Weekly Volcano Aug 07, 2008
by Bobble Tiki
Bobble Tiki first saw Trolls Cottage at Jazzbones a few months ago. Judging by the large number of smiling, gyrating folks on the dance floor that night and the always changing, impossible to pigeonhole sound coming from the stage, Trolls Cottage was not to be ignored. You could tell the band, made up of five childhood friends from Vashon, truly loved the music and that passion was only forwarded to the crowd.
Though the cogs that make Trolls Cottage tick (percussionist Gabriel Blake, guitarist Mike Marlatt, acoustic Jedi master Jacob Bain, drummer Earl Clay and bassist Erik Reimnitz) are all in their 20s, this is no Johnny-come-lately band. Trolls Cottage has been busting out the acoustic-fused roots reggae for a decade and they show no sign of slowing down. The band released a new album, Let It Burn, earlier this year, and has nothing on the itinerary except continuing the momentum momentum with humble beginnings on Vashon Island. Bobble Tiki caught up with Marlatt this week to get his take on the new record, Vashon Island, and what the future holds for his band.
BOBBLE TIKI: What's the scoop on Let It Burn? Are you guys pleased with how it turned out? Did you begin the project with a sound goal in mind and was that achieved? Or was it a more abstract process than that? Where would you like to take this record?
MIKE MARLATT: It had been at least two years since we had released our last full length album. Too long by my standards ... too long by most. We were fairly busy playing live shows so we ended up recording several tracks at different studios over a period of a couple months. I think this helped give each song its own defining sound. We released the album in spring of 2008. I am hoping this album finds its way into every hand that wants it.
TIKI: Describe the influence Vashon Island has had on the band. Could Trolls Cottage have come to be somewhere else?
MARLATT: I think our sound got drenched with a bit of the laid back lifestyle that is so prevalent there. Sunsets on the beach with a few friends and dinner over an open fire ... that sort of stuff sticks with you. I think you still hear a lot of that in our music. No Vashon Island ... no Trolls Cottage.
TIKI: What have your impressions of Jazzbones and Tacoma been? What are you expecting heading into your show this weekend?
MARLATT: Tacoma still feels relatively new to me. I look forward to Jazzbones as the sound is always nice and the people know how to get rowdy.
TIKI: Musically, Trolls Cottage is all over the board. How important is it for you guys to stay fresh and diverse with your sound?
MARLATT: We never really want to limit our creativity and get stuck in a particular genre. We want to be in this for the long haul. That requires that we let the music grow and change so that it can reflect where we are at that particular moment. We learned early on that we could mix in a few different feels and not lose the Trolls Cottage sound.
TIKI: For such a young group of musicians, it's impressive you've been around for 10 years. How have you survived and what's the most important lesson you've learned?
MARLATT: There is an old saying that a rope of three cords is hard to break. We're lucky enough to have five. We have kept things slow and steady, building our base wide before building up. These guys are my good friends. We consider what's best for the group before making decisions.