From what I've read, you started recording The syntax error demo in 1986.
Was it already with Julie and Chris ?


I wasn't actually in SYNTAX ERROR, they were just a local Moncton band in 1986 that i thought were pretty cool. I was in a hardcore band called the UNDERDOGS around that time, and it was Syntax that introduced me to Devo and other more surrealist art and theatrics. My hardcore band used to play mostly basement partys and sometimes we played with a local surf band called CLARENCE which contained Chris Thompson on the drums. Chris was a skateboarder like me and we started hanging out quite a bit. We got a hold of the first DINOSAUR album in 1987 and decided to make a heavy Dinosaur type band with another close friend named Ken Leblanc. Ken had this great girlfriend at the time. Really fun and great to get along with and hang out, and i got quite struck on her. We eventually got her to join our band as a singer since she was always around anyhow, we called ourselves The FOREST.

In late 1989 i started dating her, which put a strain on Ken and my friendship, and the forest broke up. Chris wanted to play the bass instead of drums so we got his childhood friend Ed Vaughan and taught him to play drums.So by summer 1990, me, Chris, Ed and Ken's girlfriend ( Julie ), started up Eric's Trip.

What were your ideal music style at the time ? Something like simon and garfunkel with sonic youth as noisy backing band ?

Yes, we also were really into the early My Bloody Valentine stuff. "Ecstacy and wine" and the "You made me realize", "feed me with your kiss" e.p.'s Coming from a hardcore and metal background i really liked the way their music was still very fast and loud but had this surreal melodic soft vocal within. Julie and i were just learning to harmonize together by playing Neil Young and Velvet Underground songs on acoustic guitars, and we thought if we could do that type of thing with faster and noisyer music around it, it could be pretty good. Our own type of Canadian My Bloody Valentine.

Why did you record everything yourself ? Because of the price of studios or for the sound it gave you ?
Neither, more just because we wanted to do it ourselves. My hardcore band always recorded ourselves on 2-track cassette. So when we managed to come across a cassette 4-track we thought fuck, this is a studio. I didn't know any bands in Moncton that recorded on anything more than an 8-track. In the early days this was just the natural way but once we released PETER on cd, and reviewers started saying how "lo-fi" it sounded or how it didn't sound "normal", we thought "great, at least we'll stand out". I never thought about or even heard the term "lo-fi" until then.

Did you record all the songs on the day of their creation (like for the elevator part 1-3 album) or did you wait until you had a bunch of songs ready to record ?

I
use that technique when i make my own songs or demos for the bands i'm in, but usually with Eric's Trip and Elevator, we would learn the song together for a while before we would record a version. Except with Elevator's "Taste of Complete Perspective" album in which i recorded many versions of each song as Mark and Tara would learn them. Even the first attempted versions so i could compile an album from the most relevant takes.




You recorded live or track by track ?

With Eric's Trip it was always two guitars, bass and drums live and then overdubed vocals for that detatched sound. Except for "Forever Again" which was all recorded in tracks cause we wanted it to have a real disconnected sound, lots of seperation both audio and mental. I've always felt that the recording style should really reflect in the album as much as the songs or lyrics. It is as symbollic as the art. The sound should have meaning as much as the songs.

Shortly after releasing the Peter Cd, You did a cross Canada Subpop tour with Six Finger Satellite and Pond, right ? What memory do you have of it ?
Did you feel connected to those bands or were they just label mates ?

We were still very fresh then and overwhelmed by our new found path. We never expected to be signed to some record label and never thought we'd be touring at all. 1993 is kind of a big blur of concerts and excitement. I don't feel very connected to any of those bands or any bands. We always felt completely out of place at shows and we would always use these little dull lightbulbs to light the stage while we played to make us seem even more seperate from any band we played with. Six Finger Sattalite are my favourite Subpop band though.

On the Eric's trip myspace page, it's written : "Love Tara" was done during Rick and Julie's breaking up but "The Gordon st.Haunting" and "Forever Again" were recorded during a strange year of a new baby, excessive dope smoking, a lack of shows and an unlack of heavy emotional moods. " did any of you felt like breaking up already at the time ?

