Trophy Scars

By paul

PAUL: Please introduce yourselves!
JERRY: I’m Jerrrrrrrrry Jones. I sing and write lyrics.
JOHN: I’m john, I play guitar.
BRIAN: I’m Brian Ferrara and I play the drums.
AJ: My name is AJ Scars, I was adopted into the Scars family 2 years ago and forced to play guitar or be injected with a scorching case of herpes… I chose the guitar.
ANDY: I’m Andy, the bassist. I joined the band in early April after being good friends with the guys since the beginning. I was a fan before I was in the band and still am.

PAUL: For the uninitiated, please give us a brief history of Trophy Scars, who you are influenced by and what you sound like.
JERRY: Hmmm. brief histories are bo-ring! We started this band in the summer of 2002. The only original members are John, Brian, and me. We all have crazy different influences. I am obsessed with hip-hop – which in turn is becoming more of a prevalent influence on everything we do. More specifically I’ve been engaged to Aesop Rock for the last two years. As far as my rock n’ roll influences go – I’m big on Isaac Brock and Modest Mouse (circa 2001 and everything before), I might be the biggest Converge fan in the world (my knowledge of Converge is God-like), and of coarse those nutty Brits from Liverpool – The Beatles! However, we don’t sound much like any of the aforementioned, which I guess is the point. People compare us to a lot of different bands but they also explain we do our own thing – which, again, is the point. I read a review on (US) and a kid stated “for fans of Circle Takes the Square, Bright Eyes, The Blood Brothers, Modest Mouse, and City of Caterpillar.” I think the kid (to a certain degree) is correct in making such a bold evaluation.
JOHN: I’d like to say we sound like us, we have so many influences, from all different types of music, it’s to hard to say which one affects us most in our writing.
BRIAN: playing shows was really amazing so we decided to stick with it. Some of my influences are Elliott Smith, The Beatles, At the Drive-in, Glassjaw, Code Seven, etc.

PAUL: Is there a story behind the band name?
JERRY: Well. (here we go). No one in the band came up with the band name. in fact none of us really like it (kinda too late now, huh?). John and I played in another band together called The Sleep Equation. It had six members – two were singers (uh-oh). Eventually it came time to call it a day and three of us (including myself) wanted to make a brutal grind effort and the other three (including John) wanted to go more melodic and epic. The other singer, Timmy, decided to call their “new” band Trophy Scars; mine was going to be called March is Dead (haha, niceeee). Well, that summer March is Dead never became anything and Trophy Scars was getting serious musically. Timmy never showed up for practice and I was eventually coaxed into jamming with my old band mates. We never saw ourselves taking anything too seriously so we kept the name. Whoops.
BRIAN: I had no clue where it came from!
AJ: The whole story was written down at one point, but we used all the pages to roll blunts so we kinda forgot how it goes exactly.

PAUL: I’ve read a few interviews where bands such as The Blood Brothers and Glassjaw have been referenced – would you say either are influences on your music?
JERRY: Wow. I know exactly what you mean. Hmmm. Glassjaw was one of the first bands that John and I ever liked together (sometimes we don’t agree whole-heartedly on what constitutes a good band, but now-a-days we usually do). So, yeah, Glassjaw had a hand in what John wanted to do musically. He freaking loved those guys back in the day. Since Glassjaw hasn’t released an album in years and years we kinda got over it. Besides – Glassjaw was Glassjaw. we wanted to be something different. As far as the Blood Brothers being an influence – I just don’t get it. No one in the band thinks in any remote sense that we sound like the Blood Brothers. And not that we don’t like them – cause we do; but we were not at all influenced by them. Critics are often confused by the “Ba ba ba’s” and their ignorance to good journalism.
JOHN: both glassjaw and the blood brothers are favorites of mine, i feel that let us look at music from a different perspective, which is very influential in terms of wanting to do our OWN thing.
BRIAN: To be compared to them both is a compliment honestly, but I really cannot say I see the Blood Brothers style in our music at all.
AJ: Both bands are deffinatly favorites of all members of the bands but our backrounds are very different as well. I was deeply immersed in the Street Punk/Ska scene and found my way into metal and indie rock through Jerry’s influence. I wouldn’t way that any one band infuences our writing style, we kinda just fuck around till we here something we like and work around that.
ANDY: I would say that personally i am influenced by both Glassjaw and The Blood Brothers. Both their music and live shows have a huge effect on my performance and the way i write along with many other bands. As for writing, it usually depends on what i am listening to at the time or just the classic bands that i have grown up on.

