To mark the release of their new EP ‘Miscreants’ Peter Dennis spoke Northampton’s alternative indie rock band Deaf Trap. The band consists of Matthew Wetherill (guitar), Rob Gray (drums) and, confusingly the band has two Tom Wright’s: Thomas (vocals) and Tom (bass). Here’s what they had to say…
Peter Dennis: How did the band all meet?
Matthew Wetherill: Thomas and I went to school together and when I was about 16 I started working in a posh restaurant and another guy called Tom Wright worked there, so I had two best friends called Tom Wright who didn’t know each other. I went to see The Zutons with ‘bass Tom’ and ‘singer Tom’ went with some other friends and this was the moment when they first met.
Tom Wright: He [pointing to Thomas] came running up to me with his driving licence: ‘Look we both have the same name!’
Matthew Wetherill: So The Tom Wright Band was our name year ago. We then met Rob about 5 years ago at a jam night at The Thomas A Beckett.
Rob Gray: I think I was lucky to get ahead of the Tom Wright drummer because they were looking at a drummer called Tom Wright as well.
Matthew Wetherill: We Facebooked the name Tom Wright and there was another guy in Northampton called Tom Wright and when we contacted him, just for a laugh, not only did he play drums, he was looking for a band!
Thomas Wright: We basically met up as mates and Matthew started playing guitar and we used to cover songs and then we started writing songs about the hotel we worked for and how we absolutely hated it!
Matthew Wetherill: It was almost like Billy Bragg protest songs about a posh conference centre!
Peter Dennis: Your new single, ‘From The Floor’, is quite dark and a departure from your previous work. What moved you in that direction?
Matthew Wetherill: It’s worth putting on record that it’s a song about having struggles with alcohol, drugs, that sort of thing. It’s a self reflective song.
Rob Gray: It was the first time we really started singing together. That’s what really pushed it as a song. The original lyric was ‘Need Somebody to Love’ but that was too George Michael for us. The new lyric sounded a bit rougher, a bit rock, about not going too far with things.
Thomas Wright: We toyed with the idea of changing the lyric to something that could be played on the radio but we’re not pandering to society.
Rob Gray: The song could be talking about yourself or a friend of yours.
Thomas Wright: When I sing it I think of it as a kind of battle. A first person singing to himself ‘I’m going out tonight, I don’t want to do this.’ That’s the avenue I take mentally.
Peter Dennis: The song is accompanied by a great video which features a lot of local landmarks. How involved were you in shooting it?
Rob Gray: We did it all. I tried to take the lead because I’ve got a little bit of video making experience, but it was all of us.
Thomas Wright: Jack, who’s the lead in the video, always comes to our gigs dressed as a hot dog, so we thought that because he’s been so committed to the band we’d give him a lead role in our first video.
Rob Gray: He was very creative in it. He was full of energy, God bless him, he was up for anything and was always available and we can’t thank him enough really.
Matthew Wetherill: We all really like it. It came out really well considering we had no budget.
Rob Gray: Zero budget. It was just an idea to do something like peep Show. Someone goes out and gets trashed and we just tried to put an extra element to it…a hot dog!
Thomas Wright: The point being not being able to get over your addiction. You fall into it at the start and at the end you are trying to recover and you fall back again.
Matthew Wetherill: The hot dog suit in the video is a metaphor for addiction.
Peter Dennis: Each member of the band has different musical influences. How do you bring them together and make them work cohesively?
Thomas Wright: Sometimes it does reach a point where, say, two of the band have got completely different ideas and at the end of a practice everyone’s a bit disjointed because it keeps going round and nobody can decide and usually everyone goes home and has a sleep on it and come back and say ‘Actually, that’s a good idea after all. We’ll try that.’
Matthew Wright: That’s the thing these days there’s no ‘We’re not doing that.’ If one person thinks something and another differently we’ll do both ways. It’s very rare at the end of that we don’t agree.
Tom Wright: We go through at least ten ideas before we get to a song.
Rob Gray: We do drop a lot because there’s too many things going on so we can’t agree. What’s the point in sticking with it if we can’t agree? We move on and we end up with the stuff we can agree on and when we have that one idea we’re all happy with, that’s what makes it cohesive.
Thomas Wright: I think the fact that everyone’s a bit different can slow down the process of writing a song but it adds to the end product. We’re all usually happy with the way it sounds and nobody at the beginning thinks it’s going to sound like that, it’s always something completely different.
Peter Dennis: What do the band think of the local music scene?
Tom Wright: Northampton’s really strong musically.
Thomas Wright: It’s underrated. There’s loads of great bands around but it’s not just Northampton. It’s Corby, Kettering and all the surrounding towns. I think we’re overlooked towards this end of the country.
Matthew Wetherill: We’ve got so many good bands like The Monarchs, The Barratts and The Keepers who are doing very well.
Thomas Wright: And they’re all nice guys. We get along well with all the bands. There’s no egotistical band who don’t talk to, or want to, have anything else to do with the other bands. They’re all really decent, sound people who’ll have beers with anyone.
Matthew Wetherill: That’s true. I can’t think of any band in the town who I don’t like. Obviously there’s styles you don’t prefer but in terms of any band we’ve ever played with I can’t think of anybody who’s been iffy.
Peter Dennis: While there’s some great smaller venues in the town what we really need is a medium sized venue that has bands on every night.
Thomas Wright: Bring back The Soundhaus. That’s what I feel like. I was devastated when it closed.
Matthew Wetherill: Yeah, The Soundhaus was 380 capacity and you used to get bands who were about to break playing there.
Rob Gray: I don’t think there’s enough on though. What you have now are smaller venues that aren’t really music venues trying to pick up the slack because the bigger venues have closed down.
Matthew Wetherill: The town has got the potential for a venue. The crowds are there and the local scene is great, it really is. There’s so many great bands.
Thomas Wright: I think that’s where a lot of bands get their break, by supporting touring bands but there’s no one to recognize them because no one’s passing through. That’s where you get most of your exposure. When we supported Space at The Picturedrome (with our old band) we had a whole new crowd to play to. It was a great opportunity and it got us loads of new fans but without the touring bands coming through we never would have had that. That’s what it’s pretty much like all the time.
Peter Dennis: How do the band fell they’ve progressed musically between the two EPs?
Matthew Wetherill: The first EP was more demo-ish, we needed something to go: ‘Right we’ve got new music, we’re technically a new band, here’s what we’ve got for you to listen to.’ It wasn’t rushed but it was a case of, you want to give people something to check out, to decide if they want to come and see you, there was an element of that. Whereas with the second EP it’s a lot more precise in the way it was written. We could have done five songs again but no, these three we’re really happy with.
Thomas Wright: There’s a couple of songs we did write but we didn’t include in the end.
Matthew Wetherill: It’s a lot more precise because of that and, because of that, it’s probably better.
Rob Gray: I think now the reaction we’ve got from, in a way, demo EPs, people are waiting for an album and I think that’s next on the cards.
Peter Dennis: Finally, what are the bands future plans?
Rob Gray: We haven’t discussed this yet so we’ll probably disagree but we’ll really concentrate on getting our best sound. Then next year look at getting a full album out.
Thomas Wright: I think it’s important to stay on the radar, release smaller amounts of stuff more often so people don’t forget about you.
Matthew Wetherill: That’s a pretty good theory. Whatever the end goal is, along the way making sure people don’t lose touch with you.
Rob Gray: Go to other places and raise our fan base and this year concentrate on festivals, to enjoy that element of it.