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No Trigger - 02.11.2012

Interviewed by: Dre Okorley (02/17/12)
In the following phone interview, you will find that No Trigger are of the coffee-generated ilk running on hyper mode. I caught up with lead vocalist Tom Rheault to discuss their latest release, Tycoon, the influential weight of nature and hometown pride, as well as their surprise switch from Nitro Records to No Sleep.

Last time we heard from you guys, it was around your completing a nonstop 53-day tour with Set Your Goals in Europe to support your 2007 debut release, Canyoneer.


That tour was just crazy. I just remember coming home and us being completely burnt out on music in general. It's just so much to take on at once and we were in this foreign place. It was the best tour we've ever done, but it was just so, so long and demanding. We only had one day off, and it was five days in. So we had one day where we didn't have to play a show. We chilled in Venice that day and ate pizza. After that adventure was when we started to slowly scale back. We played The Fest, a local show here and there, and one show in 2008 at the ICC in Boston. Then we kind of died and now we're back with the Be Honest 7" we released in 2010 and the soon to be released Tycoon.

What happened during your six year absence that made you guys decide it was the right time to return?

It definitely wasn't calculated as if we said, "We're not going to come back." There was a lot going on where we had members who weren't the original people. They were really awesome guys (Billy and Eric) who toured with us forever. Then we asked ourselves if we should write the new stuff with them, but eventually decided to get the old guys back and do it the way we always used to. It was six years album to album, but we toured off of Canyoneer for three years. I don't if you're in a band or not, but I'll tell you that writing an album is a draining process. It takes everything from you. Even if it's like thirty-three minutes front to back, it takes months and months and countless hours and trying to figure out the best things to say, you know what I mean? So, it's not an easy thing to just say, "OK, let's go do an album." At least to us. I feel like so many other bands bust out albums all the time and I envy that, but not us. I'll tell you that much.

I've been in and out of bands. In fact, my housemate and I have been trying to start one. It's amazing to me when I see not just bands in general being able to tour as long as they do, but huge ska bands that have seven or eight people. It's like, how did you get that many people to match their schedules?

[Laughs] Yeah.

Like, the Toasters have been together for more than two decades. I'm so jealous. I can barely get these lazy people around me to get together. [Laughs]

I know, it's so amazing. It's definitely an anomaly, especially with ska. We toured with Streetlight and the Aquabats one time and people just kept piling out of the van! [Laughs]

From what I recall, Crime in Stereo had a pretty messy relationship with Nitro Records, hence their relocating to Bridge 9. Was there a contractual dispute or obligations not fulfilled from Nitro's end that influenced the switch to No Sleep?

It's funny because CIS did have some drama from what I'd heard, but we didn't at all. We didn't know where we were going. I think those guys knew they were going to put another record right away, and they might've had contractual issues. But by the time we got around to saying that we wanted to put out another full length, Nitro was basically done anyway. Like completely done. They kind of dissolved. So they didn't have any problems saying go ahead and do what you want to do; we really don't care. But I think when CIS tried to do it, it was a little bit more sticky. Those are just my thoughts on it. They let us go right away and No Sleep picked us up. It worked out really smoothly.

Massachusetts pridefully gets mentioned from time to time in your music. Why would you say that the state you're from plays a quintessential role in the path you've chosen?


I don't know if we ever chose our paths as a band. We've always had a pretty good amount of influence from this area. There's a lot of good bands where we're from such as A Wilhelm Scream. When I was in high school, I was watching them play under the name Smackin' Isaiah and I thought it was too awesome. They were playing the kind of music I love, and they were from down the road. I think AWS is probably our biggest influence locally. I think they were the biggest influence to our band all around, really, in helping us to get to where we are right now. Just like Four Year Strong and Bane from Worcester -- we're also from Worcester. FYS opened for the Canyoneer record release show. Now, we're really good friends with those guys and look where they're at now. Massachusetts is an awesome state. It's my favorite state, and I've been to almost every single one of them, you know? I think where you're from does play a role. It's a fostering place for bands, for sure. And I'm glad that we could be one of them.

Let's talk about your new record a little bit. How did it come together structurally? And in terms of artwork, the cabin on the cover of Tycoon reminded me of the band's passion for nature and its aesthetic. I'd imagine there's a challenge not to feel a bit anachronistic, seeing as though we live in an age where technology is on an upswing.


With the album art we didn't want anything like, "Boom! In your face, this is what it is" type of deal, so it was vague enough for us to work. We felt we should kind of leave it up to the listener to draw comparisons. And I think it worked well. Being the singer, I have a lot of pull on the direction the record goes, because I'm writing the lyrics and putting the melodies together over the song structure. I hate when bands switch up their sound or go in a different direction and there's no real cohesion. I want it to be us. I want to write it in the vein of the bands that we always loved. Even though we're six years older and we have a lot more influences, if people want a No Trigger record, then I wanna give them a No Trigger record. And that's what the whole thing in my head was. Let's make it hard, let's make it fast, let's make it catchy, we'll make it melodic. We'll go on limbs a little bit -- but you've heard the whole record. A lot of people haven't, but I feel like it sums up a lot of who we really are and I'm really proud of it and how it turned out.

