By Erik Myers
Sitting in the quiet basement of Mugs Coffee Lounge, the members of Trichome are reconsidering everything, name included. Well, maybe not the name.
“It’s a unique name,” says tenor saxophonist Mike Windham. “It has presence. I don’t think it’d behoove us to change the name, but the band has definitely evolved a lot since I’ve been a part of it.”
Then, ambling down the stairs as if to squelch any doubt comes bassist Dave Frediani. Flanked by the dual grins of drummer Jeff Dejohn and digital percussionist Matt Schooley, his perfectly normal appearance draws surprise. Guitarist Matt Newhard can’t help but laugh: “Oh my lord.”
“Dave cut off his dreadlocks about two days ago,” lead singer Evan Daldegan* explains.
Laughter abounds, but Frediani takes it in stride: “They were getting pretty long.”
But there’s also an upcoming meeting with photographer Darren Mahuron, who’s shooting their Scene cover photo. Image is essential for just about any band, and this one is in transition.
“We’re maturing,” Daldegan says. “We’ve had stories in Scene before about where we came from and where we met, and I think we’re in dire need of someone who’ll say, ‘These guys have been in the scene. They just want to have fun and play music, but be professional and mature, not stand in a field with dreadlocks and hemp necklaces and get photographs by trees with a weird lens.’”
“Can I say that?” he asks his bandmates. Nods all around.
“We’re beyond the point of looking at ourselves as up-and-comers,” Windham adds. “I feel like in order to be successful, you have to project the image of what you’re trying to be. What we’re trying to be – are being – are professional working musicians.”
Formed in Greeley in 2005, Trichome have come up in a Colorado scene of groove-influenced electronica, also known as “livetronica,” “jam-tronica” or “electrojam.” The scene has become hugely popular in recent years, moving in step with the swift rise of American dance music. Teeming with college-aged youth, Fort Collins and Boulder have produced a few of the state’s biggest names: EOTO, Big Gigantic and The Motet. Like those who’ve come before them, Trichome has accrued a devoted following and are just beginning to enjoy its fruits, like the sold-out Aggie shows and the national tours that include dates at festivals like Wakarusa and Summer Camp.
Those same fans pushed them to the top of Scene’s Readers’ Choice Poll in December, a close victory that won them this cover story.
“Are we more popular because of the scene? Maybe,” Daldegan says. “But you’ve got to strike while the iron is hot.”
Trichome doesn’t lean on electronica as much as afrobeat and world music, incorporating a bit of a progressive rock flourish as well, courtesy of Newhard. That might change. The reggae roots of their first album Where Creation Now Grows seem eons behind them in the wake of their recent Chromeo cover show at the Aggie.
Schooley is the proud impetus behind that project, having turned the rest of the band into fans after bringing the duo’s She’s in Control on to the tour bus last year. They put months of work into the show’s production, learning the songs and delving into unfamiliar technology to replicate the aggressive infusion of techno and funk.
While the cover show signals a newfound professionalism, what it means for their sound is up in the air. The band is mum on details about an upcoming EP. But they’re more than happy with what they’ve come up with so far.
“It’s the blessing and curse of having so many diverse musicians in the band,” says Windham.
Trichome seems more decided on their end goal, which is to take their music as far as it can go, getting as many people as possible dancing along the way. The discussion inevitably brings up Colorado’s jam scene and its new direction, of which they’re hoping to help steer.
“I don’t think it’s taken as seriously as it could be,” Windham says. “I think some people take a look at the scene and see it as music that’s just good to dance to. I like a lot of that music because it’s good music. I’m not in it for the party. I’m in it because I like to play my saxophone.”
“But it’s good fun,” Daldegan adds. “There’s a certain atmosphere at, say, a String Cheese show. It’s not like you’re just hanging with a bunch of granolas.”
*Editor’s Note: Evan Daldegan’s name was misspelled in the print version of this article. We apologize for the misprint, Evan!