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Lo-Fi Revisited: Trailer Trash Tracys

Swirling London duo comprised of Susanne Renlund and James Dose who release their stupendous Candy Girl EP on No Pain In Pop .

How long have you been in Trailer Trash Tracys?
Susanne Aztoria: I We met in another band I think a long ago now, then we started to write music on the side. The band was very different, kind of a safe version of Blondie!

Tell me about your sound, and your recording setup. Did you used to record on tape?
Dayo James: My studio, I built myself from spare bits. I have an old analogue amp, but the recording’s actually done on a PC, an old version of Q-Bass. So it’s kind of 50/50, a bit of digital, a bit of analogue.

Do you find it interesting that people say lo-fi when actually you’re recording on a computer?
Dayo James: Uh…I guess the low fidelity of it all is actually the digital distortion. We didn’t mean to make anything lo-fi, the sound we wanted only seemed to work from overdriving the whole track, there’s elements of hissing, distortion, crackling, which comes from the analogue tools that we use, but we used digital stuff on the PC to overdrive it. So the lo-fi  comes from overdriving it. If we had a proper studio, we could’ve got a big sound from using the proper producer, the proper equipment but it just seemed to do the trick.

Do you think that technology today has made it easier for people to go into their bedroom and make music?

Susanne Aztoria: That’s why you’ve seen this kind of…all these bands, you know?
Dayo James: Yeah, it’s cheap now, the software to record it is cheap, everything is cheap…
Susanne Aztoria: And it still sounds good
Dayo James: I’m not convinced by digital distortion. So I think in 30 years time digital will be able to emulate analogue, but at the moment it’s only half of it.

Okay now tell us, you have some people say that your music is kind of shoegaze…are you happy with that?
Susanne Aztoria: Well if you’re in a band I think you have to accept that people are going to pigeonhole you into different things.
Dayo James: Shoegaze…there’s a lot of bands under that genre that we like, I think at that time it’s used as a derogatory term, but now it’s used as a genre of overlaying a lot of tracks, reverb, dreamy. But you know, we write melodies from the 50’s and 60’s.

I’m going to ask about your influences.
Susanne Aztoria: I think it’s the first time I’ve been asked that. We’re big fans of melody, so melody-wise I’d say maybe ABBA…not the coolest band I know, but we’re not the coolest band!
Dayo James: I think with ABBA they can be a bit cheesy which doesn’t reflect us, but I like Young Marble Giants, Suicide, Blondie, My Bloody Valentine, I’m a massive fan of Kevin Shields and Brian Jonestown Massacre.

Alex from A Grave With No Name was saying there’s two camps, like the more introspective camp from NPIP and there’s more punk bands like Male Bonding, a lot harder and faster.

Dayo James: Is that how he sees it? That there’s a lo fi scene and it’s split in two? That’s interesting.
Susanne Aztoria: Me and James are kind of in our own little world…
Dayo James: AGWNN we really like though. A few years ago it was all electro dance, you know, Klaxons this and that, and we were like, okay, so what do we really want to do?
Susanne Aztoria: And we were like, okay, we’re going to do something completely different, and it’s funny how it changes.

Where are you recording your new stuff?

Dayo James: In my bedroom
Susanne Aztoria: Actually in his grandmother’s bedroom! She just said this morning, James was recording the single there, and she was out on the balcony going, “He’s going to record this some more?!?!”
Dayo James: The neighbours complain about how loud my amp is, so I put it in the bathroom and turn it up, got the microphone, got the lead, struggling away doing all these things, and apparently all the street can hear is this distorted “bbbbrrrrmmm” and I had the council coming in and giving me a letter so I’ve had to stop that.
Susanne Aztoria: Now he’s put it in the wardrobe, and put blankets, mattresses…that’s pretty lo-fi. Bedroom rock.