First Look Friday: Trap Rabbit Is Extremely Dope And Doesn’t Make Trap Music [Interview]
Trap Rabbit consists of Arjun Dube and Logan Roth, an alt-jazz key/drums duo from out of Philadelphia, who write unique and powerful music for your eardrums.
First hearing the name Trap Rabbit had me thinking at first that Young Thug, Tay K, and Gucci Mane had linked up to form a new group that had the A bunkin’. When it was disclosed to me that it was really this dope duo of Arjun Dube (drums) and Logan Roth (keys) from Philadelphia who made some intricate, yet captivating music — I had to tune in to find out more.
Upon hearing the group who is self-proclaimed “not good with words,” Trap Rabbit has a DNA of dopeness. With influences such as J Dilla, fellow First Look Friday subject Xenia Rubinos, and Tame Impala — Arjun and Logan have combined their love of hip-hop grooves with their penchant for for infectious songwriting to create a wealth of sound for all to enjoy.
With that said, we here at Okayplayer are ecstatic to share the life, melodies, and impact that Trap Rabbit has created thus far. In our interview with them, we speak about their deep history of influences, the obstacles that they’ve overcome since becoming a duo, and premiere the video for their song, “Empress,” which you can see for yourself below.
Okayplayer: To music snobs the world over, you are making an impact. What is it that those in music game are seeing and hearing that the rest of the world has yet to discover?
Logan: Well, we have fans that are in quite disparate scenes, so I think there’s something to bite into for everyone. This is probably our best strength, actually; that we are able to combine a huge amount of influences into this raw, authentic, cohesive sound. Also, our shows are fun.
Arjun: People always tell us that we sound like we’ve been playing together for a while. I think we both click really well onstage and gel as a unit, and that stands out.
OKP: For those who have a passion for music, they honed their skills and practiced their craft. Who are your most cherished influences in music and why?
A: I’ve always been inspired by drummers with a lot of weird (but musical) limb movements. Brian Blade and Keith Carlock come to mind for stuff like that. With Blade especially — there’s something beautiful about the raucous “messiness” in his playing, especially on his louder side. I dig theatrics — I think it supports our music really well. The other side of my current influences stem from drummers with very deep pockets: Nate Smith, Benny Greb, and Daru Jones all come to mind here. Putting all this stuff together, I also really dig Sput, Mark Guiliana, and Nathaniel Townsley.
L: My dad showed me Emerson, Lake, and Palmer when I was really young, and after that I discovered jazz pianists like Gene Harris, Oscar Peterson, and Brad Mehldau. Throw into the mix some classic blues players like Otis Spann and Pinetop Perkins, and that’s kinda who I am as a player, or at least who I aspire to play like.
OKP: Can you talk about how your life was while developing as an artist? How did you react to your first bits of press?
L: We moved to Philly after college and didn’t really know what we were getting into. We dove into the scene here with a band that quickly dissolved, and we were left with just a duo. We frequently struggled with the fact that we didn’t really fit neatly into any of the genre-cliques that exist in the city. But through Philly we still found our sound. Needless to say, when we started to get real praise from folks that had nothing to gain from praising us, we were a little surprised! But we were thrilled and grateful as well.
OKP: With incidents involving people of color, police and racism occurring almost on a daily basis around the globe — how can your music help to relieve the trauma that is being experienced by the masses?
L: It’s a little hard, I think, for me specifically to try and project some kind of activist message through our music. I am a privileged, hetero white male who was raised middle class and went to college. There is no struggle that I’ve had that could possibly legitimize an activist message. Instead, we try our best to act within the industry as examples for how artists can work. This city, like most cities, is segregated, and the music scene is no exception. But we work hard to try and attract a diverse crowd to our shows as well as work with artists from a wide variety of backgrounds. We’ve worked closely with white indie-rockers, Japanese-American songwriters, black MCs, Dominican rappers, men, women, and everything in between.
A: Music is healing, and at the very least, I hope that our shows are safe places for people of different backgrounds to coalesce. We don’t set out to communicate any explicit messages or activist sentiments in our music – that’s not really how we’ve written our songs thus far. That could change in the future, though.
OKP: What have been the most definitive obstacles that you’ve overcome in your career thus far?
L: I think the struggle of being a musician is ongoing for me. I do what I love, and that’s why I do it, but also being an artist is not for the faint of heart. You must constantly summon the courage to present yourself for the world to judge. This is a hard thing to do when, like us in the beginning, we didn’t even really know what we were. There’s a reason so many artists struggle with mental illness — we fasten our art to our very essence and being. When it doesn’t work out exactly as we hope, it’s not just a failure of our artistic abilities, it’s a failure of our very existence in the world as people.
A: Balancing music and life. I had to figure out just how much work I needed to put into music and how much work I needed to put in myself. I still haven’t figured it out. It’s very romantic to think that music alone will carry you [and] for some people, it works out that way. But being a happy musician is different for everyone. For me, I needed to focus my brain on other pursuits in order for me to truly enjoy playing music. That might change in the future. At the moment, I am having loads of fun just being a drummer in whatever capacity I desire.
OKP: Can you also talk about the importance of the music industry scene as how you’ve experienced it? How do you see it evolving in the next five years?