I have been speaking with Skylar Funk of Trapdoor Social...
who tells me about the band’s new single, Hold Me Down, and how they came together; how the line-up has changed and what is coming next from the guys – he highlights some rising artists to look out for closely.
I was keen to know more about the band’s environmental ethics/motives and whether there are gigs emerging; if Skylar has any favourite album and whether there is time to relax away from the band – each member selects a song to end things with.
Hi. How are you? How has your week been?
Hey! We're great. Real bittersweet week actually...just played our goodbye show with our drummer Ben, who's moving up to the Bay Area for grad school, his girlfriend and generally greener pastures. So, that's tough...but it was a great show! And a great few years together. So much love.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?
We are Trapdoor Social, an L.A. band since 2011 and we play Indie/Alternative-Rock (or something), often outdoors using solar power. We created and ran Sunstock Solar Festival for the last three years as well.
How did Trapdoor Social get together? When did you all meet?
Merritt Graves and I (Skylar Funk) met at Pomona College in the Environmental Analysis department. We spent a handful of all-nighters in the same computer lab talking about the music we loved and the challenges our planet is facing... and then, a couple years later after school, we decided to start the band. The rest of the guys have come and gone (I guess Louie hasn't gone anywhere) from all kinds of places (like Craigslist).
You are all environmental activists. Does the band have a mandate/mission regarding the environment and conservation?
So, I guess, really, the thing that concerns Merritt and I are existential threats and, at the base of that, the moral assertion that living things shouldn't suffer any more than they have to. So, for example, if we destroy the environment; a huge number of earth's inhabitants will be negatively affected and so we shouldn't do that. But there are a couple other important existential threats to watch out for as well - namely nuclear war and runaway artificial intelligence. Just...things we should be careful with.
Hold Me Down is the new single. Can you explain the story behind it?
Hold Me Down was a collaborative songwriting experience which was actually a bit frustrating for me personally. I'm glad it came together though...this one is super-fun to play. The message of the song is about how we know there are big, serious problems in the world we need to deal with (see above)…but how it's all forgotten when matters of the heart come into play. Like, in verse two: "Oh no/the world is going under/and we sit here twiddling our thumbs/our love is the least of our problems/but you say one word and I jump!”
Will there be more material coming next year?
Oh, yeah. We've been recording for over a year and we have more songs than we can fit even on a full-length album. So, you might not hear it all but you'll hear a full album!
What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?
Oh, man; that's soon! I hope to have jammed and/or collaborated with a good handful of other artists and I hope we have the album finished and ready to drop. I hope to have some cool new songs written and I hope to have my little studio set up again. I had to take it apart to make room for my girlfriend's sister when she moved to L.A. and stayed with us for a while. Haha.
Do you already have plans for 2019?
2019 will be The Year of the Artist! Stay tuned to find out what that means (smiles).
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
This might be proximity bias...but last night I supported my friend Kinney at her show at the Satellite in Silver Lake. It was a fun set, and at the end, the people called for an encore...for which we were completely not prepared. The rhythm section started grooving in Bb, which is a great key for me, so I Got Down.
I had my baritone sax and she had another gentleman playing an upright bass (with a wireless mic) and, at one point, we both hopped down into the crowd and danced wildly while playing. There was AcroYoga happening; the crowd was going nuts, the jam was insane. It was pretty special.
Which one album means the most to you would you say (and why)?
Wow; that's tough. Death Cab for Cutie's Transatlanticism? 22, A Million from Bon Iver? Florence and the Machine's Ceremonials, or The Heist by Macklemore? All super-formative and I'm sorry, you asked for just one....
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
I would want to open for Postal Service (on tour for the next album they'll release, of course) and there would be massage and a vegan feast complete with chocolate fountain. At the end, Ben Gibbard would join us for an acoustic cover of Brand New Colony. While both of us crowd-surf.
Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?
We do not have any dates planned. Gotta get a new player or two first! We can always play acoustic, though...
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
I would encourage a new artist to seek balance. You can't make art if you can't pay the bills or keep yourself sane. Losing our drummer really emphasizes that for me - he was young and talented and committed to our band...but his life in L.A. was too hard. You gotta make your life work ok - take care of yourself - so you can spend all the time it takes to become the artist you want to be.
IN THIS PHOTO: Karmic
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
For sure! Real stoked about a few of the bands we had on our solar stage at Sunstock. Karmic is a super-fun Indie-Pop act and have become dear friends and Top Shelf Brass Band from Riverside is just the most fun I know how to have. Beyond that, I recommend you watch out for The Dip from Seattle, which is super-groovy Retro-Soul.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Yeah. I get me time here and there. I play ice hockey every week and ultimate frisbee when I can and I play Magic: The Gathering, because apparently just being in band isn't quite nerdy enough for me. Weeeeee
Oh, yeah...and hot sauce. I'm a huge fan of hot sauce. I've collected it all over the U.S. and beyond and I make my own as well. I've been selling it for a few years now and it's really fun. Check it out.
Finally, and thanks for being good sports; you can each choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Fun! I've been rocking out to Superposition by Young the Giant
Merritt says Big Black Delta - Dreary Moon
Louie says Alabama Shakes - Gimme Me All Your Love
Thanks for your time and interest!
Follow Trapdoor Social