TRAAMS: ‘We Just Wanted People To Dance’

Chichester-based three-piece speak to Tom Walters about the debut ‘Ladders’ EP.

To say TRAAMS are loud would be a tragic understatement. The Chichester-based three-piece are due to release their debut EP ‘Ladders’ this month, and it’s chocker-block full of noise rock foot-stompers and head bangers that ensure their live performances are always high octane sights to behold. It’s unusual for a band that reside in such a quiet city to come out as such a triumphant force of fuzzy post-punk, so we talked to bassist Leigh about what it’s like to pursue your ambitions in a quiet town on the south coast, what it’s like to support the almighty Meat Puppets and how sometimes, it’s just all about the riffs.

I’ve heard that bands like mclusky and The Jesus Lizard heavily influence you. How did you first get into their brand of frantic punk rock?
I don’t now really, I actually got into Future of the Left first. I think Stu got me into mclusky afterwards. I saw them live a few times, and the first album from 2007 I just thought it was brilliant…that you could make a racket like that with three guys you know? So it’s really nice to work in three pieces - bands like that have definitely been an influence, because it’s all about the riffs isn’t it.

‘Low’ is probably the track that seems to show that influence the most. Where does the inspiration for some of the other sounds you guys experiment with come from?
I mean some of them, when we write a song, we know halfway through writing it if it’s going to be a long one or a short one. We kind of have the idea of it before it’s finished. 90% of our songs are written in a band practice, so we just respect each one for what it is. We all listen to the same types of bands, so if one song ends up sounding like mclusky or Future of the Left or any of those bands, we’re just cool with that.

Tell me a bit about the recording process of the EP. Am I right in thinking it all started back in 2011?
Basically some of it was recorded in Leeds with MJ and some of it was recorded in London with Rory. The songs that were done with Rory were from 2012 sessions; we did first do some stuff with him in 2011 but that’s not being used yet. The EP consists of songs that we were playing live, we just thought “we better get these down” and ended up recording them across both sessions. I think that they sound quite well put together too, with the different production styles across the songs.

You can definitely pinpoint who did each track.
Yeah, that’s what I mean. Especially with the song ‘Sit Up’, which is quite a long one. It was great having MJ’s touch on that, he really helped us get something out of that song.

You wouldn’t be wrong in assuming that all of the longer songs are produced by MJ then, due to their Hookworms-esque jam session parts?
Yeah, definitely. Let the song kind of breathe for a little while and build it up. Whereas when we went in with Rory we kind of just did the ‘bang-bang’ ones, and it really worked out well. I’m really proud of them.

You omitted ‘Mexico’ from the EP. What was your reasoning behind that? It’s quite an immediate track.
We basically recorded too many songs, and we sat down for a little while and decided the tracklisting. When we first started recording we didn’t realise it would be an EP one day or an album one day, we just got the songs down as we wrote them. We’ve had ‘Klaus’ online and ‘Peggy’ which we did for the Sea Monsters compilation, but we thought ‘Mexico’ would be a good introduction for a lot of people as it’s all about what we do.

Your songs do all seem to be about complex structures and instrumentation, with the vocals left very low in the mix. How important are lyrics to you when writing a song?
It’s down to the bands we listen to really. You have bands like Women and Abe Vigoda that have that have their vocals low in the mix – you can’t quite hear it, but that kind of makes you want to sing a long to it more. Some tracks like ‘Sit Up’ that I mentioned earlier, that’s lyrically quite clear because that suits the song itself. Whereas songs like ‘Mexico’ and ‘Jack Nicholson’ and a few others on the EP… I’m not sure what effects were put on them, but we just wanted the vocals a little lower in the mix. ‘Mexico’ especially is really a drum song isn’t it? We just wanted people to dance.

You supported Meat Puppets at the Haunt recently. How was that for you guys and how do you prepare for such an amazing support slot?
I know! That was brilliant fun. We just got asked to do it out of the blue, and it was booked a little while ago so we’ve been looking forward to it for a while, and it was nice to meet them. Their set was just excellent. It was just the two bands as well. It was really nice, I think they’re still touring at the moment but it was just amazing to meet musicians who were telling me that they’d been in this band since they were 19. Seeing how we’ve only been going a couple of years and they’ve been going for ages, it’s just nice to share a stage with someone who’s toured the world.

How’ve you found fitting into the tightly knit DIY community in Brighton?
The community is a brilliant part of it all, that’s why we’ve been able to land so many shows here. There are so many nice bands that have supported us live or have let us play for them, and we’ve played a couple of other EP launches in Brighton, and all the promoters in Brighton – some of them run labels, some of them put on festivals, and I’m sure it happens all over the country but it’s just excellent to be surrounded by a group of people who are just so passionate about the music.

Compared to your home town of Chichester – which isn’t exactly renowned for its music scene, it must be a breath of fresh air. How have you found growing up somewhere where its hard to pursue your ambitions?
It’s weird because there are quite a lot of good Chichester bands now - it is starting to pick up. But you don’t get any touring bands in town. When I was younger I used to go to a lot of gigs in Portsmouth, at the Wedgewood Rooms and places like that, instead of Brighton because of the train and stuff. There are a lot of bands here, but they just end up moving to Brighton or London. It’s hard, because you have to go these places and do it because you don’t have the venues around you. I’d say we spend half our time going to gigs in Brighton and Portsmouth anyway, it’s not too far.

The ‘Ladders’ EP is out now via Fatcat.