Fort Wayne is no stranger to punk or alternative bands rising from apparent nothingness. Something about the Midwestern camaraderie brings people together to a peak performance right off the bat. This is no different with Noah Mitchell, Steven Putt and Zach Bauman of new post-hardcore/grunge/alternative band Spiral and Trap.Two of these three are no strangers to the Fort Wayne music scene: Mitchell is currently in bands Gape and Continue the Story while Bauman is also a member of CTS. Adding new blood to the mix (this is Putt’s first band) has allowed Spiral and Trap to take their musicianship in a new direction. In Sprial and Trap, Bauman and Mitchell play different instruments than they do in CTS, yet the band already sounds settled in.
Mitchell and company’s music combines elements of hardcore, emo, post-rock and the all-encompassing alternative category.
“I’ve been describing it as post-hardcore with a splash of grunge,” Mitchell said in an email interview. “There are plenty of ambient, spacey parts followed by a little hiccup of thrash. The grunge comes in with the repetitive, driving parts.
“Basically, I wanted something that could sound like Lifetime, Foo Fighters and American Football without having to be in three separate bands.”
The band has been finding its way since its inception. Mitchell brought some nearly completed songs to his new bandmates and, with time, worked out a way to smoothly journey between parts.
“I had a few of the songs written most of the way when I brought them to the band. Since then, we’ve just been working on dynamics and transitions to make the songs more interesting,” Mitchell said.
“We’ve been able to write more freely now that we have more of an idea of our sound, and I think it is really starting to show. We’ve started writing some new songs, and you can definitely tell it’s the same band, just more comfortable in [our] sound. I can’t say I’m able to predict where [our sound] will go, but I hope to keep it interesting for everyone,” he said.
Though only a few moments of acoustic guitar are present on Spiral and Trap’s recently released debut, Eternal Blue, each song on the EP started out acoustically before getting its sea legs and unfolding into something more personal and relatable.
“Almost every song we’ve written has started out on an acoustic guitar and a notepad,” Mitchell explained. “I try to come up with a couple good riffs and a basic progression for the song. Then I’ll either add in lyrics I’ve already written or just hum a melody until something interesting comes out. After the bones of the song are there, I bring it to practice and we cut out what we don’t like, add accents and transitions and play it a million times until we’re happy with it.”
Even then, the songs aren’t finished.
“The song is never really done until it’s recorded,” he said. “That’s when you can take the time to pick everything apart and decide how the song [should] really sound. Once everything is set to a metronome and laid out exactly how it should be, the song has finally come to life.
“We don’t always fully record a song before we play it live. Sometimes it can help to get a little third-party feedback before you decide the song is done. It definitely is a little easier on the stomach to have the song fully thought out before actual people hear it, though,” said Mitchell.
As mentioned, Spiral and Trap are hot off the release of their first release (see page 9). This adventure in alternative sound exhibits how the gentlemen found their style pretty quickly. The songs fit and flow together like it should be their third, breakout album, but is in fact their debut.
Eternal Blue was originally intended to be a concept album, but as often happens with artful endeavors, life found a way to work itself into the material.
“About half our songs are about feral children. I wanted our first to be a concept album, but it kind of got away from me. The other half of the album ends up being about my life experiences and struggles with everyday life. Somehow, the two subjects mesh pretty well when you add heavy reverb and distortion,” Mitchell said.
“We’re very pleased with how everything came out. The recording is better than we ever expected, and the feedback we’ve gotten so far is truly humbling.
“The best part about the whole experience is that we did it all with friends. Caleb Lewis recorded, mixed and mastered everything. I wouldn’t dream of letting anyone else touch my music. We are in the process of writing new music and getting it out into the world as soon as we see fit.
“We are definitely going to be doing some live sessions and hopefully a split EP or two in the meantime,” said Mitchell.
You can find Spiral and Trap’s music on both Bandcamp and Spotify, and you can see them play anywhere from bars to record stores to basements while they work to get their live set as tight and mature as their style.