INTERVIEW: Big Bird’s Bear Trap

Yesterday a friend of mine directed me to a YouTube video, and my mind was absolutely blown.

Although uploaded over a year and a half ago, and consisting of a home recording from their lounge room, Big Bird’s Bear Trap’s video shows them displaying serious vigour and energy as they perform one of their earliest songs. Their fan-base may not have expanded far beyond the local region, but if the video is anything to go by, then BBBT have one of the wildest live shows going around right now.

Of course, the harsh instrumentation and occasional screaming may put some listeners off, but the beautiful undertones of honesty and integrity in the lyrics will hit home for many, and it’s the contrast between the quieter moments the band has and these brutal surges that really differentiate them from other artists.

I caught up with Mitch Reinke from the band to talk about the band’s future and how they feel about their older material.

On the Tune: You guys have been fairly quiet recently, what’s happening? Can we expect some new material soon?

Mitch: Yeah, you’re right we have been quiet for a while. We sort of took a year of to pursue other goals we had and we were going to just see what happens I guess. We have a few projects going and a few new bands coming up but you never know, BBBT might be back sooner than you know.

OtT: Your live shows look insane – any chance of a tour sometime soon?

M: Look, we are in the process of working out logistics for a tour but with the tightening rules around firework accessibility, gun control regulations and the fact that OH&S say were not allowed to get 17 independently powered Van der Graaf generators to make the crowds stand on end, due to a high risk of mass electrocution to what ever city we would be touring in first, it might be a little while before its up and running. But we will keep the fans informed.

OtT: What was your inspiration for “Ode to Beethoven”? Apart from Beethoven, of course.

M: “Ode to Beethoven” was a fantastic breakthrough song for us as we were really experimenting through many different genres of music, which ones sort of just melded naturally together, and low and behold it turns out we stumbled upon something. Who knew Classical and what we like to call DESTRUCTO METAL would fuse so perfectly together in a sort of harmonic and sanctimonious love fest of notes. I guess the reason that we were inspired to dedicate this song to Beethoven was just that we wanted to have a song that really showed the evolution of music from where it was back then to where it is now, and I think that Beethoven’s music really summed up the feeling in his day, and I believe our music really sums up the world we live in now. But again that is open to the individual’s interpretation.

OtT: I hear Warner Music have picked you up recently, is this true? Are you signed now?

M: That’s a simple misunderstanding there, but the label was in fact WarNed not Warner. WarNed Records is a record company based in Austria and the rough translation is War=WAS and Ned=NOT. Its great working with Was Not (to use their English name) Records, they’re all really great guys and despite not being able to understand them we have had a great time. This would also answer a question of the next album release date which will be, as far as I can gather from the reaction I got from our producer when I asked him the question, “ich verstehe dich nicht, ich verstehe dich nicht, ich weiss nicht was du hast gesagt.” And I can only presume that is good, so it shouldn’t be too long.

FEATURE: Albums Of The Year – 2009

1. Karnivool – Sound Awake:

An experimental outing relative to their debut, Karnivool have crafted nothing short of a masterpiece with this album. Put simply, this album is a grower. It’s one of those seemingly magical works that transcends logic by becoming more intriguing and enjoyable after every single listen. Rhythmically, Karnivool work on a level superior to most other bands I’ve heard. I’m not sure it’s possible to overstate how great this album is. Ian Kenny’s vocals are really something to behold. However if I was to recommend this band to someone, I would tell them to try their debut album “Themata” first. It’s more accessible and easy to get into, though it has many of the elements of “Sound Awake” in a slightly less experimental form. It’s a great stepping stone for approaching this amazing album.

Link to full review.


2. The Antlers – Hospice:

Hospice evokes a great deal of emotion in observant listeners through it’s tales of death, cancer, and relationships. A very moving album, it makes use of simplistic piano chords that resonate through low levels of ambient electronic noise, that contribute to the songs tonally. Lyrically it’s thematically similar throughout, though it’s incredibly well crafted. With lines like:

With the bite of the teeth of that ring on my finger,
I’m bound to your bedside, your eulogy singer.
I’d happily take all those bullets inside you and put them inside of myself,”

you just might wanna sit down and listen to this one carefully. It’s well worth the effort.


3. Taking Back Sunday – New Again:

Though nothing fancy and special, it’s a great catchy album full of typical pop-rock/punk songs. Nothing revolutionary, but it’s strong and fun, and I liked it. It’s as simple as that.

Link to full review.

~

Other honourary mentions, in no particular order of importance or worth:

The Temper Trap – Conditions:

A blend of catchy pop hooks and stylistically distinct vocals made “Conditions” the strong album that helped The Temper Trap achieve a moderate level of mainstream exposure across Australian commercial radio stations. Though this point is often associated as the beginning of a band’s downfall in terms of originality and livelihood – the fall into being controlled by industry giants in terms of creativity and sound – “Conditions” builds the foundations through which The Temper Trap can continue to grow and explore music. Hopefully they will.

Metric – Fantasies:

The electro-pop synths of Metric merge together with agile guitar hooks, all overlayed by Emily Haines’ entrancing vocal lines, to portray the confident sense of maturity inherent on this album. Moving from the dominating songs like “Sick Muse” to songs like “Twilight Galaxy”, which show a more delicate side of the album, helps display the diverse range of moods that are explored over the course of the LP. An engaging album that is an exciting look at what seemed like – to me – a stagnating style of music.

Passion Pit – Manners:

Infectious pop melodies dominate the debut from Passion Pit. The first 4 tracks are very good indeed. After that, it drops a bit, but manages to pick up before the end. “Sleepyhead” is short, but very catchy. Not a bad effort for their first album. I like it for the most part.

Future of the Left – Travels with Myself and Another:

Taking a raw, alternative rock sound, Future of the Left created an album full of simple and strong riffs, interspersed between harsh and powerful vocal lines. Stripping songs down to what seems like the essential qualities of fast, angry rock music, the album has it’s moments, with fills in-between that leave just a little to be satisfied. Despite giving it a score of 6.5/10 (maybe I was a tad harsh), it’s well built, and it’s just plain fun.

Link to full review.

Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix:

Catchy french pop/rock with distinctive vocals. This album really propelled Phoenix into a musical limelight. It’s quite good, but hasn’t caught on with me as much as I’d have liked it to. It’s one of those odd times when I can recognise how good something is, yet still not feel compelled to listen to it for some reason. Nevertheless, it’s a pretty good album.

The xx – xx:

The xx make slow, relaxing, and dare I say minimalistic music, that gives off an aura of spaciousness, while still seeming defined and not coming off as some band’s attempt at improvisation. Though the songs do seem to lag a bit in the middle, and the first half of the album does seem great deal stronger, they’re worth checking out. Plus the first track, “Intro”, is actually a very good introduction, which sets them apart from those bands who have introductions that seem to contribute absolutely nothing to the album.