The Three Tree Experience, also known as 3TE, sticks close to their roots. All four musicians that make up 3TE have an extensive background in music and their tight connection shows both on and off the stage. The three founding members of 3TE, Dave Tart, harmonica/vocals, Matt Lowe, bass/vocals, and George Barnes, drums, have been playing together since 2006 when they met at Towson University. After a few guitarists sat in with the band, they finally found their guy in 2008 with Ben Palacpac. Since then, the rock/hip-hop band has been playing many shows and benefits in the Baltimore metro area to spread the word on their music and their message.
The Three Tree Experience is fresh off of recording their new LP “Seedy” and being featured on the cover of Maryland Music Magazine. Big things are on the way for this solid Baltimore band as they continue to take their music to new heights.
Check out my conversation with Dave Tart on how The Three Tree Experience got started and where he hopes to see the band in a few years.
Q: When and how did 3TE form?
A: The Fall of 2006 is our official “birthday”, but we were far from the lineup that we now have. The four guys that you now know as 3TE were a band around March/April of 2008 and it has been that way ever since.
Q: What are some of the band’s biggest influences?
A: I know for me, personally, I use Blues Traveler/Sugar Blue for my harmonica playing and Method Man/Andre 3000/Damian Marley as muses for the lyrics. As a whole, though, we use our roots from childhood as the basis for us. Ben grew up with a lot of Rock n Roll music, Matt with the funk rock tunes and George had jazz, whereas Hip hop has always been my musical influence primarily.
Q: How would you describe 3TE’s sound?
A: All of that stuff that I said before has a piece of each tune we play. One person may say that we are a hip-hop band because my lyrics are said like rapping. The next guy may say we’re a rock band because we have exposed guitar solos and rhythmically challenging music. Another might feel more funk to us because of the bass lines. Basically, the way someone thinks we sound is exactly how we sound, but we aren’t picking a genre.
Q: You guys are about to come out with a new EP titled “Seedy”. Tell us about the album and how the recording process went.
A: The album was the coolest thing I’ve done in a while. We recorded it at Negative Space Studios in Baltimore and it was a great place to record. The process was a real eye-opener for us as a band because we took 5 of our original tunes and played them more times than we ever had in more ways than we thought we could. Hearing your own song a bunch of times lets you hear what is missing or sparks new ideas for the tune. It also provided a great place to get inspired for new songs because we all wanted to go right back the day after we got out.
Q: Not many rock/hip-hop bands, let along bands in general, feature harmonica players. What made you want to play harmonica for yourself and the band?
A: I originally picked up the harmonica because I couldn’t play drums in my dorm room. Bought one at the checkout line at a Record & Tape traders. When I got back, I listened to some Blues Traveler (who I was a fanatic of before I ever thought of playing harp) and figured out the opening line to “Run Around” pretty close in just a few minutes. When you listen to someone as godly on their instrument as John Popper is to the harmonica, though, you tend to hold yourself to an unreal standard, so I had to find my own “voice” with it eventually. I told Matt about it some day after he said he was also a bass player, not just a singer. We decided it’d be fun to just jam on our secondary instruments, thus giving birth to 3TE.
Q: What has been 3TE’s biggest show to date? Any upcoming shows?
A: In terms of most people that we’ve played for, it was at Talking Head Club just about a year ago. The timing was great for almost everyone that we invited to the show, and they all wound up coming out. The energy was so high at that show. But each show we play we try to make it bigger than the one before it, no matter who comes out. I always tell people we try to make each show one that people will talk about after, thus making the people who didn’t come out feel like they missed something. We have a ton of shows coming up in the near future, since we’re trying to gain exposure for the album and make a name for ourselves as a top Baltimore band. We are playing a couple shows on Towson’s campus (4/30 at Paws for the APO Rock-a-thon, 5/1 at the Union for the FCAT talent show) and we will be back rocking Club Sinix in Essex on the 14th of May. Hope to see a bunch of people at those.
Q: Where do you hope to see 3TE in a couple of years?
A: The cover of Billboard. Just kidding, I wanna see us making the same progress that we have over the last year. If we keep going forward like we have professionally, personally, musically, etc. we will be in a good place, I think. The main drive for us has always been playing music for people that want to hear it, and I don’t see us losing that anytime.
Be sure to check out and support The Three Tree Experience. Spread the word. Here’s a taste.