Hellhound Music recently caught up with the “Headstrong” platinum selling rockers Trapt at the Detroit stop of their headlining tour – hot off the release of their new album Reborn We had a rare sit down with founding member and bassist Peter Charell. The music veteran enlightened us on a number of topics, ranging from their new record to the state of the music industry.
HHM: To start off, how has The Reborn Tour been going for you guys so far? Have the shows been rocking or what Peter?
Great! It’s been cold, but all of the shows have been really good; can’t complain.
HHM: What song off of Reborn has been your favorite to play live on this tour?
On this tour, we play “Bring It” and “Love Hate Relationship” so probably “Love Hate Relationship”
HHM: You guys have stated that Reborn is a new direction for Trapt; what is it that sets this record apart from previous Trapt records?
We did it all on our own: we didn’t have a label or producer (it was all self-produced). We recorded it with this guy Matt Thorne who we’ve been working with forever: he did the demos for our first record.
HHM: So there was no label backing?
Well there is [EMI] but it’s just distribution.
HHM: what song are you personally most proud of on the new record and why? … Is that a tough one?
Yeah [laughs] couldn’t really answer that one to be honest with you but “Livewire” and “Love Hate” instrumentally are cool; those two are pretty fun.
HHM: How has the fan response been so far to the new record?
It’s been good, yeah people seem to be digging it.
HHM: Reborn debuted at number 44 on the Billboard 200; that’s pretty impressive considering it was released without a label and everything the band has been through. Is that vindication for you? Are you proud of that?
Yeah it’s awesome! Because you think you need the label but if you have a fan base and can reach your fans directly: you really don’t.
HHM: How do you feel about the changing industry? Do you feel the label is no longer necessary?
Some what I do; the big change is obviously the internet and the fact that you can get music so easily. It’s not hard to find out about a band, actually; in a way it’s harder to find out about “good” music now because it’s over saturated. It’s a lot harder in these days for quality bands to break through.
HHM: Right, because when you guys started, it was still a little different; it was more of the old rout?
Right, it was more of the old rout where labels were seeking out quality music and quality bands to kind of develop and make a career out of, whereas today it’s a lot of self-promotion and if you are pretty good at recording and Protools and whatever, you can make the music sound good when the band is horrible.
HHM: “Bring It” has had some pretty good rock radio performance, were you guys surprised by that or were you expecting it to be a big radio single?
The first time I heard the song it sounded pretty catchy so I kind of figured it would do well, and it has. You know, it’s kind of reminiscent of “Headstrong” it sounds like Trapt. If it didn’t work [as a radio single] I wouldn’t be able to explain why; I had the same feeling about Headstrong the first time I heard it.
HHM: I was wondering what were some of the reasons for you guys leaving Eleven Seven Music?
It wasn’t really working out for us there, creatively I guess. The first record we did for Eleven Seven was a little more “Alternative” than what’s usually on their roster. We also had a manager and most of their bands are all managed in-house, so it just wasn’t the perfect fit. They’re a great label but it just wasn’t for us.
HHM: has the EMI distribution been working well for Reborn?
HHM: I want to rewind just a little bit and ask what was it like getting your first Platinum record for Trapt?
It was amazing! It was awesome, great feeling. You know it’s kind of surreal when you see something like that… I mean we had no idea at the time that we were going to accomplish what we did with the first record and “Headstrong.” It was really cool, I have it displayed on my wall in my studio.
HHM: When was the first time you heard one of your songs on the radio? Was there ever a point where you realized “my songs are on the radio all the time?
We were actually outside of the radio station after doing an interview. Yeah just hearing it the first time was pretty cool, it’s still cool to hear it now, you know?
HHM: How did you guys end up with Travis from Atreyu in the band?
I recorded a band that he’s in called Fake Figures; we were in need of a new guitar player and he was who I suggested because I had recorded him, I knew he’s toured and done it all.
HHM: So can you tell me a little bit about Dexter Dog Studio?
Dexter Dog Studio is basically my old house: we sound proofed the garage so we could jam and use it as a rehearsal space so I ended up getting recording gear and getting into all that stuff. Now I moved all of my studio into the house of the guy who drummed for Fake Figures; so we kind of have a joint studio thing. It’s been good; I have to fit it into my schedule when I’m home but I try to record as much as possible.
HHM: Do you enjoy being on the production side of the industry?
Yeah, I love it!
HHM: What band are you most excited about to come out of Dexter Dog?
There’s a new project I’m working on called In the Wake of Fiction: they’re a band from southern Illinois. It’s cool, it’s like Electronic/Rock; I just tracked the vocals for it and I have to finish up guitars/bass and mixing. Also, there’s another project I’m working on with a friend, it’s just me and him, and it’s called Holy Ghost: it’s going to be a kind of similar Electronic/Rock sound.
HHM: What is in the future for Trapt after this tour?
We’re touring again in March with Hurt and Smile Empty Soul, and then I’m sure we’ll be touring more throughout the year.
Interview by Matt Crane – HHM