Interview: Trashed On The Inspirations Behind Their Debut Album ‘Happy in Hindsight’

Jake Longhurst

Jake Longhurst caught up with Jimmy Embleton-Smith, the frontman of Trashed, ahead of the release of their upcoming debut album ‘Happy in Hindsight’.

As soon as Jimmy Embleton-Smith of Trashed logged onto the Zoom call and started chatting, I could tell it was going to be an enjoyable talk. He instantly putting me at ease by asking how my day had been, and striking up a conversation that lasted a good few minutes before I even initiated the ‘official’ interview.

He cut a very laid back character for someone so stressed on the release date of the band’s first single Decay from their upcoming debut album ‘Happy in Hindsight’. Whilst his mic wasn’t working at first, it was soon sorted and then we talked back and forth from our respective rooms, mine in Nottingham and his in Bristol.

I started off my deep and penetrative line of questioning by asking a very subtle and left field question: “What was the inspiration behind the new track and what was your thought process for making it?”. The song itself is a departure from their previous lyrical content which was more straightforward punk in content and was primarily situational, for more emo styled introspection with a very emo twist musically as well.

Jimmy said that at the time of writing, he had been feeling suicidal, not to the point of actively taking his own life but rather letting himself waste away, ergo the title of the track Decay. He noted that it was partly due to not wanting to let people down that he decided not to do anything drastic.

The album, and the writing thereof, was quite cathartic for him and the band

I carried on my questioning by asking about whether the tumultuous events of recent times had caused the general shift from situational to introspective lyrics. Jimmy said that whilst the album as a whole is very introspective mostly due to writing during and after lockdown, Decay was written pre-Covid and was a more personal choice for Jimmy.

The album has apparently been constructed as a concept album, and gradually goes from the melancholy atmosphere of Decay to finishing in a happier place. It takes the lessons the band learnt from the first lockdown and tries to use them to create an ultimately uplifting album. He also mentions that the album, and the writing thereof, was quite cathartic for him and the band, from which I asked him about the general trend of mental health issues, primarily depression, in music and arts and whether there is a lot to be said about how mental health issues are so prevalent.

The best and most powerful songs are all sad

Jimmy responded with a very layered answer, discussing how the best and most powerful songs are all sad, and whilst happy songs are great we all feel happiness from different things in different ways, but we all feel sadness from similar things in similar ways. The tough part for him is that whilst sadness and depression can provide immensely meaningful music, it can be very hard to find the motivation to write when down in a hole mentally, making it a very thin line to walk. He came to the conclusion that the best art generally is made by sad or depressed people, simply due to how well it resonates with such a large number of people.

Twisting rapidly away from that rather morose topic, I then asked about what song he would recommend to a new listener to understand the Trashed sound. He mentioned as a bit of a preface that all of their currently released music very much wears the influences of the band on its sleeves, and so thinks that the upcoming album is going to be a very clearly defined sound for the band.

However, until the album drops, he would recommend their debut single Waste Away, which is an excellent song featuring bleak introspective lyrics packaged up in a more upbeat musical box. He also made sure to say that the album won’t all be what we’re expecting, and that there are a few curveballs to come, which I for one am definitely looking forward to!

Following on, I asked about their upcoming UK tour which begins on May 17th and where they were most looking forward to playing. Almost immediately, Jimmy responded with Bristol, where the band is situated, and spoke about how every show there gets bigger and bigger.

However he quickly sidetracked to talk about Brighton, as the band aren’t based there but have a sizeable following, to the point that Jimmy said it’s “like a second home” which is almost more exciting, as they don’t owe the band anything, and the band are proud to have made a fanbase purely off of the strength of their music and live shows. I also had to mention my regrettable constant mixing up Bristol and Brighton, as the two cities have always been muddled in my head!

We carried on to talk more about the rest of the band’s schedule, with hopes of them getting up north as far as Scotland, which might potentially be happening at the end of August, and definitely hasn’t been booked yet with a support slot sorted already! There might also be further touring around the Midlands and South that might be coinciding with a release at some point, however naturally all of this is purely hearsay. The band have also been announced for FurnaceFest in Swindon this October, which is an excellent hub for the scene at the moment.

Jimmy started off on a small tangent about a concert they played in Swindon which was apparently “the first time [he] felt old at a concert”, with hordes of 16-18 year olds moshing and going mental for them, and even with a few fans singing along.

The band are also playing Lechlade Festival at the end of May, and we had a fun talk about the slight disparity between Trashed opening their set with a massive scream, compared to Alexandra Burke playing the same stage as Trashed, albeit a little later on that day. Ben the drummer and Jimmy are both from the Cotswolds, so the show is very much a hometown show, and if I hadn’t been busy with exams at the time I would be considering a small visit for the Trashed date!

Emo was taken as a joke originally, but is now treated with a bit more respect

We then discussed a completely separate topic, as Jimmy started to interview me! Asking about what I’m studying and where I’m based, where naturally I talked about Nottingham, and my Mechanical Engineering degree, and then about the Nottingham punk scene, where hopefully the band will be making a detour through the city later this year.

Carrying on from the talk about the scene I then asked Jimmy if he thinks this emo revival is temporary, or if it will have more of a lasting impact on music in general. His general thoughts largely went on the basis that emo was taken as a joke originally, but is now treated with a bit more respect, because there are plenty of massive artists that love or play emo, giving it a bit more credibility. Whilst the emo of the mid-2000’s is a different style entirely, he thought that “the spectrum of mainstream music is becoming wider and wider” and allowing for genres like emo to have that growth, due to its innate relatability and authenticity.

Furthering this conversation, I suggested that the amount of crossover emo has been having with varying genres, not just punk or metal but also with indie and rap and pop, will help it lay down some roots to really stick around. We then started to chat about the music that got us into emo, and how it used to be a bit of a joke when we were young, but now the narrative has changed and it’s become a sincere genre that people enjoy because they genuinely like the music- cliches and all.

Jimmy said he isn’t sure how many Trashed fans will react to his love of metal

The live show isn’t for everyone, because it is very heavily reliant on the cliches of the genre, but the emotion and the passion in every show is more impressive than in almost any other genre, as well as including mosh pits too. The conversation flowed, moving towards heavier music and how emo is the gateway not only from lighter music to heavier, but also vice versa, as I myself was exclusively a metalhead for many years, until Slipknot and Bring Me The Horizon opened my ears to the melody inherent in emo, punk, and other music.

The anger in metal is more potent than anywhere else, but there is usually a significant lack of nuance, which emo can provide massively. We both found a massive mutual respect for bands like Pantera and the aforementioned Slipknot and Bring Me The Horizon. Jimmy said he isn’t sure how many Trashed fans will react to his love of metal, to the point that he listens to Slipknot daily!

We finished the interview with a chat about records, more music, and bizarrely club nights, takeaways and drugs, to round off what was not only an excellent talk, but also a genuinely lovely chat with a particularly lovely frontman. I thoroughly recommend the band to anyone, and I can assure you that if you bump into Jimmy he’s well worth talking to.

Jake Longhurst

Featured image courtesy of GLKMedia. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.

In-article images 1, 2 and 3 courtesy of @trashed_official via @instagram.com. No changes were made to these images.

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