Born in Savannah and now residing in the hip Brooklyn area, Triathalon returns to its birth city for the first local show in a couple of years.
Formed by SCAD student Adam Intrator in 2010 as a solo project, Triathalon - the name was misspelled accidentally and later left misspelled intentionally - soon became a four-piece surf/garage rock outfit. Chad Chilton later joined on the drums and Hunter Jayne (Wet Socks) added guitar and keyboards.
Over the course of the past eight years and five albums, Triathalon has evolved into pure neo-soul/R&B on their chill fifth release "Online." It's the first album to be written mostly outside of Savannah. Intrator moved to New York two years ago, followed last summer by Chilton and Jayne. He wrote most of the album after moving, but the trio returned to Savannah for five days last year to record with former drummer Alex Previty.
"We recorded in Chad and Hunter's house," Intrator said. "It started with Andrew Olsen, who I used to live with. He came down from Atlanta. Then also, Matthew Conzelmann, who just graduated from SCAD. Those two were the brainiacs behind the engineering. Then Hunter is pretty good at the recording stuff. He set it up and it was a smooth transition for everyone.
"We only had five days. I got to Savannah, we had a week to go over the songs. Then we just hit it as hard as we could. All those songs were recorded in five days."
Intrator might write the songs, but the band "fattens them up. They add that Paula Deen butter. They make them real thick," Intrator said.
Inspiration for the 13 tracks on "Online" were pulled from a variety of places. Intrator muses on the digital age and addiction to the internet, as well as juggling band life with personal relationships. The grooves are thick and Intrator's voice is silky smooth, while Chilton and Jayne paint the edges with soulful colors. Savannah's Jeff Zagers made a guest appearance on the new album, as well, playing saxophone on three tracks. The chilled-out iteration of Triathalon has been a result of Intrator's transition out of college.
"I think it just comes with age," Intrator said. "Just getting older, I don't know, I am not into rocking out. I am just trying to take it as easy as possible. I think we all just want to explore as we get older. That's all the transition was, I think. The older we get, the more we'll transition into some weirder things.
"Hunter is really starting to bring out his jazz side that he grew up with. Especially for the newer stuff past this album. He's really taken the lead with new compositions and stuff. I don't think it will ever be the same, no matter what we do.
"A lot of the lyrics, if you've ever been in a band and you're in a relationship, there's a lot of struggles there. Just in kind of art form and or any job. Just the balance of personal and the artistic life. It's also about a comment on internet culture.
"It's the way we communicate, unfortunately. You have to just make it work. That's really frustrating. As you look around you, everyone is on their phone. What does that mean and what are their relationships like? It's addiction. People feel like they need to. But it's like, who are you doing it for, if not for yourself? I don't really know. I think it's a phase, to be honest."
"Online" is the band's fourth release with Brooklyn-based Broken Circles Records. The Savannah show on March 7 at The Jinx is part of a two-month tour. While enchanted by the big city, Intrator does miss the subtle, easy vibe of life in Savannah.
"You really have to get up in the morning," Intrator said of his new home. "There's no messing around. In Savannah, you get up and you know everyone is also just getting up and it's a very casual morning. I think that is very beautiful. Here, people are up at 5 in the morning. You feel the energy. You get on the train at 7 in the morning and it's packed.
"Unlike Savannah, where I feel the day would escape me in an hour. You go get a coffee at Foxy Loxy and it's 7 o'clock at night. Here, there's so much traveling. At first it was really hectic. Then you kind of get used to it and it's kind of charming. We're so excited to come back. I don't think the guys, Chad and Hunter, have been back since they moved."
IF YOU GO
What: Triathalon, Inner Wave and Atlantis
When: 9 p.m. March 7
Where: The Jinx, 127 W. Congress St.
Cost: $10 in advance, $12 at the door; 21 and up