Trapt will be joining Saliva, P.O.D., Alien Ant Farm, Drowning Pool, Crazytown, Saving Abel and a slew of others on the Make America Rock Again tour. Just before kicking off tour, Trapt released a new album. Producer and bassist Pete Charell talks about the new album and touring.
Author Marisa Williams: The new album DNA came out on Aug. 19th. Is this a themed album? Why DNA, and what was the inspiration behind it?
Trapt bassist and producer Pete Charell: DNA is a themed album. Chris talked a lot about various subjects through Facebook to get people’s opinions on different social/political topics. Lyrically and musically, it is a little deeper than previous Trapt records.
Marisa: I was curious about the artwork for the album. It features a double helix under a red city of ruins with barbed wire fence bordering palm trees and high rises, almost like a separation of the haves and the have-nots, connected by high tension wires. How did you decide on the art, and what is the message that you hope people get from the art and how it relates to the album?
Pete: It represents how humanity can be and how there are separations between different classes of human beings. It’s a possible look into the future of how things could turn out if many of the social and political issues that cause distance between classes aren’t resolved. It’s a worst case scenario if we don’t solve the disconnect caused by our differences as human beings.
Marisa: The video for "Human" seems to continue on with the haves vs. have-nots theme, as a guy in a gas mask leads people struggling to carry supplies in the desert. A girl falls and is shocked by the masked guy, which leads to a rebellion. What is the significance of the railroad tracks, or was that more for artistic value? Who came up with the idea for the video? What was the inspiration, and can you talk about the creation of the video, what went on behind the scenes while shooting?
Pete: It goes with the same theme where the way that the human race and all of its laws and infrastructure collapses. It has “The Book Of Eli” vibe.
Marisa: The video for "It's Over," which may become the next great anthem for a breakup, also carries the gas mask theme into it, only with more style and a little bling. Is there a bigger significance to the gas mask theme? Again, can you talk about the inspiration behind the idea of the video, as well as anything interesting that may have happened during the creation of the video?
Pete: It’s Over is more just a break up song. It’s about not putting up with what you don’t deserve in a relationship. It’s about the pain and suffering that makes a relationship unhealthy and unsalvageable.
Marisa: The end of the tour looks to be Little Rock, AR. Is there any special significance to ending in that city, or is that simply where you wound up? At this point, I did not see any Halloween dates scheduled. Do you have any fun Halloween plans yet?
Pete: We have no Halloween plans at the moment. There may be some more dates added, but as of now that is where we play last.
Marisa: Besides touring, what do you have planned for the near future?
Pete: We have been filming a lot. We may make a DVD and will most likely do another acoustic record.
Marisa: After being on the road on tour, how do you transition to being at home? Do you have any favorite things that you miss when you are on the road? Is there a period of adjustment from being on the road to being at home, or from being at home to going on the road?
Pete: It always takes a few days to transition back into home life. We all miss out families on tour. I miss being in the recording studio, working on recording/mixing/writing.
Marisa: Do you have any advice for people or musicians who may be traveling overseas?
Pete: Soak in the culture as much as possible. I like to make sure and see as much as possible in places that I’ve never been or don’t get to visit that often.
Marisa: Do you have any advice to overcoming writer's block or a creative block?
Pete: I think that stepping away from what you’re working on and doing something to clear your head is the best way. Another great thing to do is go see or listen to music that isn’t what you’d typically listen to.
Marisa: Besides music, do you dabble in any other creative endeavors?
Pete: I work at a recording studio in Garden Grove, CA called The Omen Room. I love to be there, creating and working on music. I know this is music, but I am on the other side of the process and I enjoy that very much. I am also getting into designing and building FX pedals and recording gear. Me and friend are starting a business called Left Coast FX.
Marisa: Anything you want to promote, be sure we include or any closing thoughts?
Pete: Check out our new record, DNA, that comes out on August 19th. I engineered the thing and Co-Produced it with the band at The Omen Room. Come check Trapt, Saliva, Alien Ant Farm, Tantric, Crazy Town and Saving Abel on the Make America Rock Again tour this summer.
Previous Trapt interview from May 2014:
Trapt garnered attention with hits like “Headstrong,” but fans may be interested to hear the band with their latest addition, guitarist Travis Miguel, formerly of the band Atreyu, who is featured on their album Reborn. Lead singer Chris Taylor Brown to discusses Trapt.
Author Marisa Williams: What is your hometown, is that where you live now, and if you were a tourist in your hometown, what would be worth seeing?
Chris Taylor Brown of Trapt: Los Gatos, CA, is where it all started. We're all down in Southern California now. A tourist should definitely visit downtown Loa Gatos. Definitely had some fun times there.
Marisa: When you first started in the music industry, did you see your career moving the way it did, and what sort of challenges did you face with your career taking off as fast as it did?
Trapt: We were only 15 when we started jamming together, and by 16, I came up with the band name TRAPT, and we played various clubs and parties. We recorded two L.P.'s and an E.P. between 1997-2000. We all dropped out of college and moved to L.A., a 4 song demo was recorded and landed in the hands of Warner Brothers Records, and we were signed in Sept. 2001. It took about six years of being in the band for things to really take off in 2003. The challenge back then was always getting your music heard. Now, we have YouTube and all these other social media outlets to get music heard. Wish we had that in the early 2000's, lol.
Marisa: Are there any songs that you thought would have becoming a bigger hit than they did, or songs that became hits that surprised you by blowing up as big as they did?
Trapt: We never really put thought into one song being a monster hit vs another. We try and make sure every song on an album is a great piece of music, and if it resonates with a larger audience, then we chalk it up to the right place at the right time. Being happy with our body of work over the years is what really matters to us.
