About a month ago, musician/producer/DJ Trivecta released his epic album The Way Back Up. We raved about the album here at the website, and Trivecta has since embarked on a massive North American tour. He kicked things off with an appearance at Sunset Music Festival in his hometown of Tampa, FL.
After quickly hitting a million streams on The Way Back Up it’s clear that the Ophelia Records mainstay is having quite the moment. We got the chance to sit down and have a chat with Trivecta, real name Sam Dobkin, about how the album came together, next steps in his career, possible side projects, and his love for hot sauce.
Hey Sam! Thanks for taking the time out to talk to us. First off, tell us a little about yourself, how you got into music, and what’s led you to this point in your career?
“I’m Sam, Trivecta, y’all knew that. I got into music when I was like 12 or 13 and my friends were all playing guitar; and I was the kid who was like, well, if my friends are doing it then I’m going to do it way too much until they all hate it. So, I was doing the guitar, we started a band, and eventually, nobody in the band wanted to figure out how to record us and we needed to record. And we sucked, not that we needed to record. But, I took it upon myself to figure it out, and so now I’ve been recording music, for the whole last 18 years of my life I’ve been recording music. Eventually, when EDM got big, I always say that I didn’t’ like it, I hated it, it’s the same kick drum in every beat, I was so annoyed. And I tried to spitefully prove to my roommate and myself that I could do it. Which I couldn’t, it was really hard trying to do it. And now I’m still trying to do it.”
You just released your album “The Way Back Up,” we sang its praises on the website. Tell us how the album came to be. When did you conceive of it? How did you put together all the tracks? Just tell us what the process is.
“Yeah, so, sonically it all kind of came together. I had been almost kind of disillusioned with kind of a lot of stuff that I was hearing in melodic bass music. I don’t want to say disillusioned, because there’s a lot of great stuff in melodic bass. But, there’s also a lot of same-y copy-cat kind of stuff that was, in my opinion, kind of watering the genre down. It made me lose a lot of interest in that kind of stuff, the kind of niche generalism. This is an opportunity to find a new way to do something creative in here, and kind of briefly. Because if I feel this way, I’m not the only one. So, to me, it was always like people are combining pop music or like trance music to make melodic bass music. And, I was really into like Indie music. Not that stereotypical, dun, dun, dun, dunnda-hey, and to me that was very immersive, that kind of music, just like melodic bass. I’m going to try to be the intersection here. So I started that during the beginning of the pandemic. That was it, I was just gardening, I was dropping little song ideas, dropping song ideas, dropping song ideas, until I had like 30. I’m like alright, how many of these am I going to push further, how many of these are actually getting there. And, finally, it’s like what does this all look like, so on and so forth, and then it all comes together. That’s pretty much about it.”
Whatever happens to the songs that get put on the backburner? Do you ever come back to them or do you literally just dump them in the trash?
“Yeah, those will probably come around. That’s actually a really good question. Maybe one or two might show up in a deluxe package or something. But, the cool thing is, they become little seeds I can come back to and do something else with.”
I know you play guitar in your live sets. In such a crowded field of music, how do you make your songs and your sets stand out from the crowd?
“Oh, yeah, it’s a challenge. It’s interesting making live sets with this kind of music is always it’s own kind of…Like, if I was making house music or something it would be so easy. I feel like the more, I guess the song gives you or the more you have to get involved listening to the song. The more fatiguing it becomes. In other words, an hour of just like melodic bass music, is going to be like, dog, what are you doing? So, it’s always got to be like every couple of songs, how are we going to keep it fresh? But, you can’t just melodic bass, melodic bass, dubstep; melodic bass, melodic bass, dubstep; it starts to get pretty obvious. So, you start throwing in different things, psy-trance, tempo changes, house music, different things. So as far the live show, it’s always a damn puzzle, man. Sometimes, I’ll play a festival or show, and somebody who doesn’t play this kind of music. It’s like the question of we want you to play an extra 10 minutes. When that question comes up, sometimes I’ll have guys be like, oh, just take away a few songs, or add a couple of songs, but, with this kind of music, it’s not that easy. If I take one out, that there is the entire domino, that song was the one the pivot that created space for the next one. The live set question is complicated.”
Alright, I heard that you’ve got a thing for hot sauce. Tell me about your affinity for hot sauce and your hot sauce endeavors? Tell me what the Trivecta BBQ is like.
