St Albans-based Trash Boat have had quite the rise since forming in early 2014. Recently signing to Hopeless Records, they’re one of a handful of UK acts at the forefront of a new awakening in pop punk. “We’re getting a lot of opportunities because of this resurgence,” says frontman and lyricist Tobi Duncan, “and you know the hype cloud just happened to drop on our little scene. Lots of people are now starting to pay a bit more attention to it and yeah, I couldn’t be happier. It’s giving us a lot of opportunities to do what we want to do.”
If you’ve listened to Trash Boat’s previous EPs you’ll notice that the sound is solid pop punk with hardcore influences, but it’s on their debut where you really hear a switch around in this dynamic. Tobi explains: “I’ve always been the guy who listens to hardcore, the rest of the band have always been into pop punk, punk and stuff like that – which I listen to a lot of as well, don’t get me wrong – but I always push for more of an edge.” It’s a combination that gives them a confident and solid attack.
Of the creative process, he continues: “I’ll have a general idea for something that I’ll want to write about, and I’ll write down some things that aren’t really lyrics – I’ll just keep writing… even if it’s just moving to me, or if it’s just something I want to express but I need to make it rhyme or make it a bit more poetic. That stuff normally comes when I’m driving or in the shower or whatever, and then I’ll be like, ‘How can we make this fit into a song?’ It’s a very slow process, I’m not the quickest writer.”
There’s one particular song on the band’s upcoming debut that means a lot to him: closing track ‘You Know You Know You Know’ features Tobi reading the opening part of a dear family friend’s suicide note. “Unfortunately, recently, one of my mum’s closest friends died,” he explains, “and it was a very emotional time. He was very interested in me from a young age as he was a musician, he was your classic rocker with his long hair and all that. He suffered with depression, and unfortunately ended up taking his own life.”
The song celebrates the man behind the illness. “I wrote the song as kind of a tribute to him and for my mum. I wanted something to leave behind that wasn’t just depression and his suicide, so I wrote that for him and the sample is me reading out the first paragraph of the note he left my mum. It was the last thing that he wrote her. There was a lot of negativity around the event as you’d expect, and I just wanted to give him something else and give my mum something else. I was trying to put it in the mind of not appropriating the experience for my gains, but I wasn’t going to not do it.”
Trash Boat have a determination that could well see them become the kind of band whose lyrics are scrawled across notebooks in classrooms far and wide; the release of album ‘Nothing I Write You Can Change What You’ve Been Through’ sees them expand their horizons. “We would love to hit America,” Tobi enthuses. “We want to hit the whole world. America, South East Asia, Australia, all these places, we want to see it all. There’s a lot of things being booked, nothing confirmed yet but it’s definitely going to happen.” They aren’t here simply for the ride, they’re going to take control and steer their burgeoning scene.
Taken from the June issue of Upset, out now – order your copy here. Trash Boat’s debut album ‘Nothing I Write You Can Change What You’ve Been Through’ is out 17th June.