Marisa: How did you get started in music? Did you come from a musical family? What were your biggest early musical influences?
Trapt: I grew up in the Grunge era, I guess you could say. Never really got into the hair metal stuff, but Metallica was up there on the list before Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Pearl Jam. Tool was next, and that band has always blown me away. Rage Against the Machine and Korn were also huge influences on Trapt. Pink Floyd, U2, Fleetwood Mac and Genesis came later and also really influenced the sound of the band.
Marisa: What instruments do you play, and how old were you when you learned to play them?
Trapt: I learned to play guitar around 12 and fell In love.
Marisa: What was your first concert that you attended, and how did that compare to the first concert that you played?
Trapt: Grateful dead was the first. My dad took me when I was 11 or 12, and the whole atmosphere was amazing. TRAPT's first show was at a skate park to a few dozen people, ha. Can't really compare.
Marisa: What was the first album you purchased?
Trapt: And justice for all from Metallica was the first record I picked up.
Marisa: How do you go about writing music? What comes first for you: drums, guitars, vocals or something else? Has the process of writing changed for you over the years at all?
Trapt: Music usually comes first. A piece of music needs to make you feel a certain way and you capture that feeling with words. It does help to write poetry, so that you have something to draw from when you hear that perfect piece of music. I think having recording software at your fingertips really helps to get ideas across quickly and has really helped us branch out in different ways.
Marisa: What is your favorite musical technique?
Marisa: What's the coolest musical technique in your latest project, or what is something people might not expect?
Trapt: We used some different electronic elements on Reborn that we hadn't used before, and it added a depth to the music that felt right. We didn't go overboard, and we've always had those elements on previous records, but the things you can do with today's music software is insane.
Marisa: You've had some changes in lineup over the years, how did you go about finding people to fill in for vacant slots, how have you dealt with those changes, and did those changes bring about any differences in how you attack the song writing process or the techniques used at all through the years?
Trapt: I think over time, bands need to evolve, and sometimes fresh blood helps that process. We are fortunate to have friends who are great at what they play. The live show has never sounded so good over the last few years, so everything is fitting perfectly.
Marisa: What is the scariest thing about being on the road?
Trapt: I would say waking up in the middle of the night when your bus driver is making a tight turn, and feeling like you're going to fly out of your bunk. Happens at least once a week.
Marisa: Best or worst tour moment?
Trapt: There are so many great moments on tour that I can't say one is the best. Just the last couple years have seen us play to some huge crowds, and every show had been amazing. I think social media and the Internet in general has brought our whole catalog of music to a huge audience, and we see new faces at every show.
Marisa: What's your favorite way to travel and why?
Trapt: Bus is the only way to go. It's a beautiful thing to play a show, go to sleep and wake up in a new city.
Marisa: What's your favorite place to travel to, and is there anywhere you have not been to that you would like to go to?
Trapt: Don't have a favorite place. I love playing for our American fans, and we have plans to go back to Europe and play for our fans overseas very soon. Looking forward to getting back there.
Marisa: When it comes to music videos, can you describe that creative process? Who comes up with the ideas, how do you bring those ideas to life in the video, and do those ideas change within the video?
Trapt: Music videos are based on the songs content. We try and capture the feeling in a visual way and work with directors who can really bring that Vision to life. Once we have a concept, we start shooting and a lot of times ideas will change as we are shooting.
Marisa: What's your biggest musical fantasy?
Trapt: They've all come true, ha.
Marisa: I have three personality questions that I ask everyone. They might sound like hogwash, but I promise, there is a psychological basis to the answers ;-) First, if you were an unicorn, and you could be any color but white, what color would you be and would you have any special powers?
Trapt: I'd be a black unicorn and my power would be to cook a nice steak over an open fire with my horn without burning my face off.
Marisa: If you were yogurt, what flavor would you be (feel free to be creative, as this does not have to be a traditional flavor) and how would you be served?
Trapt: I'd be strawberry and I'd be served from an ice sculpture.
Marisa: Describe yourself as either a dog, a cat or a cartoon.
Trapt: I'm a dawg for sure, and I'm your best friend until you try and take my food away.
Marisa: Do you collect anything?
Marisa: What's your biggest guilty pleasure?
Haven't felt any guilt from pleasure yet.
Marisa: Do you have any hidden talents or special skills?
Trapt: If I had a special talent, I'd try not to hide it. As far as special skills, I think being able to put myself in someone else's shoes and understanding them would be it.
Marisa: What's the most important thing to remember?
Trapt: Live and let die.
Marisa: What was your most influential moment?
Trapt: Life is a collection of influential moments, but playing Sublime's "what I got" as my first live performance is up there.
Marisa: If you were not doing music, what would you be doing?
Trapt: Some desk job.
Marisa: What are three things you must have with you when you are on the road?
Trapt: My laptop, my phone and music.
Marisa: Any advice for musicians starting out?
Keep writing until you love your music as much as what inspired you to make your own.
Marisa: Where can people find your music?
Trapt: YouTube, Itunes, Trapt.com, pandora pretty much anywhere music is sold.
Marisa: Closing thoughts and additional comments?
Trapt: Come see us on tour this summer trapt.com/tour for dates.
For more information on Trapt, check out www.trapt.com, www.facebook.com/trapt, www.myspace.com/traptofficial. To follow Chris Taylor Brown, www.twitter.com/ChristaylorBrwn. Marisa Williams is the author of more than 100 books; for more by Marisa, www.lulu.com/spotlight/thorisaz , http://thorisaz.yolasite.com, and www.twitter.com/booksnbling.