ALBUM PREMIERE: Traps ps Tap Into Throwback Frenetic Punk Sounds on ‘Prim Dicer’

Their mantra can be best summed up as: “Keep it simple and get to the point.” “Pop aesthetics tend to overvalue the hooks and choruses of songs at the expense of context and narrative,” Andrew (singer/guitarist) explains. “That’s not the kind of storytelling tradition I’m particularly excited by.”

Traps ps is an attempt to deconstruct and reorganize the narrative, leaving in only what is absolutely necessary.

The summation of the group’s ethos, their sound, is structured around haunted vocals, brittle / percussive guitar, pulsating / instinctive bass, and persistent / taut drums. If you were to catch them live, either in some dark vaulted club or under a washed out LA overpass, both equally likely places to find them, you would be drawn in by the same thing, their energy, be it from the bass, kick, or toms, where the foundation of a song is often laid, or by the snare, guitar, and vocals piercing and slicing on top of things. “Having the ingredients isn’t enough in life,” states Andrew. “Time and space is everything.” From these principles Traps ps mesmerizes, shifts, and drags you along songs. Sometimes shifting the rhythm to the right hand of the guitar, other times pushing the melody to the left hand of the bass, in every scenario the narrative is kept as the context shifts. Songs are constructed in such a way that just as the listener begins to relax, lulling the beat from chest to foot, Traps ps stops on a dime, ending one song while simultaneously launching into another. “Our songs are for ourselves, first and foremost,” Danny (bass) says. “We can’t tolerate complacency. We’ve got to keep moving.” This same mindset is also applied to the lyrics and vocals of the band, with songs ranging from first person narratives delivered with urgent desperation to abstract chants deadpanned by the entire trio.

“We’ve got a finite amount of space and time to execute a song, that extends to the lyrics and vocals. We have to be creative and on our toes,” Andrew illustrates. “It is both the challenge and bliss of doing that ‘art’ thing of trying to articulate a life’s worth of experience and influence.” When pressed further about their musical influences the group is candid and forthright. “We don’t shy away from the obvious musical influences that post-punk, soul, and R&B has had on our sound,” Miles (drums) explains. “That said, we are more interested in the filters which those sounds passed through in order to make us what we are. Things like Absurdism, Salvador Dali, the Kids in the Hall, Dadaism, Nathaniel West, Surrealism, old Twilight Zone episodes…the list goes on and on. But these are the things that really get us moving and inspired.” And get them moving it does, both live as they contort and bounce from song to song, and in their writing and recording process, as they continue to build on their ever-growing, ever-prolific catalogue of shifting, enduring songs.

Today Glide is excited to offer an exclusive premiere of the band’s new album Prim Dicer ahead of its release on January 28th (PRE-ORDER). Hitting the ground running, the album immediately packs a wallop as the band unleashes the jaunty frenetic post-punk of “White Halls.” From there we traverse a sonic landscape that is at times dark while funky at other points, with jagged guitar riffs and vocals that convey a sense of angst, urgency, and frustration. In listening to the album, one can’t help of the kind of early punk bands that used to take the stage at clubs like CBGB. Indeed, you can hear that same kind of raw rock and roll energy throughout the album, making this an impressive collection of tunes from a band that deserves to be heard.

The band sums up the inspiration behind the record:

One unique characteristic of putting this record together was that the bulk of the songs were written with the deliberate intent to be a part of a collective record. Writing songs on the tails of other songs, thinking about which combinations we liked best and how many we could string together. The process lived somewhere between taking a narrative approach to what was to be included and just including our favorite songs of the moment. This meant that we had to work through more songs than usual to sort out which should be kept in with the bathwater and which should be thrown out with the baby.

Listen to the album and read our chat with the band below…

What was it like to write songs that are in communication with each other? Did it feel like writing a screenplay? How did you know where to begin, or where to end? 

Coming up with songs that link or connect hasn’t been a terribly conscious act for us. There are times when one of us might say; “that song needs a friend,” but most of the time these connections are formed due to songs being created around the same time. In contrast to that though, there are also times when we’re building a set list or thinking about recording and we stumble into songs that work well together. Those moments are exciting because they can unlock an extra intro, bridge, or lyric that we hadn’t considered before.

How would you say the sounds on this record compare to the band’s past output?

I’m not sure this is something we could answer. It’s also much more interesting to have people interact, or not interact, with our recordings in whatever way they see fit. 

Your songwriting process is pretty cut and dry – “keep it simple and get to the point.” Yet, the precision of the riffs and rhythms on this record seem to indicate a fair amount of complexity. What does simplicity mean to this band? 

To not over complicate things. It’s as much a reminder as it is a “mantra.” Specifically, a reminder to get a sense of what a song is, or could be, before adding or layering. So, it’s more about keeping our process simple more than anything else. I agree that this record has some extra “extra” things going on, those bits came together fairly naturally without a ton of languishing.

We have, or have had, lots of expressions like this over the years.

  • “Burry the hook”
  • “Get to the point” 
  • “Addition by subtraction”
  • “Don’t worship the song” 
  • etc. 

These are all just ideas, questions, or guiderails to help keep us connected to the balance between intent and spontaneity.

Trap PS is four records deep now, and there’s still an energy that’s really singular in your songs. How do you keep that momentum over time? 

My thought on this is that it’s mostly due to the songs that survive the natural selection of the writing process. We’re genuinely excited to play those songs, not so much the ones that never or rarely see the light of day. Thinking back to your previous question it kind of ties into that as well. We’re writing and organizing songs that we’re intuitively energized by. What can be interesting, in retrospect, are the times we’re favoring songs that “feel right” over ones that “sound right.”

Just judging by the timeline, it seems like this record was conceived during the pandemic. Did that impact the writing and recording at all? 

Very close. We did 90% of the tracking the week everything got serious in March 2020. Vocals were redone about 6 months after that, along with some odds and ends. We would be naïve to think that it didn’t have some impact, but it’s tough to point to any one thing. The most surreal thing was having to re-sing some of those lyrics 6 months later and just connecting with those words in some new ways.

Do each of the members have a favorite song from the record? 

Danny’s favorite song from the record, at the moment, is Purse Trill due to how well it turned out. The concept for it required some tempo shifting, that sort of thing could really fall flat if you’re not careful.

What’s next for y’all? Where can listeners expect to find you in 2022?

Should the pandemic allow, we’ll be looking to play more shows outside of traditional venues in 2022. It’s something we’ve done in the past, playing in abandoned lots and such, and it’s something we want to get back to. We have new songs and new band members that we’re excited about as well. We’ll continue to post about upcoming events on IG.

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