Trailer Trash Tracys
Debut Single Release – Candy Girl / You Wish You Were Red
September 14, 2009
Questionnaire: Steve Bateman

“Just imagine The Raveonettes filtered through the psychedelic kaleidoscope of an episode of Twin Peaks, to get a sense of their dramatic nocturnal wonderland,” was the first review that I ever read for East London’s Trailer Trash Tracys – Susanne Aztoria (vox), Jimmy-Lee (guitar) and Dayo James (drums). A group who will make you sit up and take note, with heart-jolting music that one writer poetically pronounced, “submerges you in a warm, hypnotic bath of sound” – and tagged by another as, “Cocteau Twins-esque, sparse and moody noise pop.” Other praiseworthy reviews have included, “They have a fondness for the erstwhile days of unhealthy Stone Roses obsessions. Like Mazzy Star funnelled through a tin-can phone, the Tracys have captured something both amorous and nostalgic, yet very grounded in the here and now.” Plus, “Their songs take you back to the days of theme-tune infused fantasia, full-layered floral choral and soothing choons.”

Starting out as a bedroom band / side-project in 2007, with only Susanne and Jimmy-Lee as members. At that time, the pair’s unforced yet focused songwriting process, “revolved around Jimmy-Lee writing a couple of chords and Susanne creating a melody,” with Jimmy-Lee recording the “simple and minimal but sophistically crafted songs” in a very lo-fi manner, feeling his way through as he went along. Making this the crucial conduit in TTT’s creative journey / evolution. When P.i.X put the following question to the group, ‘You have a refreshingly individual sound, how did you come about coining your signature style?’ Jimmy-Lee responded: “Initially from bad recording skills. The tracks on MySpace kind of hold a blueprint of how I would like the songs to sound sonically, but it was never intended to be that lo-fi! There’s always a charm in the indie-bedroom-cellotape-crackle-hiss record!” Susanne: “Our sound has developed over time. Me and James both had to learn together how to record and write songs. One aim was making every part of the songs interesting – from the melody to the beats, guitar parts and bass. Another aim was to make great pop songs but disguise it well.”

With their debut double a-side single, the diamond-cut, Candy Girl / You Wish You Were Red, released on September 14 on limited edition 7” vinyl through No Pain In Pop ( A label who also placed the shimmering and oceanic, Strangling Good Guys, onto one of their compilation CDs, printing, "An inherent contradiction, the tension between two forces that are unexpectedly tied together, is often the source of the power of great art. This is especially true in music; indeed, many of the most thrilling bands and records of our generation have shown the excitement and beauty that can often spring from such internal paradoxes. Such is the case with Trailer Trash Tracys, for if ever there was a new band that straddled the line between darkness and light, of dissonance and melody, it is this one. Absorbing everything from the woozy atmospherics of shoegaze to even the SoCal surf pop of Dick Dale and The Shadows, the band conjures a lo-fi maelstrom of duelling contrasts like no other. The real rub, however, comes with Suzanne’s vocals, which sound like ghostly transmissions from another metaphysical plane, all ethereal angel sighs which seem to settle on the music like a fog at dusk."

Very kindly taking time out to answer an e-mail Q&A, both Susanne and Jimmy-Lee have now opened up about their ethereal, billowing, echo-drenched and entrancing pop pearls. Music which when synthesised with and accentuated by Susanne’s diaphanous, dreamy and dulcet tones, is given a colourful hue and overflows with a joyous melancholy that is sheer heaven to the ears and will have you hooked!

The world awaits…

Lucy: Your band have been quite quiet for the last few months. Are you looking forward to playing gigs again?
Katie Jane Garside: I think I give very obtuse ans

1.Kate Bush once said that “music gives her the freedom to be who she wants to be.” Is this the same for you?
Jimmy-Lee: “I guess Kate was also referring to her alter-ego persona, as well as her musical freedom. I guess for this band, I’m in no rush to wear a Ziggy Stardust outfit or a Russian Babooshka dress like Kate, but in terms of musical freedom, essentially we are writing for ourselves and there is no compromise.”
Susanne: “I completely feel like I am who I want to be when me and James record and write songs in a bedroom somewhere. We are completely in our own world. I still feel a bit uncomfortable singing live, but this is getting a bit easier – sometimes it feels like I am entering another world, which is cool.”

