Trestle Records is a London label with a difference. Not only are they dedicated to new instrumental music, they also run the wonderful One Day Band sessions.
The concept is simple: handpick a bunch of quality musicians from different bands and styles, put them in the studio for one full day with Callum Sadler behind the mixing desk, and ask them to write and record an album there and then.
Daunting even for the best musicians, I would think, but the results are amazing. They have to write and improvise together and work their asses off to ensure everything they want to track is done by the end of the day.
Some of the musicans that have taken part so far include Terry Edwards (PJ Harvey, Gallon Drunk), Oli Betts (The Duke Spirit), Lukas Wooller (Karas, Maximo Park), Leo Abrahams (Eno, Jarvis Cocker, Jon Hopkins), David Coulter (Tom Waits, Damon Albarn, Yoko Ono), Seb Rochford (Polar Bear, Acoustic Ladyland, David Byrne), John Thorne (Lamb, James Yorkston, Robert Fripp) and many more.
This month Ross Downes, the mastermind behind Trestle Records and The One Day Band project, releases their new session:
On drums is Max Hallett aka Betamax Killer from the jazz/electronica outfit The Comet is Coming. He is joined by two bass players who utilise both double bass and electric bass guitars during the session: the Invisible’s Tom Herbert and Peter Bennie of Myo.
We caught up with Max, Tom and Peter to find out how the day went.
How did you approach the session?
Max: I didn’t have much of an idea what this was going to be so I emptied my head. I became serene and calm with a cool buzz.
Pete: With no expectations beyond remaining open and having a fun day. Time to go to church.
Tom: In a situation like this it’s very difficult to know how to prepare as the music is all improvised. In addition to that, I had never played with either Pete or Max before, so all I could do was bring some equipment that might make some interesting sounds, then just go in with an open mind and trust that we’re all experienced and creative enough that something interesting would happen!
Have you played with those musicians before that day?
Max: I used to be in a band with Pete called Nila and the Rajas playing funk in a Lewisham comedy club in between the acts.
Pete: Nila and the Rajas were a cosmic space punk funk band! Me and Max were rhythm section. Tom taught me bass for a year but we hadn’t played together before.
Tom: I taught (in a very loose sense of the word) Pete briefly when he studied at Goldsmiths but, outside of the lessons, we never played together and I had never played with Max either. I loved both Pete and Max’s playing when I’ve heard them before, so I was looking forward to it.
Did you have any hesitations about participating?
Max: Hesitation is not helpful. I live in a state of flow.
Pete: Seeing as I was putting it together, no. Lol!
Tom: It’s an unusual concept, so I wanted to know more about how it worked before I said yes, but in terms of taking the opportunity to create some music with Pete and Max, there were no hesitations at all.
What was your reaction to hearing back the recording?
Max: It sounded much better than I thought it was going to be. Though I don’t remember so well, there was so much more going on than I was aware of.
Pete: I was really pleased with what came out. The session is quite strange in that we all enter a flow and get chucked out the other side without a clue as to whether what just happened was any good. The Trestle guys made it sound good.
Tom: Mainly, “Wow, this sounds really good!” Then, “I don’t remember that bit” and a lot of, “I can’t tell who is playing what!”
What do you think about One Day Bands as a concept?
Max: It has shaken the cosmos and some new music fell out. Net positive creation method thumbs up.
Pete: I love it. It’s a completely pressure free, open moment in time to do whatever the fuck you like. There have been some amazing moments captured in the other sessions.
Tom: I love it! It’s a great opportunity to make some music with combinations of people you wouldn’t normally necessarily play with.
If you did another one, who would be your dream collaborators for a One Day Band?
Max: Kwake Bass and Terry Riley.
Pete: I can’t commit to a favourite but Marc Ribot and Jay Bellerose would be a lot of fun.
Tom: I’d actually really love to do another one with Pete and Max. I think we were just getting started!
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