Over the years, Trex has used all sort of instruments, basically whatever I can get my hands on. Most of the early songs involved a keyboard, but once Tripecac got started, Trex shifted to acoustic instruments like piano and guitar.
I first learned melody on a piano, but as soon as I got to piddle around on an organ, I was hooked, and ended up switching to keyboards. I loved being able to play different sounds, which let me emulate an entire band. Over the years my keyboards got fancier and fancier, but for Trex I like to keep things simple, and often return to the piano and older keyboards.
- also called: Casio, CT-310
- note: see UNME - Casio CT-310 for more info
This was my first keyboard. I bought it in 1996, and used until around the time I got my Yamaha SY55, after which I sold it. Almost all of the early Trex songs feature it.
- also called: PSS-470, Yamaha
This was Anand's little keyboard. I played it in the Anchovies and later bought it from him. I used it on a few Trex songs in the mid-1990s (e.g., "Baby House"). It had mid-sized keys, which made playing difficult. However, it was very portable, and I still have it today.
- also called: SY55
- note: see UNME - Yamaha SY55 for more info
This was my first keyboard workstation. I got it in 1990, loved it, and used it in Tripecac until 1999. I also used it a few times for Trex (e.g., "No Room Jazz"), although I didn't bother to do any editing.
- also called: Triton
- note: see UNME - Korg Triton for more info
This is my main instrument for Tripecac since I bought it in May 2000 I've used it in a couple of Trex songs, mostly as demos.
My parents had a piano, which I played often. I took piano lessons for a few years, but then got bored with playing other people's music. I found it much more enjoyable to make up my own songs. So I quit piano lessons, bought a keyboard (the Casio CT-310), and started "rocking out".
Over the years, I've returned to piano again and again, particularly when I'm at my parents' house or away from my keyboards. For example, in 1996 I was on business travel in California for several months, and the only instrument I could access was a piano in a practice room at the nearby college. So, I played on that piano a lot. I did something similar a couple years later while I was visiting Bellingham.
There weren't any opening for keyboards in my middle school's orchestra or marching band, so I had to pick a different instrument. My dad had an old cornet which he let me borrow for school. Later, I switched to french horn (for orchestra) and mellophone (for marching band). I also dabbled in trombone for a while, although I don't have any recordings of that.
- also called: trumpet
I played french horn for many years in the school bad. I was never any good, but since there are so few french horn players, I was never kicked out. Also, most french horn players at that age are girls, which was super-cool. I used it on a few songs in the late in the 1980s, mostly on the tapes for my cousin Kim.
The mellophone was a marching version of the french horn. I played it in the marching band. It sounded like a deeper version of the cornet, and is often hard to identify in recordings.
I've always stunk at guitar, and probably always will. I think it's because I never bothered to learn how to play it. Unlike a brass or woodwind instrument, it's very easy to make sounds with a guitar. Instant gratification, you know? So I received positive reinforcement from just winging it. And I still do.
My dad let me borrow his acoustic guitar. My favorite mic technique was to put the mic inside the guitar. I never took lessons or practiced seriously. I never bothered to learn more than 3 chords max (as of 2006 I'm back down to two). So, I was always pretty bad.
In 2008 I bought my own acoustic guitar, for $100. It came with a free mandolin! Sounds pretty good to my ears, but what do I know?
- also called: electric guitar
- note: see UNME - Ibanez StageStar for more info
I bought an electric guitar in 2000, the same day I bought my Korg Triton. I've used it in several Tripecac songs, but by far the majority of my time spent with it is with Trex. Almost all the Trex recordings from 2007 feature electric guitar. I'm still not very good at it, but it's very fun!
I hook it up to an amp simulator (Pod Pro), which lets me add reverb, delay, etc. I also have a wah-wah pedal, which can sound really cool (and really bad, depending on how lucky I am).
I know, this isn't really a guitar, but it feels like one to me (aside from the tuning). It came bundled with an acoustic guitar which I bought in 2008; the whole package was only $100! So it's a cheapie. I have no idea if it's good or not. I like the way it sounds, though, and its portability. I've used it on a few Trex songs, but they're not digitized yet.
I've always loved banging on things. Percussion is the king of instant gratification! So I didn't take lessons for almost a decade. Finally, in my senior year of college, I needed some electives, and chose to take a jazz drumming course. I was awful, but I loved talking to the instructor about jazz. I think he gave me an "A" for my intellectual enthusiasm; I definitely didn't earn it for my technique!
pots and pans
- also called: tupperware
Even as a toddler I banged on pots and pans in my parents' kitchen. When I later got my first keyboard (a Casio CT-310), I got bored of the preset rhythms and started adding "percussion", which consisted of anything I could get my hands on: pots, pans, tupperware, canteens, etc. I made a real racket, but it was so much fun that Jon banged away on them with my in those early IPECAC days.
- also called: drum set, drum kit, drum
Occasionally people would leave their drum kits at my parents' house. I couldn't resist playing them!
- also called: vocal, vox, singing
I am horrible at singing! My usual approach is to kinda rap and chant with occasional attempts at melodic. Doubling up and throwing in lots of effects help, but I can't really do that with Trex, since there are [usually] no overdubs.
- also called: talk, chatter
Whenever a tape recorder is rolling, I'm a chatter-box, which is evident on the Trex recordings. I've preserved most of the between-song chatter. It breaks up the flow of the music, but serves to give historical context, and that's what Trex is all about: context.