It’s 2:45 p.m. on a Sunday, “Care Taker” by D.R.A.M. thuds from the speakers in Studio 8, as more members of the Trap Music Orchestra swagger into the room. There is an immediate shift in the energy once the studio is brimming with twenty bandmates, clad in all black, cracking jokes and piecing together their individual instruments in preparation for their photo-ops. Simone, 20, manager, vocalist, visionary, and natural leader, lets her well-orchestrated soundcloud play; each song is occasionally accompanied by the piano or saxophone. The feeling of family is palpable and immediately there is a sensation of home.
“Lit, squad, and skrrt” were the three words unanimously chosen as the ones that encompass The Trap Music Orchestra: a twenty-two man group rooted in improvisational jazz, who’ve gained their footing covering famous trap songs. The three songs they chose to describe themselves were “Social Network (Gang)” by Hurt Everybody ft. Mick Jenkins, “March to the Guillotine (March Au Scaffold)” by Hector Berlioz and “Knuck If You Buck” by Crime Mob ft. Lil’ Scrappy because it’s practically their theme song.
Warning: their genuinely raw energy, innate musicality, and indisputable love for one another are just a few reasons why they are about to be your future favorite movement. The genesis of the group began in September 2014 when Ryan Easter, 23, who spearheaded the collaboration as the director and composer, “accidentally started walking around, running (his) mouth.”
Although the group is still young, both in age and in origin, it is hard to tell. The gigs they’ve lined up have already been absolutely reckless. “We shaved someone’s head. Can that go on record?” Alonzo Demetrius, 20, trumpet player, recalls from their Caf show in July. Ryan even remembers, “at the second Urbano gig there were people popping pills and doing all sorts of shit.” So if you wondered why “lit” was the first adjective chosen to describe Trap, you now know why. From shutting down Newbury Street, to lighting up MIT, The Trap Music Orchestra is no newbie to fucking shit up.
With weekly mandatory meetings and constant collaboration, there is a largely methodical element to their preparation for performances. The strategic constituent of their work is fostered in their ability to adapt and accompany one another on the spot. By applying rehearsed and structured values to their art form, they are able to easily trust one another when extemporizing. “Having a group that’s rooted in jazz music, which is an improvisational art already, sometimes the audience doesn’t know what’s going to happen, sometimes we don’t know what’s going to happen…we have a general skeleton but the flesh and blood really comes out when we’re on stage,” says vocalist Hunter LaMar, 20.
Ryan follows Hunter stating, “Sometimes it takes the entire performance to be able to accept what happened in front of them…we’re not easily accessible for most people, be it out of the size we are or just our approach to music in general. Sure it may be trap music but it’s in a different language most people are used to.” Their band yields a space that positively fuses two worlds that are usually thought to contrast one another. Their music provides a new space and sound for audience members to dually process both the freedom and energy of trap music alongside the structure of a jazz-like orchestra.
Working with others is a difficult task no matter what the context, and obviously a music career is more than just a week-long group project. A full functioning group this size, working at this particular capacity, is something you scarcely see. What makes them original is also one of their greatest challenges: with only one member from Boston, silence momentarily filled the room when the idea of graduation approached. But as a new group and one that is already becoming quickly well-established, worries are actually quite slim. If you’re really wondering the secret to sticking together, look no further than your nearest IHOP. “On a super serious note I think one of the things we love about each other is that we all fuck with some waffles. Dead ass,” Hunter remarks. “Yeah, IHOP is always the wave” Simone chimes in.
Ryan poignantly wraps up the sentiment saying, “I’ve been saying from the jump that the most important thing about this band is keeping the idea of a band alive…because this idea is bigger than anybody and the thing that’s kept us together is that notion itself.” Their worries are few and their potential is large, their fan base grows as does their ability to grow with one another. Whether it be their mutual love for waffles or being well-versed in various genres of music, The Trap Music Orchestra is a full-fledged family on their way to becoming the next big name.