Canadian synthpop band Trust strip away any easy answers from the liner notes of the group’s 2012 debut TRST.
The front cover is a photo taken by frontman Robert Alfons of a person in a long, blackhaired wig, white foundation and dark red lipstick. Inside, there’s a tracklisting and song and art credits, but no lyrics or any material to guide a listener’s interpretation of Trust’s heavy odes to darkwave, post-punk and lush, towering synth pop.
What jumps from the speakers though, as led Alfons to Omaha, ending an extensive run as the main support act on the Faint’s current tour.
“I was honored to be asked to do it,” Alfons says.
The tour, which also has featured Icky Blossoms, has made Alfons excited to come to Omaha. All three bands will be on the bill for the Omaha show.
“It’s going to be a really special show, I think,” he says.
Trust began with songs Alfons had been working on, prior to collaborating with Maya Postepski of Austra. Postepski has since left Trust to focus fully on Austra.
The two swapped song ideas, with Alfons recording on equipment at his house. The songs developed during two years.
The band played its first show in January 2010, with Alfons recordings songs at home throughout the band’s early development. A few songs never made it to the record, while other ideas remain unfinished.
What made the record however forms a narrative of sorts, Alfons says.
At the center has been Trust’s ability to elevate his songs into skyscraper soundscapes without the need for a big recording budget. Home recording is at the heart of Alfons’ process.
“That’s the way we kind of do things,” he says.
Those songs quickly caught the attention of powerhouse Canadian indie label Arts & Crafts, most notably the home to Broken Social Scene. The label agreed to release the band’s debut album about a year ago, Alfons says.
When that debut came out earlier this year, the band quickly got heaped on with goth music comparisons. While Alfons voice does travel in a melancholy register, the album strays from Bauhaus or industrial-leaning death obsession.
“Dressed for Space” cuts in with a more vibrant, upbeat synth line than a slow-build mid-period Cure song. “Bulbform” meanwhile stands out for how it plays against a darkwave sound with dance music production. Lyrical themes run towards battling against sexual repression rather than romantic fatalism.
Alfons says he doesn’t see a need to move from his home recording process and work in a studio for the next Trust album.
“It’s too much pressure to go into a studio and be under a crunch,” Alfons says.
Alfons says he’s planning to use some early 2013 downtime to polish off some material for his second record, while will involve him locking himself away for awhole.
“It’s the best for making music in my opinion,” he says.
The level of solitude and quiet needed to work is important to achieve, because otherwise it’s very easy to get distracted, Alfons says.
“It’s kind of like wallowing in yourself,” he says.
Since Alfons has hit the road touring behind the first album, changes have already taken root. A live band has grown around Alfons, allowing him to focus on being a frontman. Alfons says he’s noticed the added energy on stage with a full band too.
“I’ve been touring alot since which is influencing the sound,” he says.
He says not playing an instrument has allowed him to give more to his performance on stage. He works to match “what I would envision in my mind for the songs and trying to bring that alive on stage,” he says.
Trust plays with the Faint and Icky Blossoms Friday, December 14th at the Sokol Auditorium, 2234 South 13th St. The show is sold out. For more information, visit onepercentproductions.com.