Interview with Matt Traxler of Brandtson.
Tom Bastian: How many years has Brandtson been together? Could you give me a
little background information on the band? Like how you guys met, if any of
you have been in any other bands, and where you are from.
Matt Traxler: It's probably pushing three years now that we've been playing
together. Me and Myk were in a band for a while together before that, and
Myk and Jared grew up together. I knew John from some other friends. Stuff
just kind of came together.
TB: What has been your most memorable show with Brandtson?
MT: We might all have different answers for this one. But I know we were all
way into The Fireside in Chicago last fall. It was really packed, and the
crowd was very kind to us. It just felt good.
TB: Being a band that has been accepted by both the so called "Christian
Market" and the "Secular Market," what are some of your feelings on these
two markets, and where do you feel Brandtson fits into this whole thing?
MT: We're not looking to cater to any specific 'market' or 'genre.' We write
songs that we like, stuff that sounds good to us, and whoever else likes
it...we're really grateful for that. But we don't set out to please any
certain group. And as far as the segregation of the two, I think it's pretty
ridiculous and discouraging, and personally I don't want any part of it.
TB: What are your feelings on the current state of Christianity in America?
MT: Hmmm...I'm not sure how to answer...that's a very broad question. I
don't really think too much about Christianity in America to tell you the
truth. I mean, there are certainly things that are good. God is always
working and moving, and I don't want to discount that at all, but in broad
terms I don't know how well I can answer. I'm not so hip on people selling
Jesus as some sort of catch phrase. I don't know. I don't want to come off
bitter either. I just have a lot of problems with the mainstream church and
how they come off to people who aren't Christian.
TB: What bands have you been impressed with lately? Have there been any new
releases that have really blown you away?
MT: Low. I don't think "Secret Name" has left my CD player since I got it. I
haven't had much money for new stuff lately. Anything by Bedhead or Low I've
been wearing out.
TB: What are some future goals you guys have as a band?
MT: Just to keep going, putting out records, we really want to continue to
progress and to move on. Keep writing, as well as tour. We love playing out.
Hopefully we'll get to go to Europe before long. We'll see.
TB: Do you feel as though your band has any specific message that you are
trying to express through your music?
MT: I suppose above anything else...just honesty. Our lyrics are always very
personal. Whether or not they're blatant, they're very real to whichever one
of us wrote them.
TB: As far as lyrics go, does Myk write most of the lyrics, and are they
generally based on real life experience, and feelings?
MT: Myk writes a lot of them. He wrote I think everything or at least very
close to on "Letterbox." Jared and myself contributed to a lot more on this
TB: Is the band a full-time thing for all the members? Like do you guys
have day jobs, college, or are you pretty much on tour or doing something
with the band all year round?
MT: Ehh, yeah it's pretty close to full time. But that's aside from the fact
that we all work full-time jobs as well. I do typesetting/graphic design for
an audio services place, and Myk works at a place that makes vinyl signs.
Jared works for a newspaper, and John works for the post office.
TB: Do you guys feel as though you fit into the whole "emo" genre? If not,
or if so, what are your feelings on the word "emo" being used to describe so
MT: It's generic, but whatever. I'm no elitist. People can label whatever
they want if that makes life easier for them.
TB: How do you feel to be somewhat embraced by a scene that at times seems
biased towards Christians? Have you found any confrontations based on
people knowing that you're Christians?
MT: Hmmm...we haven't had too much as far as confrontation goes, which I
suppose is good. But I think I also take for granted a lot of freedom we
have. I hear stuff about other countries, ya know. I dunno...we're not very
confrontational either, which may be a big part of it.
TB: If you could pick three bands to tour with, who would they be?
MT: Hmmm...off the top of my head...Fugazi, The Pixies, The Cure.
TB: Have you guys been pretty happy to be working with Deep Elm?
MT: Yeah, very happy. John [Szuch, Deep Elm's owner - Ed.] is a great, great
guy, and has helped us out in enourmous ways.
Photos courtesy of Deep Elm
TB: What other personal hobbies do you have?
MT: I race soapbox derby. Ehhh, just kidding. I do a record label called
We all like movies, and really want to make one at some
point I suppose.
TB: Have you read any good books lately?
MT: Um, I just finished reading Ordinary People [by Judith Guest - Ed.].
That was really good.
TB: What is your favorite thing to do on tour? How do you guys keep busy on
tour, when you're just in the van/bus, however you get around? What keeps
you guys busy and out of trouble?
MT: Jared gets bored in the van really quick and is always trying to come up
with games for everyone else to join along with. Otherwise...I dunno. We get
along good...goof around lots...read...write.
TB: Is there anything else you want to let the readers of Decapolis.com
MT: Please come see us on tour this fall...and say hi.
[Read the Decapolis Review of their album.]