TR/ST Returns With 'Gone' From Two-Part 'Destroyer' Project
by Gary Graff
It’s been five years since Robert Alfons last released a TR/ST album. But the Canadian-born electronic artist is making up for that interim this year with not one but two albums, both called The Destroyer, whose "Gone" from The Destroyer -- 1 is premiering exclusively below.
"After the first and second record and touring, I was really sort of depleted and I definitely needed to regroup," the Alfons, who's based in Los Angeles, tells Billboard. "I think I just knew the process and product of going about whatever I did next was going to have to be different. So the process was really about healing myself and then experimenting with different ideas about what a song I would put out would be.”
The Destroyer -- 1, which Alfons considers "really intense, sort of promiscuous in its sound," and certainly more uptempo -- is coming on April 19, while the "darker" The Destroyer -- 2 will be out later in the year. Alfons recorded the combined 16 tracks during a variety of sessions, some in Los Angeles, some in a rural, isolated Ontario farmhouse, where he was inspired by "the living plant world around me." The songs, meanwhile, find him grappling with the wake of frenetic activity around 2012's TRST and 2014's Joyland.
"I knew I had material I was excited about, but I had to overcome the sort of cycle of darkness and disconnection in order to get to a place where I was going to feel strong enough to put this (music) out," explains Alfons, who also worked with regular collaborator Maya Postepski on The Destroyer material. "Now I'm really, really excited about it.”
Alfons was "really torn up" about dividing The Destroyer in half, though he decided in the end that it the project was best served by separating it into two releases. "I felt like if I split it up it would be easier to digest and people would listen to it more," he explains. "I was thinking of myself as an audience member, and I feel more distracted than ever now; To be given a 16-song album would be very hard to just take it all in, so the idea of splitting it up made more sense. I played with different configurations of track listings, but (the songs) seemed to divide pretty naturally." "Gone," he feels, "really sums up the spirit of the whole album" in both sound and intent.
"It's really about lying in silence and sort of acknowledging the fact that I was not showing up for myself," Alfons says. "There were just, like, patterns of shame, guilt and trying to forgive myself, and ('Gone') is all about that and how it led to the rest of this music.”
Alfons plans to play music from both of The Destroyer albums when he begins touring during April, with shows slated for North America and Europe. And even though the last run was arduous, Alfons is looking forward to doing it again. "Yeah, I am very excited," he says. "Touring is very high and low, the most incredible and the worst thing 'cause you don't sleep and it's exhausting. But it's really such an incredible experience to connect with people and travel and meet people. It's hard, but at this point I’m very excited to get out there again.”
TR/ST — THE DESTROYER 1
6. Poorly Coward
7. Control Me
8. Wake With