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Dan Trigger (Trigger)

posted 25 Jul 2011, 12:14 by Paul Woodward   [ updated 25 Jul 2011, 12:17 ]
Hi Dan, this is Woody from Midlands Rocks, hope you are well?! Now the band has been around a while, but for those who don’t know who are Trigger? And can you give us a brief history of the band?

Hey, thanks for taking the time to talk to us, very much appreciated! In brief, TRIGGER are an original six-piece melodic rock band based in Bromsgrove, West Midlands, and the band was formed in 2003 by my wife Sally and I.

The very first incarnation of the band was simply a duo, with myself playing guitar and singing, and Sally playing bass guitar with backing vocals, and we performed original songs with pre-recorded drums on a backing track. We did a few support slots in this way, but noticed the audiences generally really liked our songs, which were pretty cheerful – some may say cheesey! – melodic rock pieces at the time.

So we decided to up the anti a bit, and bring in a full line-up of musicians in 2004. This was a highly successful move, and we have since performed sold-out theatre shows, appeared on National radio, been reviewed in Classic Rock and Rhythm magazines, had 2 songs used in films, recorded 4 albums, and played more gigs than you could shake a stick at.

The line-up you see these days has remained pretty much unchanged since 2007, and is still going strong!

How would describe the band’s sound?  I personally find it hard to pigeonhole the band, as some song’s are pure AOR bliss “Alone Tonight” , then some are more modern sounding songs like “Losing My Faith”, an also some songs are quite quirky so it’s hard to pin you guys down?

I like to think of us as fitting under the banner of “stadium rock”, in that all our songs have memorable hook lines and choruses that you can sing along to, or play air guitar to and so on, whether the track is down-tuned heavy rock, or a more commercial song.

I also make a deliberate effort to vary my songwriting these days, so if I write a string of songs in the heavier vein, I then change direction and balance those songs with more melodic pieces, to keep a bit of variation. Otherwise, an endless list of heavy songs would eventually lose their impact, just as a string of softer tracks would eventually sound bland.

And finally, I do have an appreciation for different genres of rock, which influence my songwriting. For example, I would say my favourite style of rock is the classic melodic rock from the likes of Bon Jovi, Europe, Def Leppard, Queen etc, and this influence is apparent in tracks like “Alone Tonight”. But then I also really enjoy bands such as Alter Bridge and Black Stone Cherry, which can lead to songs like “Losing My Faith”.

Is the diversity of the band’s musical output reflected in the song writing, certain members producing certain sounds or styles? What’s the song writing process for Trigger?

Well, I think it would be fair to say that I generally come up with the foundation for most of the songs, but that isn’t always the case. Our guitarist Chris has contributed some outstanding guitar riffs, an example being “Born To Fly” from our Furious Times album.

And in addition, our bassist Rob is a highly proficient songwriter in his own right, but generally writes in a different genre of music to Trigger. Although saying that, Rob has contributed a complete song for album 5 called “One Way Mirror”.

But generally speaking, I will present a demo of a new song to the band, and each member will write and develop their own part for it. The result is a song that has many similarities with my original demo, but is always much improved after the full band have got their hands on it!

Also, there are no set rules for writing either the lyrics or music first. Sometimes, a new guitar riff will be the basis of a new song, sometimes a melody, sometimes even just a song title!

You have released 4 albums to date right? The last been “Furious Times” in 2009, are all the albums still available? And were the self financed releases?

Yes, we have 4 albums, and all were self-financed – in fact, they were all recorded at home! And many months was spent mixing and producing each to make sure we got exactly the big stadium sound we were looking for. The neighbours absolutely love me for this reason!

They are “Call To Arms” (2005), “Fight The Machine” (2006), “Dawn Of A New Knight” (2007) and “Furious Times” (2009). You can download Furious Times by searching iTunes or Amazon for Trigger Furious Times.