2.For music fans who may not yet know much about you, could you give us some background information on your musical pasts / how you both met + what’s the story behind your name Trailer Trash Tracys?

Susanne: “Me and James met in another band, that was kind of a girl / boy band version of The Velvet Underground. As you can imagine, this did not really work, so we started to write songs on the side and eventually decided to start our own band. The other members that joined (Dayo and Martha) were friends of friends. The band name was James’ invention – I still don’t know where it comes from?”
Jimmy-Lee: “The band name is from a character in a film, but the character was very interesting, she worked in a circus and swallowed swords amongst other things – it was her art. She was amazing, and it was her attention-to-detail to this art, that I liked.”

3.As a band, what was the first song that you ever played together, and how long after this was it until you realised that you had something special / that there was a chemistry between you?
Susanne: “We started out writing a few years ago and it started out bad, very bad actually. It was not until we finished Candy Girl, that I realised there was some kind of magic there.”

4.Your songs are very melodic and dreamy, but from all of your favourite music, which melodies instantly spring to mind?

Susanne: “ABBA - Angel Eyes. Roy Orbison - In Dreams. Blondie - In The Flesh.”
Jimmy-Lee: “When I was a child, my Dad drove me to school and we only had six cassette-tape albums to play, in the beaten-up stereo of an Austin Maestro; The Beatles For Sale, ABBA Gold, Best Of Pet Shop Boys, Stevie Wonder Greatest Hits, Filipino Traditional Folk Songs Vol. 2 and The Sound Of Music Soundtrack. For five years, this was my half-hour jukebox in the morning – five fucking years, because the radio didn’t work. So the melodies of these albums spring to mind, because having been brainwashed as a kid with it for five years every day, it’s the only thing I learned at school!”

5.What would you choose as your ‘Desert Island Discs’?

Jimmy-Lee: “Obviously not the above albums. I guess I would have to have ridiculously happy sunshine music, to distract the mind from contemplating suicide on the island… I guess it would be a lot of heavy B-Lined Reggae.”
Susanne: “Evert Taube (Swedish composer).”

6.As yet another sign of how The Music Industry is constantly changing, The Boxer Rebellion recently announced “a groundbreaking collaboration with HMV, which will see the retailer act as a strategic partner for their second album UNION.” Late Of The Pier are also set to start their own label, Zarcorp Inc, in order to run a monthly ‘Singles Club’ to help promote new artists / groups who they like. And Jack White has just launched ‘The Vault’, a subscription service that offers exclusive content including videos and music of bands he is involved in, ticket presales, as well as sending physical releases to those who have signed up. Do you feel these are all innovative and beneficial ideas, for musicians and fans alike?
Jimmy-Lee: “The Boxer Rebellion? Blimey, I remember getting spam e-mails from them, saying how great their band was when the Internet was invented, when I was at school. It is a revolutionary time in music history isn’t it? The Internet has decentralised the marketing power, shifting it into the hands of the public… Or so you’re led to believe… It’s still the large corporations who have the money to put the big advert banners on MySpace saying, “La Roux - Best Haircut Of The Century” etc. Nevertheless, you can put your music up, send a link around and be as annoying as you want in advertising it… Are these ideas innovative or beneficial? I would be the wrong person to ask, I only listen to new music when a reliable source tells me, “Jimmy, you have to listen to this band as it will save your life on a desert island.” Otherwise, I won’t bother searching or subscribing… Jack White’s venture sounds like it’s for the everyday consumer sheep.”
Susanne: “It is mostly good that The Music Industry is changing. Big record labels seem to be slowly losing their power, so hopefully, there will be less crap music forced upon us in the future. Unfortunately, there is no money in music anymore, so I can’t see myself giving up my part-time job anytime soon.”

7.Continuing with this train of thought, Abbey Road is now offering its services to new acts at reasonable rates, whereby artists / groups can submit music via for the studio’s engineers to master their singles and albums. Do you think this is a positive step and are there any records that you just love the overall production of?

Jimmy-Lee: “It’s a positive step, if you’re a band that doesn’t have an idea of what you want to sound like. I have to be physically there to produce and master – it’s your music being processed. Doesn’t matter if it’s Abbey Road or Tinpot Studios does it? You need the final say.”
Susanne: “Sounds like a good idea, but if everyone can afford Abbey Road, maybe it will not be that special anymore? We love this American band, Sunsplit, their production is amazing and we hope we can hear them play live one day.”