We really weren't sure what was going on at the time. In your early 20's it's all about emotional drama anyhow. I started Elevator to Hell in that period and recorded the parts 1+2 album. Eric's Trip didn't break up for a couple more years because it was all we had. We were on Subpop and people were digging us, we didn't want to stop. We toured all through 1995 and i guess when i realized that the Elevator album was doing pretty good, i thought maybe i could do that instead. Eric's Trip were all seperating in our lives and starting familys. I wanted my band to be my family so i wanted to be with Tara. It wasn't the same with Eric's Trip once Julie had her baby. Maybe she was still the same, but my perspective had changed.

 

Do you have any advice to give about 4-track recording,stereo seperation and all that stuff ? Eric's trip had a loud sound although i believe the equipment was often cheap,right ? so, what's your secret?

I never believed that the device that you record on should have anything to do with your sound. It's the creative use of the equipment you have that is important. I've recorded on 4-track, 8-track, 24-track, protools, whatever, and it always sounds like me. It's most important to just do it yourself because as soon as some other engineer or producer is involved in your recording, it is going to sound like them, and that won't do. Just try things and use whatever you have or whatever fate brings you. Just do it and keep doing it and let it grow with you natural and true. As far as stereo seperation goes, hash and 60's records like Electric Prunes, Love, Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, these really influenced me around the time of Forever Again. Hardly anyone still ever "dares" to put drums or vocals in one channel, but it sounds good on those old records and it still sounds good on ours. Why wouldn't you want to?


Forever again has a real "autumn feeling", is it the "color" you wanted to give to it ?

It is a pretty autumny record. If i think of the lives of things as seasons, that album wasn't the spring or summer anymore, but it also wasn't winter yet.

What distortion unit did you use in eric's trip ?

I stumbled across a 1970's Electro-harmonix Big Muff pie at a Moncton pawn shop for ten dollars in 1988. I didn't know what it was and got it just because it looked like it sounded cool with its big silver metal case. I had no idea it was the same pedal used by Dinosaur and Mudhoney. I believe fate gave it to me.

For purple blue, you toured before recording the album which helped you recording it in only two days. Was it the usual way to record for eric's trip ?

No, but after doing so many recordings at home we thought we might like to try a big studio. Subpop sent Bob Weston up from Chicago to help us work the gear but we mixed it ourselves. I didn't like it for quite a while because of the fidelity but came to apprieciate it over the years. You can hear how the band was starting to sound more Elevator like by this point. I think i had started my LSD phase by then.

What's your favourite eric's trip release ?

I really like the Gordon street Haunting, and the early stuff like Belong. It really captures our energy and fire and unrestrained drama.

You guys got back from your last ( american ) tour to Moncton on May 11th which is one of the title of a "Love Tara" song. Do you believe in premonition ? Is that why you named one of the elevatoralbum "vague premonition" ?

Very much so, there are signs all around and thats when i really started toopen my eyes to it all. On the last song on "forever again", there is a sound of cracking and banging in the background, that's Tara who was my new girlfriend at the time, throwing rocks at the window because she was locked out. When you put that together with the lyrics i'm singing about Julie, you can see the symbollism. It is filled with this stuff, especially Elevator.
"Vague Premonition" is set up to give premonitions that i was supposed to figure out later. It's a creepy record to me. I was starting to get quite far out around then.

Any chance of a new eric's trip recording one day ?

You never know, we don't put rules on ourselves so if it does come up, we probably will. It wouldn't be the same but it could be cool.

 

13) Did you feel the breaking up of the band was a bit like the end of youth and the beginning of adult age ? you know, the kind of feelingthat people move to different cities because of their jobs or families and get a job and stuff like that...when listening to those albums and looking at their covers, pictures and videos, you get the feeling that it was a time of teen age when friends ( and band mates ) gathered often in each other's house and I don't know, I guess you can feel a weird feeling of nostalgia listening to those records...

Completly. I'm glad i put so much conscious and unconscious effort into making all my albums like a photo album because that is exactly what it is. I've never tried to make a rock record and go on tour to rock crowds like some football team. I just want to capture my life in the most compelling way. The music and art and everything works very well together to really help you remember a time. Life becomes art. It even helps you to understand who you were down the road. There are things and meaning in those albums that i can see now that i never realized back then. If you just do it true and from your heart, and we did, it is very interesting to look back on. I may not know who i am but i can see who i was.



15) Who came up with the idea of doing Eric's trip shows again a few years after the break up ?