PAUL: Which bands sway the way that you write?
JERRY: I’m not sure really.
JOHN: At the drive in is personally my favorite band, but we really just try to do something new that hasn’t been done, we just write music we enjoy.
BRIAN: Glassjaw i’d say has influenced me more than most bands have.

PAUL: The first EP was self-released and has already generated a good response. Has this surpassed your expectations?
JERRY: Of course. I had know idea what to expect after we recorded those songs. I thought we created something good enough to generate some type of buzz but I never dreamed of moving 2000 copies without label support or distribution.
JOHN: i never really knew what to expect from it. the fact that it did so well on it’s own is very overwhelming, and i’m sure it makes us all very happy.
BRIAN: I really think that EP is good for what it presents. Its an EP and I like EP’s more than full lengths because a lot of the time every song is solid. It hasn’t really surpassed my expectations really however, I think it has a lot to offer.
AJ: I would say the only regret would be that we didn’t have the chance to tour more on the record as we were at the time learning more and more about how the industry works and how fucking hard it is to do it on your own in the beginning.

PAUL: How do you sit and write the songs? I ask because many of your tunes appear to be complex and laden with a number of instruments and different layers…
JERRY: John and Brian pretty much live in a music studio in Georgia so they sit down and write all the time. AJ and I are always bouncing ideas off of each other while Andy thinks of new ways he can get high.
JOHN: we smoke a lot of pot…jam out, see what happens, record demo’s and take it from there, and no joke, that’s really about all there is to say about how we write, musically speaking that is. we love to layer stuff, we like epic sounding things, but mainly we just play what we’re feeling. We’re not
bound by any genre, so we just do what we feel like.
BRIAN: We basically just write and record different versions of one song over and over and over again until we like whats being produced.
AJ: Songs we demo usually end up being completely different in a few months and even in the studio we continue to lay down new ideas.
ANDY: I’d say that usually the songs go through 2 or 3 transformations before they are done.

PAUL: How did you hook up with The Death Scene?
JERRY: Angel Juarbe, owner of The Death Scene Recording Company, does sales over at Equal Vision Records. He was originally trying to shop us to EVR but our blood wasn’t pure enough so he swallowed us whole and slapped us on his very own label. Which kicks ass.
BRIAN: I believe Angel emailed us a long time ago and then we didn’t even talk or anything for a while. After not speaking for a couple months i’m pretty sure he heard Goodnight Alchemy and dug what he heard.
AJ: Actually, this is what really happened. After Andy joined, he was giving head in Brooklyn for quarters and one customer loved him so much he offered him a record contract. Thank god for Andy’s oral talents.
ANDY: I’m just so good looking, old bassist gone, I join. We get signed. It’s all about the looks these days.

PAUL: Why did you decide to split ‘Goodnight Alchemy’ into chapters?
JERRY: Because I wanted to confuse people. Or because I thought that tracks 1-3 were dealing with something differently than tracks 4-7. The songs were recorded in two different sessions. 1-3 was done in May 2004 and 4-6 were completed in January 2005. There is a center focus lyrically on Goodnight Alchemy but it is evaluated in two different contexts.
BRIAN: Originally it wasn’t even going to be released, actually.

PAUL: Who came up with the idea of the sound of a woman…erm..enjoying herself during ”Traps and Kicks and Such” Is using samples, or more specifically different styles of vocal, such as the spoken word parts during the same song, something you intend to do more of in the future?
JERRY: Ha! I came up with it. The song is laden with sexual themes and overtones – I wanted to lay it on as thick as possible (this is lyrically my favorite). You can always expect us to do what you don’t expect us to do. We intend to keep surprising fans and young children all around the world.
JOHN: jerry is a pervert.
AJ: That’s a lie. Actually AJ was banging some band slut in the studio between tracking songs and Chris Badami (the producer) has the engineer turn on the mic to give everyone a good laugh and it fit so well with the music that we decided to keep it.

