Troup brings raw, authentic rock to the USU
The British invasion has hit Cal State Long Beach, and it comes in the form of the band Troup. This but Los Angles based band played at the University Student Union’s weekly Noontime concert, and despite the disappointing crowd this band gave an outstanding performance.
The band’s, Alex Troup (lead vocals, guitar), Evan Beigel (keyboard), Claudio Tristano (lead guitar), Graham Roby (drums) and Darren Thomas McGuire (bass), music is a combination of a classic rock sound with folk style lyrics about lost loves and leaving old lives behind for new adventures.
The band opened with “Mickey Mouse Teeth.” Based on the title this song seemed like it would be a pop tune with little to offer, but the song itself proved that wrong. The main guitar riffs came from the acoustic guitar, and the electric guitar sporadically came in and filled out the sound helping to balance the music. It was authentic and raw at some point and then, when the electric guitar comes in, there is a polished sound that helps round it out. This is true for must of the songs they played.
The band played a rough and rock-worthy cover of the Beatles hit “Don’t Let Me Down” that brought the small crowd to life. People sang along and students walking by stopped and listened.
But before the band played the Noontime concert they sat down with the Daily 49er to discuss their goals, inspirations and their guilty music pleasures.
Q: How did you guys come together as a band?
Alex: Originally it started out as Evan and me and we started playing together and we hit sort of a purple patch (a blossoming period of creativity). We had some good songs, and realized we could make a record. Evan had a studio, I had a little time on my hands and so we wanted to get on with it while things were going well. As we finished the project and wanted to start going out with it. We wanted to form a real band, rather than being 2 people fronting a bunch of hired hands.
Graham: I was playing with a few bands at the time. And Alex sent me the record, I had known him for a while, and he wanted to see if I would join them and what I thought about the record.
Alex: Then we picked up Claudio and Darren here in LA just from watching bands around town, the little music scene that LA has. I suppose we poached them.
Darren: Claudio and I had never played together before, we were in different bands here in LA, but because it is such a small community we had run into each other before. So then it just developed from there.
Q: How long have you been together as the whole band?
Alex and Evan: Not that long actually, about a year.
Q: What are you looking to accomplish as a band?
Alex: Immediately, we want to go on tour, sell records, make more good records, but this record is still relatively new so we want to go out and promote this one. We all want to tour and have a measure of success. Unfortunately, sales are a difficult thing to measure success upon nowadays, because nobody buys CDs anymore. We want to play festivals and make great records. That’s what we want to do.
Q: What is your inspiration for your songs and your sound?
Alex: Personally, I like the classic rock bands: Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Ramones. I suppose I am rooted in late 60s to 70s classic rock, you know, Neil Young and Bob Dylan. I guess seeing them as a kid it inspires you to want to do something similar, or at least try to write great songs and make great records like that.
Claudio: I definitely like classic rock bands from the 70′s. But, I am more on the blues side of it. I really like the blues, so I try to translate what I learn from blues into what I do in this band. It obviously doesn’t sound like traditional blues, but it works. I also like to listen to modern bands, and see what they come up with.
Evan: For me: British classic rock. Pink Floyd is definitely my favorite band and my biggest influences. I love modern bands too though, because I love the modern technology they use. For example, Radio Head, I love that they use modern technology to change the way they do things and write their songs. And I like how that is becoming more popular, I think that is amazing for music. I love what we as a band do also; I love how Alex writes his songs. They are rooted in classic rock but have a modern twist to them. And his lyrics are great; he is probably one of the best lyricists I have ever met in my life.
Q: Do you guys have any guilty pleasures music wise?
Graham: I was a bit of a metal head in my teens. I used to like Destiny’s Child for a while, also.
Evan: Mine is this band called Keane. They know how to bring the cheese. They bring the cheese like no other band in a long time has.
Darren: I had a moment in the car the other day; where I found myself leg drumming to a Taylor Swift song. I just thought she sounded like John Mayer with a girl’s voice. I do like John Mayer, also.
Claudio: I think mine would be John Mayer, too. Actually, there have been some dub step songs that I have liked, also.
Alex: I like House music, like when I am in the clubs. The classic “Ibiza life” house music, you know.
Q: Are there any successful modern bands/artists that you look towards for inspiration?
Alex: There are definitely a lot of great bands of recent times that you can’t help but identify with, and who inspire you. I think the Killers are the last major band with a great presence that I like a lot.
Darren: Even though they have been around for a while, I like the Foo Fighters. The way they just do everything. They have a sound that they know they can go to that is going to work, but still they do different things with their sound from album to album. They have just been going and going forever.
Q: If you weren’t musicians what would you be?
Alex: Someone who sits at the bar and drinks all day. No I’m kidding. I mean I would like to be a professional soccer player. But in reality I would probably just be a waiter.
Claudio: Actually the same thing for me. I am Italian, so soccer is big for me. Or I would like to be a painter. I really like drawing.
Graham: You know as a kid I always wanted to be a soccer player like the boys, but as an adult I got into wine in a big way, not just drinking it. So I guess I would want to be a wine maker or own a string of wine bars perhaps.
Darren: Let’s see. There was one time as a kid where being a professional baseball player was a pipe dream, but I don’t know. I would like to do something in science, or be a history teacher. Something that involves traveling would be cool, also.
Evan: I have a lot of other interests besides music. Teaching is something I really enjoy doing so that would probably be the second thing that would come up. I wanted to be a marine biologist for a time.
Q:When you first heard one of your songs on the radio, where were you and what was your reaction?
Alex: In the UK there are so few stations that if you know which DJ is going to play your song, then you can sort of engineer a spontaneous listening experience. But over here it is not so easy; LA has so many stations. I did manage to have a spontaneous KCN experience. I think it was the song “Some Lie.” It was a great thrill. You can’t describe the feeling you get. You want to call your mother obviously and play it for her on the phone.
Darren: Actually, the first time I remember hearing us on the radio was one day when we were having rehearsal, we went out to the car for a moment and heard our song on KCRW.
Evan: It is a feeling of accomplishment for sure.
Q: If you could choose a word or phrase that would represent your band out in the music and social media world, what would it be?
Evan: I just think of the concept and the music we are playing. “Last Chance for Romance”, the title of the last album, pretty much speaks for what we are doing. It just sends a really nice message. For now, that would be it.
Troup’s debut album tilted “Last Chance for Romance” is available for download on Amazon. For show dated and more information visit www.troupband.com.