Dead Horse Trauma – Learning
More About “Life”
by Dave Schwartz
Trauma is a smaller band worthy of your attention. They’ve
been crawling the roads of America for about 10 years building a
fan base and releasing new music when they can. Their latest
record, “Life,” came out last February and the band has been on
the road since.
Eric Davidson (Vocals), Seth Peters
(Guitar), Jayson Kempf (Guitar), Brian Carter (Bass) and Garrett
Dewald (Drums) understand the hardships and rewards of being in a
band. But they’re doing it for the right reasons-- their
fans. I caught up with Davidson to learn more about “Life.”
DB: Congratulations on your latest
record, “Life.” I would like to hear all about it.
ED: Sure, we recorded at Crisis Lab
Studios in Picayune, Mississippi with our new producer Rick
Lander. This was our first time working with him. We
were very happy with the knowledge he had and he really got us
into a great direction for the album.
DB: Did you approach this record
with a concept in mind and ideas for songs or did you just let the
ED: We did have a concept actually.
We had a lot of pre-production demos and then we went in there and
we got into the studio and heard some of the ideas Lander had and
we ended up doing a completely different album. We kept 3 or
4 of the songs that we had worked on and wrote then wrote a
completely new album.
DB: That’s an interesting and a bold
approach to go into the studio and just sort of wash the slate
clean and start new.
ED: Oh yeah! But it was great.
The pre-production that we did with him took us out of our comfort
zone. We were getting really good at writing music. We
kept emailing back and forth and everyone putting their parts in.
So what he showed us is that we’ve become sort of a song factory
rather than a band that writes music. With this record we
were able to take a new approach to it and really work on the
concept of the song. So there was like a week of
pre-production before we went in and started working on the album.
This is something that we had never done before. It was
great to put as much time as possible into pre-production.
DB: I’m sure that’s a comment that
would leave must bands envious-- to have more time for
pre-production. That prep is invaluable because, as you
know, once you get into the studio things become quite
expensive. So this isn’t your first record, I believe it’s your
sixth release, have you been self-producing everything?
ED: Yes. We do everything
ourselves. We still haven’t found the perfect match as far
as label so we’re releasing on our own label with distribution
through The Orchard/Sony Music.
DB: I was just about to ask about
that. I noticed that this record is distributed through The
Orchard. That’s a great opportunity for young bands to get
their music heard. Distribution is the key. How did
you come about The Orchard?
ED: We have a friend that does
independent A/R work for Universal and Sony. He kind of let
us onto the connection for that. So that’s how we got setup.
DB: Your first release was in 2008,
"The Unmerciful Infliction" EP. I suspect that seems like
forever ago. How do you feel you’ve grown and evolved as a
band since then?
ED: Oh man, not only through
personnel changes but just growing as a band and gaining the
understanding of what the industry wants. We came along in
all aspects including the business and us as a band writing music
and traveling the country together.
DB: Yeah, there is an amazing
challenge that every band goes through regarding a band traveling
the country, being on the road together and learning to be a
family. It’s a remarkable feat for a band to be able to do
this and I surely tip my hat. So I would like to talk about your
video, “Left Unsaid,” it’s a great video and you’re telling an
ED: We had three video concepts
together. It’s a story that talks a little bit about
addiction and how people deal with that. It’s a song about
the culpability of anyone in that situation. Initially it
talks about how it affects a girl. There’s another video from the
album called “Fugue State,” which is another piece of this puzzle.
It’s the same girl from the first video. That one deals with
family. And there’s one more coming, a video for “The
DB: I’ve seen “Fugue State.” I’m
looking forward to seeing the last video. You’re telling the
story of addiction. Irrespective of what your addiction is,
addiction has significantly adverse effects on the people around
you. So I think this is an import story that you’re
ED: We really didn’t set out to tell
a story but since releasing the album there have been a lot of
people that have come forward to us and say that the song really
helped them. That’s really kind of a touching thing for us,
to be able to help the people out there.
DB: I can imagine that it’s nice to
hear that feedback from you fans. I understand that Dead
Horse Trauma has a deep connection with your fans. While
researching this interview I came across many comments about how
meaningful your fans are to the band.
ED: We would be nothing without our
fans. They have been our driving force since day one.
We have people that, at the drop of a hat, will take off work and
drive 6 hours to come pick us up. They help us get to the
next gig should anything happen. We got into a big car
accident. We wrecked our van and trailer. Our fans
came to our rescue and gave us money to be a new vehicle. We
owe everything to our fans and we never take them for granted.
DB: I was going to ask about the
accident. It happened a little more than a year ago and
seems to have been a defining moment for the band. It
appears that since the accident the band has recommitted to what
you’re doing as a band.
ED: Absolutely. When we were
in that situation, honestly it could’ve gone either way. It
was eye opening. We spend so much time on the road but it
turned into a moment when we could look at each other and realize
why we do this.
As I said in the opening, Dead Horse
Trauma are doing music right and doing it for all the right
reasons. I want to thank Eric Davidson and the rest of the
band for sharing a moment with DaBelly. Pick up “Life” and
go see this band live!