While many caught wind of punk posse Trash Talk through their fellow West Coast riot starters Odd Future, the Sacramento quartet has been on the scene since 2005. In the past five years, the Trash Talk tribe has been on a world tour of sorts, hitting venue after venue, leaving nothing but dilapidated stages in their wake.
With their fifth album, No Peace, out this week, we caught up with Trash Talk frontman Lee Spielman to chat about the record, being signed to Odd Future’s label, his shitty landlord, and much more.
MA: Was the making of No Peace any different than recording 119?
LS: With 119 it was rad, but we just kind of moved to LA. With this record we got to work on it more. We had more time in the studio to find tune our stuff and figure out exactly what we want. Sometimes you record something, not to say that you rushed it, but you skip over something. You wish you could of changed this or that. I feel like with this new one, No Peace, we got to sit down and fine tune what we wanted in the right places instead of some stuff going under the radar and dealing with it later. It was tight to be able to focus in on it.
MA: This is your second album on Odd Future Records. How has working with those kids been?
LS: It’s sick. We’ve been doing a lot of promo for this record, and instead of it being just me, Garret, and Spencer we can talk to them. There’s other people that can help get things done as far as production or whatever. They’ll point you in the direction if we need to get something done. All those resources are rad.
More creative people in one room is better than just a couple. It’s been really rad to just bounce ideas of each other. Sometimes you just think of something that they’ve never thought of and vice versa. Everyone brings something different to the table.
MA: Odd Future has a punk aesthetic that goes well with the music you guys make. On this album you’ve brought in more hip hop with The Alchemist, Wiki, and Action Bronson. Can you talk a bit about your relationship with hip hop in general, and how you incorporate that into your music?
LS: We all make music, you know what I mean. When you get along with somebody you can vibe with them regardless the style of music they play. Also, we don’t just listen to punk over and over. That would get so boring. The Alchemist is one of Garrett’s favorite producers. If we can have Alc help us with some of the tracks to our stuff that would be fuckin’ awesome because we’re fans of his work. If we can make it work in a non-corny way, then it’s really rad to be able to work with people you respect.
MA: How did the Wiki, King Krule collaboration come about?
LS: The Wiki, King Krule thing is sick because those are just the homies. That was a night in New York at the studio. Those kids are from different continents, but they’re almost the same kid in a sense. Painting graffiti, listening to rap, running around town, drinking 40’s, just like bad kid shit.
That track was super fun to make because we’re from the West Coast, Wiki’s from the east coast, Archie’s from London, but we’re all chilling together like it doesn’t even matter. That’s the beauty of shit like that.
MA: Has anyone tried to come to you with corny collaborations?
LS: I mean, fools have hit us up to do stuff, but we’re always open to listening to ideas. If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out. If we feel it’s right then we’ll go for it. If we don’t think it’s going to come off the right way, then it won’t happen.
I know our guitar player [Garrett Stevenson], him and our friend made a beat for Flatbush Zombies that we did a video for. I know they’ve been working on more stuff as a team. Garrett is super good at making beats. He loves playing guitar, but he also likes making hip hop beats and shit like that. It’s tight they get to do that kind of stuff as well as be in a punk band.
MA: Sounds like you guys keep it moving. Even though you’re signed to Odd Future Records, is it still very much a DIY situation?
LS: Yeah. We ship all of our own merchandise out of our warehouse where we live and practice. We do all the production for our own vinyl. We have a hand in pretty much everything that happens. Garrett [Stevenson], our guitar player, produced the last record all himself. All decisions that happen for the band are made by us. Nothing doesn’t go through our doors before it goes out to people.
MA: You live in your work space?
LS: Yeah. I live with a rapper from here and this dude who works for Odd Future. We have a loft in downtown and we just chill, it’s kind of cool.
I used to live in a crazy warehouse in South Central that was covered in graffiti and had mini ramps. We had shows there; it was kind of a chaotic do whatever you want type spot. Then we got kicked out of that spot, and I wanted to try to find another spot like that but do it a little bit better. I was looking at apartment after apartment, and everything was too nice, you know? It was like downtown nice apartments. I needed to find a raw warehouse building that you could do stuff in. Like, if I need to be creative I can work in here. We can basically do everything out of here, so it’s pretty rad.
MA: What did you get kicked out of your old apartment for?
LS: I don’t know. The fuckin’ landlord was crazy. He knew everybody was living there, but he tried to say it wasn’t zoned for living. I mean, to be fair with him, if you walked down the alley, because we lived in an alley off of Broadway, there was just a bunch of roll downs and that was the intro to your house. Everyone would have their roll downs down during the day because it’s hot as fuck. If you walked past, it would be nice apartment, and then you looked and it was a bunch of couches and every single inch of the wall is covered [in graffiti]. So, I guess we kind of looked like we shouldn’t be there, but we just never got along really.
It’s crazy though. I went to court over some other stuff, and I saw him being sued for being an unlawful landlord or whatever the fuck. Which is hilarious because fuck that dude.
MA: Landlords are shady as hell.
LS: And the thing is, I feel like people get buildings to have people move in and make it really nice and rad. Then it’s just like— you’re out of here. People build ill spots and then just get kicked out because they can sell it for more.
MA: On another note, people are always talking about Trash Talk’s live show. Why do you think your shows get so crazy?
LS: I don’t know. I feel like if you hit the stage snapping the kids are going to snap back. If you hit the stage boring it’s going to be boring as fuck.
Kids go to a show for a release. You can do whatever you want there. It’s almost like a release of all the bullshit you’ve been dealing with, whatever it may be. Going to school, working a job— for thirty minutes you can just let lose and act a fool. I bet that’s how a lot of people stay sane: just being able to wild out and do whatever they want.
MA: It’s almost like a therapy session then.
LS: Yeah, I guess so.
Buy No Peace now!