Crust Punk, Grindcore, Interviews, Punk

Deaftrap – S/T (Interview with Vocalist Tobi)

Genre:Hardcore, Sludge
Release Date:16th of July, 2020
Released viaHoly Goat Records (Vinyl)
Lower Class Kids Records (Tape)
Cover Artwork ©Deaftrap, 2020

With their full-length release of the self-titled album via Holy Goat Records and Lower Class Kids Records, Erfurt Hardcore and Sludge combo Deaftrap definitely found strong resonance showcasing an aggressive blend of the aforementioned genres. In order to find out some more about the background of the band, live experience and more subjects, Nino asked vocalist Tobi some questions.

Interview with Tobi from Deaftrap

Hey Tobi, it’s great that you’re willing to answer some questions about your band DEAFTRAP. First of all, congratulations on the release of your current, first album. Following you, the fact that you’ve been touring Malaysia in early 2020 is probably an exciting thing to learn more about. For a fairly new band, this jump seems quite unusual. Please enlighten me, how did it come to this trip in the first place?
Hey Nino, thanks for having me. Yeah, you are right, it is crazy that we did this tour. As you know, at this point we had just released our demo tape and a few songs on different samplers. Indeed, it is uncommon for a band on this level to tour on a different continent, but thanks to the internet and DIY culture such things can happen. Our guitarist Dennis is friends with this awesome guy Marvin. He is not only the promoter of the Sick, Fast, Loud! Fest which takes place every year in Kuching, but he also runs PUNKAROBA Entertainment which covers a big part of the DIY tours in Malaysia. After listing to the demo, he asked us if we like to play a tour. So, what could you do as a relatively young band when you get offered such an opportunity? You say yes and hope that some people will show up to your gigs.

And since we are at it, tell me what it was like. Besides the general positive and negative memories I would be interested in the logistic realization of the tour.
The logistics of this tour were pretty low profile. In terms of instruments, we just carried a guitar, a bass, a snare drum, and the foot paddle with us. The DIY Shows in Malaysia are working a bit different from the ones in Europe. All the bands share the drum set, the amps and the boxes. All this is in many cases owned by the venue. For this tour we let our merch print directly from one of the promoters and to get from place to place we took flights or busses. Someone always picked us up from the airport or the bus station. Marvin, who booked the tour, took care that everything went incredible smooth for us. It was amazing. If you are in a band and like to tour South East Asia, do yourself a favour and contact this guy.

DEAFTRAP haven’t been on the road that long and are therefore still a bit unknown abroad. How was your impression of the scene there from the point of view of still quite a new band? Are the people there already saturated, like many concert visitors here, or do they pay enough attention and energy to the openers?
On this point we had different experiences. There were shows in the mid-week where only a fist full of people showed up to the shows, but there also were shows where everyone went totally crazy and moved around from the first to the last song. Generally, people are not so overstimulated, but it is clearly changing in different parts of the country. Nevertheless, every show was fun, and we meet a lot of great humans.

Do you take something from Malaysia besides the personal experience as a band? Specifically, will this trip influence your lyrics or songrwiting in some way in the future?
Oh, this is a tough one. Inspiration and influence work in strange ways and more often than not unconsciously. This whole experience will be part of us, our writing process and as a very strange sample on the LP.

Were there any bands you played with that you would definitely recommend?
Oh yes, the quality of bands we played with was remarkably high. You have just to take a look of the Sick!Fast!Loud! line up and listen to any band! But there are two bands that personally blew me away. First was Nogas that play some powerful Punk/Metal mix with some Stoner parts that will remind you of early Doomriders stuff and the second band is Piri Reis that sound like all the good things from the 90ies Screamo combined. Both are crazy good live bands and very nice people to hang out with.

You dropped your first album, which was released by me via Lower Class Kids Records on tape and by Holy Goat on vinyl. From your point of view, how was the response to it so far?
The reactions were all positive to this point. Here and there some reasonable critique, but not a single bad review. We are super happy with the final product but let me tell you that it is a strange feeling to release your debut during this lockdown. Releasing an album on vinyl was one of my designated life goals and when you think of release times, you think of playing shows to promote the recordings and stuff like that. It feels so crazy that figuratively nothing happened. Nevertheless, we are proud of this album and looking forward to play shows when it is finally save again.