The first 3 albums aren’t available to download, for no particular reason other than they represent “early Trigger”. However, I would be happy to send copies out in the post to anyone that contacts me at sdrtrigger@aol.com, and we always have free CDs available at our gigs that include these earlier songs.

Is album number five in the works, and can you give is any info on it? Any song titles and album name?

Album 5 will be called “Infinite Persistence”, which seemed fitting, as I have now been singing and writing for 21 years, and show no signs of stopping!

I guess examples of song titles would be “Promised Land”, “Breathe Again”, “Screaming At The Enemy”, “Rain”, “Synthetic Celebrity”, “Losing My Faith” and “Pendulum”.

Aside from our commercial song “Alone Tonight”, album 5 is shaping up to be a modern and tough sounding album, which blends crushing down-tuned guitars with huge harmonies, anthemic choruses, and of course, screaming! I predict fans of heavy yet melodic rock such as Alter Bridge will love it.

You can hear a few excerpts from “Infinite Persistence” at www.reverbnation.com/triggeruk.

You have a new song called “Synthetic Celebrity”, which is a stab X-factor style competitions (or better known as Karaoke Factor) and the today’s desire for instant fame for fame’s sake! Can you talk us through the song and your standpoint? Personally how can you say something like X-Factor is a talent show, it’s a who's who of who can sing other people’s chart hits the best aka Karaoke!!!!

I have a few grievances with the X Factor, to be honest. Firstly, I don’t feel it truly represents the best singers the UK has to offer. If you take last years winner, Matt I think his name was, I have come across many singers on the amateur gig circuit that have far more singing prowess, but they’re still plugging away in obscurity.

In addition, the X Factor doesn’t offer anything new and original to the music scene, but just regurgitates second rate cover versions of existing songs. And don’t get me started when the X Factor tries to deliver “Rock Night”!

Finally, the contestants on X Factor don’t strike me as being grateful for the opportunity they have been given. The regular reports of bad and generally disrespectful behaviour is a plain insult to original and talented artists that are far more deserving of the exposure they are given.

That’s it – rant over! You can hear our dedication to the X Factor, called “Synthetic Celebrity” at www.reverbnation.com/triggeruk, or search YouTube for ‘Trigger Synthetic Celebrity’ for the video.

You’ve got an upcoming gig supporting Zodiac Mindwarp at The O2 Academy 3 in Birmingham on the 22nd March! Midlands Rocks Jason Guest (review) and Sam Knight (Tog) will be there to catch you in action! Was it hard to land this gig? And how do you find getting gigs in general, I know many bands struggle to get decent support slots or venues to give them a shot of exposure? Do you think your style affects opportunities?

The gig at the O2 came about initially as a result of me emailing the venue asking for a support slot. They didn’t reply straight away, but added me to a mailing list that they contacted each time a support slot became available. I just kept on saying “yes” to any offer of a slot - as many many other bands on the mailing list were doing at the same time - and eventually our number came up in the lottery, and we landed the gig on 22nd March. But I have to stress it took a lot of spamming and a lot of patience!

We’re very lucky in Trigger, as we have a guy that seems to be able to work wonders at delivering gigs. He’s an unsung hero called Alan Hingley, and manages to keep our diary full the whole year round. But I know it consumes most of his life, because venues rarely give out a gig based on the first, second, or even third or fourth phonecall, so again, much patience and persistence is required!

I don’t feel our style restricts us, because although I class Trigger as an original band, our live set includes a large portion of very popular rock covers. This is on purpose, because venues tend to shy away from booking entirely original bands, as they can’t be sure they will keep the punters interested. So our live set is at least a 60-40 split between covers and originals, sometimes more in favour of the covers to keep the bookings coming in, and keep any passers-by interested enough to listen to our originals.

But if it was up to me I’d be playing almost all originals, and as our profile climbs, I’m hoping to move more towards that. There are always CDs of our songs available at every gig we do, so slowly but surely our songs are getting out there!

You play regularly and heavily on the Midlands live circuit; do you have any other upcoming gigs you can tell us about?

