At Capacity

An interview with Fat Trout Trailer Park

Photos: Jill Verhaeghe // Words: Christina Morgan

You’re based out of NYC, how do you feel about the local scene, and do you think that shows through your music?

SR: When I first arrived in NYC, the music scene really confused me. In Europe you can draw out a map for all the scenes and connect them in more or less straight lines, whereas NYC is like a serial killer’s cork board with string going in all directions like a web. That wild west aspect definitely influences every artist in the city, I believe. A lot of scenes live on top of each other and bleed into one another. What might have influenced me the most was seeing everyone out here giving it 100 and taking risks. That helped me push past where I thought my sonic boundaries laid.

You’ve stated that the lyrical inspiration for the song has come from ‘…those who sleep on the street…imprisoned by the Orwellian takeover of the once-free internet…’ do you think that this kind of storytelling is important to do through music, (as appose to other avenues) so more people pay attention to its message?

SR: Any avenue that works, really! I definitely believe this kind of storytelling shouldn’t be exclusively limited to academic essays and political think pieces. Personally, I wouldn’t feel comfortable anymore NOT talking about these issues in my songs. You have to go about it in a very different way obviously, confining your words to certain rhythms and melodies. But that’s the nice thing about music, your guitar chimes and bass kicks or whatnot can communicate a message even better sometimes.

Other than being more socially conscious and more compassionate about the world around them, are there any other messages you want listeners to get from your music?

SR: That there are many of us, that you aren’t alone. It’s so easy to get lost in depressing internet k-holes, feeling helpless about the state of the world and defenseless against the powers that be. I hope my music can in some form or other offer not only relief but activate people to be involved in the world around them.

Your sound sets you apart from what a lot of indie artists are doing atm, there’s a kind of rock-nostalgia about it. If you could describe it in 4 words or less, what would they be?

SR: Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

If you had the chance to write with any 3 artists of your choosing dead or alive, who would they be and why?

SR: That’s a tough one! I’ll make it easier for myself by just picking artists that are still alive. Iggy Pop has done so many strange collaborations, from Ryuchi Sakamoto to Oneohtrix Point Never. He’d probably be up for anything and that can be a good energy to bring to a session. Kim Gordon, obviously as part of Sonic Youth but her solo work is especially powerful. She and her daughter are big into activism so I feel like it would be a positive experience. Also my partner is her biggest fan so I’d especially want them to meet! Tyler, the Creator has been someone I’ve looked up to for a long time for all the obvious reasons. I don't think there has been a more influential artist this past decade. These three would form an interesting band come to think of it.

The instrumentals exhibit multiple references to different genres of music, electronic, rock, punk, etc. What artists have inspired you most throughout your songwriting?

SR: Nowadays people have a much wider taste in music, which allows artists a much wider sonic palette. My guitar work leans as much on older bands like Television as it does on modern garage rockers like Ty Segall. At the same time a lot of electronic music and hip-hop have influenced my approach to songwriting over the years. Toro Y Moi is a great example of how an artist can adapt many styles, but still have a very strong individual and recognizable sound. This influenced my approach of collage-like cutting and pasting of sounds, dropping them into different environments. 

There have been many artists lately who are making ‘at home’ videos which tend to channel more of a VHS or vintage aesthetic. (i.e. Holly Humberstone’s ‘Overkill’). What made you go in this particular direction when it came to creating the video for ‘Fatberg’ ?

SR: It’s funny how technology and perception of it works like that. For anyone that experienced the analog days, the digital age must be mesmerizing. For most young people for who digital is so integrated into the fabric of the everyday, to see a camera record motion onto a tape is way more interesting. I see it less as a vintage aesthetic and more as a discovery of tangibility in vapid times. But everyone is sort of curbed by the limited few options out there that you can get your hands on.

What’s next for FTTP?

SR: I will be releasing a single every month up until the EP comes out in its entirety on October 7th. ‘Gold’ will be the next track, which I felt was a turning point in my songwriting. One of my favourites for sure. And whenever it’s once again safe to play shows, we will be performing at all your local NYC hangouts and beyond if you’ll have us. 

Click here to keep up to date with all things FTTP. Watch the new music video for 'Fatberg' here.

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