Chichester’s indie-rock band TRAAMS have got a new album out next week and it’s really rather good. In fact, it might just be their personal best and is titled as such.
It’s also their first album in seven years, during which period they – that’s Stu Hopkin (on vocals and guitar), Leigh Padley (on bass) and Adam Stock (on drums) – took an unofficial hiatus before eventually reforming.
personal best is a montage of sound arrangements, from the ambient opener of ‘Sirens’ to the gutsy, post-punk ‘The Light of Night’ – a video of which has been released, directed by IDLES’ Lee Kiernan.
In the spirit of coming together once more, the trio also welcome a number of guest features on the eight-track record, including Soffie Viemose (‘Sleeper’), Joe Casey (‘The Light At Night’) and Softlizard (‘Breathe’ and ‘Comedown’).
Before you can hear all that, though, we got lead singer Stu Hopkin to spill the beans on all things TRAAMS.
How did you guys form TRAAMS?
In 2011, Adam and I were both at a party and got chatting about music. We got excited about the then new No Age & Pens records.
So we swapped numbers and started rehearsing together. Padley moved back from Huddersfield around this time and joined in on Bass, he and Adam were previously in a very decent band called Dacsha.
We ended up writing a load of songs together pretty quickly and then went and recorded with Rory. I think we’d signed to FatCat [Records] within 6 months, who oddly put out the No Age record we liked.
Describe your sound in three words.
Repetitive, cathartic, noisy.
How did you decide on the name TRAAMS?
The name comes from the acronym for “Time Reference Angle of Arrival Measurement System”. I think we pinched it from a book about aviation.
What’s the greatest thing about Chichester?
The Novium is a tasty museum and Fishbourne Roman Palace is close by. Most people like the Theatre, I’m not really a patron but I did see 10cc there a few years back.
There’s a great independent cinema called New Park and there’s also a handful of decent boozers, particularly The Escapist and The Park Tavern. You could do a decent crawl here.
There are always gems to be found in the three record shops, Analogue October, Helter Skelter and Time Machine. Plus the Oxfam bookshop is mint. The football team are great also.
Your new album, personal best, is out on 22 July. Is this record your personal best?
Yeah, I think so.
It’s your first record in seven years. In one sentence, what have you been up to since your last album, Modern Dancing?
Ruminating on the next TRAAMS record.
You took an unofficial hiatus in 2015. What was your reasoning for that? And what led to your decision to regroup?
It was actually early 2017 as we carried on touring Modern Dancing for a bit. We just needed some time and space really.
I think we missed each other and the benefits of the creative process. We each had some musical ideas knocking about and felt the time was right to start gluing them together, and it worked!
How does it feel now you have regrouped?
It feels great. It’s been nice to create something new that we’re proud of and playing again has been lovely, especially with the expanded band members.
How would you describe the evolution of your sound between personal best and Modern Dancing?
Padley said it sounds like we’ve missed an album. I think that’s the best description.
You have a fair few features on personal best, too – Protomartyr’s Joe Casey, Menace Beach’s Liza Violet, and Lowly’s Soffie Viemose. Why the desire to have such features and what did they add to your making of the album?
We really love all their work. Sonically it’s a pretty different record, and we didn’t want to be limited to just the one vocal performance (me). We were really happy they all agreed to be on it. Liza has also joined us for live shows now.
A video for ‘The Light at Night’, directed by Charlotte Gosch & IDLES’ Lee Kiernan, has been released. It depicts a scene in a church, flicking between black and white and colour. Is there a meaning behind it that you know?
Charlotte and Lee gave me an incredibly detailed synopsis of the video and yes all the imagery is intentional. When I initially asked Joe to guest on the track we referenced religious televangelists and I think this also fed into the video in some way.
I particularly enjoyed the record’s closer, ‘Comedown’ (featuring Softlizard). What’s it about?
It’s about finding hope and courage in the face of adversity.
Which emerging British bands that are relatively little-known do you think people should listen to?
If you could have written one track in history, what would it be and why?
Yoko Ono – Mindtrain [I can’t imagine anything more fun to perform]
Frank Churchill – Little April Shower [masterclass in melody and arrangement]
Anything by Enya, anything by Eno.
Tour De France theme tune – [Kraftwerk inspired sugar-techno with midi accordion, quite possibly the catchiest theme tune]
The Bill theme tune [math-rock masterclass]
But having considered the question again, if we were to choose one it would be The Egyptian Lover – I Cry (Night After Night).
And what’s next for you, music-wise, album-wise, touring-wise?
Releasing and touring the record through the back end of 2022 and the more shows and festivals in 2023. We’re also starting to write album IV, which we suspect will be our personal best.
personal best is out on 22 July via FatCat Records.