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LIVE REVIEW: Traams, KB18 29.01.2014

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Traams’ debut Grin cemented 2013 as the year the UK got post-punk right. As bands like Savages and Factory Floor looked to the likes of Siouxsie and the Banshees and Throbbing Gristle for drive and inspiration, Traams managed to amalgam the best of British post-punk with US noise rock, and have received a justifiable amount of recognition for it.

I need precise telephonic instructions to find KB18 among the snowy streets of Kødbyen. The weather has not been kind to us. The Copenhagen curse dictates that the most interesting bands are often all but ignored. So be it, I will continue to berate you readers until this town learns to appreciate the talent that passes it by every week.

Communions (Photo by Tom Spray)

After a few beers and what seems like most of David Bowie’s hits on the PA, Communions hit the stage. Tonight they are supposed to be inaugurating their new seven-inch, Cobblestones, released by Posh Isolation. Not that you would ever know it, since there isn’t a whiff of their vinyl or cassettes anywhere. A pity, since Communions stand out among their peers for embracing some West-coast surf riffs to lighten up the Danish gloom. The eponymous single closes the set, and stands out for its use of melody and noise.

To their complete credit, Traams don’t seem to care how many people were put off by the snow and wind, and inject some much-needed adrenalin. Songs like “Red” and “Low” showcase their rhythmic prowess, spinning riffs on their head and thrashing out intense duels between Stuart Hopkins’ guitar squeals and Leigh Padley’s melodic bass lines.

TRAAMS (Photo by Tom Spray)

A real departure from post-punk etiquette can be found in the guitar solos in “Sleep”. They scream out of Hopkins’ abused guitar, testifying that this is no revival bullshit. This is mirrored by Padley’s own bass solo in “Loose”, a reminder that the bass as a lead instrument did not die with New Order. Driving these two contesting forces is Adam Stock’s tight drumming, moving seamlessly from drum rolls to 4 on the floor motorik beats.

The closer, “Flowers”, is Traams in a nutshell, driving forward without remorse. Padley later reveals that it is their oldest song from the set. The band are hopping around, shaming an audience either too polite or too wrapped up in the ennui of existence to display any kind of involvement. The Chichester trio are way ahead, so put on a coat and keep up.


TRAAMS (Support: Communions) | KB18, Copenhagen, 29.01.2014

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Photos by Tom Spray (

TRAAMS (Photo by Tom Spray)

TRAAMS (Photo by Tom Spray)


Communions (Photo by Tom Spray)

Communions (Photo by Tom Spray)


TRAAMS (Photo by Tom Spray)

TRAAMS (Photo by Tom Spray)

TRAAMS (Photo by Tom Spray)

TRAAMS (Photo by Tom Spray)

TRAAMS (Photo by Tom Spray)

TRAAMS (Photo by Tom Spray)

TRAAMS (Photo by Tom Spray)


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Here Today: So I hear you formed in Chichester, sort of out of boredom. Why was Chichester not floating your boat?

TRAAMS: Well it’s weird, we did form in Chichester, but it was more about getting out of Bognor [Regis], really. That’s we’re all from originally, and we all moved around a bit, and formed the band after years of knowing each other. But yeah, it’s true in a sense, because there aren’t many places to play in Chichester. There’s not really much of a scene here. There’s lots of musicians, but nothing real.

HT: So it was like a reaction?

TR: Yeah, definitely. When we first formed we knew we would have to play London and Brighton a lot, and it’s good now that we’re going to other places. We thought the band might be able to help us escape.

HT: So I hear you’re based in Brighton now? How does it compare?

TR: Oh, it’s a lot better, for the music scene at least. But we practice in Ford, and we do a lot of our writing there. It’s nice to not be in a city environment to get stuff done. Brighton is quite distracting, it’s hard to not go out every night.

HT: So you’ve had pretty good feedback on ‘Grin’ so far. Excited about the release?

TR: Yeah, it’s great, we’ve seen a few reviews and a lot of people seem to be liking it, which is great news, because obviously, being a debut you don’t really know where you stand. We haven’t really gigged much, so we’re still figuring out what people think of us, really.

HT: And do you have a favourite track or something you especially like about the album?

TR: When we were sorting out what tracks to put on the album, we had loads of songs to choose from, so everyone has different favourites. Some are my favourite playing, some are my favourite to listen to… I really like “Headroll”. That’s a nice long one that’s really fun live.

HT: That’s my favourite too!

TR: Oh really? Maybe I’m bias because there’s a massive bass solo in it.

HT: It struck me that there are a few different atmospheres on the album, like “Flowers” which is loud and fast, and “Headroll” which is almost like a driving song.

