Captain Trips released their new EP Stand By via Umlaut Records on October 5 2018. We’re in love with it and we think you will be too, so we asked singer and guitarist Rich Mayor to give us a detailed breakdown of the inspiration for each song.
We started writing some of these songs months and years ago, a process not so unusual in Captain Trips. All of our songs come from jamming together, so it can take a while for us to come up with them sometimes. That’s not supposed to sound like an arduous process; it’s a very enjoyable experience and how we’ve come up with our, ahem, ‘sound’.
I remember our writing process for one of the tracks on the first EP. We decided it needed to go off into a different direction (I think it even went kind of ska at one point), but after about four weeks of adding sections, we chopped it all and kept the song as it was before all those tangents.
Anyway, we gone done a new record, called Stand By. It has songs on it to listen to with your ears. Here’s what they’re about.
Bottom Of The River
Right, Bottom of the River. The Stephen King keenos among you will know that Captain Trips is the name of the man-made virus in his book The Stand, and the Stephen King appreciation club keeps on rolling here. Bottom of the River is about his rite of passage novel/movie Stand By Me. It harks back to simpler times, something we reminisce about often, since we’re all in that weird generation of going from ‘completely f*ck all internet’ to ‘everything the world has ever known in your pocket’. You know, back when you couldn’t scam your way through the pub quiz for that sweet, sweet bottle of blue Aftershock.
The name of the movie is also quite blatantly the title of the new EP, save for a couple of letters. More about that later.
Bucking a rather long trend for Captain Trips, Dead Ringers has some sections which are not double time. I’m not quite sure how I feel about that, but I do feel that this writing this song together set us on the tone for our more honed sound, which is a bit darker than the first EP.
Lyrically this song is about the media representation of refugees at the height of it being on everywhere online and playing on every news station. It switches between the perspectives of the refugees, broadcasters and viewer. If anyone’s unsure, we think the media by and large were, and generally are, absolute twats about it.
This tune, and continuing our ‘Pepperidge Farm remembers’ mind set, is lyrically based on the irony of having all the knowledge of the world in your pocket, yet sometimes that has given rise to some of the biggest divisions in society we’ve seen in our lives. This is the first nod to the self-created-echo-chamber theme that runs through other parts of the EP, and an acknowledgement that we do at least a bit of ‘opinion-cleansing’ ourselves, primarily to make room for more videos of animals doing cool sh*t, but also because we get tired… Tired of checking out what seem like suspect facts, tired of the anger and hate in the comments sections, but also realising – perhaps in a defeatist way – that far less is checked and it’s sort of out of control. Shame that.
Originally slated as the rather-lengthily-titled Chances of the ex-checker, we opted for Chances in the end. It’s only two and a half minutes long, and it’ll save us on ink, eh?
You’re The Voice
A slight confession here, we didn’t write this song, but we did make it double time. Chances are if you’ve seen Captain Trips live before you’ll have heard us play our version of it. We felt that the messages of using collective voices for good, of empowerment and solidarity fit well with the rest of the tone of the EP, so we asked John Farnham very nicely if we could release our version and he said, “No drama, you little ripper!’” A solid endorsement, I think you’ll agree.
Siren Song follows a similar thread to Chances earlier in the EP, but this song lyrically focuses on how new tools have revived old evils, namely racism. We’ve spoken about being able to connect with anyone in the world has also meant you can choose to only communicate with some people. Whilst that can sound like a positive thing, it’s also given rise, at least in a publicity sense, to a horrible bunch of outdated shit-bastards.
Most of you will be aware of the legend of the siren’s song, which is an old sailor’s tale of sailors being tempted by to their death and not knowing it, being bewitched by the song. We liked this as a metaphor, the kind of mindless sway to danger, but thought using an actual siren was better. Whoop whoop.
So why Stand By?
As you’ll have read by getting this far (and well done you, thanks) the songs in the EP focus on the ideas of solidarity and inaction, activism and inertia – so Stand By works to cover these bases and we liked the double entendre. We’re totally of the opinion as people we’re better together, in a positive and loving way. Even if we might sound a bit angrier on this record, we remain totally soppy and honoured to be a little part of this very special scene where every day people work their collective arses off to help each other to do wonderful things.