Q & A: The Mirror Trap from Dundee, Scotland
Dave Crimaldi, The Rock Philosopher
http://davecrimaldi.weebly.com (blog on Bangkok underground music)
Hey guys, my name is Dave Crimaldi and I’m from the USA. I run a blog on underground music in Bangkok – mostly local bands but whenever visiting bands show up on radar I reach out to them for an interview or email. It’s good for me to keep networking with bands like you from the UK and your management has an office here in Bangkok. It is quite exciting to have bands from the UK coming to Thailand to record an album.
[All questions were answered by vocalist, Gary 'The Panther' Moore]
How’s your experience at Karma Studios so far? I know The Libertines recorded there! It’s looks quite posh like a resort! What do you think of the recording studio and Thailand from what you have experienced so far? Obviously you are busy recording, but I hope you at least get to use the pool sometimes.
Karma has been incredible, I don’t think I’m ever going to get used to waking up in paradise every morning. It is a million miles away from what we are used to back home Scotland. The studio itself is a music geeks dream come true, we are using gear that probably costs more money than we’d usually make in a year. Our pale Scottish bodies struggled with the Thai heat at first, but I think we are all getting more comfortable with it now. It's been an intense few weeks so far, but we’ve made sure that every time we get a spare five minutes we jump straight in the pool. The fact that The Libertines were recording here recently is pretty cool! One of my first ever gig experiences was seeing The Libertines at Glasgow Barrowlands when I was really young. They were one of those bands, along with The Strokes and The White Stripes, that made rock n roll exciting again back in the early 2000’s.
I am listening to all your videos on Youtube as I write. You guys are great live (from the videos) – I hope I get a chance to see you live sometimes. What’s the best gig you’ve done? And what’s the biggest crowd you’ve played in front of?
We’ve done some crazy gigs over the last year or so, and visited lots of countries along the way, so its hard to pick a favourite. We had an incredible time in Croatia earlier in the summer at the InMusic Festival, no one knew who we were, but by the end of our set we were stage diving into the crowd and ended up playing one of our songs twice because the audience demanded an encore. But perhaps the best gig, and biggest crowd, of the summer was when we played with Placebo at Gorky Park in Moscow. There was close to 10’000 people in the arena when we went on stage, and we got an amazing reaction, it was a very humbling experience, and it made us crave more of the same.
So you guys are recording this new album? You guys are still an unsigned band? What can we expect from the new album and when is it coming out?
Yeah, we are working on a new album, I think we are maybe two thirds of the way through the recording process, it sounds very big already. I think it is going to be a pretty heavy and epic sounding record. In the past we’ve never been too sure where we sat on the musical spectrum, whether we would be considered an indie band, or more rock/alternative or something totally different, but I think recording this album with producer Shane Edwards is helping us to realise that what we do best is massive, glass shattering rock. We are still an unsigned band, but our management (Riverman) have shown a lot of faith in us, I think once the album is complete they will be out tracking down the best deal they can get. I’m not entirely sure of a release date yet, I will be very vague and simply say 2016.
I guess when there is an album coming out that also means touring? Where are you going to tour?
That is probably the most exciting thing for us, we can’t wait to get out and play this new record live! Writing and recording is quite a long process which requires a lot of thought, and full use of the intellectual side of the brain, whereas touring is just pure animal release where you can really indulge your feral side. The brain is put to bed and the body is pushed to its limits. Hopefully we can tour all of the world. We’ve never played a show in Asia so it would be great to tour over here, and it would be great to play a ton of music festivals next year, in as many countries as possible.
What would you say is the greatest challenge for you as a band right now?
Right now its all about the album. We come from a small city in Scotland, none of us have any money, skills or education, we know that this album is our one chance to make something of our lives so we want it to be perfect.
As a songwriter, where does the music come from and how do you write songs? Is the songwriting process a collaborative process or is one of you the designated songwriter?
The music we make is a very collaborative process, it will always start with one small idea, then we will all play together and see what comes out the other side, usually it's something completely different to what we first started with. I think writing together gives the songs a lot of energy. Once we have music I will usually go off and work on melodies and lyrics myself. The writing of lyrics and words in quite a personal thing, and for me that is they way it should stay, to keep the message pure. The more people involved in that side of things the more diluted it gets.