“Man, I was like 11 or 12, and I started experimenting with taking crystal hot sauce and pouring it into a bowl and I would take goldfish and with my tooth I would poke a little hole in the goldfish and fill it with hot sauce. And I think that was how it all started. And then I got into buffalo wings and boneless buffalo wings which are not chicken nuggets and so on an so forth, blah blah blah. And then it got to the point where eventually my fans got wind of this and started bringing it to the shows and started bringing me sauce. Weird situation with the security guards where they would come back and be like you’re Trivecta? I have sauce for you? And, now, man, I’ve got about 130 sauces sitting there. Yeah, so, dude, I actually went through different waves for a while, I was cooking a lot of steaks and shit, grilling a lot of that. Now these days, I’m trying to slim up, so that means a lot more chicken thighs. But, that lends itself to hot sauce. But, yeah man, we stay grilling, let’s just say we stay grilling.”
I asked about how you originally got into music, tell us about other instruments you can play, and what type of music you would be listening to if not melodic bass and other dance music.
“Dude, my playlist of music I listen to is all over the place man. What have I been listening to lately? It’ll literally be my mood, it’ll be like anything from old punk rock I grew up on to metal. But, my playlist of music that gives my goosebumps is like it goes to Disney soundtracks, dog, we are everywhere. Instrument-wise, main is guitar, my second though, one of my true loves, is the bass. I love playing the bass. There’s something about…I used to play cover gigs with my buddies here, around the bay area, and I don’t have time to do it anymore. But, now I tell them, if I’m ever in town and you want to get me in to play; and we’re playing like Jimmy Buffett and shit like that. If you ever want me to play, the only way you’re going to get me to play is if you tell me I can play the bass and give me a good drummer to play with. Because, if it’s my shows, if it’s a Trivecta show, I’m ripping the guitar, but if it’s kind of a little jam, sometimes, man, I just like to get people moving.”
Like we talked about, the album represents a huge new step as an artist. Now that you’ve put out the album, what’s next? If you’ve even had time to contemplate that.
“The next step is tour, that’s the biggie. I was like, great, now that the album is done, I can chill. Nope, now that the album is done, it’s all just working on the headline tour. So, it’s basically that, that’s what’s going to take up the next couple of months. It’s basically, it’s the album tour, that’s the main thing. My motto right now is, if y’all want more melodic bass from me in the next few months, literally, don’t, because you’re not going to get it. Like, close for business, bro. That album took the life out of me, it’s like giving birth to a baby. I thought putting out an EP was challenging, an album is way harder. Probably, the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, so I’m taking my sweet ass time. I’ll tell you what, man. I started playing like almost kind of like Lane 8 style, like chill house stuff. I’ve been putting them on my Instagram stories, just for fun. I might like, make a little alias, and just put them out at the end of the year, I don’t know. It’s like that with guitar, I don’t really hear anybody else doing that. Y’all heard it here first.”
What advice would you have for aspiring producers and people who want to carve out their own niche like you have?
“Patience, patience, stick to your craft. As for carving out the niche kind of thing. My thing is you are the intersection of your influences. You are the only person who is the midpoint between all the things that you listen to. And, in my opinion, that’s kind of like THE north star for if you’re going to pave your own way. You don’t have anything to follow, so that’s where things get scary. And you’ve got to spend time learning how to make…like, on guitar, you learn other people’s songs. You learn how to play the songs. People don’t stress that enough when they learn to produce music. Like, you learn to produce music, but you don’t have something to measure up to. So, I think, re-produce parts of your favorite songs to the best of your ability. Like, listen to a song you like, try to reproduce that, listen to another song, try to reproduce that. Doing that you start to figure out what you’re missing. So then once you build out your palette, start thinking how can I be the intersection of everything I’m listening to? How can I take something that I like that nobody else is putting with what I currently know?”
Check out the latest from Trivecta, The Way Back Up, out now on Ophelia. Don’t miss any of his upcoming tour dates, coming to a town near you.
06/11 Montreal, QC Le Belmont
06/17 Atlanta, GA Believe Music Hall
06/24 Boston, MA Royale
06/25 Ottawa, ON Escapade Music Festival
07/01 Los Angeles, CA Academy
07/02 San Francisco, CA The Midway
07/08 Dallas, TX Stereo Live
07/09 San Marcos, TX The Marc
07/14 Denver, CO Church
07/15 Seattle, WA Neumos
07/16 Portland, OR 45 East
07/23 Honolulu, HI HB Social Club
07/29 Houston, TX 9PM Music Venue
08/05 Kansas City, KS Breakaway Festival
08/06 Baltimore, MD Moonrise Festival
08/12 Tempe, AZ Sunbar
09/02 New York, NY Electric Zoo
09/03 Chicago, IL North Coast Festival
09/10 Hamilton, ON Club 77