Trash Boat’s new album ‘Crown Shyness’ is an immensely personal one for vocalist Tobi Duncan. Across its ten-tracks, he wrestles with his inner self and deals with life’s hardships via metaphors rooted in nature. “My worst anxieties, my family, my past, my future, my responsibilities," he lists. “I spent a long time looking inward." The result is some of their most vital music to date.
Hey Tobi, how’s it going? Are you guys good?
All doing great. Got a full year of touring ahead of us!
What was your mindset like going into your new album? How were you feeling after ‘Nothing I Write…’?
We knew we had to step up our game. We did something right on the last album so we had to do even better.
‘Crown Shyness’ leans heavily on nature metaphors, was there a sense of wanting to shed baggage or get back to basics?
Not exactly. I felt an affinity with the idea of being the lone tree in the middle of a dense canopy of crown shyness. So much going on around you but never truly connecting. I structured all of the songs around this foundation.
How has the band taking off affected you, has it helped you all grow up?
It’s kept us busy doing something we love. That’s all that matters.
Do you find yourself wanting to write about different topics now than when you first started out?
Now that I’ve finished ‘Crown Shyness’ I do feel like branching out with my concepts. I’m not sure where I’ll go with the next record. We’ll have to wait and see.
How did having a central concept help with the record’s evolution? Is that a method you’ll continue to utilise in the future?
Constructing my ideas around a central theme made for a lot of good jumping off points. I had a lot of fun writing this record. I’m not sure if I’ll do the same thing again. I’m out of a creative mindset for the time being, definitely focusing on performance for now.
You’ve previously talked about the band’s literary influences, are you an avid reader? How do you discover new literature?
I myself am an avid reader. I like non-fiction sociological and psychological books as well as a handful of poetry. I usually find new books by checking out the reading lists of authors I already like.
Do you have a tendency to look more to highbrow pursuits for inspiration than pop culture?
I don’t think pop culture has ever influenced my writing. It’s all been very introspective. I aim for personal retribution and responsibility with most songs.
How would you describe ‘Crown Shyness’’s vibe? It feels immensely personal.
Very personal. I guess you could call my writing style selfish. Throughout my life, I’ve always seen music as something that relates to me and challenges me. Sometimes you hear a song that hits so hard it feels like it was exactly why you needed to hear at that moment. And that spark could really change my day and translate into good future decisions. So that’s what I did with ‘Crown Shyness’. I challenged myself. My worst anxieties, my family, my past, my future, my responsibilities. I spent a long time looking inward and now the album can reach out. Singing these song every day makes it routine and keeps me disciplined.
Have you played the song about your grandad, ‘Old Soul’ to him?
I haven’t yet!
What else do you guys have coming up? You’re about for Reading & Leeds, right?
Warped tour, main stage Reading and Leeds, The Great Depression tour with As It Is. We also have most of 2019 booked up as well. A lot to announce!
Taken from the August issue of Upset, out now. Trash Boat's album 'Crown Shyness' is out now.
Featuring Death Cab For Cutie, Bury Tomorrow, As It Is and more!