No Trigger

By Spud

Spud: Let’s get it out of the way first, as I’m guessing it gets on your nerves: are you bored by the Strike Anywhere comparisons? Or would you be quick to mention bands like Marathon in the same sentence? No band likes being told they sound “exactly like” another, so what influences do you have what people wouldn’t expect or aside to those mentioned?

Tom: I think we got more comparisons to Strike Anywhere with our first EP more than Canyoneer, but yeah some people still bring it up. I mean besides the combination of melodic and more aggressive vocals, I wouldn’t say we sound like them or like anyone exactly at all for that matter. I think bands like us and Marathon and other more recent melodic hardcore bands have simply drawn off the same influences as the bands we get compared to, not those
bands themselves. We all grew up listening to Descendants, Lifetime, H20, Nofx, Avail, Propagandhi, Minor Threat, and we still listen to those bands as well as TONS of other types of music and it all gets thrown into our natural musical melting pot when writing new No Trigger songs. Everything is an influence.

Spud: Extinction In Stereo got some pretty positive reviews and Canyoneer looks to have also been strongly welcomed too. Aside from the obvious changes in production values and ‘polishing’, what would you say were the things you looked to develop as a band as you made the transition from EP to album?

Tom: The main focus with the full-length was cohesion. We wanted to make the album flow and not really have any weak spots. Truthfully, I think we did a good job, but I think it was all due to the large amounts of time we spent writing this record compared to Extinction In Stereo. We left no stone unturned with Canyoneer because we wanted to make it as solid as possible.
I’m very pleased with how it came out, for sure.

Spud: Your lyrics can be quite politicised. ‘Earthtones’ for example, is an interesting rant about the way we treat our planet. Is that an issue close to the heart of No Trigger? Another example, presumably targeting political apathy, being “Everything will stay the same until you change” (Owner Operator). Are there any other areas you’d like your work to highlight?

Tom: Yeah I guess I’m a big proponent for more “big-picture” environmental issues, and the biggest one out there to me is human over-population (where the exponential growth of humanity is beginning to far exceed the carrying capacity of the planet). This issue alone is where almost all other environmental issues stem from, and that’s what Earthtones was written about. And you mention Owner Operator being about political apathy, but to tell you the truth I wrote that song about being penned up in a job I despise and not being able to directly control my happiness in certain scenarios because I am forced to do work I hate in order to make money to survive. It’s no fun at all, but guess it also enables me to do what I like to do in the long run.

Spud: You’ve just done some successful dates on the Warped Tour. Did you feel out of place against so many ‘fashionable’ bands? Or were you more concerned with bringing your own brand of variety to the Tour?

Tom: The Warped Tour was actually awesome. I mean there were a fair share of trendy bands on the tour but compared to the more recent years, this year’s lineup was pretty decent. Nofx, Against Me, Rise Against, the Souls, Less Than Jake… those bands were great everyday and we played each show on the same stage with our good friends Crime In Stereo so that was pretty rad as well. I don’t think we felt out of place at all. We got a good response every day we played.

Spud: Is having fun with your friends playing music on a large indie label the driving for for you? Obviously people want success, but do you think that the whole ‘fun‘ part of being in a band is often lost on kids somewhere along the way?

Tom: At this stage, and probably any stage in the near future, this band HAS to be all about fun, because if it weren’t, we’d be miserable. We are not living off the band in any sense of the word. We do not spend much of our own money anymore, but as far as making money to pay bills and whatnot, we are not even close to that point. We have fun because that is what it all about. That and attaining goals. This whole band was formed on goals we set way back when, and every time we make a goal happen, we make another. It’s the best way to do it.

Spud: The name ‘Canyoneer’ – how did that come about? And is there anything you’d like to point out behind the fairly distinctive artwork?

Tom: The name Canyoneer just fit. Somehow it was the only title we thought of that worked on many levels, so we kept it. And the artwork was just meant to stand apart from most punk/hardcore artwork, as well as depict some of the themes present in the CD. I think it came out really great, our art dude did a good job.

Spud: What did you grow up listening to and how do you think that affected how No Trigger sounds today?

Tom: Like I say, I personally grew up listening to a lot of faster, more melodic stuff. Early on I listened to Descendents, Suicide Machines, and Millencolin and stuff like that, and eventually I got more into hardcore-oriented music as time went on. Now I listen to every goddamn thing there is, from Dragonforce to Elvis Costello to Tegan and Sara to Talking Heads to the Suicide File. Music is great, and all of it has affected the way our music sounds.

