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Trash Talk are speed and raw energy incarnate. Their prolific output, rapid-fire song times, wide-swathe of associated acts and brutal performances and video clips are testament to both the scene they emerged out of and the all consuming human-tornadoes that are the group’s individual members. Lead singer Lee Spielman perfectly encapsulates the quick burning outsider fury of hardcore punk, a genre they’ve consistently helped revitalise and reinvigorate for the current day. From crossovers with Odd Future (whose label their on), to their current US tour with Ratking, Trash Talk walk their own path in every sense.

True style classics are hard to find. Of course, there are the exceptions that manage to transcend the fickleness of trends and emerge as wardrobe staples that traverse generations and subcultures without losing their allure. The Converse Chuck Taylor All Star is one such staple, a classic sneaker that’s inspired countless individuals for almost a century. Capturing the imagination of creative’s from all walks of life, the humble All Star offers a blank canvas for self-expression. With that in mind, we spoke with six individuals from a wide range of creative disciplines about their journeys, both physically and professionally. 

Lead image by Brick Stowell.

 Hey Lee, it’s been almost exactly a year since the release of No Peace. How are you feeling about the album now that there’s been some time to reflect?

I’m still hyped on it. I really like where we were at with No Peace but I’m also excited to get back in the studio and get some new stuff going.

Last time you spoke with ACCLAIM, you mentioned the importance of taking your time with a project to make sure it’s done correctly. Do you approach all your output with that kind of attitude?

Yeah, all of us do. Whether it be music, the shows we play, our flyers, merch, or anything else that falls under that. I feel that we take our time with all of that stuff just to make sure it comes out the way we envisioned. Once it’s done, we can’t go back and clean it up you know? We try to make sure it gets done right the first time.

How do you balance that idea of punk spontaneity with putting out something that’s conceptually whole? Is it a matter of mindset?

We go on tour a lot. I feel like that’s where we go crazy and whatnot but then when it’s time to make a record, we buckle in. That’s all we focus on. I feel like there are times to get nuts and all that stuff out on the road, but when it’s album time that’s when the strict mindset comes into play.

In 2015, do you think the idea of ‘punk’ as a genre still has significance? Can you be a punk rapper, or a punk producer?

I feel like genres have all been blurred. There’s rappers playing with punk bands, punk bands playing with DJ’s. I love it. It’s making everything as a whole feel like a bigger community. I don’t think one kid should have to stick to a certain genre cause they feel like they have to.

You’ve toured extensively, where has your music taken you that you never expected to go? Do you ever step back and say ‘Wow, is this really happening?’

We went to China a couple months ago and that was surreal. I had no idea what to expect from the shows and they were insane! We went to the Great Wall of China on that trip and I definitely took a step back and thought “What the fuck? How did playing punk music get me to the Great Wall of China?” It’s a beautiful thing.

How much did growing up in California influence your musical progression? There’s such a strong musical history there.

It influenced me a lot. I grew up skateboarding. I feel like the west coast, skateboarding and music all go hand in hand. Some of the first tracks I ever got into were songs that my favorite skaters used in their parts. Growing up in the Bay Area helped a lot as well with so many shows, venues and people like me that found the same outlet.

You’re obviously connected with Odd Future via the label, and you’ve crossed over with some of the VTS graffiti crew, how important is it for you to mix subculture beyond the punk scene?

Just because I like punk doesn’t mean I don’t like other stuff. I grew up painting, skating and just generally fucking around like kids do. I feel like we all try to bring in our other tastes when it comes to what we are doing.

Does that crossover create an exchange of ideas? Do you draw on that? 

Yeah it helps with coming together to make cool stuff happen. Things get boring when they are limited to one specific style.

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Trash Talk