Interview and video premiere: Peter Wilson of Four Trips Ahead opens up about ‘December'
video provided by Four Trips Ahead/YuTube

New York hard-rockers Four Trips Ahead debut their brand new video “December” today on AXS. Shot at Spin Recording Studios in NYC in front of a live audience, the video has a raw and intimate feel. The studio version of the track is off their most recent release, …And The Fire Within.  Four Trips Ahead is currently featured on ReverbNation’s Most Played Rock Videos campaign with “Bring Me Down,” a video which also exclusively debuted on AXS.com (click here to view). Wednesday, AXS spoke with Peter about their brand new release "December."

AXS: Four Trips Ahead decided to do something a little special to record this video, how did that come about?

Peter Wilson: There was a lot of momentum with that last release and we had a lot of big shows in and around the NYC area. It was very exciting. We worked very closely with the folks at Spin Recording Studios, it is where we do all our work and near our home in Queens, N.Y. We wanted to do something different and talked about streaming live from a location. We had some offers from a few different places to do it. Some weren’t cost effective, others the quality can be very mixed when you are doing streaming and that can be difficult. We also didn’t want it to be a big thing where a lot of people are coming out to see us. I mean, that is great but we wanted to do something different. I nonchalantly spoke to the owners at Spin, he is a close friend of ours, and he said we should just do the session there. They do cool stuff at Spin and do these in-studio things occasionally. Judas Priest was at Spin, they used it as a promo spot and did a thing on the roof. So there’s history there and the studio has an incredible sounding room with such great energy, but studios are rather small. I boldly asked if we could have some people down. We knew we had to keep control over the environment and couldn’t have too many people in the room so we did a contest where the first 20 people to send us a shot of them buying the album or downloading the tracks they would get free tickets to this special show. We had a ton of people respond but could only include the first 20.

AXS: Still, 20 people is a lot. We have been in studios while videos are recorded, there is not much room.

P.W.: Yes, the people at Spin were great though, there were all these things to keep in mind in addition to so many people. When you watch the video (see above) you will notice we are set up facing each other as opposed to facing the room performing. That wasn’t because we were trying to be cool rock stars and not look at the fans, the deal was that is always kind of how we rehearse together. We decided to keep the diamond thing we had going. I like to face our drummer Ken because he is really animated and fired-up, I can feel the bass drum in my chest. It is just kind of how we do it and I like it, we have been writing that way for years. The idea was to let fans be a part of that energy. It created a different energy because it was more than just us. The people that were hanging were into the band and it was great having them there. It created a different vibe in a cool intimate way. Bitter End Productions shot our first video “Bring Me Down” and those guys were so smooth in how they worked around us and all those people in the studio, you wouldn’t even know they were there. We played the whole record and recorded straight through.

AXS: Are there plans to release the entire recording?

P.W.: We have talked about it. We did live, rough mixes of that night, and of course, it was streamed out, but there is no tweaking of the songs. What you are hearing has been cleaned up as far as mixing and levels go so the sound is good as it can be in the mix but nothing has been touched as far as the vocals and such go. It is very pure. You can hear it in the energy, sometimes the guitar isn’t very loud sometimes it the drums or vocal. I think it is really important to keep that in the track because then the songs kind of jump out at you in a different way. We did start talking about maybe putting out a live EP or something like that or maybe do a DVD/BluRay release. There is also the possibility, because we have so much new material, that maybe make it part of a deluxe edition kind of thing down the line.

AXS: What inspired the lyrics for the “December” track?

P.W.: “December” is a heavy track emotionally. It is about seeing someone you were emotionally tied to and that you loved in a period of time in your life, and not necessarily a romantic love. It could be someone you loved as a friend or family member, but you see them engaged in things they shouldn’t be. Then, unfortunately, when you see them again later in life you see them still there, still engaging in things they shouldn’t and having never moved on. The verses were inspired by different people that I threw altogether. It is kind of like a conversation with that person and trying to get them to see where they are at, to get them to move forward and to stop them from continuing to live their lives in the past. There is a line in the bridge that goes, “Your heroes died a long time ago, and though you try you just can’t let it go.” It is tough. We all have heroes, people we have looked up to, be they friends, brothers, sisters, moms or dads. At some point in life, you realize they are great people and they can be fallible. You have to take these life lessons and move forward. Some witness their heroes fall and realize they may not have been the people they thought they were and it destroys them. I hope through “December” people find they can confront folks or stuff that is lingering in your life and you can rise above.

AXS: Four Trips Ahead has definitely developed a sound all your own. Who are your influences? It seems very eclectic.

P.W.: Yes! We all come from very different backgrounds. Ken listens to Death Metal, a lot of Extreme Metal. I grew up listening to a lot of 70s Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, Reggae, Hip Hop even was important to me growing up. Jazz too, both my parents were into Jazz. Brian is more of a Prog guy, like Dream Theater. Bands you might not hear in our music but it definitely informs it. Dan our bass player is into all kinds of Hard Rock. The key to everything we like is it is all melodic. Bands like Zeppelin, Kings X, Faith No More, Soundgarden and newer bands like Ghost. We are drawn to bands with melody.

For updates on Four Trips Ahead, please visit fourtripsahead.com.