Anybody who has ever said that "punk is dead" or "I'm over my emo phase" or "what is power pop?" clearly has never heard the limitless sounds of Trick Blue. With soaring distorted guitars and emotive vocals, the New York City band may appear to be coming straight out of Warped Tour 2002; but don't be fooled! Trick Blue is its own time and its own scene, and their debut album Bad Blood is colorful, melancholy, and delightfully wild.
Last month, I reached out to the band to have a conversation about the record, making music during coronavirus, and the inspired growth that the band has achieved.
Did you record any of these songs during the pandemic? Do you think that recording music during such a historic time has changed your process?
Johanna Mei: Though we didn’t record any of ‘Bad Blood’ during the pandemic, releasing an album during a time like this definitely weighs heavier. I suppose it makes you want to be as thorough as possible. It’s definitely humbling to even have the ability to bring this to the world. We all collectively draw inspiration from our favorite bands, and reference them to come to an agreement on what we wanted to sound like. We also collaborated with our producer Nicholas Starrantino, his talent and raw precision drove this album to sound exactly like we wanted.
The production on this record is beautiful, quite unlike any other music in the genre. Did you all collaborate on it, or was there only one person in charge? How did you come to a consensus on the acoustic qualities you want your music to have?
Griffin Backer: Production on the record had a couple different hands on it. For one there’s our drummer Bryan and I having long discussions about what we like and don't like. Then there’s our amazing producer Nick Starrantino who really dealt with a lot considering that Bryan and I are total perfectionists. Every single round of mix notes resulted in an hour plus phone call between Nick and I because he was very on top of understanding exactly what we wanted. Consensus on how the record should sound was a trial! We spent so long mixing and recording our tastes changed as we went along. That being said we stuck by one thing which was that the vocal MUST be in front no matter what.
In a universe where there is no coronavirus, what does a Trick Blue concert look like?
JM: It depends on the show, but playing for an audience is always fun. There’s always great energy and a certain passion you can feel with the crowd that you can’t get anywhere else. There were a couple of really intense shows right before the pandemic hit. At one of them we literally thought the floor was gonna cave in as everyone jumped up and down. We were sad that we couldn’t do another backyard party this past summer, it makes me hopeful for the ones in the future.
The lyrics in a lot of these songs are so universal to both "shy emos" and extroverts, and speaks to anger placed at both the self and other individuals. Where do you get inspiration for your lyrics?
JM: I love this question, because I suppose I could say I’m a “shy emo” and extrovert. I write my lyrics and melodies based on my situations with people and the way I feel about them, respectively. I guess you could say that’s my forte! My inspiration also comes from observing the people I love, and how they handle their own relationships. But I can promise you every line comes from the heart, and every song is written about something. Every word has a real meaning behind it.
My favorite song off the album is "Reinvent," how did it come about?
GB: Similar to most songs on the album, Reinvent was written long before there were any lyrics or vocal melodies. A lot of our writing process is me alone in my room with my computer for as many hours as I need to bang out a masterpiece. Reinvent is also my favorite cause it’s the only song where Johanna and I co wrote the vocal parts. I wrote about half then Jo came in and made what I had 100% better. We both have a strong connection to every song on the record, but Reinvent is special cause it’s a shared connection.
What are your future plans?
GB: As far as future plans, in a post-COVID world, it’s hard to tell. We’re gonna continue releasing music on a bit more of a frequent pace, as well as filming music videos. Once we can, we absolutely are going to play shows and hopefully tour as well! We hope everyone sticks around for that journey with us cause we already have some great music on the way!