From gaining more than 50k streams on Soundcloud with a few single releases and an impressive number of prestigious festival performances under their belt, Bare Traps seem to grace experience like a prestigious band beyond their early years in music.
We caught up with Luke from the band to talk all about their latest single release ‘All In You’, working on new material and favourite shows.
Can you tell us about the lyrics behind “All In You”?
Luke: All In You was one of the most organic song writing experiences we’ve had as a band. I woke up one Sunday morning before band practice, picked up my guitar, and the riff just came out of me. Within half an hour of being at band practice, the full composition was written. You know those tales from rock ‘n’ roll mythology about songs writing themselves – well this felt like one of those. We were really excited about how effortless it was, and that feeling carried through to the lyrics. They’re not so much about actually falling in love, but more the feelings you get when that first happens. I guess we fell in love with the composition, so the lyrics reflect that.
The video for All in You is great fun, who and what made you guys come up with the idea?
So basically the release of this record didn’t really go to plan. Half the original members sacked the band off at the end of 2016, which left us up shit creek without a paddle, but anyway, that’s a different story! They were quickly replaced by Sam and Liam. We originally intended to release the record in winter, which struck us as funny because All In You is pretty tropical sounding. I thought it’d be funny to poke fun at that, so I came up with the concept of having the video production team trying to force the summer into the video, but doing it in a really crap way – hence the inflatable palm trees, and all that other shit summer stuff. Trouble is, we’ve actually ended up releasing the video in the summer, so we could have maybe shot an actual summer video, but considering that the British weather is about as reliable as the English men’s football team, shooting indoors was probably for the best.
If you could sum up all of your musical influences, what artists would you choose?
We’re a pretty eclectic bunch to be honest, so you could be opening up a can of worms with that question! My guitar playing is mainly a combination of math-rock, funk, and indie styles, so notable influences include: Colour, And So I Watch You From Afar, Tubelord, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rage Against The Machine, Bloc Party, and The Smiths. Scott learned drums by playing along to Arctic Monkeys’ first album, so his playing is rooted in indie, but his beats are always really danceable and usually have a bit of a disco vibe. I think that’s his love of Friendly Fires and Chic coming through. Sam’s big into James Blake and SBTRKT, and I think you can hear that in his vocal style. He loves himself a bit of Pink Floyd too. Last, but not least, Liam’s bass playing is influenced by some pretty varied stuff – ranging from MO town, through Red Hot Chili Peppers, to Joy Division. I think all together, those are the core influences that form the Bare Traps Sound.
Being from London, would you say the location helped you shape your sound at all? With the people around it and memories at all?
Well actually none of us are originally from London, but we’ve all lived here quite a while now. I think the experience of being from elsewhere, moving to London, and learning how to survive in what is a pretty hostile and oppressive environment, that’s what informs our sound. By no means are we a one-trick pony that only write happy-go-lucky music, but we do write some pretty cheery stuff – not gonna lie. I think that comes from our desire to try and perk ourselves up a bit at times. Music is our therapy, so when we’re down we don’t write depressing music, we write happy songs to put a smile on our otherwise miserable faces.
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Most memorable show to date?
One of our best shows to date was actually the grand final of a competition to play this year’s Isle of Wight Festival. The audience was amazing and it was one of the first shows we’ve had where it seemed as though the whole crowd were singing our songs back to us. It was such a great feeling. Unfortunately we didn’t win though. The judge was some fat has-been from a band we were supposed to have heard of from Manchester that once had a song in the charts, or something. He gave it to what was effectively a Happy Mondays tribute act, who, low and behold, were also from Manchester. We’re not gutted at all that we didn’t get to play the same festival as Rod Stewart, honest.
Can you tell more about the recording process?
We’ve recently changed the way we record. Everything we’ve released so far has been overdubbed from the drums up, which is pretty common, but it hasn’t given us the results we want. We’ve heard the same thing countless times: “your records don’t do your live performance justice.” So, we’ve been in the studio recently and began recording the basis of our songs live. It’s definitely allowing us to capture some of that energy that we give out on stage. I’m a bit of a nutter when it comes to production and I like adding loads of extra instrumentation, but I’m slowly veering away from that. We’re currently trying to create more congruence between our records and our live shows, so that’s an ongoing process.
Do you work with different producers? Or do you record music with a few people mainly?
I’ve always acted as the producer, shall we say, as I tend to be able to hear the finished product as soon as I write a guitar riff. I’m a bit of a dictator when it comes to ‘my vision’. Scott’s great on the percussion side of things too. I think between us, by the time we’re finished with a record we need about ten session musicians to re-enact it live!
We’ve recorded everything we’ve released so far with a friend of ours called Ollie Dow. He’s an amazing engineer and great to work with. The guy has a lot of patience! We’re set to record our next single with another good friend of ours, Louis Skinner. He’s previously worked with the likes of The Libertines. We’re looking forward to approaching the live recording process with him. We’ve also got a potential project in the pipeline with a producer that for now will have to remain anonymous. Let’s just say that when he’s done on a certain Mr. Gallagher’s new album we’ll be getting to work – all being well!
Is there an album or new EP on the way soon?
No new E.P. planned, but we’ll definitely be releasing a few more singles this year. We’ve tested out the songs live and they’ve gone down very well, so we’re excited to get them on record and see what we can do with them.
You guys are playing Fieldview Festival alongside bands like Clean Cut Kid and Fickle Friends, are you looking forward to the show?
We love both of those bands, so we feel absolutely honoured to be on the line-up with them. Palace too – those guys are dudes. Clean Cut Kid especially are our favourite band right now. Their album, Felt, is the best release of 2017 so far. We met them recently and they’re really cool people, so it’ll be wicked to hang out with them again. Fieldview is such a sick independent festival too, and so cheap! Tickets are still available so go! The line-up is dope.
How would you describe Bare Traps in three words (not including your name)?
Ah, you thought you were going to catch me off guard with this one, but we’ve been asked it before. Bare Traps in three words: angular sun-drenched grooves. Boom!