Episode 021 : Traptor
Friday, June 18th, 2021
CLINIK: What is the significance of the name TRAPTOR?
TRAPTOR: When I decided I wanted to produce and spin dubstep and bass music back in 2018, one of my biggest goals and inspirations was the entire concept of the Lost Lands festival. I remember driving back from my parents house in NY to VA, I was listening over some Lost Lands sets and noticed a lot of the artist names were somewhat themed and inspired by the whole Jurassic aesthetic. Names like G-Rex, Masta-don (now Marauda), Midnight-T, Wooli, Megalodon came to mind. I started thinking of a dinosaur and thought of a raptor. I put a T in front of it since my last name starts with a T and it just stuck. Here’s hoping this dino makes it to Lost Lands one day.
C: How has your hometown influenced your outlook on music, if at all?
T: My hometown of Hempstead, NY molded who I am today as a musician in many ways. Growing up, my parents encouraged me to learn the piano with my grandmother and mother teaching me lessons when I was 4 years old. My older brother and I used to play recitals and church services all the time. When we grew older, all of our classmates listened to rap and hip-hop, but my older brother was one of those characters that always wanted to go against the grain, so he influenced me to listen to alternative rock. Instead of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls, we would be rocking Smashing Pumpkins and Radiohead. Even though I would get made fun of by my classmates, I would still pursue alternative types of music than what they were into. I remember how Beastie Boys were kind of a happy medium when it came to combining rap and rock, and I took a lot of influence with that when it came to genre-blending at an early age. But I’m thankful for my brother’s influence as well since it taught me to appreciate things without the need of peer pressure and to find my own true calling in music.
C: What initially inspired you to produce original music?
T: When I was around 12 years old, my mom bought us a new keyboard, the Kurzweil Mark 10. It totally blew me away as far as what I could do with it at the time. I remember I used to listen to a lot of techno and trance around this age and Robert Miles was one of my big inspirations growing up. I learned how to multitrack record on the keyboard’s meager amenities (only 8 tracks), and I would lay each individual track by hand without any quantization (I didn’t know how it worked), and if I were to screw something up, I’d have to start all over again from the beginning. This taught me discipline and perseverance to see a project to the end. Even as a pre-teen, I had several completed original songs that I was proud of at the time. I’d record these songs on a cassette and pass it around to my friends who’d play them out on school trips. When my brother and I got to highschool, we made our own indie rock band and this further taught us to meld together a lot of our own personal musical influences into one cohesive sound. To me, being able to compose your own idea and have that become your identity is such a liberating feeling.
C: What is your preferred DAW and why? What are your favorite tools to use for sound design?
T: I primarily work with Ableton Live Suite. Even though I started my DAW experience with Cubase, then later StudioOne, I find Ableton Live’s functionality perfect for my own applications. A lot of the controls are intuitive and I’ve discovered so many useful features that were notably absent in other DAWs. When it comes to sound design, I like to keep it simple. I remember a funny story about purists searching for the perfect drum sample and ending up skinning goats to make their own drum heads. The way I see it, samples and presets exist for a reason, and one of the biggest reasons why I rely on them is because it aids tremendously in workflow. A sound can become your sound with enough manipulation and musicality. Being able to manipulate a sample so that it’s indistinguishable from the original, but fits in a musical way is a skill in itself. There are some tools that I use when it comes to quick manipulation: Output Portal, Cableguys Halftime and Polyverse Manipulator are a few that come to mind.
C: If you could go b2b with any artist, who would it be and why?
T: The only one that comes to mind is my buddy Vastive. His musicality is on point and his energy on stage is something else. I really feel like personal and musical chemistry is important when thinking about pairing for a B2B and I feel like we’d be pretty compatible up there. In fact, I could say the same thing about pretty much everyone on the Later Tonight lineup.
C: How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it before?
T: This one is a little hard to define since a lot of my current tracks have been an experimentation outside of my own comfort zone. A lot of the little musical nuances that I have in all of my tracks have a melodic feel to it, much of which was heavily influenced by the likes of Ace Aura, Chime, Xilent and others, but at the same time with grit that I took from influences like Marauda. The overall main focus of my sound I would say is hard melodic riddim/dubstep.
C: How have you utilized social media to build up a following of fans?
T: When I first launched the brand, I created accounts on all platforms to generate some sort of hype. The biggest boon in social media is networking amongst like-minded producers and music lovers alike. Being engaging on social media also helps retain followership, but content will always be king. One of the avenues that I know I need to work on is consistent content and consistent releases, but hopefully I’ll be providing a lot more of that soon to come.
C: How do you like being a proud member of Later Tonight Entertainment’s lineup of artists?
T: Honestly, it’s been a dream come true for me. Ever since I’ve caught wind of the group, it became one of my goals to be a part of them, and now that I’m here, I’m surrounded with the most amazing and talented people that support each other all the way. It feels more like a family rather than just an artist lineup, and for that I am truly grateful. At the same time, it also gives me the motivation to also carry my own weight and push myself beyond my own comfort zones in order to make them proud of me. Many of our artists are doing big things and it’s just awe-inspiring to walk amongst giants.
C: What is one venue or festival in the world that you would love to perform at?
T: Well, circling back to the very first question, the one festival I would absolutely love to perform at would be Lost Lands. Everything that made TRAPTOR what it is is based on and inspired by Lost Lands. I’d say I’ll come full circle once that happens.
C: What are your goals as an artist for the rest of the year?
T: One of my goals is to finish making my website for TRAPTOR. It would be great to have a central hub for all of my music, socials, a place to sell merch, and also a quick place to access my EPK for booking and promotions. Another goal is to produce more. I remember at the beginning of the year, I promised I’d produce a song a month, but I wasn’t able to make that schedule. Another goal is to just keep learning production, DJing and never resting on my laurels. The only way I can be able to make it anywhere is to continually be learning, improving and producing. Stretch goals for the year are to play at Echostage and release with Subsidia.