Thrash Hits

February 28th, 2011

Interview: Trap Them – Ryan McKenney on touring, recording and being awesome

Trap Them are about to release one of the best extreme albums of 2011 and they’re going on tour with Finnish grindcore enthusiasts, Rotten Sound to celebrate. We had a chat with TT vocalist, Ryan McKenney about all that.

trap them promo photo 2011 black and white thrash hits darker handcraft

What is the one thing that you took away with you from your last tour with Rotten Sound and how will that help you this time round?
“More than anything, we were able to have the opportunity to share a tour with one of the best grind bands in history. To go on that tour right after Cycles had come out was incredible. Watching them tear every crowd a new asshole night after night for an hour was quite mind blowing. I have nothing but amazing words to describe Rotten Sound as a band and as individuals. I’m just excited to go back over to Europe and watch them for another twenty-something days in a row.”

Do you find yourself acting differently in front of Every Time I Die fans than you would in front of Rotten Sound fans?
“There’s no really no difference between the two crowds when you strip them bare. They are there for the same passion and ferocity. RS and ETID may sound different than one another, but the bands are made up of the same vein of music enthusiasts that pull from many different genres. They both create aggressive music… it just gets presented in a different way. There’s no need on our part to present ourselves any different on one tour than we do with another crowd on another tour. Bottom line is that you go up there, you do what you do and then make no excuses for it later. As long as people recognise the pure rage and intensity we try to make apparent, then I feel good about what we do.”

Trap Them – Darker Handcraft (5.5/6)
trap them album artwork packshot 2011 darker handcraft prosthetic records thrash hits

What’s the key to being away from your family for a month? How do you cope?
“Being away from anything important to you for a long period of time is always an uphill battle. One of the only reasons I’m thankful for modern technology is that it gives me an opportunity to keep in contact in a wide range of ways. I can still call and say goodnight and I can still call and say good morning. Besides that, I just try to focus on what’s in front of me because I know I’ll be back in Seattle at some point.”

Your lineup seems settled now. Did that help during writing and recording? This record certainly sounds more streamlined and focussed.
“The solid lineup helped everyone out for different reasons. For Brian [Izzi – guitars], it was an opportunity to write and create new songs without the entire process coming down singularly on his shoulders. It’s pretty obvious when you listen to the new record that both he and Chris [Maggio – drums] were able to feed off of each other in the best of ways. All of this meant I was able to be given much more fully realised versions of most of the songs before we headed into the studio, which was sort of a new approach for me. The record is a combined effort this time around, which is probably the most rewarding aspect of the whole thing.”

How much did Kurt Ballou add to the creation of Darker Handcraft?
“Kurt has always brought a lot to Trap Them’s recorded output. More than anything, he gets the band, regarding both our sound and all of our respective roles. He dove headfirst into this recording, just as we did. There were a lot of discussions about certain parts, but there was never a point where we doubted him or he doubted us – much like every time we’ve gone to Godcity. Quite simply, he’s an amazing producer and every time we work with him, it nails home the opinion even further.”

What is the overriding theme of Darker Handcraft and what does it mean to you?
“The theme is much as it has always been, which is a focus on modern depression and desperation. Everything written lyrically in this band has touched on alienation and the complications of feeling lost or invisible. For me, it’s a way to present what is a witnessed reality regarding small town life and the need to question whether to react or to give up, much like I had to ask myself at many points in my life.”

How do you go about writing lyrics? What do you take as inspiration and how has it changed over the years?
“Inspiration at this time in my life mostly comes from works of fiction, be it literature, film or music. Between this, and living an everyday, working class lifestyle when not on tour, there is never a shortage of subjects to touch upon. The evolution of my own lyrical matter is just a result of getting older. For me, once I approach lyrics a certain way and I feel I can’t expand on it any more, I have to move past that line of thinking.”

You sit right next to Trash Talk in my library. What is it about bands starting with Tr- being awesome?
“I wish I could think of something clever to say. Unfortunately, right now I completely fucking fail at that.”

What are your thoughts about the revelation that one of the girls from the cover of Siamese Dream has been Smashing Pumpkins’ bassist for the past nine months. And Billy Corgan didn’t know.
“1) I don’t think I’ve ever heard Siamese Dream, or much of anything else by Smashing Pumpkins. 2) From what I can tell, Billy Corgan doesn’t know much to begin with.”

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Trap Them are on tour in April, supporting the mighty Finns, Rotten Sound. You really ought to go and buy their album (out on 14 March 2011 via Prosthetic Records) because it’s awesome, go see them live and go buy a tshirt as well. It’s bands like this (the awesome ones) that really need your support.

Rotten Sound & Trap Them April 2011 UK tourdates
12 London Camden Underworld
13 Plymouth White Rabbit
14 Colchester Arts Centre

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