Interview with TRC

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Interview by Matt Bradley
Matt Bradley chats with Lasselle Lewis (drums) and Chris Robson (vocals) from one of the best UK hardcore bands – TRC.

 

 

MB: We’re backstage at Rock City in Nottingham for the penultimate gig of TRC’s first headlining tour. How’s it gone so far?

Chris: It’s been emotional, man. It’s our first ever proper UK headlining tour, and it’s been absolutely quality. No complaints. Aside from feeling rough these past couple of days, the shows have been really good.
Lasselle: I think when you go out like this, it really brings home the fan base you’ve actually got.
Chris: They’re paying money to see us. It’s all good being a support band and having a packed room, but when you’re headliners for the first time, it’s a bit nerve-wracking ’cause you don’t know if a show’s gonna be dead or not, but it’s been packed, man. People are spending their hard-earned money to see TRC, and Polar and Prowler obviously. It’s given us a responsibility now. These people are here to see us and it’s made us raise our game. We’ve gotta put on a proper show… not that we didn’t before, you know what I’m saying? Haha. But, yeah, this tour’s been really good.

MB: Support on this tour comes in the form of Polar and Prowler. Did you guys put that together or was it all the booking agents?

Chris: The booking agents gave us some options. We’ve toured with Polar before and know they can pull a crowd, as well as being a fantastic live band. I see playing with good bands as competition, I’ll tell the rest of TRC that we’ve gotta blow Polar off stage every night, and I’m sure Polar are saying the same about us. There’s no beef or anything, it’s just healthy competition.
Lasselle: But at the same time, we don’t really want one to massively out-perform the other and make the others look bad; we just want everyone to be good.
Chris: With Prowler, it’s good as well. Everybody who knows us will know them, specifically Nathan as he features on our tracks ‘Go Hard or Go Home’ and ‘Heartless’, so it’s nice to give them a platform to show what they can do, and for them to pull their finger out and actually fucking tour. Nah, seriously, they’ve been smashing it. It’s cool to see them get such a good response. There’ve been a lot of heads nodding. Not a lot of people know their tunes so to see that is great, and to see them grow as a performing band has been wicked.

MB: You’re a very health conscious guy, Chris, and so is Anthony (vocals). How do you keep it up on tour?

Chris: It’s hard, man. It always starts so well! I came out on this tour with my provisions; my oats, my tuna, my protein shakes and stuff…
Lasselle: Straight out the door!
Chris: Yeah, I’ve been having a lot of trouble – I’ve only hit the gym three times this tour, but I thought for this last week ‘fuck it, its Christmas party season so let’s just go mad’. Usually, you have to spend a little bit more money but I’d rather go to Marks & Spencers and buy some healthy stuff for about eight quid then put it in a cool bag than go and spend the same amount on a Burger King or McDonald’s. It’s hard, but if you wanna do it, you can.
Lasselle: A lot of the time, when it’s time to eat, I’ll not see these guys. Like he said, they’ll go to M&S or something and I’ll go to KFC and we’ve spent the exact same money and they’ve got food for today and tomorrow, and I’ve just got a burger, so it makes sense to go the extra mile and prepare.
Chris: I try and eat as healthy as I can just because we’re putting on a headline show, so we’ve got that responsibility to put on a decent stage show. I don’t wanna be feeling shit after eating shit for two days and just being drained, you know? It’s also a bit of a vanity thing because I like to look good, but again, if you eat shit, you’ll feel shit and you’re gonna put on a shit show and be run down after two days.

TRC

MB: It’s well known that tours can be stressful for bands. How do you guys chill out?

Lasselle: Well, this tour’s been good in that respect ’cause we’ve actually got a TV and an X-Box in the van so we’ll play games or put on Only Fools and Horses or something and just laugh all day. But individually, we’ve all got our own little things we do. We’ve noticed that Polar are a very ‘together’ band and spend all of their time with each other, whereas we have our own kinda rituals that we do.
Chris: I like to go for a walk. After sound check, I like to go find a coffee shop and sit by myself. It’s the only bit of downtime you get.
Lasselle: It’s nice to just sit on your own and listen to tunes sometimes.

MB: Any other pre-gig rituals?

Chris: Usually tell Lasselle to hurry up!! This geezer takes the longest time in the world to set up a drum kit, haha. He’s actually gotten better on this tour.
Lasselle: I’ve gotten much better; practice makes perfect.
Chris: We don’t really have the over the top pre-gig things like some bands do. We don’t huddle, bang heads or chest-bump or anything like that, we just say something like ‘right, let’s smash it’ and me and Anthony have a shot before we get onstage… that is, if we’re not screaming ‘where’s Charlie?’, our guitarist.

MB: You always start your set with ‘H.A.T.E.R.S.’ and Chris, you dedicate it to Lasselle. Is that just because of the video (which is awesome, check it out above) or is there another reason?

Chris: Well picked up, man. Haha, it’s just so he knows when to start the count in!! And he’s a good guy, we have a laugh. I think that’s important. We all have little moments with each other on stage, you’ll often see us giving each other a smile because we’ve clocked someone else in the band do something or we’ve remembered something funny from a previous gig or rehearsal at a certain part in the song, but at the end of the day, it all gets done professionally, so it’s all good.

MB: Speaking of haters, you get a lot of negative things said about you on the internet.

