“I’m just really drawn to the sound of big orchestra and different instruments, which has been around for a really long time,” says Ari Picker, the creative force behind Chapel Hill, NC based Lost in the Trees. “That’s the instrumentation I like to use for my songs. It’s a preference thing I guess. I love acoustic music and acoustic instruments.” The band combines the dynamic symphonic elements of classical music (which Picker studied at Berklee College of Music) with the familiarity of American folk music, thus the creation a folk-orchestra.
The journey from what began as a bedroom project to the stage has been an interesting one for Picker. He initially attended to Berklee to study film composition and wanted to eventually score films. Picker also became immersed historic realm of classical composition. Though not necessarily an expert on classical music, Picker took the lessons he learned from his studies and was able to transfer it over into his own music.
With its first release, Time Taunts Me, an EP of giant orchestral pop songs, in 2007 on Trekky Records, Lost in the Trees was well on its way. Picker and company were living the band cliché by touring and selling albums out of the trunk of their car. Fortunately for the band, this wasn’t to be for long.
Earlier this year, the band had a stint opening for Plants and Animals. Though on the surface these two bands may not mesh, Lost in the Trees won over fans with their energetic stage performances. After each show, users who said that Lost in the Trees far outshined the headlining act filled up message boards with comments. For Picker, touring with bigger bands is always a learning experience. “Watching them (Plants and Animals) have such control over the crowd and sound is inspiring. They sounded great every night and that’s something we aspire to do.”
For their first release on Anti-, All Alone in an Empty House, Lost in the Trees attempted something new. For the first time, the band enlisted a producer to help them shape their sound. Scott Soltar, who has worked with Spoon and The Mountain Goats amongst others, was at the helm and Picker was very pleased with the results. “I wasn’t sure what was going to happen since I’m so particular about what’s on the record,” Picker explained. “It was great because he knew what I wanted, I could say ‘I want something abstract’ and he would know how to musically introduce what I was looking for.”
Lost in the Trees has a very busy schedule for the rest of 2010. In addition to the remixed album, the band is embarking on a summer tour and with some of them as the opening act for Neko Case. Though he plans on completing his lone remaining semester at Berklee, Picker isn’t complaining about the success of his band. “We’ve (Lost in the Trees) never ridden this ride before with so much support and being able to make music on a full-time basis is a great thing.”