With their third album ‘Don’t You Feel Amazing?’ arriving today (Friday August 13), Trash Boat frontman Tobi Duncan has spoken to NME about how LGBTQ+ issues and turning away from scenes helped shape the record.
“We’ve never been a band that’s fit neatly into one genre because we just write what we like,” Duncan told NME, “but we were writing songs because we wanted to fit into a scene. We wanted to be considered cool by the bands we were listening to on those first two records.
“Now though we just want to write what makes us feel sexy or angry. We don’t give a fuck about scenes. All of the songs on this new record make us feel a certain type of way which, for marketing purposes, is amazing. It is different but it’s an evolution.”
On the potential accusations of being labelled ‘sell-outs’, the frontman of the UK rockers replied that “it’s better to have 10,000 people commenting on your track and 2000 of them hating it, than only reaching 100 fans and them all loving it. No one’s going to guilt trip us.”
“We’re not moving away from anything. We’re just adding new things to our arsenal,” he added.
As well as being influenced by alt-giants of the 90’s, Duncan revealed how “Yungblud is a massive inspiration on ‘Don’t You Feel Amazing?’,” adding: “The guy just doesn’t give a fuck what people think. I respect that.”
Since they announced the album title, Duncan said that he has had a lot of people commenting that ‘actually I don’t feel amazing, I feel shit’ as fans reveal their mental health struggles. However, the singer told NME that they were just hoping to inspire some self-confidence.
“When I listen to songs like the title track, it makes me feel sexy, strong and like I want to walk in slow motion with doves flying behind me,” he said. “That’s just what the song does, and there are plenty of other tracks that will make people feel the exact same way. We’re providing the type of energy we know people need right now.”
He went on: “I want people to feel confident when they listen to this album. I want them to feel brash. I want them to feel tactically arrogant to get over those self-defeating mental health issues. Just love yourself a little bit. It’s okay to flex on people occasionally, just don’t be a dick about it and don’t make it your whole personality.”
As well as the title track, “a three-minute chunk of do-whatever-you-want”, ‘Don’t You Feel Amazing?’ features the fiery single ‘He’s So Good’ which Duncan told us was “written because it astounds me that there is still a discussion about sexuality and what’s right or wrong”.
“I’m open with my sexuality when asked,” he said. “I’ve never needed to make a statement about being bi-sexual because I wasn’t abused, I wasn’t repressed, and I have a wonderful family – but the song isn’t about me at all. I know I have privilege so I’m just lending my voice to a community and a movement.”
He continued: “I wrote it so people would know that there is a song written about them, that makes them feel heard. In an ideal world, we should all be able to do whatever we want, like write rock music and suck dick. The LGBTQ+ community should just be absorbed into the status quo. Sexuality should never be debated”.
Elsewhere, tracks like the furious ‘Silence is Golden’ and ‘Bad Entertainment’ feat. Wargasm’s Milkie Way’ (described by Duncan as “what The Happy Mondays would sound like if they were pissed off instead of stoned”) tap into an anger that comes “from living in a world that we don’t seem to be able to have an effect on.”
“What can we do to change the insane injustices that happen on a near daily basis?” asked Duncan. “There’s an echelon of human beings that exist in a completely different world from the rest of us, and there’s absolutely no consequences for their actions.
““Those songs are an outcry and an attempt to keep the conversations going. Political issues are so frustrating that it makes everyone angry, but that anger always goes to your neighbour or your peers. Not to where it should go, which is the people in charge.”
It’s a far more direct approach to lyrics than the poetry of 2016 debut ‘Nothing I Write You Can Change What You’ve Been Through’ or 2018’s ‘Crown Shyness’. “I’m very English so I just batten down the hatches and deal with it. I don’t really kick up a fuss,” said Duncan. “But this album is the previous 15 years of fuss I’ve been holding in. I wanted to deliver it in as few words as possible, in a chorus that people will instantly remember”.
Having drawn an impressive crowd at the Download Pilot festival where the new songs felt like an immediate highlight, Duncan revealed that he isn’t surprised by their increasing success but only “wants more”.
“I’m never going to be satisfied,” he said. “We could be bigger than Queen and I’d still want more. It’s been world domination from the start, baby – but it feels a lot more achievable on this record. With our older stuff, I’ve loved it and I always knew that there would be a bunch of people in the scene that loved it as well. Sure, the rest of the world would hate it but that was OK.”
He added: “I don’t have anything to prove, but I’ve got a lot of fun to have”.
Trash Boat’s new album ‘Don’t You Feel Amazing?’ is out now. Their upcoming UK tour dates are below. Visit here for tickets and more information.
20 – Leeds, Stylus
21 – Newcastle, Riverside
23 – Glasgow, Cathouse
24 – Manchester, Rebellion
25 – Nottingham, Rescue Rooms
27 – Birmingham, O2 Academy 2
28 – Southampton, The Loft
29 – London, Electric Ballroom