It's an excellent record. Some feel that it's the best record No Sleep has put out in recent years.

They've put out some really good records, too. That's flattering.

Going as far as naming an album Canyoneer, the band has shown how mentally involved it is with painting the imagery of one's surroundings. Being the lead vocalist, how much of that deep ecological connection comes from you alone? Does everyone compromise and meet somewhere in the middle or are these everyone's shared experiences?

As the vocalist, I have a lot of say in what the lyrics are. I pull a lot from my personal life. I'm an eagle scout and was a boy scout for ten years. I'm an active backpacker and go camping all the time. The outdoors is very, very important to me, which I kind of draw from a bit because it's what I like. My band gives me more free reign and I appreciate them for it because they've never ever said, "Change the lyrics" or "Write about something else." So, I think it does come down to me. I've been the one to name both albums. I've named every album, and they appreciate it. I'm really thankful that I have the freedom with whatever I want to do. It's mostly me, though, and my own experiences. It's not an outcry, but a motif. And it's something I can relate to. I've always fallen for the outdoorsy, mountainous, woodsy kind of motif. It's the main style that I gravitate towards.

Raw emotion is another layer to your band's persona. Is this the reason why your collaboration with producer Jay Maas worked so well here?

He happened to be in Massachusetts, so we picked someone who was close. We knew we needed time to go home and rest, then go back in and work. Jay is from Wakefield and has produced some great bands. We almost had no other choice. [Laughs] But, that being said, obviously we love what he does and how it came out. I think you're right, though. I love how raw it is. I love it. A lot of people will throw about four or five different vocal tracks together, but we placed it in a way that made it feel right. He's really the only one that would have made it work out the way it did.

Many would agree that you're a highly underrated band for your style -- a diamond in the rough. Do you feel the politicized urgency of your messages may have an effect on your appeal?

Possibly. I'll tell you, though, that the new record is completely different from most of our other stuff lyrically. I still am politically and socially driven, but this one is more personal. Earlier on, I don't think I would've written songs that were so personal. They would be topics that I wanted to voice my opinion on. We've evolved a little bit, but we're always going to have that vein of social consciousness, for sure.The transition came about because I was 21 when we wrote our first albums. It's a different stage that we're at now. We didn't feel like rehashing the same things, and I'd spoken about all the things I wanted to already. Instead of speaking up about things to discuss, I talked about more personal things this time around. Anyone who has listened to us will see that it's more immediate as well. But it's different. I don't mind being underrated, but I don't know if that had any effect on it in the beginning. I think a lot of things go into that kind of thing. And honestly, I don't think a lot of people listen to lyric meanings. Many do, but I know so many who generally don't pay attention to any of that. So I'm not sure. I'm not sure.

Genre classifications such as pop punk, hardcore, and punk rock appear to be heading down an arbitrary slope. Does the band have a particular allegiance to multiple ones in terms of how your sound came to be or do you think they should be ignored altogether?

Well, I've never had problems with labeling a type of music, you know? I feel that a whole lot of people will talk about labels this and that, but as far as we're concerned, we're a hardcore punk band. If someone asks me what type of band we are, I'll say hardcore punk. In my mind, it's the same line as anyone from Paint It Black to Touche Amore to the Descendents. That's in my mind. But I think we even have a Gainesville-esque side to us where we can play The Fest and fit in with anyone of any genre who plays on it. We've been playing it for years now. Anyway, I think that's about where I'd put us -- hardcore punk. I don't have any problems with labeling certain types of bands because they need to be described somehow.

Where is everyone's focus right now? Will you be putting all your energy towards promoting the new record or shall we be keeping our ears peeled for upcoming collaborations?

We're excited because we haven't had a new record to tour on in a long time. And it's great because we can actually play new songs. It's the same thing that any band says when they put out a new album, "Finally, we can play new songs!" But it's kinda triple that for us. It's been so long. We never put out a second record, and now here it is. OK, we can finally pick back up where we left off. We do have new shows planned that include a bunch of record releases, a handful with Polar Bear Club, and a dive bar in our hometown that no bands ever play. Then we're going to Europe in a couple of months, which hasn't been announced yet. We're taking someone who's really awesome and it'll be a UK headliner. Now, we're just going to play it by ear because we can now. We mostly played shows that we had no choice but to say "yes" to, like The Fest. Or "OK, Four Year Strong we'll play your sold out holiday show at the Palladium." Like, how do we fit into that? [Laughs] So now we have a whole new repertoire of stuff to play and we couldn't be more excited.

