By Nicholas Jason Lopez
What happens when classically trained musicians from New York City explore dance, hip-hop and indie pop, with help from guest vocalists like Mirah, Likwuid and Raina Sokolov-Gonzalez?
The ever-so-eclectic result is chamber-punk outfit Warp Trio’s new six-track video concept album ‘Warp Trio’s Pandemic Disco Fantasy,’ set to drop on Aug. 20, 2021, crafted for fans of acts like Arcade Fire, Sufjan Stevens and Daft Punk.
Warp Trio express with this record that they’re not afraid to address current issues like police brutality, mental health, media distrust, with the prevalent theme of perseverance and “sticking it through” to the greener grass.
Warp Trio are piano/keyboardist Mikael Darmanie, violinist/electric bassist/guitarist Josh Henderson, cellist J.Y. Lee and drummer/synthesist Rick Martinez.
The Music Bugle had the opportunity to talk with Henderson about ‘Warp Trio’s Pandemic Disco Fantasy’ and more.
Music Bugle – How was the name “Warp Trio” decided?
Josh Henderson – So, when our cellist, J.Y., started the group, he envisioned an ensemble coming from the classical tradition, but maybe “Warping” it a bit and doing things like writing our own music, mixing in a bunch of genres, collaborating with other artists/art forms and that type of thing. In regards to our atypical personnel count for a trio – there are four members of Warp Trio, we started with a standard “Classical” piano trio set-up – violin, cello and piano, but pretty much have always existed as a quartet – with added percussion – with Rick being indispensable to the sound.
Music Bugle – How would you describe New York City to someone who has never been there before?
Josh Henderson – New York City is a cornucopia of opportunities. You can move here and play with Jay-Z the next day, be on Broadway the week after that and get case in your favorite T.V. show at any given moment…… or not, but the possibility is there and I think that the energy which that reality creates is palpable and what makes people stick out the high prices and particular way of life that we are all used to.
Music Bugle – What excites you the most about your style of music?
Josh Henderson – I love the eclecticism that is a natural byproduct of being four folks from very different musical and cultural backgrounds and bringing this to new audiences is a real treat.
Music Bugle – What was it like putting together your latest release?
Josh Henderson – Being separated for most of the pandemic, the process on this one was a bit different that “usual.” We had been toying around with the idea of a collaborative album for some time and the forced method of creation with recording at home and such led us to explore putting together a whole project in this way, so all of the recording was done in our respective apartments – and apartments of collaborators – and when restrictions eased a bit, we shot all of the video portions. A very crazy feeling to be performing – or pretending to perform – all of these tunes together for the first time at the video shoot!
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Josh Henderson – I am actually listening to another concept album project by the NYC vocal quartet, “Emergence Collective,” which actually includes Raina from “The Well” on the album. Also, I am peeping that new Brad Mehldau album with Orpheus right now.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Josh Henderson – Well, there would be no ‘Warp Trio’s Pandemic Disco Fantasy’ without a pandemic of some sort, so yes! We were in the middle of our tour – and just coming back from playing a festival in Africa – when everything got shut down and yeah, stuff escalated quickly. With all gigs cancelled, we had to scramble a bit. Our percussionist Rick started working the graveyard shift in an Amazon warehouse in Portland, I got a job on a farm in New Hampshire for the Summer. I learned how to drive a car and tractor, so yeah, a really crazy few months. That being said, we are all working again and never stopped creating throughout the pandemic, but it blows my mind how one can almost forget all of the events that transpired in this crazy year, as things get back to “normal.”
Music Bugle – Does social media help or hurt musicians?
Josh Henderson – It’s a huge pain and I truly hate having to use any kind of social media, but I guess it can be helpful if used correctly. Don’t know if it is a good or bad thing – probably bad, but the potential to manipulate social media for growth is seemingly boundless.
Music Bugle – What’s something that people would be surprised to know about the band?
Josh Henderson – J.Y. was a boy Soprano.
Music Bugle – Where do you go when you need a break?
Josh Henderson – I’m into hiking and NYC has such easy access to the great trail systems in the Hudson Valley, so an easy escape!
Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?
Josh Henderson – “A stitch in time…” Actually, nah, can’t really think of anything off of the top of my head, but I am motivated every day by seeing hard-working folks doing what they do and keeping it going!
*Photo Credit – Simon Yu*