Trevor Sensor likes to read – and that’s meant to sound innocuous, as the depth and breadth of what Sensor prefers to indulge in revolves around what less inspired bibliophiles might call “high brow” or even worse “boring,” which may be the case for those that are quick to ascribe labels to books that baffle them, but there’s an erudite openness to Trevor’s intellectual indulgence.
Before heading out on the road in support of Foy Vance for the better part of what remains of the calendar year, Sensor holed up well within the bowels of “fly-over” country while reading Thomas Nagel’s Mind & Cosmos – an exploration in the fallacy of long-standing empirical data and the sciences in general – just your typical pulp lore to get one’s mind off the impending tour grind.
While he hadn’t finished the book upon the time of this interview, he had managed to come to certain conclusions on the subject matter, “Its basically a book about how today in the 21st Century, the scientific community is a bit full of itself, and not really adhering to its own scientific method in terms of being open to new possibilities. So yeah, that’s the type of stuff I like to spend my time with.” So whether or not you’re all that familiar with his songbook, the one thing that is glaringly apparent is Sensor’s non-derivation of being.
Relatively young, Sensor’s depth of understanding might come off as inscrutable, but the fact of the matter is, his primary tenant is that there can’t possibly be a single realm of understanding or possibility in his existence, and he’s perfectly fine with that, even if the performance side of his existence can grow rather cumbersome at times. “I prefer hiding out a little bit more than being on the road all the time, but its what you got to do.” Such slight trepidations about hitting the road for extended periods of time are normal for most touring artists, so Sensor isn’t alone in that reservation, though, there are cumbersome aspects to life in entertainment outside of extended touring. “There’s no universal scheme in how I go about writing songs – I see something, I experience something. But now I feel like everyone is kind of drowning in irony, and I’m one of the few that are trying to be sincere and not to be ironic at any point in anything that I’m doing. I don’t think anybody can read like Whitman anymore and take it seriously… people my age, at least. Because everybody is like, “Oh, look how silly he is,” and its like well, you can be cool all the way until you’re dead, but in the end it won’t matter. Its not going to matter when you’re dead, either.”
Sensor’s perspective on the ironic nature of his contemporaries are intriguing, if not enthralling as his outlook is uniquely grounded in reality, knowing that at one point or another, people move on, for better or for worse. “The irony within the irony itself is that I feel like our society is in a state of decline, rather than renaissance, and yet we’re going around inventing iPhones without headphone jacks and acting like we just invented bread or something. Its just I think that I see a lot of musicians and bands today, and you meet them – and I meet a lot of nice people – but I also meet a lot of people who take themselves too seriously to the point that its like man, I just want to yell at them and be like “Dude, we’re all the exact same. Just because you’re up here on high with thousands of people screaming for you, you’re still not shit.” If it hasn’t become apparent to this point, Sensor is irrefutably passionate about the artist and the ultimate irrelevance of their existence, but he’s fine with that, as all he truly wants to do in the end is make the music and play the music for anyone that will take the time to listen and think.
As Sensor’s passionate purview has (hopefully) been made apparent to this point, don’t let the realist view predispose you to think that might hinder Sensor’s live sets – if anything it enhances them. Sensor’s live set is bare bones in its live presentation, though not necessarily out of some moralistic or philosophical intention – “I don’t do that to try and make some sort of statement; I’m poor, man.” – but the seemingly unintentional vulnerability of Sensor’s live sets appeal to the most visceral core of those that are willing to listen, and hopefully, connect. “I mean, there’s not even that much of a reason of why I do this in general, except for the fact that its just what I want to do. If we’re going off the this idea that the universe being infinite versus finite and that we’ll reach the end some day – I mean its all going to be gone, so it doesn’t really matter. I don’t do it for its own sake. I want to relate to people with what I’m trying to say, while I’m alive.”
Trevor Sensor is opening for Foy Vance at Mercy Lounge on 10/14.