We caught up with Trash Boat's Tobi Duncan to check on the progress of their upcoming sophomore album.
SO HOW'S THE PROCESS GOING?
"Everything is real smooth. We are ahead of schedule, not by loads but we are ahead. We’re living in the studio so it’s really easy. We’re in the apartment that’s next door. So we wake up, go through one door and we’re there. It’s great."
WHEN YOU ORIGINALLY FLEW OVER TO FLORIDA, DID YOU KNOW WHAT SORT OF RECORD YOU WANTED TO MAKE?
"We like to go to into the studio with songs that are pretty much ready to record. We knew that we were doing a week of pre-production with Wade so we knew that the songs we had were going to change a little bit. All the ideas and all the foundations were there though."
WHAT WAS IT THAT MADE YOU CHOOSE SPECIFICALLY FOR THIS PROJECT?
"Well we had a bunch of options. All of them were great. It was all about which one of the potential choices ticked the most boxes. It just felt like Wade was the best for us. We had spoken to all of our potential producers to get a gauge on how involved they wanted to be in the creative process and what their attitude was towards creating the songs. Wade just seemed to have the most can-do, pragmatic attitude to the way that the songs were going to be written. One thing that I really liked about him was he was willing to say when he thinks an idea sucks. When we write our songs we listen to them over and over and make changes and it gets to the point when we don’t know if the song is good or not. Wade was very keen to be a creative influence and have a lot of input. He has worked with a lot of great bands and made a lot of great records and we value his opinion."
HOW DID YOU INITIALLY GO ABOUT APPROACHING THE FOLLOW UP TO 'NOTHING I WRITE YOU WILL CHANGE WHAT YOU'VE BEEN THROUGH', A RECORD THAT WAS NOTICEABLY SO EMOTIONALLY DRAINING?
"In terms of the last album, the way that I write is very introspective. I enjoy being very heavily self-reflective on the things that are happening around me and the interactions and relationships that I have with people. I enjoy putting a microscope on them and trying to figure them out. It tends to come out in song pretty well and makes for a very engaging and emotional performance as well as great songs. So I wanted to just continue doing that."
WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN TRYING TO DELVE INTO THEMATICALLY WITH THIS ALBUM?
"I’m not sure how much I can discuss about the album title and the actual themes at this time. There is a title and there is a solid basis for metaphors though. I could say that it is a continuation of a lyrical style of the previous album. So for example, it’s about the things that have happened to me over the last 18 months. Recently my dog, who I have had since I was 11, has become very old and very ill, and that struck a chord with me. So I decided to write a song about that. Anything that has struck a chord in my life, I think I can create something that not only gives me cathartic relief when I perform but also something that other people can relate to and get some sort of relief from, and something that they can get lost in and not think too hard. I really want to go into what it all means but I might get in trouble. I will be able to have that conversation very soon though."
HOW HAS THIS WHIRLWIND 18 MONTHS AFFECTED YOU PERSONALLY AND AFFECTED THE WAY THAT YOU PERSONALLY AND THE WAY THAT YOU APPROACH THE BAND?
"It’s hard to say how my life would be if I didn’t have the band. I know I would have figured something out but who knows because the band did happen. For me what it’s all about is fending off the inevitable reality that life is suffering and we are all kind of marching to our deaths and we have to fill the space. I am filling the space really well for now. This is something that I absolutely love doing. I’m meeting new people and have new experiences coming from every angle. We’re having to turn down opportunities that we would never have dreamt of years ago because of other things that are even better. I cannot complain and I wouldn’t if I could. But nothing changes the fact that I like to moan a bit because it’s helpful for me to write songs about things that make me feel heavily. If there are things that elicit strong emotional output I’m going to write a song about it. Where I am today, if the whole things crashed and burned to the ground I would be devastated but I would hold on to this incredible thing that I’ve been able to live off."
HOW DOES YOUR EXPERIENCE NOW COMPARE TO THE BEGINNING OF RECORDING TWO YEARS AGO?
"Working with Soupy on that album, I was star struck. The Wonder Years were so important to me as a teenager and Soup was this all-knowing entity. Now he’s just my boy Soupy. My friend. It’s grounding. Now I’m a bit more grounded in the sense that I’m less giddy and less of a deer in the headlights. I’m able to take on more responsibilities and do more. I’ve found my footing in the industry. I love it. I want to do more. I feel confident. Recording the last album we were waking up at 7am every day and doing vocals at 9am and having 4 days to do them all then worrying that they sound shit. I think of what I’m doing now and then listen to the vocals on the last album and they sound trash. They are so bad. I’m still not totally happy with how my voice is but the difference in my voice on this album is noticeable and I think everyone else is going to notice it too."
WHO ARE TRASH BOAT IN 2018 AND DO YOU FEEL THAT YOUR POSITION WITHIN THE SCENE HAS CHANGED?
"I don’t think we are trying to do anything specific. I think what will end up happening is that we will be sitting comfortably in a scene that we have made a name for ourselves in and then also be able to branch out in other scenes quite comfortably as well. People might say that this album is a little bit sketchy and inconsistent but what I love about it is that you can listen to 4 tracks and they are all completely different. Yet they are still Trash Boat songs. You won’t get bored listening to this album because it will keep you guessing. People will be able to make up their minds when it’s out but I think this is going to be the thing that will single us out from a lot of individual things. There will be points where we don’t fit in at all because we’re not this and we’re not that, but I want to be in the position where we can play with varying genres across the board."
WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT VIEW OF THE SCENE AS IT IS?
"That’s a huge question because there are so many aspects to the scene. I have tunnel vision after the last year or so where we’ve been touring with bands who are making albums that we know are going to be the absolute best. Like the new Boston Manor is going to be hard. As a whole though I’m not interested in any of the usual drama because we are purely concentrating on what we are doing and making the absolute best of our experiences."
WHAT SORT OF SCHEDULE ARE YOU WORKING ON IN TERMS OF RELEASE?
"There’s no hard schedule but we are working on the basis of having at least a single out before we play Slam Dunk. Then that will mean maybe an early summer release. We want the album out before we go on Warped Tour."