Chris: Thank you, if you’re one of those and you’re reading this. Keep it coming ’cause you know we’re gonna come back twice as hard.

MB: Why do you think that is and what do you do to combat that?

Chris: People say we’re not a metal band, people say we’re not a hardcore band, people have an issue with how we dress, we don’t fit in one genre… I dunno, man, it’s just something different and people hate what they don’t really get.
Lasselle: What I’ve noticed with people is if they don’t get something straight away, they just wanna hate it. It’s as if it’s going to take away from what they think the scene should be. People like us that don’t play the same and don’t dress the same but still are considered part of this scene are met with this reaction. We come from a scene created and influenced by bands like Madball and Sick Of It All whose message was always that hardcore is from the heart and it’s what YOU make it. Nobody else can tell you what hardcore is.
Chris: Exactly. Matt, you come to hardcore shows and you might be the only dude here with long hair and beard – nobody should care… It makes me laugh when people say I’m not into metal and that I haven’t been into it from day one. I’ve seen half of those people’s favourite bands before they even got into metal, so I know what it’s about, but if I went to metal show dressed the way I feel comfortable, people would be looking at me like ‘what’s going off here, why’s he dressed like that?’ But I love it, it’s something to talk about – so keep talking.

MB: TRC aren’t just generic hardcore, it must be influenced by other things. So, what kind of music do you guys listen to in your spare time?

Lasselle: All different things, man. I know everybody says that but it really is with us. House, rap, R&B, hip hop…
Chris: Lasselle likes world music too.
Lasselle: Yeah, that’s not even a lie. Chris has been known to put some porkies out there, but that one is true.
Chris: Yeah, and Oli (bass) is into his musicals so you’ll find a lot of musical soundtracks on his iPod.
Lasselle: He loves ‘Cats’.
Chris: Cats!! Haha… I think that’s why we’ve got a
different sound ’cause we’re all into different music. Especially with this new record, you’re gonna listen to it and not know what kinda tune’s coming next.
Lasselle: Yeah, it might upset people with us not going in the direction that they want, but we’re literally just writing the music that WE want to write. We don’t feel compelled to write the hardest album ever or appease anyone. If you like it, great, you’re on board, but if you don’t, there’s not much else to say.

MB: Lasselle, what drummers influence your style?

Chris: Chris Robson.
Lasselle: Chris ‘Kick ‘n’ Snare’ Robson at the top of list, haha.
Chris: I was the drummer when TRC first started, back in the day. But those days…
Lasselle: There are quite a few. I love Joey Jordison from Slipknot and Lars Ulrich from Metallica, but I also love a lot of jazz and funk drummers. Anyone that has a good groove. I always pick out Joey because even though he’s a metal drummer, it’s not all technical. He knows when to put in a good groove. Lars too. Even though everyone says he’s crap now, when you sit and listen to his stuff, he just does exactly what is needed for the track.

MB: And vocalists or frontmen that inspire you, Chris?

Chris: Vocalists, pretty much nobody. Don’t get me wrong, there are some fantastic singers out there and I rate some screamers but I just don’t try to sound like any of them. Front men, in terms of hardcore, I’d have to say Pierre from Knuckledust. He just takes the crowd instantly. When I first got into hardcore, I saw them and was wowed by how this small guy could come on the stage and just command the entire venue. Metal; Corey from Slipknot. He was my idol growing up as a kid. I practiced the moves in my bedroom and everything! But overall, I’d say my favourite front man ever would have to be Liam Gallagher, just because of his presence. I read an interview with his brother Noel where he thought it was strange that Liam got voted best front man ever somewhere but all he does is just stand there…but that’s all he NEEDS to do. I mean, whether they’re fans of Oasis or not, how many people know exactly how he stands? He just comes onstage and he’s got the entire crowd eating out of the palm of his hand by standing still. Too many front men nowadays are going so mad on stage that they almost forget to do their vocals. I don’t care if you can jump off the monitors or climb the lighting rig; you’re just trying to take the focus away from something that’s not there by filling it with madness.

MB: You’ve spent some time in the studio recording the follow up to 2011’s Bright Lights. How far along in the process are you and how’s it going?

Lasselle: All the instruments are done and we’re halfway through tracking vocals.
Chris: We’re having a little break over Christmas and wrapping it up in January. It’s coming together nicely. From doing demos with Charlie to now hearing these songs come to life through the studio monitors really is something cool.

MB: Any idea of a release date or a title?

Chris: Nah, not yet. When it comes, it comes.

MB: Before you released ‘#TeamUK’ and ‘Heartless’ on The Story So Far EP and iTunes, you referenced them on Twitter using #teamuk and #heartless. You recently stopped but a few months ago, there were a few tweets from various members of TRC with the tag #webringwar – is that anything to do with the new album?

Chris: Ahh, man, you’ve gotta wait and see… Nah, we’ll tell you – ‘We Bring War’ is one of the tracks on the new record. It’s a banger. It’s hard.

MB: Do you have any last words for your fans?

Chris: Thank you and you know it’s not just the old cliché when we say it, but if it wasn’t for you lot – backing us up on Facebook and YouTube and stuff, as well as coming to see us – we wouldn’t be doing what we’re doing. Remember, TRC’s new album drops in 2013.

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