raye to gently hypnotize you with her delicate voice. “It Goes”, “Bright Side”, and “This Is Love”, have an enchanting modern Shirley Manson-esque sway. The first single off of Volume 2, “Star Machine” has a day-dreamy feel, along with a quaint video of the band members assembling along the country roads of Wahkiakum County. Drummer Erik Friend talks about the band’s first single from their second release. “That was the first song we wrote for this album. It has a deep groove and it’s a little menacing, and it sets the mood for the album. We had a videographer come down for the video, and we filmed it with a [classic] Pontiac Catalina. He brought some nice cameras and a drone; and it took a day to shoot. It’s a step up from our earlier video which was done DIY camcorder style.”

Giants In The Trees aren’t a Seattle grunge band in the least. Coming together as a jam band, Friend explains how it all began for the foursome. “We all live in the same county down here at the mouth of the Columbia River. There was a call for a jam session at the local community hall. Krist was there, and another local guy Ray Prestegard who plays box and slide guitar, and Jillian Ray who I had been in a band with. We all brought instruments and started writing music immediately, and we wrote two songs that day. Things got moving very quickly. We just keep writing songs and when we have enough, we just put them out”.

Having a relaxed and effortless approach to writing and creating music may come from Novoselic himself, who was once a political activist, but is now more focused on music. “I’ve become aware that I’m not really into politics. In fact, I find most politics today to be stupid and boring - predictable narratives from each side of the partisan divide. I have a bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences, so if you want to capture my interest, let’s talk policy and ideology. I also love talking about music - as I am a huge music fan. I own over two thousand LPs.”

Releasing Volume 2 from their own website and Facebook page, Novoselic notes how music is continuing to change since his earlier days in Nirvana. “There really is not a lot of difference. Indeed, recording technology has changed tremendously. However, making music, is about catching the tiger by the tail. It’s about discovering something that moves a person – and that’s myself and others. Writing music is basically editing sounds. We did that in Nirvana and Giants In The Trees are doing the same thing. I do think that music will become more global as communication technologies spread. The next musical revolution can come from anywhere on the planet. We will see the combination of technology and musical arrangement to make a new sound. My advice to people today who want to make it in the music industry is to get an accounting or law degree [laughter]!”

Enjoying the ability to create and perform new music, Novoselic shares how much he enjoys jamming with his friends. “Giants in the Trees are compelling. It feels like we have a good creative spark and it is a joy to make music.” Friend adds to Novoselic sentiment, “We wanted to make great songs. We love the music of the past and of today, but I was never a rocker. You would think that I should’ve been a Nirvana fan, but I listened to a lot of electronica, classical, and indie-rock back in the 2000’s. Go figure. Ray (guitarist) likes Dylan, The Doors and bands like that. Jillian (vocals) loves the Beatles and Top 40 pop, so it’s a real fun blend. Krist does some finger picking on the banjo and on a 12-string guitar and he plays his accordion, which he is known to do. He did that on the MTV Unplugged album and he still plays it today. He played it on the first song on this record “Feel You Now”, and on “Sons and Daughters”. Adds Novoselic, “I’m a fan of any Beatles album, Sex Pistols, and most 70’s rock.”

Even though the memory of past grunge days may still be with us, Giants In The Trees is creating a gentle yet rich full sound, reminiscent of 70’s rock and modern soft pop. Fans will enjoy the bands Volume 2 from start to finish. Asked if he had any fond memories looking back at his time in Madison with Nirvana while recording Nevermind, Novoselic reflects, “Not really any fond memories. I actually drove by Smart Studios recently and it is in disrepair and empty. I pointed at it and told my wife about its history. Nirvana were really focused on music and songs. We were not gear heads [laughter].”

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CD: Volume 2 Record Label: Giants In The Trees, LLC
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