Tuesday, 25 October 2011


Sam Baylis may well be a starving artist, but he is not starved of ideas.
Secret Admirer got to know the lead singer of Troumaca a little better after he and his band got legs shuffling and mouths smiling at The Rainbow in Digbeth, Birmingham.

Where does the name Troumaca come from?
Ok, so Troumaca is a town in the Island of St. Vincent, which is in the Grenadines, but it’s actually a Caribbean Island, South Caribbean Island. And it’s where Geoff’s family are from, his mum was born there and then travelled with her mother and siblings to Birmingham. I think, in the sixties. It’s a nice bit of family heritage that we have warmed to, obviously.
So it’s a very personal name.
Yeah, definitely, I think that is what we are trying to do with the project. We wanted to be honest, without sounding contrived, we wanted it to be genuine.
You want people to get involved in it.
Yeah. I think we all, collectively and as individuals, we all want…stuff that we are into, is stuff that is honest. It doesn’t have to be of any specific genre, and not talking just about music. Honesty is kind of like, the thing for us.
So is that why you started the band, to have a platform to get your ideas across?
Yeah, well we were going for like a dubby, tropical…I say trippy, for want of a better word, sound. And then like…
I think your songs are quite uplifting as well, quite anthemic as well as a little bit strange.
I think that’s what we are going…well not what we are going for but that’s what happens. When we write a tune, we find ourselves going, ok, let’s make the chorus lift. Let’s give it that kind of energy. We always seem to write the tunes and they’re all quite vibe-y, kinda chilled out vocally and then by the end we are doing big harmonies, really pushing it. It’s just like…yeah.
It’s a good mix between the two.
Yeah. That, again, is about the connection. We feel that connection when we do it. It’s like, it’s worth doing, especially in the live shows. It’s a tangible experience really, not just sitting in our bedrooms, writing and recording.
Is there anything that specifically inspires your lyrics at all?
I draw on quite a lot of things. But mainly it’s, it’s kind of like, they are love stories. Love and loss. But I try and colour that with like, a lot of imagery. Kind of our own, self-referential myths, trying to create a universe within that, drawing people in, making reference to certain things. I don’t know if people pick up on it. I just want to create a world, like a Troumaca universe or island.
Do you think the visual side of your band is quite important?
Yeah, definitely and I think like, with the name, where…it’s a geographical place, very tropical. And the music from that place, we are into it and it all sort of feeds and it’s thriving off its self. We’ve built this place where we go to make music. But there is actually this physical place, so it’s a kind of fantasy for us, that we are trying to invite people into. Which is our Troumaca.
So, the general concept of what you are trying to do is something that is real but also something that is different, another world.
Yeah, exactly. Other-worldly. With things like warriors, priestesses, hunters populating the land. Breaking each other’s hearts and betraying each other and falling in love. That kind of idea. That’s what we are going for.
Do you feel like you have benefited as a band from being in Birmingham?
Yeah…I think, yeah. The way we are and how we lean towards things, like what we wear and the music we listen to, it’s easy to just pack up and head down to London. I think we made a choice not to do that. And I think it has helped us, yeah.
Do you feel like you are part of a scene in Birmingham at all?
It feels like it yeah, which is fucking cool. There are some bands that are cropping up that we all really like and hopefully they really like us as well. Peace, Cajole Cajole, Corelli, Silver Souvenirs, Swim Deep…it’s nice.
Do you feel like they have similar ideas to you in terms of your music?
I talk a lot with the guys from Peace, they’ve  come from the more House side of things. They’re into like House-ier Dance music. I’d say we are more into like, garage, future garage, dupstep kind of beats. I think you can hear that in the two sounds. Which is interesting, the different approaches. The other guys, I think in terms of the sound, it’s quite different. Everyone has got a different sound.
What’s the best gig you have played so far?
All the Adam & Eve pub shows. They were really good, which we never expected .That’s like anything, you don’t expect to go out then you go out and have the best time of your life. It’s that kind of feeling with The Adam & Eve. We played Bath the other night, which was a fucking random one. Nobody was there and then half way through the set, it was just fucking wild. That was pretty cool. And Leeds, we played Nation Of Shopkeepers, fucking banging in there. Good place man.

Have you got any plans in terms of recording or releasing an album?
We’re releasing a couple of tunes in December. Just for free download. You can go to our website and get some goodies from the website. And yeah, we’ve just been writing a lot. Got quite a few songs knocking about. And a lot of the production we have been doing at home. We’ve worked with a few producers and it’s just not worked. And it just seems to work, as us doing it in a dodgy way. You never expect a band to do it but it just works. So yeah, got something first week of December. So, keep your eyes peeled.
What record label are you releasing it on?
We’re just doing it ourselves through our website MHVH and run it through our own website, the band website. We’re releasing ‘Fire’, a new version of ‘Fire’, the final version. I think it’s the simplicity of it, it’s gotta be the simplicity. It’s a one word chorus. I think the only other person to do that is R.E.M, and their tune is called fire. I think, don’t quote me, I might be wrong but yeah. We are releasing ‘Fire’, ‘Sanctify’, an instrumental, some remixes…just doing like, a bit of a package. All free as well. Just kinda like the spread the word a little bit more.
How long have you been going as a band?
Troumaca has been going for about a year. Just over a year, yeah.
It’s been a productive year, you have done quite a lot.
You have to make that commitment, you have to make that choice in your life. Just fucking go for it. And sacrifice a lot of other things, like a nice place, shit like that. Real jobs, yeah. Getting funny looks when people go ‘so what do you do then?’, I’m in a band, ‘ok’. Getting funny looks for that. ‘Are you signed?’ No, no no.
At this point, a kind gentleman comes over to offer Secret Admirer’s plus one a cheeky drink. She obliges, naturally.
Forgot where I was…yeah! You have to make the sacrifice, lose girlfriends, make up with them. Walk around a lot in fucking knackered trainers. Unless you get free ones. You have to make material sacrifices to supplement and progress with, your art. That’s like any artist.
Do you want to carry on doing it for as long as you can or do you think it’s going to be a set period of time that you are going to do it for?
I think I’ll always carry on. I’d love to carry it on but there does come a time where if you are still fucking paying pennies to get on a bus because you got no money then you have to make a choice at some point. But the romantic in me would do it…I will do it for as long as however. Music is a sanctuary for all of us.


Photography By Jack Parker

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