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Thursday, May 6, 2021

Shimmering stars

If you walk into the house belonging to Zack Moses, Ian MacPhee and Brodie Cole, you immediately know the kind of people who live there: musicians.                  

The living room has been converted into a permanent practice area for their band, Shimmertraps. Amps, a drum kit, microphones and keyboards litter the small space.

“It’s way more productive, being able to practice here and leave our stuff set up all the time,” guitarist Cole said.

“We really want to make sure that from day one, the visuals are not an afterthought. It’s almost like another instrument entirely.”

Brodie Cole

The room is dimly lit despite the sunshine outside. It suits the psychedelic, downtempo sounds that float into the garage, where there’s a half-finished painting of a woman’s face and guitar necks on the walls.

They adopted a more dreamy, jazzy vibe, taking inspiration from bands like El Ten Eleven, Beach House and Tame Impala.

The name of the band, Moses said, came from a song by the Arctic Monkeys, “The Blonde-O-Sonic Shimmer Trap.” Though he’s never been able to figure out what it means, it stuck with him.

Kyle Trostad-Menne and drummer/singer Moses started out as The Cleos in 2013. That band  was a little more upbeat and garage pop-punk oriented, with driving drum beats, Trostad-Menne said.

Shimmertraps based their name off a song by the Arctic Monkey. // Photo courtesy of Shimmertraps

That project fell apart, and the duo began to write music by themselves, changing their name to Shimmertraps. They released an album, “Zap,” as guitarist Macphee joined the band. MacPhee helped with some of the instrumentals for the album, but most of it was recorded by the original two members.

It took the band a year to find their two newest members, Cole and synth-player Justin Kippling, Moses said.

“We went through a lot of people, we tried out maybe 15 people, and we felt kind of bad,” Trostad-Menne said. “But we were going for something really specific, so we didn’t want to settle.”

They clicked right away, as musicians and people, Moses said.

Moses said design and visual arts served as a bonding point for the band and its two newest members. He said they share his obsession with album covers.

In fact, Moses said looking at the album covers of his dad’s record collection are what got him into music at first.

“[The visuals] were the first thing that hit me,” Moses said. “When I go to record stores, if I see a cool album cover and if I have the cash, I’ll buy it without listening to it.”

The visual aspect is equally as important to Shimmertraps as the music is, Cole said.

“We really want to make sure that from day one, the visuals are not an afterthought,” Cole said. “It’s almost like another instrument entirely.”

They said there will be live graphics accompanying them on stage for live performances, as well as lighting effects.

Along with visuals, the band has bonded over getting drinks and occasionally playing “Street Fighter,” Trostad-Menne said. Trostad-Menne also lives with Cole, MacPhee and Moses, where their entire setup is always ready to go.

“I don’t even really like the song to be honest, but it had a cool name,” Moses said.

Looking forward, Shimmertraps have a show booked in August at The Shakedown, and are scheduled to play a show in Portland.



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