@thatmassivewolf
You can read my previous interview, with boysetsfire, here.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 20.
08:26 AM on 02/17/12
#2
InaGreendase
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Refreshing take on labels. It's understandable to be annoyed if you're clueless and calling the Devil Wears Prada powerviolence or something, but most bands get so unnecessarily uptight with that shit.

"What kind of music do you listen to?"

'SOUND.'
08:47 AM on 02/17/12
#3
HeavenResign
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Quote:
It's an excellent record. Some feel that it's the best record No Sleep has put out in recent years.

Considering No Sleep has put out The Upsides, Wildlife, Separation, Sever Your Roots, and Parting The Sea Between Brightness And Me within the last two years, I don't understand that comment at all. You can like this record more than those but that makes it seem like No Sleep was slumping or something (mainly the adding of "in recent years"), which is categorically untrue. Either way, stoked to hear the record. Good interview.

I also find the labeling music thing sort of refreshing. It's one thing to get caught up in it but it's another thing to avoid it entirely for the sake of not getting caught up in it.
08:48 AM on 02/17/12
#4
Dre Okorley
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"What kind of music do you listen to?"

'SOUND.'
Hahaha, I agree completely.

Considering No Sleep has put out...
First off, thanks for reading this. Second, there's no jab at NS, otherwise this interview wouldn't have been conducted. This is just a draw of reactions from people I've talked to. Different strokes for different folks, and it's not to say NS hasn't had solid releases.
08:54 AM on 02/17/12
#5
HeavenResign
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First off, thanks for reading this. Second, there's no jab at NS, otherwise this interview wouldn't have been conducted. This is just a draw of reactions from people I've talked to. Different strokes for different folks, and it's not to say NS hasn't had solid releases.

I feel you on that, just wasn't sure what old releases I'm missing out on from No Sleep that are better than what they'd put on in recent years. If you have any idea, let me know (seriously) - I'd love to check them out asap.
09:18 AM on 02/17/12
#6
anthonydarko
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I always thought the hiatus had to do with SJC Drums exploding in popularity and Mike couldn't commit to touring.
11:59 AM on 02/17/12
#7
Rodeo
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This band is so much fucking awesome.
12:11 PM on 02/17/12
#8
MJSchmidt
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Cannot wait for this record. I am also pleased to see less political themes in the lyrics and more personal stuff.
05:19 PM on 02/17/12
#9
PlanetDahmz
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Must... have... Tycoon...

Seriously, this record is going to ruin my eardrums.
05:40 PM on 02/17/12
Rodeo
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Just ordered red/orange wax.
06:25 PM on 02/17/12
Jake Jenkins
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Considering No Sleep has put out The Upsides, Wildlife, Separation, Sever Your Roots, and Parting The Sea Between Brightness And Me within the last two years, I don't understand that comment at all. You can like this record more than those but that makes it seem like No Sleep was slumping or something (mainly the adding of "in recent years"), which is categorically untrue. Either way, stoked to hear the record. Good interview.

I also find the labeling music thing sort of refreshing. It's one thing to get caught up in it but it's another thing to avoid it entirely for the sake of not getting caught up in it.
Sever Your Roots was self released and Parting The Sea is fucking terrible



Opinions, man
07:18 PM on 02/17/12
HeavenResign
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Sever Your Roots was self released and Parting The Sea is fucking terrible



Opinions, man
Quote:
You can like this record more than those but that makes it seem like No Sleep was slumping or something (mainly the adding of "in recent years")

Reading comprehension, man. Also, good thing I listed more than two albums. One of which is quoted under your username.

Let me know what those albums were that were so much better that weren't in "recent years". I'm being honest, I wanted to listen.
07:21 PM on 02/17/12
Jake Jenkins
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Reading comprehension, man. Also, good thing I listed more than two albums. One of which is quoted under your username.

Let me know what those albums were that were so much better that weren't in "recent years". I'm being honest, I wanted to listen.
I wouldn't say that statement makes it sound like they were slumping. I haven't heard the new No Trigger album, but they are the best band on the label, so I wouldn't be the slightest bit surprised if this is the best release on the label in recent years.
07:22 PM on 02/17/12
HeavenResign
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I wouldn't say that statement makes it sound like they were slumping.

Well that's the heart of it then, and hey if that's the case then no worries. Didn't see why you needed to slam the two albums you didn't like on that list.
07:25 PM on 02/17/12
Jake Jenkins
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Well that's the heart of it then, and hey if that's the case then no worries. Didn't see why you needed to slam the two albums you didn't like on that list.

Sever Your Roots is one of my favorite albums of all time. I despise everything about Touché Amore so when you cited that album I couldn't help myself
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