It’s almost eerie how far the name Trash Talk goes. Formed in Sacramento in 2005, the hardcore punk outfit expanded their caustic sound by playing DIY shows all over the state, eventually relocating to Los Angeles, where they are now four of the most recognizable dudes in the scene. Such notoriety is owed to a relentless touring cycle and a well-received debut album (which features Keith Morris of Black Flag and Circle Jerks) but perhaps most of all to their proclivity for playing festivals. Trash Talk’s frequent festival outings exposed their music to new audiences in Los Angeles and introduced them to like-minded locals like surf-punkers Wavves and contrarian hip-hop collective Odd Future. Today, all three bands live in a warehouse together where they write, record, build, and destroy. As of last month, Trash Talk is the newest and first non-hip-hop band to sign to Odd Future’s label, and I took a call from vocalist Lee Spielman to figure out how one of the nastiest thrash bands in California fits in with a buzzing art collective like Odd Future.
“It’s different styles of music, but it’s all like-minded people working and helping each other out,” said Spielman on the call from Copenhagen, Denmark. “Those dudes, even though they rap and we play punk, we all like to skateboard and hang out, and we rap, too, and they like some punk. It just kind of makes sense, especially because we’re all good friends; so instead of just us worrying about something, we’ve got a bunch of people who can talk together and figure stuff out. It’s more of a community.”
It may all be in good fun, but it was precisely this decentralized, genre-less community that catapulted Trash Talk to the forefront of the digital music age like so many bodies in a mosh pit. The excitement of such a monumental shift is not lost on Spielman.
“It’s a cool thing to see happen because we started out just playing hardcore shows, but [we] play a festival tomorrow with A$AP Rocky, Wiz Khalifa, Janelle Monáe … It’s cool to be able to see shit get mixed in and have different styles work.”
Known for their heavy international touring, Trash Talk has their sights set on expanding their community all over the world, and as their network of promoters and venues continues to grow, so do the crowds. Having just finished up a month in Europe supporting Off!, they will return to the West Coast for a weeklong tour with Miami-born rapper/producer SpaceGhostPurrp that will bring them to Santa Barbara on July 18. Then it’s back again to Europe, where they will hit major festivals like Reading, Leeds, and Pukkelpop. So how did it all start?
“Just through playing punk shows in Sacramento and the Bay Area,” Spielman recalled. “Then up and down the coast through California and the Northwest. That turned into going south and doing bus tours, and after that, it turned into going to Europe and expanding from there and hitting different places … It was a cool progression of shows.”
Progression is certainly the name of the game for Trash Talk, who will release a new LP with Odd Future Records in the coming months called 119. In the meantime, catch them while you can with SpaceGhostPurrp at Velvet Jones, because whether you’re into hip-hop or hardcore, it’s guaranteed to be like nothing you’ve ever seen before.
“It’s 2012; everything’s accessible,” said Spielman. “Kids aren’t just into one thing. A kid who likes Odd Future can like punk, too, and if he likes punk, he can like rap. Especially more and more now, with bills being mixed and looking at festivals, kids are a lot more open-minded to shit right now. It’s a genre-less thing and more [about] just what you’re into.”
Trash Talk play Velvet Jones (423 State St.) with SpaceGhostPurrp on Wednesday, July 18, at 8 p.m. Call (805) 965-8676 or visit velvet-jones.com for tickets and info.