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While Saturday is often the midpoint for most music festivals, it’s the third of four legs for Boise’s annual Treefort Music Fest, which encompasses more than 500 bands over the course of five days this year. Today also features the festival’s most sprawling list of offerings, from Zambian group W.I.T.C.H (We Intend to Cause Havoc) to Sudanese pop group Sinkane to L.A. punks The Regrettes to alt-pop duo Neil Frances.
The most reliably solid performance of the day, though, will come courtesy of Eugene, Oregon’s doom-dealers Yob. The trio will visit the Egyptian Theatre from 11:30 p.m. to 12:40 a.m. on this, the fourth and penultimate day of the sprawling music festival.
The venue, new to Treefort this year, hosted the festival’s most memorable performances so far this year: Deafheaven packed the palatial space on Thursday night, followed by a spellbinding set during which members of Thee Osees, Caustic Resin and Mercury Rev performed an ad hoc soundtrack to the 1962 cult film Carnival of Souls.
In late February, we caught up once again with always-awesome Yob bassist Aaron Rieseberg for a preview of his band’s Treefort set:
How are you doing?
AARON RIESEBERG: Good. I just got over COVID recently. I had that for about eight days. We’re building momentum again, which we lost for a little while [during] a hiatus.
You guys are playing four nights at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, from what it looks like.
RIESEBERG: Yeah. We took a pretty long break from working on new material and started getting ready for these shows, rehearsing old material. It’s a pretty special little spot. It’s intimate, and awesome folks run the place. We’re kind of mixing it up to change the set every night.
And you’re playing without [drummer] Travis [Foster]?
RIESEBERG: Yeah. We’re still building chemistry with Dave [French]. He’s been studying Travis and the records very closely.
We’re looking at our songs in a different way with Dave. It’s kind of given us a new life. [COVID has forced] us to look closely at what we’re actually doing. But Travis is still very much our drummer.
How’s it been, playing after the break?
RIESEBERG: I had some anxiety building up to the shows, but once we started playing, it just felt so good that I stopped thinking about COVID.
It’s been kind of cathartic. It’s surreal. We’re trying to rebuild our live skills.
What are some of the challenges that musicians are facing that people might not expect?
RIESEBERG: The biggest challenge, I would say, is making sure we don’t get COVID and then wind up having to cancel the tour or quarantining. But the crowds have been warm. There’s been an extra passion in these recent shows.
You booked your Treefort gig before COVID, right?
RIESEBERG: Yeah, 2020 was going to be the year we played, but then it got moved back.
Have you heard much about the festival?
RIESEBERG: Yeah, a whole bunch of our buddies in Portland have played at Treefort, and we heard good things prior to booking our gig.
Have you spent much time in Boise?
RIESEBERG: We’ve played a lot of shows there, and we used to stay with a friend’s family. We’ve gone to coffee shops, restaurants and bars there. I love Boise, actually. I would like to come hang for a number of days. It seems like we’re never quite there long enough.
Were you surprised by how high you were billed for a non-metal festival?
RIESEBERG: Yeah, I was pretty surprised by that. There’s so many bands from that I’ve never even heard of playing the festival. I would really love to see Deafheaven play their new material, and I would love to see Kim Gordon and Guided by Voices.
Has your approach toward performing live or making music in general changed at all due to the lockdowns and years in dormancy?
RIESEBERG: It’s been harder to finish recordings, but as far as performing onstage, not really. We have such great chemistry [with Travis] that we don’t have to think about it too much. We’re just trying to put one foot in front of the other at this point.
With Dave, right?
RIESEBERG: Yeah. He’s been a close friend of ours for years and he traveled with us as a tech. He and I used to live together. He was the first choice as a fill-in for Trevor.
Will the approach you take toward your Treefort set be different than the approach you’re taking with these Saint Vitus shows?
RIESEBERG: Yeah. A lot of times our sets will be cut a little bit short at festivals, so we’ll really try to strike a balance with the set. We try to cover more ground in less time. There’s some economical, crushing, big, beautiful moments. Our song selection can vary based on whether we have 45 minutes or more. Sometimes we take a more brutal approach to our festival sets, but with Treefort, we’ll take a more diverse approach.
Do you have any specific songs already planned?
RIESEBERG: We’ve been revisiting a lot of material that came out around 2012. We just remastered Atma and are really happy with how it turned out. So that’s been on our minds, getting those songs in shape to play live to kind of coincide with the pre-release of that [album]. We’ll probably play “Marrow,” “Beauty in Falling Leaves” and “Grasping Air.”
What’s your most-requested song?
RIESEBERG: I would say “Grasping Air.”
In revisiting older material, were you inclined to make changes or celebrate the songs in their original state?
RIESEBERG: It’s definitely more trying to do the original performance justice, to keep it true to form. It’s been really fun, going back and revisiting it. We could hear so much that was buried in the original mix of that record. There are little things that are popping up, these little flourishes.
Are you able to weave those intricacies into the live experience as well?
RIESEBERG: We have an amazing sound guy, Dave Clark. He’s a wizard as far as big, heavy bands go. He’s all about making songs sound clear and chiseled in front of a live audience. He’ll be with us all year.
Is this your first time working with him?
RIESEBERG: Yeah, it is, actually. We met him on tour with Neurosis. We feel like we’re in good hands.
Check back tomorrow for our final Treefort 2022 band profile.
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