The Trophy Fire

Jamming out from San Francisco, California are the boys of The Trophy Fire. This three piece American Rock band brings quality, catchy tunes and high energy which is really needed in todays Rock scene. You may have heard some of their stuff on the radio across the nation, or even on MTV 2’s Hot Tracks behind the talented Miley Cyrus with their hit single “Kids,” featured above.

This band is made up of John Schuman (drums), Adam Schuman (guitar) and Ben Flanagan (songwriter/guitarist/vocalist) and we were lucky enough to get together with the band to discuss some business, and of course some other fun nonsense.

Binge Magazine:
The band’s “Directions for Daylight” came out in 2013, what makes this album so different than the other releases?

Ben Flanagan (The Trophy Fire):
The way that we went about writing this record was much different mostly in that many of the songs were written on different instruments when in the past almost every single TTF song was written on guitar. This album was much more keyboard heavy than the previous two.

“Hey Dreamer” came about while I was messing around with a MOOG app on my iPhone. I was essentially just coming home from rehearsal and put my headphones on while on the train back from Oakland to San Francisco. My fingers hit certain notes that I fell in love with and that was how that song was born. The title track “Directions for Daylight” was also written entirely on my Steinway piano at my apartment in San Francisco. Both the “Kids” riff and “Devil at my Door” skeleton were brought to the table by Adam Schuman (guitar). The riffs were beautiful but we wanted to add a much more 80’s synth aesthetic to both so essentially ended up saturating them both in layers of keys. We wanted this album to be a more conscious nod to a lot of the influences we all have from the 1980’s; the decade in which we were all born and all grew up in. We consciously added an 80’s sheen to everything.

Binge Magazine:
We briefly talked about how you enjoy keeping yourself constantly busy whether that is working on “The Trophy Fire” or other projects… where does that work ethic and drive come from? What advice would you give to aspiring artist looking to be successful?

Ben Flanagan (The Trophy Fire):
I’m not entirely sure where my drive comes from. I can’t not play music. I don’t really know where it came from. My mother is very musical but never pursued it as a profession. I’ve wanted to do this since I was about 14, and will keep doing it as long as I can.

As far as advice goes. I don’t really have any. I’m not really sure what success in the music industry is. I’ve had some comparisons to many musicians but my success has been infinitesimal compared to others. I would really just say…write good songs, load your gear directly off the stage as soon as your set is done, get to know other musicians and don’t be a dick.

Binge Magazine:
Ben, how old were you when you started getting into music? How did it lead you to where you are at now?

Ben Flanagan (The Trophy Fire):
My mother started me on the piano when I was 8 or so. I was good but never great by any means. The last song I learned before I stopped playing was for elise by Beethoven which is pretty simple compared to a lot of other classical pieces.

When my father told me we where moving to North Carolina from Massachusetts when I was 11 I was devastated and to pacify my whining, my dad told me they would buy me a guitar. He knew I was obsessed with Nirvana and Guns n Roses and was correct in assuming this would immediately put an end to my complaints. We went down to a music store in Natick, Mass. and got a red Ibanez for about $500. It was a great guitar for a beginner.

I took lessons for about a year once we got to North Carolina but once I knew all of the basic chords and patterns I stopped with the lessons and just taught myself.

Binge Magazine:
We see many bands come and go but “The Trophy Fire” seems to (thanksfully) be sticking around, especially with having 4 albums out. What keeps this fire going?

Ben Flanagan (The Trophy Fire):
I’m really not sure what success is exactly or how to measure it in music. Our real focus is just on writing good songs. I love the guys in my band and they are a couple of my closest friends in the world. That is probably what keeps us together to be honest. We wouldn’t do this if we didn’t get along and have so many laughs. I guess I feel successful that I’ve been doing this for so long and I don’t want to stop.

Binge Magazine:
What are some things people don’t know about you?

Ben Flanagan (The Trophy Fire):
Hmmmm. I’m not that interesting to be honest. Ha. I guess for a guy covered in tattoos that plays music, I’m probably surprisingly pretty good at sports. I’m completely obsessed with Duke Basketball, to a degree that it might be concerning to some of my friends.

Binge Magazine:
What is the craziest thing you guys have seen as group together? Any funny stories? Any R-Rated unforgettable moments? Please do tell! 🙂

The Trophy Fire:
The worst thing that ever happened on tour is the story of “The Chicken Hat”.
Summer of 2013 we were on our way up from a show in Raleigh heading towards the Virginia boarder when an unnamed member of our crew, from the back of our vehicle expressed his desire to IMMEDIATELY find a gas station so he could relieve himself. The driver expressed to this unnamed member that he didn’t think there was a gas station or any where with a bathroom for a few miles but would stop at the first one he saw. The look in the crew members’ eyes was intense and the driver put the pedal to the floor to try to accommodate before things got bad (for all of us).

It was expressed in the next few moments that he was not going to make it to a gas station and that we would need to pull over post haste.

Northern, North Carolina, fortunately for our friend is incredibly lush with foliage so there were plenty of woods to run into and take care of his situation. Shockingly, and to the dismay of the rest of the crew, instead of heading into the thick woods where he would have been hidden from view and been able to take care of all of this with some sense of privacy and “dignity”, the unnamed crew member held on to the passenger mirror, inexplicably making eye contact with the rest of the band as he proceeded to defecate (generously) on the side of the North Carolina road.

After, what seemed like an eternity for everyone involved, the unnamed crew member finished and then realized that we had no napkins of toilet paper. After surveying the vehicle for something to use the unnamed member eyed a novelty chicken hat that he had purchased the day before at a Beach suprpluss store in Wilmington. The hat was covered in feathers and basically was an anatomically correct, feathery chicken that was truly one of the stupidest looking things on the face of the earth. This unnamed member, then sheepishly asked if he could be handed the chicken hat, which he then used to clean himself up.

Everyone, in the vehicle was of course in tears laughing at the existential absurdity of all of this.

The unnamed member then got back in the vehicle and expressed that we still needed to stop at a gas station so he could clean up some more.

As we pull away, from the scene, we see a novelty chicken hat covered in shit growing smaller in the rear view. Turning the corner, about 100 yards ahead we see a Flying J station which had been obstructed by lush NC trees. If we hadn’t pulled over we would have made it in time to avoid the whole fiasco. In a way, I’m glad that it all went down, exactly how it did.

Want more from The Trophy Fire? Buy The Trophy Fire’s latest album here and also follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

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