Interview with Nic Federle-Triton
Written by: Tiffany Rubio
Photos by: Untapped Potential Studios
Over the last 12 years, FoCoMX has been a staple event that hits Northern Colorado annually. Hundreds of musical and performing acts hit the stage in over a dozen local venues over the Summer weekend; not to mention the various artists and vendors involved in the festival as well. This “little” festival has become such a huge event that it has been unofficially dubbed, “The Biggest Little Festival in America,” with some national touring acts even stopping by occasionally. From local to regional, this festival has some of the best performers every year. Fast forward to this year: 2020. As we know, this year has turned many of our lives upside down in some way, at some point. One of the most affected industries due to the Covid19 Pandemic has been that of music and entertainment. From the crowd restrictions to some places being completely shut down, many musicians have unfortunately had to put a hold on touring and live performances. In addition, many events have been cancelled or rescheduled to next year. The event coordinators of FoCoMX first postponed the event, but eventually had to cancel their in-person event altogether this year to help keep the community safe and healthy. However, FoCoMX wasn’t completely “canceled.” Every Tuesday from June to October they put on the FoCoMx Drive & Jive event. Cars were set up to maintain a 10-foot distance, patrons were asked to practice social distancing, and lawn chairs were permitted in front of your vehicles. The bands that were performing would stay on the main stage as they were also projected to a large screen and broadcasted via a FM radio transmitter: like a drive-in movie but for music! I caught up with local musician, Nic Federle, who is lead singer and guitarist for Northern Colorado band Triton to discuss the band and their experience being part of the FoCoMX Drive & Jive series.
RRS: Hello and thank you for letting me ask you a few questions. If you don’t’ mind let’s start with telling me a little about your musical history, how long have you been playing guitar?
Nic: I started when I was around 15, so about 18 years now. I played bass for a short while prior to that and violin since I was in elementary school.
RRS: Have you lived in Colorado your whole life?
Nic: I’ve been in Colorado for about a decade. Moved here from Indiana after I got out of recording school. There weren't a whole lot of opportunities for musicians and engineers in the Midwest.
RRS: Who would say is your biggest musical influences?
Nic: Wow, that’s a tough one. Black Sabbath and Deep Purple were probably the earliest stuff that caught my ear. Growing up in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, there was the normal array of MTV bands. I was a bit of a goth back in the day so Skinny Puppy, Marilyn Manson, and Nine Inch Nails gave way to Slayer, Cannibal Corpse, and Nile. Back then I only found out about music through what my friends had. There were a couple local record shops that I could find rare stuff at and eventually start ordering from.
RRS: Have you been in any other projects before Triton?
Nic: Oh, literally dozens. Nothing good. I’ve always written and recorded a lot of weird and experimental music too. I had a couple bands in Indiana that I played in, mainly industrial metal and death metal stuff, some grind. After moving here, I was in a stoner metal band called Soulgrinder for a very short period of time. Then I was in a progressive death metal band called Retract. Once Retract dissolved I immediately started work on what would be Triton. I have an experimental solo project called For None Now Live and a couple little side projects brewing since quarantine.
RRS: Can you tell me about Triton? Who are the members? When was Triton formed? How would you describe the Triton sound?
Nic: Well, we are a Fort Collins based doom band. We’ve got Ryan Gray on guitar, Tom Elwood’s our bassist, and Travis Mason playing drums. I play guitar and sing. We started back in 2016, jamming in Tom’s bassist. The Triton sound… uh bad? Just kidding. We all kinda gravitated toward contemporary doom acts and old school heavy metal. We wanted that big old school heavy tube amps and giant cabs feel but with adding a little modern shine to it. I’m an engineer and Ryan is a gear nerd so we really wanted to have a tone that reflected our vintage and modern influences. We obviously ended up with Orange Amps and that’s been a cornerstone of our sound since. As far as writing we’ve all got a little something different to bring to the table. Ryan has a thrash and blues influence, Tom’s more classically trained than the rest of us, Travis has a background in alt rock and metalcore, and I’m more of a death and black metal guy. Ryan and I came up with this idea after he came up with the name Triton. Like not really a schtick but a vibe and we ran with it for a bit. We don’t specifically write Melvillian themed songs but the first record and our initial run of shows definitely drew hard on the “Seabeast Stoner Doom” thing. We’re trying to move away from it for a while and write outside of any gimmicks or genre limitations.
RRS: FoCoMX is one of the biggest annual events in Northern Colorado, with Covid this year they did things a little differently and Triton was able to be a part of that. Can you tell me about the Drive & Jive concert series you were a part of? What was it like?
Nic: Playing the Drive & Jive was awesome. Great crew, great organizers, great sponsors. All around stellar time. We had to get creative with the silent stage protocol and the Covid guidelines, but I’m very happy with what we were able to accomplish. Everyone had a great time, and we were able to remain as safe as possible.
RRS: What was your favorite part of the experience?
Nic: My favourite part of the experience? Playing a show? I mean the free Music City Hot Chicken hit the spot. The “gift” from Organic Alternatives hit the spot. It’s hard to narrow down for sure, but we were all just happy to get out there in our element and get some semblance of normalcy if only for an hour and some change.
RRS: How does it compare to performing before Covid?
Nic: I’m not sure. It’s completely different and fairly similar at the same time. Tons more anxiety that’s for sure. It involved more hand sanitizer than usual.
RRS: As more of these Drive-In concerts take place, do you think this will be one-way live music will take place as the future unfolds? Or do you think this is a temporary solution for the current state of the world?
Nic: I can’t predict what the future holds but I don’t think it’s a good way to do things as it gets safer. The FM transmitted mix was phenomenal, and the team did a stellar job, but it doesn’t hold a candle to a huge professional PA and the sound of real drums and real amps. I think that reduced-capacity and seated-only events will become prevalent until things are safer.
RRS: Does Triton have any big events or releases coming out soon that you will want fans to know about?
Nic: We’re on a bit of a break from live events obviously. We are currently taking this time to record our second record, Testudo. We’re recording, engineering, and producing it ourselves and taking the time to get it right. We’re hoping that 2021 brings a more inviting environment for live performance, but until then we’ll keep honing our blades.
Nic was admitted to the ER for an undiagnosed heart condition. Believed to be supraventricular tachycardia by doctors, Nic is quickly racking up huge medical bills. Please donate to Nic's GoFundMe here