Speak Frontman Troupe Gammage Talks Album ‘Pedals’, Touring With RAC & Signing With Wind-up Records: Idolator Interview
Frequent synth-leaning pop-rock collaborators Speak and RAC are currently on tour with Idolator favorites The Knocks, and if you haven’t caught this dynamic triumvirate of awesome on the road yet, then you can remedy that by hitting up one of their current dates. As an added bonus, Troupe Gammage of Austin quartet Speak has been pulling double vocal duty at the shows by stepping on stage and performing a wide range of RAC songs with Andre Anjos & Co.
Once this hot ticket rolled through New York recently, we took the opportunity to have a chat with Troupe about Speak’s current album Pedals (grab it on iTunes), their experience so far on this latest live jaunt and their recent signing to Wind-up Records. Catch the full conversation below.
Hey, Troupe! I just caught your show with RAC at Terminal 5 here in New York, and I was thinking, this poor guy has to remember all his Speak lyrics as well as the RAC songs when you’re on stage with them. Is that a struggle? TROUPE GAMMAGE: That’s a very valid concern! I was really worried going into it, but it’s been a lot easier than I expected. I think the music is just good and fun to play. We did a lot of vocal rehearsals and I spent the entire trip in the back of the van with my Spotify playlist, just singing along. We’ve also had guests like Penguin Prison to come up and do their tracks and help me with everything.
Explain the history between Speak and RAC. TG: I met Andre in 2008 when there was a Radiohead remix competition, and we both had remixes in the top ten. I went up to him and said, “Your remix was my favorite one in the competition, and I just wanted to say thanks.” Then I looked him up and was like, “Oh my god — it’s RAC!” We just kept in touch from that point. He had a band called the Pragmatics, and they all came down to SXSW for a show at a house party that we put on and we got to hang out then. He did a remix of our song “Carrie” that we’re actually playing on tour now. A few years ago, he asked me to be on his album. It was fun to see it come together over time. I pitched him the idea of us joining RAC as a live band, and he didn’t have to think about it too much!
The Knocks are also on this tour. Did you know those two beforehand? TG: We’ve been working on some music together, so we’re sort of electronic pen pals. I’ve known about them forever and they’ve been on my radar. They’re the nicest guys ever, it’s pretty amazing. I’m pumped to have this small tour where we can all hang.
This is a big tour for Speak. TG: It’s been really exciting to have people respond in a way that no one ever has on our previous tour. People are whipping out their phones to certain songs and they sing along to the tracks, and it’s pretty awesome. We want more people to do that every single night! It feels great and it’s been really fun.
Some artists tend to find inspiration while on the road. Have you started working on new music for Speak? TG: With long travels, I tend to just put on my headphones and write lyrics. I’ve had a lot of travel time this past month, so I’ve been plugging away. I’ve completed about two or three songs, and I’ll finish up once we’re back in the studio after the tour.
Given that your most recent album Pedals was self-produced, is that a route you can see yourself staying in? TG: We’ll see. You kind of have to see where everybody is at with the music and contextually, and then figure out if a producer will take it to the next level. So I’m not really sure, to be honest.
Congratulations on signing to Wind-up Records. Did the label court you guys for a while, or did it happen fairly quickly? TG: We’ve been in conversation for a while. But we were pretty weary at first since we’ve had label catastrophes in the past. [The label] was really persistent and just went after us. They seemed super pumped, so we just took the gamble. They’ve done more for us already than all the other labels we’ve had in the past.
Last question before you go, and it’s a personal one: What were some of your favorite albums while growing up? TG: We recently picked up our drummer’s CD collection from when he was a kid living in D.C., so we’ve been rocking to Weezer, Third Eye Blind and all sorts of stuff from that era. That’s definitely more high school than when we were kids. But I definitely grew up with Beatles’ Revolver, Alanis Morrisette’s Jagged Little Pill. I still go back to and enjoy the Spice Girls’ CD. The first CD I ever bought was a Booker T. & The Mg’s record; they’re an incredible band.