Poor Traits - Sound In The Signals Interview

I recently had the opportunity to interview Alex of Poor Traits. We discussed the writing and recording process behind the band’s first new song in four years, “Stay Up”, how they have evolved as people and musicians since then, what they hope listeners take away from “Psychiatric Ward”, how they’re working on an upcoming EP during the pandemic, and more. Check it out below.

First, thanks for the interview.

It’s my pleasure!

You released your first song in four years, “Stay Up” last year. What was the writing and recording process like for the song?

Poor Traits had been on hiatus for a while with no plans of getting back together but we remained friends. Taylor (guitarist) and I got together to hang out and write one day and came up with the bones of “Stay Up”. A few months later we all decided we should get together, hang out and jam our old songs for the fun of it. Eric (previous drummer) lives on a beautiful farm out in rural Surrey and he has a jam space in the loft of an old barn on the property. We had a couple beers in the sun and when Taylor and I showed them what we’d written so far for “Stay Up”, Eric and Kyle joined in and the song finished itself just like that. The process was easy and free, kind of similar to how the song itself feels.

Why did you choose “Stay Up” to be the first song you released in four years? Why did you decide that was the right time to release new music? 

None of us had much going on musically and we really liked the song. So we just went for it!

I really like the song. Were you pleased with the response it received from listeners? What was it like reuniting and putting out a new song? 

We were really happy to be putting out a new song! It felt great to reunite. We were excited. I think all of us felt we’d evolved as people and musicians and it was exciting to share that growth. 

Since then you released “Psychiatric Ward”, which you’ve said is “about confusion, inner conflict, gaslighting and codependency in toxic relationships”. Tell us more about writing this song and what you hope listeners take away from the song. 

“Psychiatric Ward” was another song that wrote itself. Although the final track wasn’t complete until 2020, It was actually written in 2015. The band was jamming in our old rehearsal space out in White Rock, BC. Kyle started playing a bass riff, I started singing overtop, Taylor and Eric joined in and that was it.

I don’t think I even really grasped the weight of what I was saying when I first sang the lyrics, but I know I meant every word. I was really missing someone when we wrote this song. 

This song is for people who have ever been in love with someone who didn’t reciprocate those feelings. For people who have been in a toxic relationship and felt powerless. For people who feel like they’re losing their own sense of identity and grip on reality in a relationship. Another element of this song is “gaslighting” - if you haven’t heard this term before, look it up. “Psychiatric Ward” is a sad song. It comes from a very dark, desperate, and frankly, unhealthy place. I’m lucky to have navigated my way out of that place since. 

I read that you’re working on new music. How far along are you in the process with new songs? What can fans expect? 

It can be difficult during lock down to connect, write and record as a band. We all have our own lives going on and our health (mental and physical) comes first. But writing remotely and sending each other ideas is an incredible way to do it. We’ve been working on an EP for the past few months.

When do you think fans can expect to hear more new songs? 

I’d say 2021 is looking good but I can’t make any promises on dates. ;)

Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions. Do you have anything else that you would like to add?

Thank you so much for listening to our music! We appreciate you and hope you’re staying safe out there. 

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