PAUL: Lyrically there’s a heavy hint of sarcasm – are you sarcastic people?
JERRY: Does a bear shit in the woods? (haha – I joke, I joke). Yeah. We are all pretty sarcastic towards each other and close friends. We get a big kick out of Master Shake from Aqua Teen Hunger Force. We’re not assholes though. We like to joke around. If you ask any band we’ve been on tour with they’ll probably tell you we’re really nice guys – but with a penchant for drugs and fucking around.
JOHN: i think we’re just a bunch of really laid back easy going people who like to party.
BRIAN: We’re sassy motherfuckers.

PAUL: The lyrics are always very detailed and graphic, is this something you spend a lot of time working on?
AJ: No, because I play guitar.
JERRY: I can spend upwards of four months to finish writing lyrics for a song. It’s one of the only things I really take seriously (besides baking cakes and playing with Colorforms). I read a lot – maybe too much; I don’t know. It’s something I can take a certain amount of pride in. I read a recent review that said my lyrics read like Myspace headlines. I proceeded to find the critic’s phone number and ask if he has anymore of the drugs he’s been smoking because they must be amazing. He was too fucked up and busy updating his Myspace page to give me a clear answer.

PAUL: When can we expect a full length album?
JERRY: What!? A full length!? Are you serious? We only do EPs brotha. Nah. Not really though. We can expect one in April or May 2006, my good sire.
ANDY: What the hell do I know?

PAUL: For someone new to the band, which of your songs would you recommend they check out and why?
JERRY: I would recommend they check out “Dreams of New Orleans” and “Eyes Baptized in Mercury” from our first full length, Darts to the Sea; “The Hair-Trigger Flamenco” and “Lindsay and the Endless Wall of Alarm Clocks” from our second release, Hospital Music for the Aesthetics of Language; and “Traps and Tricks and Such” and “Cats as a Measurement of Time” from our recent release, Goodnight Alchemy. All of these songs are exemplary of what Trophy Scars was trying to do with each specific release. They pretty much captured pinnacle moments in our writing processes. Wait till you hear the full length. It’s like soft chewable chocolate candies for the ear.
JOHN: i would hate to think we just write the same song over and over again.
BRIAN: “Jerry’s the Name, Sociologys My Game” never slows down and always has that like pissed feel to it. Personally I think it’s one of our best.
AJ: “Jerry’s the name, sociology’s my game”, “Hair trigger flamenco”, “Sleep Little Nemo“, “Cat’s as a measurement in time”, “Don’t fuss over spiders thrown”. I would suggest these because they are the ones I like to play the most live so the more you like them, the more often I get to rock out to them.
ANDY: I would definitely say check out “Sleep Little Nemo” off hospital music, and Jerrys the name, or lesson 3 on goodnight alchemy.

PAUL: What are your plans for the rest of 2005, heading into 2006?
JERRY: We are all going to get married and have children so we can write about how much our lives really suck. And we are going to re-release Darts to the Sea (our first and illegitimate musical endeavor) remastered with full blown artwork and nutty packaging. It will also include a slew of demos and unreleased songs recorded before and after Hospital Music for the Aesthetics of Language. This is going to be released by our amazing merch supplier, Mike from LOUDmerch.
JOHN: Me and Brian will be writing for the full length ha.
BRIAN: We’re recording it near the end of 2005 and a little into 2006. We’re going to be playing select dates up until the new record is released. Once it is released we’re going to be touring full time and you’ll be seeing much more of us then.
AJ: I’ll just be taking it easy!

PAUL: Thanks guys, any final remarks?
JERRY: I recommend: Aesop Rock: Fast Cars, Danger, Fire, and Knives; Weerd Science: Friends and Nervous Breakdowns; Felt Vol. 2: A Tribute to Lisa Bonet; Arcade Fire: Funeral; Blackalicious: The Craft; Spirited Away the motion picture; the Thundercats box set; marijuana; James Dean; Vanessa Marcil (I plan on going on date with her some day); birth control; One Hundred Years of Solitude; school; Pacifico Beer; and The Maxx trade paper backs (the comics may be hard to obtain). Thank you.
JOHN: Our manager dan has sex with little boys, keep your kids away from him!!!
BRIAN: Thank you for doing this interview, you’re site is solid and is one of the few that has its shit together. Everybody buy the Lorene Drive CD “Romantic Wealth” and love that ish.

Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]