Exclusive: Trinity’s Elbert & Niek Smelt Share How A Return To Ireland Inspired ‘Trinity Street’ EP

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Award-winning, Netherlands-based world-pop group Trinity recently released a new collection titled Trinity Street. The EP is the first new music from these “Craftsmen of Heavenly Parties” in over two years and features a Mumford & Sons cover of “Awake My Soul” and three more original songs inspired by the green pastures of Ireland. Longing to write new material following the pandemic, Trinity brothers Johan (acoustic guitars), Elbert (lead vocals, flutes, saxophone), and Niek Smelt (drums, percussion) together with their longtime friend Bert Bos (bass) ventured out to Ireland, the place where their love for folk music and Celtic spirituality started. In this TCB Exclusive, Elbert and Niek reflect on what inspired the collection, why they chose a mix of covers and original tunes for the EP, and what to expect from a new music video.

Congratulations on the release of Trinity Street! What prompted you to pick the title for the project?
Elbert: Well part of the reason we, as a band, are called Trinity, is that we had the idea to form a band in Ireland. This EP is the result of a trip down memory lane to Ireland. So after the pandemic, we took the first chance we could to fly to Ireland. It was liberating and nostalgic for us to go to Dublin and to be on the farm where we used to work. And we went back to Trinity Street, busking. It was pretty awesome!

Which track, or lyric, do you think the world most needs to hear now in its current state?
Elbert: I immediately think of “Rewilding the Wild.” On the farm where we work, the farmer is turning it into a forest, which is unique in Ireland. We already had the idea to do something with the lyric before talking with the farmer. In the song, we take the analogy of tree and nature alongside becoming fully human and fully alive and transformed by the love of God. The world is very segregated and becoming more polarized, so I think many of our songs breathe this sense of helping to bridge the gaps and uniting in song and heart and love.

Trinity Street is a mix of covers and new material. How do you think this enhances the project?
Niek: We are fans of Mumford & Sons. Eight years ago we had “Awake My Soul” in our live set for a couple of years. So we used to play it live quite a lot. We were thinking about the sound of this EP and Mumford & Sons came up quite a lot. It felt quite natural along with the four songs we brought ourselves.

How was this release/creation process different than previous projects?
Elbert: Production-wise it was very different, as this was the first time we produced something ourselves (Niek). We’ve taken the boldness and the risk of doing it ourselves for the first time. And also approach-wise differently, as we took the trip to Ireland, which was only a weekend, as the whole setting point for the EP.
Niek: It comes quite close to how we sound live. We had a rule that we don’t do anything double on the recording. So if we had a guitar part, the other part had to be a mandolin. The lead vocal was one vocal, not doubled. So we didn’t double the same thing. That is new because normally in pop music you double every vocal, but we took a more folk approach

How are you looking to define success for this album?
Niek: This EP is going to be the first EP that we only release digital, so that’s a new step as well. The idea is to make a couple of these EPs and see which songs pop out, and then we might record them again properly with a bigger producer.
Elbert: It’s about getting these songs out of our system with a sense of joy and then seeing how they find their way to people’s lives and the stage. And then we can gather up the ones that really resonate the most and make them into a new album by binding them together.

Alongside the new music, you will also be sharing a music video. How did this visual vision pair with the music message?
Elbert: We’ll be in Basel (Switzerland) and we have plans to record our second video for “Don’t Be Scared”.
Niek: The title track, “Trinity Street,” we recorded in Ireland. It is a busk experience in the heart of Ireland – lots of people dancing! It comes out with the EP.
Elbert: It’s an honest taping of our busking session in Dublin. We had 100 people who partied with us – people we didn’t know at all – which matches very nicely with the theme of the track.

What are you most expectant for in the remainder of 2022?
Elbert: I’m really looking forward to this festival season. We have a few lined up, and we have plans to do a Christmas stable tour in November & December. We’re going to turn horse riding schools into Christmas stables and we’re going to load in trucks and play on top of them. 

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