Interview: Bradford Trojan on life, music and the debut record

I truly NEVER know what to expect when I open someone’s music for the first time, regardless of how they describe it in their submission email. Bradford Trojan did not offer much of a description so I just went for it and pressed play. What hit my ears was some of the most refreshingly uplifting tune-age I had had the pleasure if hearing in some time! I knew instantly I had to ask Bradford some questions.

MFL: Where are you from originally and if it is not Tucson, AZ, how did you end up there?

 Bradford Trojan (BT): I am originally from Haddonfield NJ. lived in Philadephia for years and then moved to Tucson 17 years ago when visiting my close friend from high school during summer and I met a girl (still together) and then eventually moved out there soon after that. I really liked the big open skies and the vast landscapes of the Southwest desert. 

MFL: How and when did music become an integral part of your life?

BT: My first memories of how important music was for me was in elementary school carrying around my Fisher Price cassette player/recorder and listening to oldies songs on it. In early high school back in the mid 90’s my friends and I began playing music. Taking guitar lessons opened me up to learning songs and it was really exciting. Eventually, discovering punk rock felt so freeing and playing that kind of music felt like a great energetic release. I began writing my own songs and playing in a plethora of groups over the past couple decades. 

MFL: Given the pandemic situation, where has that left you with the release of Meanwhile? How are you adapting?

BT: Well, it’s funny because Scott and myself had all these plans to do a record release show in Tucson and possibly elsewhere. We had the album pretty much finished before Dr. Dog left for tour in February. When they got back the pandemic hit and didn’t know how long it would last. We started taking the steps toward post production and by the time it was completely done we were like “let’s just release it!”  Hopefully one day we’ll do a release show. I feel like some people are giving their attention more to music and the arts during the pandemic so i was happy to get it out to the world to hear. For myself, it is just a new way of interacting in the world: wearing masks everywhere and not getting too close to friends. Been trying to spend as much time outside as possible.

MFL: Along those lines, what are a few things you are extremely grateful for during this time?

BT: I am very grateful to have a caring partner and wonderful little 2 year old. Also, being able to take this much time off and have the resources to do so I am very fortunate. I feel much closer to my friends and family. 

MFL: I love how whimsical and upbeat the press release description and description on the Bradford Trojan Bandcamp are for Meanwhile. The record itself is a gulp of something truly refreshing! Why is that and what was your intention with the record?

BT: Thanks! I got to give credit to Scott and his wife Leann for the description. They wrote it for the cassette release on their  label “Press On Records” and I love it!  I think that getting together with an old friend to create this album was at the heart of the magic. There wasn’t any pressure to do it or deadlines to meet. And it was something that was purely fun to do. I was fairly detached from the end result and that also informed it not being too overthought at any point.  With that in mind, we were also very intentional about the themes on the album as well as the sonic sounds that are present. 

MFL: What is your history with Scott McMicken and how did it morph into the writing, recording and release of Meanwhile?

BT: We have known each other since I met him in college back in 98′ at West Chester University in PA. I loved the punk band he was playing in at the time, “Unleash the Bastards” and befriended the whole crew and eventually they invited me to join the group. During those formative years from 1998 to 2003 we were all playing in various groups together and sharing members and ideas and songs. Scott and I recorded songs together over those years and i would perform some that he wrote that fit my group at the time “Bradford Trojan and Traffic Jam.” When he moved to Tucson a few years back it was great to reconnect musically. I have a very straightforward pop sentiment and he brings some edgier sounds to the table which i feel like makes for some great blends of the tunes. We naturally fell into making this album and it always felt really fun to create it together.  He is truly a prolific songwriter and producer.

MFL: What was the first track that came to you from Meanwhile? Did it send you on a trajectory for Meanwhile?

 BT: “Heavens Only Know” was the first track we did together. The album was 3 years in the making and i think in the beginning it was kind of like, “let’s just write and record music again together since it had been so long since we both lived in the same place.”  After a couple songs in we were on a loose path to doing an album.  That path meandered only because of Scott touring and recording with Dr. Dog and me having a kid and my newer found acting career, but being in the same city allowed us to meet up and jump back in when we had stretches of time open.  When we wrote the title track “Meanwhile” that’s when it became more clear on what we were creating. 

MFL: Finally, albums or tracks on repeat for you in 2020 so far….GO!

BT: One of my continually favorite artists of recent years is Michael Nau. His last studio album from 2019 Less Ready to Go is just great. Coincidentally Scott produced it. I love all of Michael’s solo efforts. One of my buds released this smooth nugget this year: Sloppy Joe and the Cruise “Keep On Cruisin'” it is a whole world of fun. and the story of what it is is just as pleasing!my summer track has been F.R. David “Words” ; not sure how i never heard this before.

Major thank you to Bradford for reaching out to me in the first place and for taking the time to ponder my musical questions! You can find the debut record, Meanwhile, on Bandcamp only!

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