Spud: Do you think that more popularized styles of hardcore (cf. Set Your Goals‘ recent surge in popularity) could become the next punk ‘fashion trend’? Do you ever worry about being caught up in trends like that when you’re just trying to push what you always have wanted to?

Tom: No Trigger is a trend man, hop on board. We are trying to bring cut-off Dickies shorts with paint all over them to the forefront of scene fashion. It’s all I wear anymore, so if you see someone else wearing that shit, you’ll know it’s spreading.

Spud: Towards the end of ‘My Woods’ there’s a huge chorus of “I’ll pack my bags and run away”. Was that song built around that build-up of energy or just designed with anthemic crowd singalongs in mind?

Tom: I don’t really remember why we did it like that, but it was probably
because we tried a bunch of stuff and that’s what sounded the best. That’s how we wrote most of the record, and it wasn’t easy.

Spud: You have quite a few of them, so do you think that moments like that which really involve a sort of sing-a-long aspect to your music are fundamentally important to what you do, or just to a live setting?

Tom: We wrote them more or less because a) they sound cool, and b) playing live is a lot more fun with kids singing along.

Spud: Do you work in any covers into your live show? And if you had to cover something ‘unexpected’ (a la Rise Against‘s version of Any Way You Want It) what would it be?

Tom: Hah well for our tour with The Aquabats and Streetlight Manifesto we covered Caution by Op Ivy. I think we covered an In My Eyes song once, and a Sponge song once. But if I were to pick an unexpected cover it would probably be a Smashing Pumpkins song. Or an Andrew W.K. song. We’ll see.

Spud: I notice you’ve done quite a lot of shows with Crime In Stereo, and it doesn’t take a genius to see that you appeal to a similar sort of audience.
Are they your favourite band to play with or do you have several and why?

Tom: They are definitely one of my favorites. My all time favorite was Marathon, but they recently broke up. Other favorites include Lock And Key and New Mexican Disaster Squad.

Spud: Obviously the likes of A Wilhelm Scream and Crime In Stereo are closely associated with bands like yourselves. Do you think Nitro is trying to ensure it’s recognised as the premier stable for bands of your ilk and how’s your relationship with Dexter & co.?

Tom: Nitro loves its punk, which is great. I love them. I love their taste in music. We met Dexter last time we were in California and he gave us some of his homebrewed beer and hot sauce. He has his own fucking beer and hot sauce recipes. C’mon! You can’t get much more manlier than that. He’s a really great dude, too.

Spud: What’s next for No Trigger? Obviously you’re going to want to tour a lot, probably for as much of 2006 as possible, but beyond that will you start thinking about a new release? Or are you thinking about doing any splits in the mean time to tide you over?

Tom: Touring is definitely on the horizon. Other than that we’ll be starting to write a follow up album and we’ll eventually record it. I don’t think we’ll do a split only because splits and EPs after a bands first full length never seem to do much for the band. The listener always wants more, so why not just give them more? So we’ll most likely write another full CD and release that next.

Spud: Any chance of there being a UK/Europe Nitro tour for No Trigger, Crime In Stereo and Much the Same, or something similar?

Tom: Holy lord I’d love to do that. I have a feeling we will get over to Europe before next summer, I don’t know who we’d be with, but that would be a sick lineup. We should probably aim for a tour like that to happen.

Quickfire questions.

Spud: What was the funniest/most memorable moment of Warped?
Tom: The most memorable was the kid who flew from Australia just to see us at Warped in Milwaukee. What a nut!

Spud: Favourite ever show played and favourite watched?
Tom: Favorite show played would be Salt Lake City with the Aquabats. There were so many fucking kids there, and we nailed it that night. Favorite show watched was probably Propagandhi in Quebec in 2001.

Spud: Most popular CD in the van?
Tom: Polar Bear Club– The Redder, The Better

Spud: Favourite song to play live, and probable crowd favourite?
Tom: I like More To Offer and Tundra Kids the best.

Spud: High fives or man hugs?
Tom: Depends.

Spud: Ultimate ambition for No Trigger?
Tom: Get out of debt.

Spud: Any messages for Punktastic/UK readers or anything else you want to add?
Tom: Thanks a bunch for the interview, it was really great. Check out our new CD Canyoneer if you haven’t already, keep hydrated, and see you soon hopefully! Thank you Punktastic.

Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]