Here’s the band that needs no introduction. Trapped Under Ice are one of the best bands that have burst on the scene in the recent years and with their last output called Secrets Of The World proved to be worth all the attention they're getting. Representing the raw sound of Baltimore, this is as hard as hardcore can get.
Before we talk about the new record, I wanna ask you about the Stay Cold release and how much hype it caused. Looking back did you ever believe you would become so successful in hardcore with a debut EP? It’s not only my opinion that Stay Cold gave a hardcore scene a much needed adrenaline boost and was one of the highlights of 2008 when it comes to hardcore music.
We didn't think that stay cold would get such a good response. Not that we are not confident in the music we write, but we felt that we were doing something a little different from a lot current bands and we weren't sure how it would be viewed. We put a lot of energy into every song. In the end it was worth it and we definitely appreciate the kind words about the record.
As you probably know your early demos and EPs are reaching enormous prices on Ebay. Do you get any feeling knowing that there are kids out there willing to pay that much for your music?
It's cool that people care enough to spend anything on checking out our band. Especially in a time when so many people can settle for simply downloading music and throwing it on their iPod. It doesn't make you a terrible person if you download music, but let's not forget that this vinyl shit is an important factor in keeping hardore alive.
So, let’s get to the new record. Now when the album is out and getting a positive feedback, how are you feeling about everything right now? How are you feeling about your music coming out and the response it gets?
Once again, I personally felt good about the music when we wrote it, but you always worry about how people interpret your music. It feels good that people like the new record. I especially love the feeling you get when you see kids singing along to songs that have been out only for a few days. Very cool!
Were there specific musical influences on this album? What was the creative process like? Do you feel more confident when writing because of the good responses you have had to the first recording?
Definitely a lot of different bands contributed to influencing the record. Also bands that have been influences in the past have inspired us in new ways. We’ve all been listening to a lot of Stout, Stigmata and Madball.
As far as influences go, what do you think has helped you to shape your sound the most, and how do you manage to stay unique without losing the raw and in your face hardcore feeling present in your songs?
Drawing influence from everything, including lots of different types of music outside of hardcore. A wide variety of influences help you to develop a more unique style. That goes with anything.
Is there an underlying theme in the album lyrics or a concept idea behind the album? What do you hope listeners take away from your lyrics?
The only reoccuring idea is the idea of having unanswered questions. The record is called "secrets of the world" and most of its content is questions that myself and a lot of people ask every day.
What image or lifestyle do you feel your music conveys?
A normal lifestyle. Were not That different than most people. Maybe that helps people to relate to the music.
What is your statement on the Iraq war, coz due to the lyrics to the American Dreams you rather seems to be against bringing democracy in the Middle East? How do you think the fact that Obama won the election will change the way America is taking care of business abroad?
I would think it's pretty obvious that I'm not happy with US involvement in Iraq, but the song is about more than just Iraq. The song is about a lot faults in the system and American tradition and ideas.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the lyrics for “Gemini”, which is one of my favorite songs by TUI. What is the explanation behind the song?
We intended for Gemini to be more of a vague song, but at the same time easy to relate to. It's about the 2 sides people have to them, good and bad, in other people and yourself.
There seem to be much home pride in your songs. If you could give your listeners a flashlight into how it is growing up and living in Baltimore, what would you want to shine the light on?
I grew up in Baltimore county and moved to east Baltimore city about 5 years ago. It can be an ugly place but like anything in the world it's what you make of it. I have good friends and things to keep me occupied and out of trouble; like hardcore. Hardcore has kept me away from shit that's killed some of the kids I grew up with and went to school with.
What sort of art outside of music influences you? What sort of movies or books do you like and do they have any impact on your music?
I don't fuck with books, and I like movies but seldomly do they compell me to write. Movies are fabricated. I don't want to make music about fantasy shit, but instead music about the real world.
You guys were touring your ass off since the Stay Cold came out. What do you like the most and the least about being on tour?
I most like seeing the world and making new friends. I least like losing touch with my home life and friends.
Is there anything you find tricky about touring? Did anything surprise you when you were on the road or played in places like Europe for the first time?
I find it tricky when people try to take advantage of you. It's been a huge surprise to me how greedy and selfish some people can be.
How are the things going in the Baltimore hardcore scene nowadays? I’ve been a huge fan of your bands since I’ve first heard ‘Bringing back the glory’. It seems like bands like TUI helped to put it back on the map lately.
The Baltimore scene is awesome. A lot of people making new bands and coming out to support. Everyone in Baltimore is fucking weird and it's a great place for a weirdo to escape the bullshit of the real world and just be weird. Simple
Many Baltimore bands tackle racism in their songs, like 2 classic songs ‘Right Wing Hype’ by Gut Instinct and ‘Bringing back the glory’ by Next Step Up. Is it still a problem nowadays?
Racism will always be a problem. That problem is pretty minimal in Baltimore, but never let them catch you slipping.
What do you think about European hardcore? You guys seem to get a lot of love over here…
We have a lot of love or Europe. People really appreciate hardcore for what it is, people are less jaded. We plan to return on January.
Is Trapped Under Ice full time? If not what do you guys do for the living, what’s it like trying to get time off for a tour etc.
I wouldn't say full time, we definitely get to spend time at home, just less than time spent on the road. Sam and Ben both have more serious, career type jobs while Brendan goes to school and the rest of us work odd jobs. Brendan and Ben share drum responsibilities as they are both dedicated to other things.
What question would you like to be asked in interviews, but you are never asked? And what is your answer?
Question - who is currently the best live hardcore band, answer - Terror
I made a survey among my friends and it turned out that the thing the kids want to know the most is what is your bench press record and who’s the strongest dude in the band? Is it hard to keep fit during the tours?
The most I've ever benched is probably 245 lbs. Sam's is much higher. He's no doubt the strongest dude in our band. It's definitely hard to keep fit on tour. I wish we had more time to focus on training and better diet. I lose weight and strength every time we go out.
Thanx a lot for the interview. Is there anything else you would like to add?
Check out Naysayer, Bad Seed, and Foundation
Trapped Under Ice at myspace.