Trapdoor Social talk about their latest single 'Hold me Down' and using music to create conversation around climate change
Creating music in order to spread awareness about environmental issues, this band's music is a beautiful mix of surf rock and indie pop.
Environmental activist musical collective Trapdoor Social has released their new single, 'Hold Me Down', and it is a brilliant blend of surf rock and indie pop. Entitled ‘Hold Me Down’, the highly anticipated single fuses surf rock and indie pop melodies, creating a captivating and truly 'California' sound. The indie rock band which comprises Merritt Graves (Vocals, Keys), Skylar Funk (Vocals, Guitar), Louie Gonzalez (Guitar), Patrick Griffen (Bass), and Ben Ebert (Drums), have a record of fundraising and activism supporting sustainability, producing outdoor solar-powered concerts around the US.
With its origins in a college environmental studies program, the band has a record of fundraising and activism to promote sustainability. Starting in 2015 Trapdoor Social branched off from the usual mix of club/radio/college shows and began producing outdoor, solar-powered concerts and events around the US, including Sunstock Solar Festival, which takes place in Los Angeles annually. Their other projects combining music with activism have benefitted Homeboy Industries, Mesa Ridge High School, and Kids Cancer Connection. The band's music is energetic and passionate, with lyrics that play with love, philosophy, and social critique. Several of the band’s songs— 'Away', 'Fine on My Own', 'Sunshine', and 'Winning as Truth' - have received significant airplay around the country, a national TV ad placement and success on Spotify's 'Discover Weekly'.
Since Sunstock '17, the band has been working on an LP that will be their fourth release. Their new single "Hold Me Down" blends surf rock and captivating indie pop featuring anthemic melodies and jangly guitars. Trapdoor Social is set to release a full album following around the new year, and a national tour in the spring of 2019. In an exclusive conversation with Meaww, the band spoke about their latest single, 'Hold Me Down' and how they use music to help spread environmental awareness.
Could you walk us through your journey a little bit? How did you reconstitute to a five-member band from being a duo?
Merritt and I would write songs simply but the production in the studio always grew beyond what just two guys could do. The band was necessary for the scale of the sound.
How did you get into environmental activism?
We met at Pomona College doing environmental studies, where we bonded over the existential crises facing our generation, over music, and of course how hard X or Y paper was turning out to be. The band was founded on an agreement to use art to try to make a difference. But long before that, I had another thought process of my own. I got into the habit of picking up litter on my high school campus... until one day I realized there are much bigger issues than people living in their own trash.
Could you tell us how music can also help drive environmental consciousness?
Art of all kinds has a profound potential to affect the public consciousness around issues like this. Protest songs from the 60s resonated so profoundly, those messages rang true beyond just the people who already believed in them. But all kinds of art media can subtly or directly contribute to the conversation and more conversation around our existential threats seems like not a bad idea
What is that one key environmental issue that you address the most in your songs?
Climate change I think is the main thing we want to talk about, and it's not a sexy topic. People are not really wired to think about problems that are that big, vague, hard to perceive... though rising waters can be a compelling idea for a lyric here or there
Let's come to your single 'Hold Me Down'. The song is an excellent blend of surf rock and indie pop. What inspired you to write the song?
Thank you! This was actually a tough one to write. I (Skylar) often write on my own but this song we did together, starting with a guitar part that didn't initially resonate with me. So it was really made in an effort to collaborate as a songwriter that was a little bit out of my comfort zone. Go figure.
Could you walk us through the production process?
We normally start with a song that I've written, or maybe something that Merritt or Louie has brought in, or maybe one we wrote together. We'll listen and discuss, start recording with a guide of the vocal with guitar or piano, then start fleshing it out with Louie's guitars, then drums, then synths or harmonies. Maybe toward the end, we'll try to strip out some parts to simplify... but that normally doesn't happen.
As I gather, you are working on your second full-length album. How different is the experience this time as compared to the first album?
It's been great, though maybe more similar than different, compared to our last album. Same producer, a lot of the same process. One difference has been our drummer, Ben, who is a great player, though doesn't always see eye to eye with our producer. Overall lots of fun working with this team and tons of creativity. Lots more songs recorded than we can fit on the album.
What will be the album about?
That's a good question. Lots of subject matter. Our biggest message has always been to urge caution around climate change other existential threats... but writing always happens around love and philosophy and whatever else is happening in life.
Can we expect your previously released songs such as 'Away', 'Sunshine', and 'Winning as Truth' to be included in the album? Or is it a whole new set?
It's a whole new set! We're always trying to move onward and upward.
Other than the album, what more are you planning to do?
We're organizing a tour in the spring that will take us all the way around the country, producing solar-powered concerts everywhere we go. Stay tuned for tour dates!