You also released an exclusive Asia version of the tape through Punkcaroba Entertainment. Did the collaboration come about as a result of the Asian tour, or was the contact there already anchored beforehand?
This was a consequence of our tour and getting in touch with the DIY culture in Malaysia.

Was it very problematic to record an album under the current hygienic regulations?
It was a special experience. For most of the sessions we went one by one and respected the safety-regulations of our city, to make sure that nobody catches this fucking virus. Some of the sessions took place during the less strict period at the end of summer 2020, so we could work a little more freely at this time.

Besides the audible musical progress, what distinguishes the demo from the album the most?
Indeed, not that much. We sticked to the song structures of the Demo tape. Some short songs, some blast beats and some sludgy parts. We tried to produce a record that we would like to listen and mostly songs that are fun to play live.

Many artists want to convey a certain message with their music or process various things and experiences. Which topics do you personally address in your songs?
The biggest problem with my lyrics is that a read way too many books in my life and that I’m into some pseudo-pop-nihilistic aesthetic. For me it’s less about the literally message of the words, but more about the feelings that these words trigger. I tried to produce lyrics that I would love to read myself and that give me right mood to play live. You know, some kind of tingle on the inside. There are also some direct or indirect quotations from some of my favourite prose. I believe that the listener or reader gives the meaning to lyrics. I have to say, that I like the lyrics of the LP, but I wouldn’t take them too seriously.

It is certainly difficult as a young band to realize a vinyl release considering the mass of artists available. Has the contact to Ralf from Holy Goat been there for a long time or did he discover you with your demo?
Indeed, Ralf watched us play in the Gerber 3 in Weimar just a few weeks before we released our Demo tape via Lower Class Kids Records. I think it was one of our first shows we ever played. After the show Tobi of Black Cat Tapes introduced me to Ralf and we talked about his label, music and stuff like that. He told me to get in touch when we have some new recordings. The rest went super smooth. We showed him the songs right after the master was ready and he was all-in for this release.

At the end of last year you played a set at the Global Grindcore Festival. Did you get a little more international attention through that?
Yes, for sure. The attention was not that big, but we could feel it. Also, we put this full set on a tape together with Gendo Ikari from Scotland and put one song on the festival sampler. We loved to be part of this project. Attention was secondary for us, but it was sure a nice thing to have another two releases.

Did the recording still feel a bit like a live show, even though there was no real audience? Or was it more like a rehearsal room show for you?
It felt super strange, but it was more than a rehearsal show. Maybe even more than a live show. While playing an online set you see everything that went off. You must be even more on point.

How did you perceive the festival itself? Which band surprised you the most?
I watched the festival alone from home with snacks and soft drinks. The bands that blew me off where definitely Bandit, Discord, Meth Leppard and Gendo Ikari

During Corona, the subcultural life lost some things that we usually took for granted. Shows/tours and just hanging out with friends in pubs. In many places there was an attempt to keep DIY alive with different ideas and creative output. What is your personal impression of the current art and music scene?
I think it is important to see that creativity works in so many forms. I sucks that we could not do the usual stuff, but it is great to see that people found ways to work around the pandemic. We saw different forms of expression and art. Maybe this shows us again that DIY culture is more than getting smashed at a punkrock show where you do not care about the bands and the people.

What “offers” did you take advantage of in order not to lose connection? For example, could livestreams or online festivals inspire you and give you a piece of what you otherwise perceived in real life?
I watched a few online streams during this time, but indeed I did spend most of my time with my head buried in a book or writing essays for university. I tend to be a boring person if live does not knock on my door and drags me out.

If the pandemic passed this year, one question in particular naturally arises. What can we expect from you when things get back to normal?
Currently we are working on new songs for a split-release with a befriended band and after that we planning to write a new LP or EP. Padi and Dennis have some nice ideas to change our sound so we do not become another band that starts to cover itself. There are interesting things to come.

Thanks for your time Tobi, do you want to say something? If yes, now is your chance.
I have nothing much to say, besides that I am looking forward to finally play our new songs live. Thanks for this nice chitchat.

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