Music Spotlight: Trapdoor Social
LA-based indie-rock band Trapdoor Social is known to combine music + activism. the band has a record of fundraising to promote sustainability Starting in 2015 when they began producing outdoor, solar-powered concerts and events, including the annual Sunstock Solar Festival in Los Angeles. Their other past projects have benefitted Homeboy Industries, Mesa Ridge High School, and Kids Cancer Connection. continuing with this theme, Trapdoor Social returns with their latest track Hold Me Down about love amidst all the world issues. We chatted with vocalist Skylar Funk about the track, how they got started in activism + their upcoming album.
Asymmetric Magazine: Congrats on the release Hold Me Down. Can you tell us about it?
Skylar Funk: Thanks! This is a song that was born in fire and blood and frustration. And is now really fun! It was a collaborative writing effort that, at moments, was not easy or pleasant for me—but worth it. We have fun with this one! Hold Me Down is about how we know there are big, serious problems in the world we need to deal with, but it's all forgotten when matters of the heart come into play. Verse two is, ‘Oh no…the world is going under… our love is the least of our problems…but you say one word and I jump!’.
AM: What else can we expect to hear on your upcoming album?
SF: We are reaching in a bunch of new directions with this album. We doubled down on the sweet hurting vibes, the fun groovy vibes, the epic rock vibes—it’s hard to explain. I hope y’all get a chance to listen.
AM: What’s something you want people feel when they listen to your music?
SF: Honestly, I don’t care so much what people feel, as long as they feel a lot of it. When a song really shakes me, pumps me up, or vibes me out, I am transported. My world is changed. I embrace it, and I cry, dance, or get in the zone. And I am grateful to that music. And in that moment, I feel a longing to do that to other people with our music.
When a song really shakes me, pumps me up, or vibes me out, I am transported. My world is changed. I embrace it, and I cry, dance, or get in the zone. And I am grateful to that music. And in that moment, i feel a longing to do that to other people with our music.
AM: How would you describe your sound?
SF: ‘Rich’ is a word that comes to mind for a lot of the new stuff. Lots of guitars—our boy Louie is good, and we seem to like to record him. ‘Dark, angsty, and urgent’ are words I’d use to describe Merritt’s creative influence, and ‘sweet’ is something I sometimes bring to the table. Sometimes folky, psychedelic, or poppy. We’ve had a lot of fun playing with the boundaries and trying to get out of our comfort zones.
AM: What about your activism efforts and other themes you pursue through your music?
SF: We have a pretty big interest in existential threats, like environmental destruction, artificial intelligence, nuclear war, etc. Merritt and I started the band after studying sustainability in college, and it’s something we always agreed we should use our art to promote a positive message in that area.
AM: What other musicians are you currently listening to?
SF: I’m a huge fan of Macklemore, and I aspire to speak through our lyrics to the issues that matter to us half as well as he did in Same Love or even Thrift Shop re: consumerism. I’m a huge fan of Bon Iver, and I aspire to give folks a listening experience as deep and rich as any of his first three albums. I am also a huge fan of Ben Gibbard, and I aspire to inspire through songwriting the way he has with Death Cab or Postal Service. To name a few.
AM: Where is one place that you feel completely in touch with your creative self and your music?
SF: Around a camp fire, singing harmony with my friends. After that, I’d say it’s sitting at my piano at home.
AM: What role does Los Angeles play in your work?
SF: LA is an amazing thing. I hear negative talk sometimes about Hollywood and its social climbers, but what I’ve found here is a vibrant community of artists who value art above their own financial stability, and those people are fantastic to witness and learn from and collaborate with, and I’m honored to call many of those people my friends.
AM: What can we expect to hear from you next?
SF: More different. The band is changing and evolving quickly these days. We’re shifting strategies and pushing ourselves out of old comfort zones. Let’s get weird!