Interview Exclusive: Boise’s Trauma Kit Break Down Brand-New LP

Trauma Kit are a four-member hardcore group hailing from Boise, Idaho, a growing yet still unremarkable city. It’s been tough for them to get on the proverbial map, especially as they originated about a decade ago. The time is nigh for them to break through, but the ship may have already sailed.

The self-described “noise-punk exhibitionists” feature drummer Max Ball, vocalist Mason Waters, bassist Shadrach Tuck, and guitarist Dustin White. Trauma Kit’s first full-length, Train Wrecks Take Time, arrived Friday courtesy of Tuck’s Mishap Records. That same day, the band celebrated the release with a show at Treefort Music Hall.

Trauma Kit produced Train Wrecks Take Time, and it was recorded, mixed and mastered by Andy Agenbroad at the Chop Shop in July.

New Noise caught up with the band last week to delve deep into Train Wrecks Take Time. Waters and Tuck, amped about the release, had plenty to say about each song on the record.

“Plateau”: “This song is about stagnation and decay,” Waters begins. “It is a reflection of how much a thing can deteriorate in stasis.”

Tuck chimes in: “This song is one of our oldest and has evolved quite a bit, but we’ve held onto it. Max added some of his additional industrial noise production and some noise/prod(uction) ideas from myself after we tracked instrumentals from Andy at the Chop Shop. We believe it really sets the stage for the record.”

“Virus”: According to Waters, this track “is from the pseudo-schitzophrenic headspace that is born from social media and the rapid integration of technology in daily life. It is a feeling that the man beside you wants nothing more than to kill you and steal your shit. Anyone with a voice is a demagogue. There are only enemies.”

Tuck provides some of the backstory, saying, “Dustin came up with this cool hardcore riff, and we tacked it onto this ending bass riff that I wrote in, like, 15 minutes. (It’s) still one of my all-time favorite outros.”

“Better”: Waters speaks succinctly about this cut, explaining that it’s, “about being told everything is going to be OK while you watch the world around you immolate.”

“Bird’s Leg”: As for this tune, Waters says it deals with “struggling to interface with the world around you. It is about feeling that your psychology is a burden that the world is hungry to burn out of you.”

Tuck elaborates on the birth of “Bird’s Leg” and the instrumentation on it. The bassist claims he “wrote the bassline/structure for (it) in like, like, 10,15 minutes. We just built off of it from there. Dustin and Max jumped right in to double on guitar and that heavy drum backbeat. Love Max’s drum fills on the verses here, and the interplay and vocal inflection from Mase.”

“Train Wreck”: “(This song offers) a moment taken to reflect on how far everything has fallen into disrepair,” Waters reveals. “It is an acknowledgment of the limited direction in which things can move forward. In the end, a path is chosen and followed to finality.”

Tuck notes that “Train Wreck” is “another one of our oldest (songs) that Mason wrote as an electronic demo on his computer that we modified as a band. I like that this song (has) key changes with the same two-chord sequence from the verse down a whole step on the chorus.”

“Zaibatsu”: The most curiously named selection on Trauma Kit’s debut “focuses on the influence of consumerism,” according to Waters. “It is the recognition that all of our values and beliefs are buttressed by a love and devotion to capital entities which seek only to profit from our efforts to survive. ‘I want what I want because they want me to want it.’ “

Tuck adds that “Zaibatsu” “is another old classic” and particularly to play in concert. He calls it “our first just straight-up punk-rock jam (that) we wrote initially with a different guitarist then when Dustin came into the band. (H)e learned it in, like, one practice.”

Tidal Waves”: This is a more straightforward song, based on Waters’ description of it. “‘Tidal Wave’ emphasizes the general theme of the album: that everything sown must now be reaped. It follows the tidal wave of emotions and disconnection that is brought on by self-isolation.”

“Growing in a Body”: From the way Waters describes it, “Growing in a Body” is probably the most personal and autobiographical entry on Train Wrecks Take Time. This song is about my realization of how heavily I had been influenced and affected by the circumstances my dad was in when I was growing up,” he says guardedly, without providing specifics.

Tuck imparts that the track was “Built off a tape loop riff that Max made on his computer years ago. The second half was just a battle between me and Dustin to make the funnest, like, 30 seconds of hardcore we could. It’s a blast to perform.”

“Running”: Waters claims “Running” was the song best-suited to close out Train Wrecks Take Time because it’s “about everything mentioned already (in this track-by-track breakdown). It materializes as a basement infested with asbestos. A neutral environment composed of apathy and disinterest that slowly and seamlessly kills you. It is all held together by a string that has been poorly tied. It will all soon be let loose, and the fickle connection that remained will finally be left to disconnect.”

Once again, Tuck sheds light on the process of making the song, saying, “Dustin came to us with (an) incredibly badass guitar riff, and the song just wrote itself from there. I’m tuned to Drop C on my bass, while Dustin is in D Standard. It provided some cool, low-end tension that I love. Some of my favorite performances from the whole band (are present) here.” Similar to Waters, Tuck refers to “Running” as “a great conclusion to the saga” that is Trauma Kit’s first foray into the world of full-lengths.

Photo courtesy of Conner Schumacher.

Train Wrecks Take Time is available for purchase on Bandcamp. The noise punks play the Shredder on Mar. 22 as part of this year’s Treefort Music Fest.

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