Julie and i talked in early 2001. We hadn't seen each other in a while and were both living in different citys. Elevator had left Subpop and Tara and i were living in downtown Toronto and were very broke. So was Julie. That was the initial reason but once we got together, all Four of us, we realized that we had alot of unresolved issues to get out in the open. That tour really helped us remember that we loved and missed each other and we should still be in close contact because it was us four that really learned how to play together. We were family.

17) I heard a rumour once you guys were about to do something with lou barlow before breaking up, is that true ?

We met him and played with him and our friend Peter who the e.p. is named after did one of his subpop 7 inch covers but we never recorded with him. I think we might have talked about doing a split single with Sebadoh but it never happened.


How did the elevator to hell project come to life ? As it began when eric's trip was still in activity, how did you make the distinction between your songs, like "this one will be for elevator, this one for eric's trip" ?

I was just always recording demos. When Julie had her baby we couldn't tour much for "forever again" so all these songs i had started building up. I compiled a cassette and called it Elevator to Hell and was going to just sell it around Moncton. I gave one to our Subpop rep and she really liked it. She played it for Subpop and the next thing i know, they want to release it as a limited edition 12 inch record. I thought "great".

How do you explain your move from indiepop to something more psychedelic ? were you bored of playing simple poppy songs with 4 chords all in all ?

Just growing up i guess. That and LSD. Eric's Trip were smokers but it wasn't until Elevator that we really started to explore. Alot of people get the wrong idea about psychedelics, we weren't partiers, i don't drink or do any other drugs but we took LSD and mushrooms very seriously. Religiously. I really felt i was getting to new magical places in art. We were a true psyche band and only other serious heads will understand that. You can't hear it unless you know, but i still feel that "A Taste of Complete Perspective" is a unique, magical and extreamly haunted record. I will always be proud of and defend it. Hopefully it will be more recognized someday.

How would you compare tara's bass playing to julie's ?

There both biological girls and there both heavier bass players than most boys. Julie plays it more like Lemmy where Tara plays louder and deeper.


Do you still use your tape reverb unit ( you showed it to me once after an hamilton gig , a few years ago, when " a taste of complete perspective came out ? Is that the machine you used also back in the eric's trip days to give reverb to voices ?

Yes, i used it all through Eric's Trip as mostly a vocal effect but started using it mostly as a live guitar effect with Elevator. It's an old Roland space echo.

I believe you and mark do not live in the same city anymore. Isn't it too hard to compose/ rehearse ? Does that explain your other projects like the rick white album or the unintended cd or did youfeel like you needed to try something else and play with other people anyway ?

Yes, i miss recording every week with Mark when we all lived in Moncton. Thats what made all the records up to "Taste" so deep. We could record any time we wanted. I liked playing with the Unintended. I learned alot about guitar technique from those guys. Although, i enjoy having the style all my own that i learned through Elevator. If Mark was closer i would still record with him though, he is still my favourite drummer.

Do the elevator songs ever come out of jams ?

No, i record a demo and Mark hears it then makes it do what it has to do.


I know that mark really loved "august" and put it in his top 3 of all the Elevator releases. Is it the case for you too ?

Well i'm most proud of "Taste" but after that i went a little off my head and our next two albums, "Lost during Headquake" and "Darkness/Light" went a little to far out maybe. Headquake is very dark and depressing though i do like it still. Thats what i was going for, and Darkness/Light was a little weak i feel because Mark wasn't involved in it enough. August may be my favorite too though because it is Elevator again with a real force and to the point again. We were focussed again and i really had a vision of what i was trying to do. The songs work together and the old 8-track i was using was on it's last legs. You can really hear the tape suffering on that record and it sounds great. I couldn't reproduce that sound with a computer no matter what effects you use. We even taped over our Eerieconsiliation masters cause we couldn't afford new tape. Kind of suits the symbollism though.

 


8) How did Dallas enter in elevator ?

I lived with Dallas in Toronto and we just really had lots of the same ideas of what we were trying to do musically. He first joined just to help fill in
some sounds from the albums that just the three of us couldn't reproduce live. Then by Darkness/Light he was in the recording process. The "Light"
side of that album is more a beginning to the Unintended.

9) what does the future hold for elevator ? any projects yet ?

