No Trigger
by Interviews

No Trigger performed on Saturday September 17 at Riot Fest in Chicago. Earlier this year, the band released Dr. AlbumThis release marks the Massachusetts band’s first full length release since 2012. Punknews staffer Jason Baygood had the chance to chat with vocalist Tom Rheault and guitarist Jon Strader following their performance.

I wanted to start this out by keeping this brief and conversational. First off, you had a great set. It was very exciting and also great to see so many people show up early for your set. (NOTE: No Trigger performed first on the Rebel stage at 1:00PM) Tom: Yeah, it was sick. So great to see. I think it was a ten out of ten No Trigger set. We had a lovely time. We felt we did well and sounded good.

I have been to enough of these Riot Fest shows to be able to say this. I have never seen a punk band at this event get this type of response. Especially, so early in the day. Let’s rewind the tape a bit. Your last album was in 2012 (Tycoon on No Sleep Records). What have you guys been doing for ten years? Tom: We have been putting out EPs and touring internationally every year.

Jon: We like to stay active. We tour Australia, Japan and South America. We stay active but not exactly operating full time. We like to call ourselves “Vacation Core.” We have the ability to tour. We are big enough to do it when we want. When the pandemic hit, we worked on Dr. Album. We broke down the old No Trigger and built up something new. We are doing it for real now. We can do shows like this and people are behind what we do.

So, its interesting you say that about the “new” No Trigger. I was going to bring this up later, but I will bring it up now. It was a completely different sound for you guys when I first heard the “Acid Lord” EP earlier this year. Was it intentional to give something new to the No Trigger audience? Tom: There is a lot of everyone’s individual contributions on this record. Everyone in the band recorded instruments on the recording. We did it like a big orgy of whatever.

Jon: We’ve never done it that way before either. It was not intentional to be No Trigger’s new sound. What you are hearing is everyone’s individual creativity. It came out more cohesive and became our new sound. The process was wild too. We recorded over 19 songs in Michigan during 2020. We recorded with our drummer John’s brother Nick who is with him in the band the Swellers. We took these tracks home and did the vocals in Massachusetts. We had a lot of ears on the songs.

When I first heard the EP, my first thought was “Wow, this is a very well produced sounding recording.” It has your classic sound but still sounds very contemporary. I talk with a lot of bands about this. These days bands don’t rely solely on record sales anymore and make more off of downloads. Does that change on the recording industry impact your change in sound or was it more natural. Jon: It was definitely more natural. You need to think we have been playing music with each other since we were teenagers. We have been through it all. Look at our full lengths: 2006, 2012 and 2022. A lot has happened between then.

Tom: We all do different things now. I am 40 years old now and listen to the Grateful Dead. It’s what I listen to and it’s awesome. When you listen to Dr. Album you go, “Tom listens to the Grateful Dead.”

Look at festivals like Riot Fest. I am from Chicago and have seen this fest grow from small clubs with bands like Misfits and Germs and local bands like Naked Raygun and Methadones. Now, bands like Slipknot and Machine Gun Kelly are playing festivals like this as well. Last year, Body Count was here. This allows fans to see bands you otherwise would not see. That’s awesome. Even Coolio is here. We got to see Body Count even before Ice T was known for being on TV.

I was curious how your song “Brainwashed” would go over. It has deep meaning though is presented with humor. It was great to see the crowd relate to the song and lyrics. Tom: It’s great that you picked up on that because I did as well. This is the best response to the new music yet.

Talking about shows, what are the future plans now that the album is out? Any tour plans? Jon: We just did three weeks in Europe. We played all the big festivals there, such as Punk Rock Holiday and Hell’s Bells. Moving forward, we did this festival and we have another festival coming up in our hometown, Punk in Drublic with Descendents and NOFX. Then we have another show in Brooklyn on September 30 with Lawrence Arms. And then finally, we are doing FEST. It’s festival season baby!

I know a few months back you came through Chicago as well to play with Bollweevils at Reggie’s It’s fantastic that you are on Red Scare as that has opened a lot of opportunities for you. Not just that they are from Chicago but that they will take care of your band. Tom: We’re going back to Reggie’s tomorrow night to play with FEAR. We are playing Chicago three times in 2022!

Anything else you want to let the folks know? Tom: Just listen to Dr. Album, as we feel there’s something for everyone on the album. We are very proud of it. I have never been in an interview situation where I am like, “listen to our stuff,” but now I am doing it. You gotta listen to it and then hopefully you will understand what we are doing.