What is one thing you want audiences and fans to know about The Mirror Trap?
Hmmm, that is a tough one. I guess I would want people to know that we are just simple and honest nobodies trying to make something good. We like to speak to people and like doing stupid stuff and waking up with sore heads and regrets. I think that the best music is that which is completely human and that doesn’t hide its flaws, I think on some level that’s all we are trying to do.
Where do you see The Mirror Trap in 5 years time? In 10 years time?
In five years time I would love to be headlining music festivals across the world and playing to thousands of people every night, and generally making music that means something to people, that would be the dream. Then in ten years who knows, maybe we can be the first band to play live on the moon.
Can you describe the music scene in Dundee at the moment? I used to play music with a guy from Glasgow who would rave about all the music happening there, but I don’t know much about Dundee music except you guys. What’s happening there?
Dundee is an odd place for music. It’s a small city, with only one or two music venues. It can be quite a grey and depressing place, but I don’t think that is such a bad thing for music, sometimes it can inspire great things, like Manchester in the late 1970s. In Dundee I think quality comes before quantity, we don’t have a lot of bands, and there is no real scene, but perhaps because of that all the bands are forced to do something totally unique.
I am a huge rock music fan but sometimes feel rock music is a dinosaur – I’m 41 and times are a changing and I wince when I see the Glastonbury lineup, although Brian Jonestown Massacre performed in 2014. So my question is, do you feel rock music still has a place in the world? Is it still alive? And what are some of your favorite rock bands? What bands influenced you guys when you were coming up in Dundee?
I think nostalgia is a social phenomenon these days, in everything from music to fashion, TV, leisure activities, right down the fact that everyone puts filters on their photographs to make them look they were taken in the 60s. We could be here for hours discussing why exactly that is the case and probably never get to the bottom of it. But under the surface there is new and exciting things going on. Right now rock n roll is like an underground revolutionary movement, sculpting and evolving beneath the surface of the mainstream, waiting for the right moment to rise again, fresh and revitalised. There are bands out there like Arctic Monkeys, Foals, Queens of The Stone Age and Arcade Fire that have been quietly getting massive all over the world, there are a whole crop of bands that could probably start headlining festivals now. Maybe we just need to wait a few years for the dinosaurs to all die in their guitar shaped swimming pools then things can get interesting again.
OK, this is for the singer, who is the greatest singer of all time? And why?
I’ve never really had any interest in the technical ability of any singers, I think it has to be more about getting the meaning of the song across and creating some sort of emotional response. I guess someone like Jeff Buckley has both the ability and the emotional content, but the main man for me is probably Ian Curtis of Joy Division.
OK there are probably enough questions to keep you guys busy; but, if you still want to write instead of beat your head against the mixing desk... are you a fan of The Smiths and what do you think of Morrissey, bout time he’s retiring?
Ha ha! I might be the wrong person to ask that question to, as I am a bit biased. The Smiths are one of my all time favourite bands, and Morrissey is a bit of a god to me. The one thing that the frontman of a band can’t be is forgettable, and he certainly is not. In terms of retirement, I’m not sure. There have been songs on some of his more recent albums that have been incredible, but maybe it is time to go out while he is still the king. Life Is A Pigsty is one of my favourite Morrissey songs of all time and that was on a recent-ish album.
What’s the best band out of the UK right now? You cannot say The Mirror Trap!
For me it must be Foals right now. They have just released a new album and it is incredible, the single from it, What Went Down, is one of my favourite tracks in a very long time. And they are incredible live.
Are they feeding you well down there? Thai food can put holes in the stomachs of visitors unused to the spice.
We have all become massive Thai food converts, I think it is going to be a shock to our systems going back to the UK to eat bland food again. Maybe we will need to learn a few tips from the chef before we head home.
OK, gonna wrap it up! Truthfully I could ramble on for ages about music over cold beer. Very exciting to have you guys here and hope to one day meet ya’ll. Will keep an eye out for the album. Send me some photos that I can use on the blog post.
Thank you The Mirror Trap!
The Rock Philosopher
Check out The Mirror Trap on Facebook.
Also see their Wikipedia page.
If you want these guys to play in your city or town, you best let them know - they need to know where their fans are. I want to see them play Bangkok!