Pelican Interview: A Retrospective with Trevor de Brauw & Bryan Herweg

“We teepeed Thrice while they were playing,” says Pelican bassist Bryan Herweg. “We went out and actually wrapped them up in toilet paper.”

Chatting at a park bench on a calm street in Pomona, Herweg and guitarist Trevor de Brauw reminisce of tour pranks during Pelican’s 2008 run with Thrice and Circa Survive. De Brauw remembers testing Circa Survive bassist Nick Beard’s unicycling skills.

Says De Brauw, “We were playing this song ‘Last Day of Winter’ that has a break in the middle and I play guitar with a bow.” Beard was to deliver the bow onstage mid-song while unicycling. “He completely pulled it off,” he laughs.

In the Los Angeles area for a one-off matinee performance, Herweg and De Brauw take a look back on Pelican’s 12-year career. Having pedaled their way through nearly 200 shows a year from 2005 to 2009, released four studio albums, along with several EPs and splits, the Chicago-based instrumental band has seen a shift in priorities.

“Unfortunately after a while it became like we had to do it to make a living,” comments Herweg.

“In the beginning,” De Brauw chimes in, “the motivation simply was that we were so excited to have the opportunity to share music with so many people…”

Despite guitarist Laurent Schroeder-Lebec taking an indefinite hiatus from the band, and Pelican having retired from fulltime touring, Herweg and De Brauw say their latest EP Ataraxia/Taraxis “reignited the creative passion.” The band will continue writing their next album as a three-piece — so far they’re 33% done with initial song structuring. 

“It’s starting to pick up more momentum now.”

Left to right: Trevor De Brauw and Bryan Herweg

Photos by Dorothy Gilbert