8.How often do you learn / deconstruct other people’s songs, to help develop new techniques and increase your knowledge of sounds etc. and do you have any specific examples of tracks that you’ve analysed, or musical arrangements that you are fascinated by?
Susanne: “I really like old rock 'n' roll – you can’t beat it!”
Jimmy-Lee: “The best pop songs are simple and minimal – even just 2 chords. Too much drums and guitar parts can spoil a song. I’ve been listening to a lot of Charles Mingus and his arrangements were crazy, but that’s jazz. In terms of pop music, I did deconstruct a lot of Blondie and Roy Orbison songs and there is a key vocal note that exists in all these songs. Songs we like, have a minimal low note phrase for the chorus and no big high note wails for a chorus. That’s cheese, too obvious, too easy… It’s our choice to have songs stripped down, no big dramatic drum rolls, no keyboards, no string section. One of my favourite albums was by Young Marble Giants, just making the sound less epic and more sincere, natural and innocent… I hope this sounds pretentious.”

9.Is the length of your songs important to you and what are the main themes of your lyrics / do you make sure that every word fits into a song, or is there a process of editing involved?
Susanne: “We don’t really worry about the length of our songs, as long as it is all good parts put together. Usually, we write the lyrics about a certain incident in our life, but as some words sound better than others, we do have to change it around sometimes.”
Jimmy-Lee: “Whoever came up with these questions, is obviously in a band!!! At this stage, it’s usually the lyrical phrase that suffers for the melody, but 90% of the time, we can get the desired lyrical phrase in the song.”

10.There was a recent report on the sad demise of the a-side / b-side single package, and how standalone singles may help to reverse this trend. Do you think this is feasible, and what are some of your favourite a-side / b-side single packages of all-time?
Jimmy-Lee: “Singles are doomed. Nothing can save them.”

11.Music critics often argue that “the best music is as much the expression of a state of mind, as a construction in sound.” What are your feelings on this, and do you think the traditional printed music press will be able to survive for much longer / continue to have an impact, with the ever-growing number of webzines and bloggers?
Jimmy-Lee: “In answer to the first part of your question, yeah, that’s a small part of it. I would put the cultural significance and uniqueness too.”
Susanne: “Also, I know it sounds cheesy, but we really want people to feel something when they listen to our music, there is too much emotionless music out there.”
Jimmy-Lee: “You can’t fake that, it all has to be genuine and this should transcend on record. Will the printed music press be able to survive for much longer / continue to have an impact? I hope not.”

12.What would be your dream gig, if you could choose 1 headline band and 2 support acts?
Jimmy-Lee: “I prefer playing music than watching, so, headline: Jimmy-Lee with Elvis. First support: Jimmy-Lee playing guitar with Jimmy Hendrix – guitar duel to the death. Second Support: Jimmy-Lee with The Shadows.”
Susanne: “The Beatles (in The ‘60s), Blondie (in The ‘70s) and Suicide (in The ‘80s).”

13.How would you spend your ideal day?

Susanne: “Reading a good book in the sun by the seaside.”
Jimmy-Lee: “Travelling on a train to a place I haven’t been before.”

14.What are your biggest hopes for your debut album, and for Trailer Trash Tracys long-term?
Susanne: “We would love to do that one great album and for TTT to go full-time.”
Jimmy-Lee: “I just want people to keep playing the album time after time after time. We are not aiming for a quick sale, something stylistic for the moment… Dare I say it, a classic. But realistically, bands are too easily taking the easy option and picking up the latest sequencers, keyboards etc. and going for the grooviest rhythm and disregarding a decent song. Guitar-driven bands are still the coolest.”

15.Lastly, chips or cream buns?

Susanne: “I don’t care so much for this kind of English food. But as I like cream, I have to say the cream buns.”
Jimmy-Lee: “Without a doubt, it has to be chips. I would lace and drench them with as much vinegar as the chip bag could hold… It’s one of Britain’s greatest institutions, The Fish & Chip Shop.”

A very special thanks to Susanne + Jimmy-Lee, and to Tiger @ Fourth Floor Music, for all of their time and help.

“7 o’clock and my heartbeat stops
My candy girl”

wers to questions...It's never about looking forward to it. Actually maybe I should change the
script, maybe we are looeir musicm the 3rd album?