A pleasure to talk to Kris, one of the old members of TRAUMA, an American band playing great Classic Metal that was born in the 80s and was very much acclaimed with the release of their debut album “Scratch and Scream”. After many years they are back and their third album “As The World Dies” improves hugely their second chapter and I can sincerely say that it’s up to their legacy from the 80s.
Hello Kris, Trauma was born in California ’s Bay Area in 1980, how has that influenced your music?
We were one of the many bands involved in the “Scene” back then. In those days the Top Heavy bands were Priest, Sabbath, Zeppelin, Maiden, and many others so that is what we listened to.
“Scratch and Scream” is still an album worth listen to after 30 years and a classic on its own right
Yes, Many people do think so. It is an honor to have an album that you played on to have this status. I don’t listen to it very often but when i do, i laugh at how we recorded it.. I did all the drum tracks in 1 night. Literally from like 10PM till 7AM.
Haha lovely crazy times… Trauma’s first recorded appearance was as part of the compilation series by Metal Blade Records in 1982, what memories do you have of that time?
That was a long time ago. Many bands were just starting out including Trauma.
Maybe some people don’t know it but Cliff Burton was your bassist before he left the group to join Metallica, how did you feel with that move?
We were happy for him.
There is a big gap between that first album and your second one Rapture and Wrath in 2015, what happened in the middle?
The band broke up.. We all did many other things during this time. I lost touch with Don Hillier and the rest of the members for many years. I lived in Los Angeles during the 80’s.I got involved with some session work, auditioned for Ozzy Osbourne, played on 4 different albums from St Elmos Fire band toured, then in the early 90’s i played in a band called THREAT with Mark Kohler from Krokus based in Switzerland, played shows through Europe, put a band Mechanizm together in San Francisco and we had the privilege to play a couple shows with DIO and many many other things which led to the resurrection of TRAUMA back from the dead….
Quite a curriculum. When and how did you decide to resurrect the project and come back with a new album?
This was 2013 when Mike Varney owner of Shrapnel records wanted to re issue Scratch and Scream. We had many people in and out of the band since the original lineup logistically could not commit to doing it.
After 3 decades we still find two old members in the lineup (you and Don), but the other guys companying you are not mere puppets, how did you get them onboard?
We got Steve Robello onboard, He knew someone who recommended Joe Fraulob. Joe knew of the band and really liked Scratch and Scream so we jammed and it was mutual, Then Greg Christian was available which took a bit of work. We had a couple sit down meetings with him before we even played a note. Then the time came that we jammed, and the rest is history. Trauma now has the lineup to support the music past and present to the audience’s of the world.
“As The World Dies” is the follow-up to your second album, it’s curious that you have released more songs in four years than in 30, is it easier now than before?
The band broke up and me and Don would think about maybe someday we would do it again but there had to be a reason to do so. Recording is basically the same process except everything is all digital now. We also own our own recording studio and have access to a couple others as well.
How long had you worked on “Rapture and Wrath” and how was the composition process?
That album was our departed guitarist Kurt Fry’s vision.We all pounded on those tunes for a long time before we went in and recorded them. I felt that the album wasn’t good enough because it wasn’t a great representation of the Trauma. However Trauma was gone for so long that we had to start from somewhere. I was happy that we didn’t get thrown under the bus to bad with it..
The tracks on “As The World Dies” are classic but still have a modern edge
We wanted to make an album of where the band is now. I think we captured this. Best of both worlds as you will…
First thing that called our attention on the first listening was that Donny Hillier still has a powerful and versatile voice
Donny Hillier is a very powerful vocalist. He hasn’t received his due reward as of yet. He deserves to.With any luck he will gain his name in the circles of the “Greats”. He is a great guy to match. Very non ego just like all in the band. No point…
“As The World Dies” is a collection of songs basically oriented to US power and heavy metal, but still with some bites of speed, thrash and even rock
That is a good remark. Yes that is accurate.
Any especial song for you in the album?
Im not partial to one favorite track. I like them all in their own element. Some i like better than others.
The title of the album together with the cover seems to deliver a very apocalyptic message… What are the lyrics about? And how do you see the world, muscally and not musically, nowadays?
Well, its how we envision where the World is going. In our thoughts this is true… Joe Fraulob and Steve Robello scuba dive and had said many spots where they used to venture to are disappearing from the face of the Earth.I had traveled to Australia on holiday and can say the Great Barrier reef is dying out. Not to mention everything on land. We have politicians in the US that don’t give a FUCK about the environment or the planet only profits.What difference are profits gonna make when there is nothing left of our planet. I could go on and on but I will stop here….As The World Dies is our current view on things….its REAL!
Unfortunately, yeah fucking real. Any tour programmed to promote your new album?
YES. We are touring with Grim Reaper as support in April 2019, in Germany, Italy, Belgium and Slovenia.
Awesome news! Thanks for your attention Kris! And congratulations for your new album, if you wish to add something…
Thank you so much for the interest in Trauma and sending your questions over. We hope to play in your country soon as well. Thanks from everyone from the band!!!! Kris Gustofson Drums