The War Inside My Head: An Interview With Trauma Bond
It's been a while since we last revisited our The War Inside My Head interview series, where we probe the fathomless depths that are the most exciting, creative mind in extreme music and try to eke out some of their musical obsessions and inspirations. This time around we are fortunate enough to host the brand new U.K. powerviolence/grindcore duo Trauma Bond, who just recently released their debut EP/demo/whatever-you-want-to-call-it The Violence of Spring. Other than my ongoing fascination with trauma (I actually might have a book coming out just on that in about a year) and with the idea of the violence of spring (Mars the god of war, time of flowers and bloodshed and all that good stuff) the main reason I wanted to highlight this release is the cover. I just wanted a pink cover to finally grace my The War Inside My Head template, and now I have it.
But, more seriously, listening to The Violence of Spring you would have no idea that this was someone's debut. Packing a ferocious punch of power and aggression, the songs on this amazing release almost feel mathcore-y as well, which means you get the absolute best of both worlds – raw aggression, pummeling riffs, and that oh-so-pleasing sense of constant disorientation that I would associate with bands such as The Dillinger Escape Plan or Coalesce (both of which were subjects of recent interviews in our Pillars of the 90s series, if you'd like to check that out). Which is a fancier way of saying that I listened to it, I died, I asked for the interview, and here we are.
Before we get the interview with Tom and Eloise of Trauma Bond this is just to say that you can check out our other interview series (Albums of the Decade, Pillars of the 90s) and, you haven't already, please follow follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Spotify and support whatever it is that we do on Patreon, and check out our kinda-sorta podcast, MATEKHET (YouTube, Spotify and all that). On to the lovely Tom and Eloise.
What was the first album you bought with your own money, and where did you buy it?
Tom: I believe the first album I bought was Nirvana’s Bleach on cassette tape. I used my pocket money to get it from a local record store called “Goldrush Records.” I remember having to borrow my older sister’s walkman in order to actually listen to it. I was just completely obsessed with listening to it every day – I was around 9 years old at the time and it was like a complete awakening of emotions I had yet to experience as a child growing up. My favourite track was ‘Negative Creep’ and I recall just indulging in the aggression of it all. In a really obscure way it made me feel powerful listening to it: like somehow you are channeling all this raw energy and absorbing it into your being. These were the days before I understood music on a musician’s level and so I cherish those days when my brain just absorbed music in a pure way; uninfluenced by analyzing all thing production and technical. For sure it was the album that made me pick up learning to play guitar.
Eloise: At 13 I was a bit of a goth, as is my mum, so I listened to a lot of her music. However the first CD I bought was Songs About Fucking by Big Black, I had to get her to buy it for me from Virgin Megastores. This would be my introduction to Steve Albini, which ultimately introduced me to everything I’m into today, such as noise and Folk. I’m still completely obsessed so Big Black, Rapeman and Shellac remain my all time favorites.
What 2-3 albums did you hear the most growing up?
Tom: Oddly one of the albums that was etched into my mind when growing up was I Should Coco by Supergrass. My dad had it on cassette in his car for about 2 years straight. When we would go on a family driving holiday through Europe, I would be listening to that album all day every day for weeks at a time. I’m really grateful for that because in retrospect it’s a really really great album! It was a fusion of punk, garage rock and a touch of surreal. “Caught by the Fuzz” is still a total jam!
A Decade of Aggression live album by Slayer deserves a mention too because I rented that from my local library (I never returned it, sorry!) and I think I pretty much played it every day when I got home from school. I would sit in my room with my guitar and just try to learn it all and play along with it from start to finish.
In my early teens I remember buying Slipknot’s self-titled album based purely on the cover, the fact it was on Roadrunner records and it was a nifty looking "digipack" version. That was a profound shift of moving away from traditional thrash metal and the aggressive chaos of it all provided a gateway into discovering death metal and grindcore.
Eloise: The first CD I got given was a compilation album by David Bowie called Changes, I listened to that fanatically for years. My mum listened to a lot of Massive Attack and my dad was into heavy dub, so usually had the Trojan dub box set playing on loop. Oh and Fat of the Land by Prodigy was a big one too!
What two albums taught you the most about making music (mixing, production, performance)?
Without a doubt Calculating Infinity by The Dillinger Escape Plan [here I am plugging the interview again] was the most profound first listening experience as an aspiring musician. I was so in awe of the virtuosity of their playing, coupled with a barrage of calculated chaos. Then subsequently seeing them live for the first time back in their relatively early days circa 2002; I was hooked. They oozed confidence, performed with a visceral energy of pure violence, setting fire to things, smashing equipment, hanging from the rafters, convulsing their entire bodies like they were undergoing a brutal exorcism – all while being able to accurately play this really complex and erratic music. To me they were like mad scientists who decided to start playing music together as an experiment and got so carried away with the chaos that they would lose their minds and start acting like primal beings. I admired it endlessly.
In terms of production I would easily jump straight to anything Ross Robinson was producing – Slipknot, Korn, Deftones, Sepultura, Amen, Glassjaw, At the Drive-In, Soulfly, The Blood Brothers. He just had a method of capturing a live energy that translates so organically on record. You can revisit these albums and feel like he captured lightning in a bottle. He was an advocate of live performance recording and including all the flaws that could otherwise have been amended. Happy accidents are magic and he knew that.
Eloise: The Narcotic Story by Oxbow was a big game changer. The rawness and pain resonated deeply with me.
What is the last album that absolutely shocked you?
Tom: Last album that I listened to and felt like I was being assaulted by would be Melinoë by Akhlys. Just a dark visceral dirge that burrows into your soul.
Eloise: I think the last album that shocked me was Strike. Smother. Dehumanize. by Revenge. In the sense that I became completely obsessed and it was soundtrack to my year of lockdown.
What album relaxes you or centers you the most?
Tom: Happy Songs for Happy People by Mogwai, always.
Eloise: It would have to be Nina Simone, hard to pick just one album but if I must then Wild is the Wind has a very special place in my heart. "Either Way I Lose" is the song I want played at my funeral.
What are the 2-3 albums you’ve listened to the most recently?
What album is grossly underrated?
Tom: So tough to answer this one…but I’m going to split it in three: The Possible Dream by The Cancer Kids, The Bro Cycle by Birthday Boyz and Self Titled by Malady. All criminally underrated in my eyes.
Eloise: Not sure if this is underrated but Medical Renditions of Grinding Decomposition by Pharmacist is delicious.
What album would you recommend from your local scene?
Tom: I don’t think we really have a local scene as it were, we have spawned out of obscurity in a way. But I’m always a champion for Kaddish from Dundee in Scotland. Once a "local band" to me but many would consider to be the jewel in the crown of heavy/alternative music from Scotland.
Hmm this ones tricky, Shit and Shine used to be based in London and I think they’re the band I’ve seen live the most as I’ve been huge a fan for such a long time. I don’t think I’m cool enough to know my scene! Haha