Not yet but we hope to do something soon, it's been too long.

 


How did this project start ?

Just Dallas and i living together and wanting to mix our bands sounds together. We wanted to try and make a psyche/folk rock album and i think we
did. I'm still very pleased with the way that album turned out.

You write the songs and then the band jams together to get it right ?

I recorded a bunch of demos and let Dallas weed through them and rearrange them a bit. I wanted to try to really colaborate with someone i trusted and
respected. Before then it was mostly me in charge of arranging albums and the band would just help play it good, but with the Unintended, Dallas and i
really worked together.

Does every project of yours influence the others ? (Listening to some late elevator stuff, we can hear a sort of influence of the unintented in elevator,I think )

Sure, it's all the same to me song writting wise. My first RickWhiteAlbum sounds more folky because i was writting with a 2nd Unintended album in my
head. The Sadies sounded more like the Unintended after we did that album also. My new RickWhiteAlbum sounds more like Elevator because i was hoping
to do another albun with them by now but the songs were done so here it is.

Is it refreshing to multiply projects and play with different people ? is this why you do it ?

I do it not very often. I enjoyed playing with the Sadies but i am a very independent hermit type and don't really feel i need to explore other
musicians. I love what they add to it but also feel it kind of dilutes my personal art. Like i said before, i want to keep it as pure and true of a biography as possible and only feel i need to involve others now if it suits the plot.

 




Why did you suddenly decide to use your name instead of releasing this record as elevator part 7-8 ?

Because in every other part of my life, my old self had collapsed, so i had to rebuild and find this new stage of my self.

2. Memoreaper is more aggressive than the first album, is there a reason for that or did it just happen that the songs that came out were more aggressive ?

I just tried to be free making Memoreaper and like i mentioned before, i did have Elevator in my head. It's good to write and record without a
pre-vision. Just do what you want to hear. I like rhythm and drums and acoustic guitars and freedom. Just do and be. I write unconsciously so my
songs work as a tarot for myself. They can figure things out better than me.


What does painting brings you that music doesn't ?

It's really all the same thing to me, it's just creation and documentation. I do it for the same reasons that i make music or films or storys or cutting
trails in the woods. It's meditative and inspiring. You can learn alot from yourself if you know how to look. I don't need the psychedelics anymore.

Do you keep all of your paintings or do you sell or give some ?

I mostly keep them all. I've given some to good friends or done paintings on purpose for friends as gifts or for their album covers but i've rarely sold
any. I sort of regret the ones i've sold because theyre all very personel to me, but i was very desperate for money to eat and pay rent in the early
2000's.

Is it something on which you spend a lot of your time ?

I, at this point of my life, write and record about two songs and one painting a week. Although i used to do a song a day and a couple paintings a
week through the 90's. I'm a little slower now that i'm living in such beautiful country surroundings. I spend more time gardening and such.

Who influenced you, graphically speaking ?

I guess when i was young it was my grandmother, early 70's psychedelic seseme street, Dr. seuss, old fairytale books and stuff. In my teens i got
really into Edward Gorey and a comic artist called Charles Burns. As well as Alex Grey and old Stereo photography, 60's Addams Family episodes and Pink
Panther cartoons. Nature and dreams are my main influence i think.


what kind of painting technique do you use on the darkness light presentation gig with the exploders and dirtyhearts, with all the little dots ?

I've always painted for the meditative process. I like to do it the slow way, dotting each dot of acrylic paint one by one with a little paint brush.

Is it something important for you to make the visuals of an album ? Do you see it as a whole ?

Yes, like i said before, i think all bands should record themselves and make their own album covers. I dont understand why you wouldn't want to. And fuck
mastering by the way, what a scam.

And the final question ( at last ;o) ...is there any question that you've always felt up to answering but have never been asked ?

I don't know, i only think up answers when i'm asked a question and i'm trying not to ask my self to many questions anymore.
Thanks Paperheart, i hope these answers make sense.
Rick White.

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Eric's Trip - My room

Eric's Trip - Stove 

Eric's Trip - Viewmaster

Eric's Trip - Girlfriend

Rick is soon releasing a rockumentary DVD about Eric's Trip - here's the trailer 

Elevator - Hurricane 

Rick white solo

The rick white album - entrance undoer

The rick white album - Flicker 

 

 

 

 


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