Ari Picker leads Lost in the Trees, a classical pop collective that creates beautiful music that uses cellos, bells, and violins in addition to the more conventional guitar and drums. The North Carolina band recently signed with the Los Angeles Anti-Records label, which should give their music a greater exposure. Ari gave Spinner some clues to what is in his SXSW survival kit [e.g. "rope, candle stick, revolver, dagger, lead pipe"] and explained the connection between coffee and classical music.
Describe the Lost in the Trees' sound in your own words.
I'd say it is equal parts classical style composition and song writing. While working our new record, 'All Alone in an Empty House,' I was listening to a lot of Vivaldi and Chopin, amongst many other composers. You can certainly hear the influence on the two instrumental pieces that appear on the record. I was also listening to a lot of Joni Mitchell's album 'Blue.' Thus my intensely personal songs mingling with string quartets.
What made you decide to be a musician?
I can't remember making a conscious decision about it. Song writing was certainly a defense mechanism against an uncomfortable childhood, so I suppose it was necessary to do it. Although, I'm still asking myself that question what made me decide to make a career out of it.
What are your musical influences?
Creative music would be my broad answer. Most people talk about a musical moment that changed their life forever, and for me that was certainly drinking tons of coffee and going to my History of Western Music class in college. I'd be stunned after each lecture. Classical and coffee go very well together. As far as individuals -- Beethoven, Radiohead, Vivaldi, Neutral Milk Hotel, Saint-Saens, and