Aside from our support slot with Zodiac Mindwarp at the O2 Academy 3 on 22nd March, we’re also playing at the Slade Rooms in Wolverhampton on 4th February, as part of night hosted by Emma Scott (formerly of Kerrang! Radio).

We’re taking part in the national “Live & Unsigned” band competition this year, but I would say the next gig to watch our for is The Red Lion in Wednesfield on Friday 11th February. That’s always been a good gig, one of our favourites!

If anyone would like to add (guitarist) Chris Hingley as a friend on Facebook, or contact us through www.triggerband.co.uk, we will be happy to provide regular updates on our upcoming gigs.

What should we expect from a Trigger Live Show?

Excitement. Energy. Entertainment. Originality. Fist-in-the-air choruses with huge harmonies. Screaming. Leather trousers. Fast guitar playing. Fast air-guitar playing. The most popular rock covers ever written.

We always attack each of gigs with the maximum enthusiasm, and we guarantee you will be entertained and leave with a smile on your face. We blend a generous mix of popular rock classics with our original songs, and play for over 2 hours, so if you’re looking for a great night out – accept no substitute.

Considering how long the band have been together what have been your Highlights and lowlights with the band?

I guess one the lowlights was the era we had to play without Sally for a couple of months, while she had surgery back in 2009. Although we soldiered on, the band doesn’t have the same feel about it when the correct line-up isn’t playing!

And we have the very occasional gig where we play to a crowd that really doesn’t enjoy rock music, and songs from legends such as Led Zeppelin, Queen, Guns N Roses and Bon Jovi are met with silence and blank faces. Sorry, but it really won’t get any better than that!

There are many highlights from the band’s career. We came 3rd in a National Virgin Radio competition to support Bon Jovi, out of several thousand contenders, after creating a piano ballad version of the Jovi classic “Keep The Faith”.

We also sold out the Bromsgrove Artrix Theatre in 2006 (which holds 300 people), and played to an audience of 22,000 (!) at an outdoor fireworks display. I’m personally very proud of all four of our albums, and after years of trying, I finally managed to get an album (Furious Times) available on iTunes.

But perhaps the biggest and most regular highlight for me is hearing an audience show their appreciation for original Trigger songs, as opposed to putting up with them and waiting for the next cover. I’m proud to say that most people have commented that our songs match the quality of the cover songs we play, and our CDs always disappear quickly at the gigs. And that is very satisfying for a songwriter like myself!

What bands and albums are currently getting lots of airplay with the members of Trigger?

Our guitarist Chris is always discovering weird and wonderful little-known bands, and has recently been listening to Taking Dawn and Outloud. And I know he’s a big fan of bands such as Black Sabbath, Whitesnake, Ozzy and Deep Purple.

Sally generally prefers the pop-ier side of music, and would even confess to enjoying a bit of Take That, along with Bon Jovi and Europe.

The band that inspired me to become a rock musician back in 1989 was Europe, a band that not everyone realises have recorded many many more songs than The Final Countdown, and have these days adopted a truly hefty and muscular sound on their album “Last Look At Eden”. Check it out, you won’t be sorry!

Aside from Europe, I have a massive appreciation for Queen and the talents of Freddie Mercury on “A Night At The Opera”, and I will always be able to listen to Bon Jovi’s “New Jersey” until the cows come home.

As far as more current bands and albums go, I thought the solo album from Slash last year was a masterpiece, and I have really got into the might of Alter Bridge, especially as I think Miles Kennedy is a terrific singer!

Anything you would like to add or say to Midlands Rocks readers?

If you enjoy heavy yet melodic stadium rock, you are almost certain to enjoy Trigger!

Keep in touch with us on-line through www.triggerband.co.uk, at sdrtrigger@aol.com, and you can hear songs at www.reverbnation.com/triggeruk and www.myspace.com/triggerrock.

Thanks for reading, hopefully we shall see you soon!

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