TR: Well, “Flowers” we wrote in our first ever band practice, and we thought “oh that’s nice, we should probably do this every week. It was about finding our feet really,  we just wanted to try different things out, and the albums just the result of loads of different ideas that we had when we first started, so it was sort of by accident really. We didn’t expect to have an album where some of the songs might be eight minutes and some of them would be two. We didn’t expect to have an album full stop. But, I think it works in context on the album. Live, we mess around a bit more, and moving forward we might try to focus on one or the other approach, but I quite like the mashup.

HT: I heard that you recorded a lot of the album live. Why did you make this decision? And what’s a TRAAMS live experience like?

TR: We really try and be well rehearsed, and that’s why a lot of the recordings are done live. We also thought that if people want to see us live, we want it to be as close to the album as possible, especially being a three piece, there’s not much we can do onstage. Everyone’s got a job each, we can’t go crazy in the studio, letting stuff down and adding too many bells and whistles, but it’s basically just a loud, three piece band, really. Nothing out of this world, but we try and be really loud. Me and the drummer especially. We really try and tighten, which leaves Stu [the singer] to make as much of a racket as he wants. Wear earplugs.

HT: That’s something I noticed, listening to the record. You and the drummer play a really big role, you’re very tight and the rhythm seems very important.

TR: Yeah, I knew Adam before I met Stu. We grew up together and we’d been in a band together. When we were younger we listened to loads of Interpol, Vision, and Kings of Leon almost where the bass and the drums are playing the same thing, it’s like one band member. We try and treat TRAAMS like a two piece, in a way. Me and Adam are doing one job, and Stu’s doing one job as well, singing and playing guitar at the same time. Four sounds, but two members, in a very weird way. When I was in a band with him before I was on guitar, and it was like “why aren’t you playing bass? I know exactly what you’re gonna play next.” I can just lock in with that. That’s part of building the song, making sure me and Adam compliment each other to create one driving force.

HT: I really liked the video for “Flowers.” Was it fun to shoot?

TR: Yeah it was lots of fun to shoot. We just did it in the garden. James Burgess directed it, and he’s brilliant. He plays in Boneyards, but he’s done videos for Flamingods and The History of Apple Pie. We really wanted to do it with him, he came up with the idea, and so we just spent loads of money on loads of custard, died it green and threw it at each other in the garden. It didn’t take too long. Good job it was a sunny day, as well. We’re really glad with the outcome, and we just wanted a fun video. Hopefully if we do get to make more videos they’ll all be stupid, having fun. I don’t think serious videos would work with our music

HT: So the custard’s not symbolic in any way?

TR: Nah, it was quite nice, it broke some tension. It was quite nice to just being able to throw a load of custard at Stu, and vice versa. I think that’s the way we should do it. If we do get to make more videos it would be nice to do story lines, maybe even like The Lonely Island, where they’re just taking the mick out of life.

HT: Is that a big part of your band’s ethos then, taking the mick out of life?

TR: In a way, just not taking things too seriously. It’s just very hard to, when you’re doing exactly what you want. I get to make music with my best friends, and you can’t get luckier than to do what you want, so you just have to react in a way that says “this might not happen forever, let’s just have fun.” We can’t really relate when we’re playing with other bands and they’re all deadly serious about what they’re doing. You know, good luck to them, but I don’t see it that way. It’s weird.

HT: Talking of other bands, you’ve been supporting some pretty cool names recently, like Fidlar and Temples. What was it like working with and supporting them?

TR: Oh, brilliant. They’re all great. It’s nice to play with a band where you know the record very well before you even get to the gig. Fidlar were a lot of fun, especially the crowd. Again, it’s weird that we do get to play with band’s that are a slightly different genre but where we do fit in sometimes. We’re going to go see Temples again tonight, they’re fun lads.

HT: And the British indie scene is in quite a good place right now, wouldn’t you say?

TR: Oh yeah, there’s way too many good bands at the moment. They’re all popping up out of nowhere from all over the place, there’s not one particular scene. But MJ [TRAAMS, Hookworms] seems to be producing them all, so maybe he’s the secret… At the end of the day, we’re all just rock bands, but it’s hard to fit in a scene when all these bands are from different places. But it’s great when you get to play with them at all these different festivals.

HT: So do you think it’s almost easier to be in a rock band at the moment when you’ve got other bands around to support you?

TR: It definitely helps when there are other bands doing similar things, getting shows and things, but there are also a lot of musicians out there who are really pushing things forward, making amazing albums, but it might be harder for them to get involved, supporting other bands, or vice versa. If you’re making really original music, it needs to stand alone.

HT: So what do you really want the audience to take away from the album?

TR: Have fun, form a band! There’s no big secret with us, we’re pretty straightforward.


TRAAMS’ debut album ‘Grin’ is released on the September 16th, on FatCat Records. 

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