image by Lucky Willow Photography
image by Melissa Glenn Photography
Current in Noblesville
They had no name, and they didn’t know how to play their instruments.
But that didn’t stop two friends and a fellow guitar teacher from forming an eclectic, acoustic trio for accordion, upright bass and classical guitar that pushes the boundaries of genre and resists definition.
Call it “jazzpop Eurofolk,” for a lack of a better label. The Noblesville-based Tonos Triad does. Tonos (an ancient Greek musical concept about tension and pitch) and Triad (a three-note chord) is a name the threesome gave themselves when they needed one for their first gig in 2007 at an annual dinner for the Noblesville Preservation Alliance at Forest Park.
The name stuck, and four years later the threesome is poised to release its second full-length recording, “Typewriters & Tarantulas” at a CD release party Nov. 5 at Radio Radio in Fountain Square, near downtown Indianapolis.
“This new album has pushed more of those boundaries,” says Aaron Ransdell, the trio’s bass player. “We’ve got a reggae-ish vibe, the drop-D heavy metal, funk, and mixed in with that funky trilogy is a cowboy thing -- some rockabilly.”
It’s definitely a long way from the “Irish-sounding drinking songs” Ransdell and Noblesville resident Rod Schindler played four years ago. “That’s all we knew,” said Ransdell.
Schindler bought his first accordion for $80 out of the back of a van in a Steak ‘n Shake parking lot in Anderson. Ransdell, an old friend Schindler had known since their days as security guards at the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 2002, met guitarist Yevgeny Baburin when Baburin brought his guitar into the music shop to get it restrung.
They all had guitar -playing and teaching in common, but picked up different instruments for the band.
Influenced by the accordion-guitar-violin group Tin Hat Trio, Schindler chose accordion (he has since graduated to a full size vintage accordion he purchased on eBay). Ransdell wanted the experience of playing a fretless instrument, so, he began with the cello and later switched to upright bass. Baburin had never played classical guitar, and a guitarist wasn’t even in the band’s original plans, but “Yev has a unique style and similar tastes and was a good fit,” Ransdell explained.
Schindler, who teaches guitar (wife Amy teaches piano) at Schindler School of Music in Noblesville, plays mandolin and drums, in addition to accordion. He enjoys the process of collaboration in building a song.
“The fun thing about it for me is figuring out what the instrumentation is going to be,” he said. “ The band’s energy and passion for what they do is unmistakable. When asked why they do this, Ransdell responded: “Why wouldn’t we do this? We get to wear suits. We look cool. Playing music is what I have to do to feel like a person.”
“There are no agendas,” added Baburin. “ It’s just for people’s enjoyment.”
And the most difficult thing about what they do?
“Getting paid for it,” Baburin answered with a laugh.
Fountain Square, with its First Friday events that draw foot traffic, art, artists, musicians and people that “get it,” said Schindler, and the band considers it somewhat of a birthplace.
“It’s where we got the idea for putting the band together,” added Ransdell. “It’s where we met the artists who did our (album) artwork. We played in coffee shops and started building a fan base.”
On the other hand, the band is just as comfortable playing in a club as in a symphony hall like the Hilbert Circle Theater, where the band will play a series of dates next spring. That’s quite a leap from the early days when the trio played anywhere it could for free with a repertoire of only five or six songs -- repeating some of them the same night.
“We used to have to constantly seek out bookings,” recalled Ransdell. “Now people come to us.”
Tonos Triad Trivia
Artist William Lawson, who lives in Wheeler Arts Community in Fountain Square, designed the cover for “Typewriters & Tarantulas.” He collects them both.
Aaron Ransdell calls his upright “Val,” short for Valencia.
For more information and to purchase the new CD, visit http://www.tonostriad.com/
CD’s are available for online digital download, for purchase at the show at Radio Radio at Indy CD & Vinyl (www.indycdandvinyl.com) or at Luna music (www.lunamusic.net).
CD release party
Where: Radio Radio, 1119 Prospect St., Indianapolis
When: Doors 8 p.m., show 9 p.m., Nov. 5.
CD’s: $5 at the show.
Opening act: The Accordions with magic and comedy by Ryan Siebert at intermission.
Website for Radio Radio: www.futureshock.net
Schindler School of Music
What: Founding their school in 2004, Rod Schindler teaches guitar and Amy Schindler teaches piano to more than 60 students of all age and skill levels. “Our business model is different from the drop-and-drive music stores,” said Rod Schindler. “We know our families pretty well. They come here to sit on the porch. There’s room to sit and listen in and not be obtrusive. Parents can walk downtown. That was part of my vision, to give lessons in a place where I would like to be.”
Where: 1039 Logan St., Noblesville
Info: 317.774.8228, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rates: $20 per lesson, sibling discount of $5 per lesson