Trainfight release slithering single, headline Boggs, give Q&A
Written by Scott Belzer | January 19th, 2024
Upon first hearing Trainfight’s 2024 single, “Matters,” you might think you accidentally put on a desert rock album.
The guitars slither around like a rattlesnake in Sierra Vista. An audible “Hyyuh!” can be heard welcoming the rhythm section, never increasing the pace, but adding a wall of sound to a steady beat. The vocals only add to the established vibe, reminiscent of 90s-era grunge or West Coast stoner rock more than any other underground sound in Atlanta. It wouldn’t be out of place in Athens, Austin, Nashville, or L.A. Groovy? Yes. Steady? Yup. A great promise of things to come from this hard-rockin’ quartet? I sure as hell hope so.
Established in 2012, Trainfight represents a holdout to the stoner-desert-infused grunge sound that dominated radio waves and rock clubs in the ‘90s, where experimentation and melody went hand-in-hand with marketability. And like the bands that came and went in the wake of that sound, Trainfight champions Josh Homme, Brant Bjork, Melvins, Chris Cornell, and others through trudging melodies, brooding vocals, and hammering rhythms—a spaced-out, bluesy ode to what makes rock-n-roll great.
Trainfight’s 2016 EP, Goodbye Forever, showcased this sensibility well. A sense of contemplation can be found in each of the five tracks alongside moody guitars, Vedder-esque vocals, and swelling rhythms. The band’s only other output is the 2018 single “Crawl,” which hints that Trainfight may or may not add a sharper, edgier buzz-saw sound in future work. The vocals, in the same way, seem angrier.
Six years later, with the arrival of “Matters,” we’re finally finding out what the next round looks like.
You can hear it live at Boggs Social & Supply on January 26 with Sonic Speculum, The Enemy Within, & Deceiving Eve. Get tickets now.
I talked with Trainfight guitarist Chad DuBay about how they’ve kept the train fighting(!) for more than a decade.
Pre-save “Matters” by Trainfight here!
Dude! Thanks for taking the time to do this.
- What is Trainfight? How long has this project existed? What is its current incarnation?
Trainfight started in 2012 when I started jamming with our drummer, Nate. We’d pack up our gear and go to open mics just to play. We were jamming on a pretty regular basis for about two years before we finally managed to get Daniel on vocals, and we played our first show in May of 2014. Andrew joined the band pretty recently in 2021.
- What led to “Matters” creation?
“Matters” came from a riff I wrote when we first started jamming as a band, and is what ended up becoming the chorus of the song. The idea was to deconstruct the riff to make the original idea the busiest part of the song. I wanted the original inspiration for a song to be the centerpiece, so when I wrote it, I was setting the tone for it to arrive at the original riff as a destination instead of being the starting point. And the guys in the band are all really good at what they do. Nate understands the drums in a way that’s really refreshing for me because of how I think about percussion as a guitar player. Andrew is a singer/songwriter in his own right and has a deep understanding of songwriting in general that makes him able to pretty effortlessly contribute to the song as a whole. And Daniel is one of the most talented singers I’ve ever heard. Everyone writes their own parts, so by default, Daniel writes the vocals and names the songs. I usually try to feel out a vocal melody based on the guitar, but Daniel always comes up with these cathartic melodies and lyrics that really take the songs to a different place.
- There are elements of grunge, desert rock, and even a little stoner metal in Trainfight’s sound—it’s very ‘90s. What are some of the band’s biggest influences?
The four of us have been inspired by a lot of different music. For me, what I’m listening to and what I’m writing aren’t related at all. A lot of what I write for the band is what’s interesting to me on the guitar at the time. When I first started playing, I was really into music with a lot of technical guitar, but I learned pretty quickly that music isn’t automatically fun to listen to just because it’s difficult to play.
- What albums are on repeat for Trainfight these days?
Daniel: <shutdown.exe> by 3Teeth, The Fragile by Nine Inch Nails, and Tū by Alien Weaponry
Nate: Good News For People Who Love Bad News by Modest Mouse, Purple by Stone Temple Pilots, and Carnavas by Silversun Pickups
Andrew: PEACEMEAL by Ron Gallo, Gon’ Boogaloo by C.W. Stoneking, Get Out the Lotion by Low Cut Connie, Night on Earth by Tom Waits, and the soundtrack for Rushmore
Chad: New American Gospel by Lamb of God, Superunknown by Soundgarden, Houses of The Holy by Led Zeppelin, and Dirt by Alice In Chains
- What’s one thing people can expect from Trainfight’s live show? Is there anything you guys do that other bands simply can’t touch?
We’ve put a lot of time into the dynamic range of our live sound, and I think that shows when you see us play a set.
- You’re into standup. Jokes! Ha! How does being on that stage compare to playing live music? Do you use any jokes for onstage banter?
Music in a band allows you to blend instead of being the center of attention. Standup is the exact opposite. There’s a lot of pressure in performing by yourself, everything is scrutinized in a way that just isn’t possible when you’re performing in a group. I really try to keep the two things separate though, because being taken seriously as a musician is hard enough as it is. I really appreciate the band being just about the music.
- You guys have been an Atlanta band for quite some time (over a decade!). What advice can you offer younger bands?
Write good music, be easy to work with, and always remember to read.
- What does Atlanta offer this particular blend of music? Are there other hard rockin’, Trainfight-esque projects out there that no one knows about?
There’s a lot of talent in Atlanta, and I think all the bands on the bill with us on January 26th are bands you absolutely should check out if you like our music. My friend Jason plays guitar in both Malefic and The Enemy Within, and I’ve seen him do some really wild and creative stuff with the guitar while playing with both bands. Deceiving Eve is a band we’ve been friends with since we started Trainfight, and they obviously know what they’re doing when it comes to writing and recording. And Sonic Speculum is playing right before us, and they just released their debut album last year, which is incredible.
- What other Atlanta bands have you hyped up about music right now?
Insomniac has an album on the way that I’ve been waiting on for over a year. Ben from The Buzzards of Fuzz is always releasing new stuff as Gas Hound, and I’d listen to anything by Adam from The Pinx. I also got to see Void Eater recently and was really impressed, and I think Bleach Garden may be releasing some new stuff this year.
Trainfight celebrate the release of “Matters” on Friday, January 26th at Boggs Social & Supply with performances from Sonic Speculum, The Enemy Within, and Deceiving Eve. Tickets are on sale here.