Trapt: Seeing Blue
Musicfrisk.com caught up with Simon Ormandy, Peter Charell and Aaron Montgomery from Trapt when they were recently in Chicago, Chirs Brown from Trapt was under the weather that day and was resting at the hotel during the afternoon and was later seen double fisting hot tea, so we’ll catch up with him some other time.
MF: Can you elaborate on why you are Trapt, both in band and album name?
Peter: The name (Trapt) basically came about because we grew up in like a suburban town, parents are all rich and it’s a small enough town that everyone knows each other. All the parents are really into getting into their kids lives through sports, school and everything. So, everyone kind of has their lives planned out for them. Ya know they are kind of like go to school, there’s no question you are going to go to college, get a degree and become something. That’s like the majority of the people. So that’s part of the name. Then there is being “Trapt” in like relationships, girls or whatever. Doing what you think they want you to do. With school thinking that you have to go through school and get a degree to become someone or like listening to your parents because you have to be this in order to become successful or whatever. It’s like saying just do what you believe in and what you really want to be instead of being “Trapt” in someone else’s opinion of what you should be.
Simon: It’s pretty much live your own life and make your own mistakes. Don’t do other people dirty work so to speak. But as far as us as a band individually being “Trapt”, it was more of a vehicle to get out of that situation. As we are coming along with this touring and we are getting closer and closer to that goal. I don’t think we are there yet, but we are getting there.
MF: Garth Richardson co-produced your album, how did he get chosen and what was the process like?
Peter: When it came to deciding producers, it was like we wanted to make sure we got creative control on what the album was going to sound like. So when we were choosing producers, actually when we were searching for record labels, we wanted to make sure the label was going to give us full creative control, not say “here’s your producer, we’re going to tell him how we want you to sound and then he’s going to produce your album.” It was like, we want to choose our own producer and we don’t want our stuff to change. When we actually chose, it was between him and Howard Benson. We chose Garth because it seemed like he was really into the music we had. It turned out he didn’t do much, what he did to get good sounds and arrangements was minor changes. To say we didn’t’ co-produce it would be like saying the last four years of writing these songs was like nothing.
Simon: I also think the thing that set Garth apart any other producer we were looking at was the fact when he came in to listen to us play he just didn’t kind of sit there in the corner with his legs crossed. He went in the middle of the room and bobbed his head; he was a producer right away.
MF: It’s been almost five months since your last flirtation with Chicago; you were within 48 hours of playing here in October, 2002, but that Filter tour was canceled. How is an event like that not under your control right before the tour was supposed to start affect you guys?
Peter: You know it was a big letdown at the time. We found out 24 hours before we were supposed to go. So we were like what are we going to do for the next month when we had planned to be on the road. It’s another at least three weeks sitting around doing nothing. We were pretty bummed then. Now that I look back at it, I think that being in a band for a month or two months playing little shows where we would headline in small shows made us appreciate what we have now more. I think it made us grow more organically. I don’t think we were really ready for it at the time, playing little shows made us perfect our live show so that now when we play like here, that it’s awesome.
Simon: We were on the ground longer than two months. Much longer than that. I completely agree with Pete, it was a huge letdown. It really helped us tighten up and become a better live band. It also gave us the opportunity to go out and tour on our own. That was really big because we were able to go out and give the country a once over. So now when we come back to those places we’ve already played there and people have some familiarity with the music. We really glad that we did that.
MF: Your New Media department at Warner has promoted you guys pretty heavily on the internet with the “Trapt Player” and through selling autographed CD’s and mp3 packages. Not every band gets that kind of unique promotion, how do you guys think this has contributed to your success?
Simon: Well, yeah. I think it’s a good change in the medium. I think Warner Brothers is a forward thinking label and I think that they understand that there’s going to be someone who takes advantage of the internet as a new, powerful tool to spread music and information. It’s really great that they have been promoting us that way through the website and Trapt player. How can some kid in Helsinki or whatever hear about a band through the radio, he doesn’t hear KROQ, he gets his information from his computer. It’s amazing that we have been able to be able to get the response that we have through that and we are fortunate that our label is behind us in that aspect.
MF: Why is this new tour called “Under the Radar”? Any meaning?
Simon: Well, we felt that we’ve been trying to do this for a while and we’re not on the main playing field in terms of the main media culture as it is. We feel that we are going to come under the radar. We are going to do it that way. It’s not going to be something that MTV gets a hold of and plays the video on TRL and boom its huge. I think that we are doing it the right way and that is just going out and play. That is what we’ve done this past three and a half months which is play a lot and we are just going to keep on doing it.
MF: Your single “Headstrong” has had a slow but steady climb, partly due to that canceled tour. In fact, you were just added to Chicago radio three weeks before this show. How do you feel about your first single’s performance?
Aaron: As far as what people in the industry say, that’s a much better progression of how a song should build.
Simon: A lot of that has to do with like when a song gets added, they play it at 3 and 4 in the morning and nobody hears it. The people that do hear it, if they like it, will come to the show and then they will request it more. I think that has to do with the fact we went out there in the months of November, December and January. We went to most of the places where we were getting played on the radio which was most to the country and people became familiar with the band.
MF: On your website you list a lot of influences, including some great older rock acts. Narrow that down. What are some of your defining influences?
Simon: We are pretty diverse in our influences in our band, that might be why the list is so long. I’m a huge fan and have been influenced by bands like Tool, Korn, Rage Against the Machine, I’ve got to drop some old names too, I gotta say Hendrix and Zepplin. Those are my biggest influences as far as I’m concerned.
Aaron: For me, I grew up playing jazz and funk, so I have a bit of a different background. As far as rock goes, Pearljam’s “10” album, Tool, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains. I grew up in Seattle, so that’s what I was really big on when they were coming out was those three bands in particular. I was a huge fan of the Rage sound, I thought that they had a cool sound, really heavy riffs, it was really simple song arrangements too. Maybe that is why they did so well because they didn’t confuse the people. Then Pink Floyd, I was way into Pink Floyd, that’s all that comes to mind.
Peter: I would say Incubus, Korn, Tool, Pink Floyd, Dredg and Papa Roach were big influences too. I think all of the local stuff were big influences too because you could go watch it as much as possible.
MF: Forget about all the industry labels, what kind of band do you want to be known as to the average fan?
Peter: I would say our goal is to be a band that comes out with a original style of music, maybe not original style, but yeah I guess an original style. Not like a ground breaking new genre of music, just an original sound that can last through ten albums or whatever. Influence other bands perhaps, but mainly not have a sound that’s like the next Papa Roach or the next Incubus, be original enough that the band sounds like Trapt and then continue to grow through that sound.
Simon: I’d like to be known as the band that rocks the hardest. That is the best thing to do. Everybody has their own opinion, either you sound like this or you sound like that because people are different that’s just how it is. I very seldom got the same bands that we sound like, I’ve gotten everything from the Cure to Korn. It’s really weird, nobody can really say, oh, you sound like this band. Nobody says the same thing, it would be a letdown to be pigeonholed as a band that sounds like this. I think that shows on our record too, every song is pretty different from each other.