Grab a cold one as you read about this week’s Meet The Band artist. It’s the California beer-themed band Trappist. Each song on the trio’s debut Ancient Brewing Tactics comes with a recommendation of a different craft beer. Drummer/vocalist Ryan Harkins (who also co-owns the metal themed burger joint Grill ‘Em All) introduces us to his band.
Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of Trappist.
Ryan Harkins: Back in 2014 or so during a night of heavy drinking and discussion on Discharge being one of the all time greats, Chris (Dodge, Spazz) had the brilliant idea of heading to a rehearsal space and just cranking out tunes about beer ala Discharge with me on drums and himself on guitar.
We did just that, but then life kind of got in the way for awhile. Eventually Chris got a hold of Phil (Vera, Crom/Despise You) to play guitar, and after that first practice in 2016 with the three of us, we were stoked on how things were turning out and decided to take the band seriously.
What inspired you to do songs about beer?
Beer is beautiful.
Describe the songwriting and recording process for Ancient Brewing Tactics.
Writing songs with Chris and Phil is an absolute pleasure. Having two heavy hitting riff merchants like them going back and forth makes for amazingly productive rehearsals and a hell of a good time. I can’t even count how many times those guys would just pull riffs out of thin air that knocked me on my ass!
Recording the album was no small feat. Brother Vera took it upon himself to record the album at the legendary Veracuda
Studios which ruled because we were able to take some time with it. Phil did a hell of a job with this one. Give it a spin yourself, it’s brutal.
How would you characterize the album’s style/sound?
Fast, brutal, hardcore.
How did you go about pairing each song with a different beer?
Chris came up with that list himself. All beers he consumed and painstakingly paired with each track with plenty of note taking, research, and scrutiny. If you can get your hands on the whole list, you’ve earned that untapped badge (and yes, that is a thing!).
How would you compare and contrast the metal scene and craft beer scene?
A lot of people in the metal scene drink craft beer. (laughs)
Really though, there is some insane correlation and attraction between the two, like kindred spirits.
How did Tony Foresta, Steve Brooks and Blake Harrison’s guest appearances come about, and what did they add to the album?
We are very fortunate to consider these fine gentleman friends of ours, and we knew we wanted them to be on the album one way or another. The way things worked out really kicked ass. Steve ripped a solo so hard the guitar is still broken!
How did you come to sign with Relapse?
They made a smart business decision.
What are your goals and expectations for the album?
First and foremost hope people dig the record. It’s 21 songs of raging hardcore that hopefully leaves you smiling and pissed off at the same time.
You’re playing the Decibel Metal & Beer Fest in December. Any other show/tour plans?
Absolutely. We’re looking to play more shows (of course), get overseas, and rip it up all over the place!
What led you to start the Hour Of The Barbarian podcast?
That podcast is legitimately what the three of us do before and after practice anyways. Chris had the brilliant idea to add some microphones to the mix.
What have been some of your favorite moments from the podcast?
Chris’ Tina Yothers story and Phil’s Gary Coleman story. Both mind blowing!
What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
Sand, from Japan. Always Sand. Negativ from Norway is insane. Impalers, Waste, Power Trip, Nukkehammer, Zig-Zags.
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Come to Grill ‘Em All in beautiful Alhambra, California for all your burger, vegan burger, french fry and beer needs. Pick up Ancient Brewing Tactics if you’re smart. Listen to Sand. Listen to Hour Of The Barbarian. Have fun. Don’t drink garbage beer. And if you don’t drink, Bravus makes a killer n/a oatmeal stout.
(interview published August 18, 2018)
Watch Trappist – “Victims Of A Bomber Raid” Video