Over the past 20 years, the amount of space technology has taken up in our everyday lives has grown immensely.
Cell phones have become handheld information hub centers, computer programs can do anything from studying viruses to streaming podcasts, and even some cars come with their own WiFi network.
While the convenience that comes with this progression has surely made our lives easier, the boundaries are becoming blurred and our limits are hard to see. This can put some scary, apocalyptic thoughts in one’s head, and as a reaction to it, the Boston hard rock power trio Luxury Deathtrap unveiled the single “Technogrip” on Feb. 26.
The band has local ties to the area due to guitarist, vocalist and principal songwriter Nick McGowan being from Warwick.
McGowan and I recently had a talk about him becoming a teacher, growing from an acoustic duo to a full-fledged band, the theme behind the single and a live EP that’s on the way.
ROB DUGUAY: You’re currently based in Boston, where you went to grad school. Which university did you go to for your graduate studies, and what drew you to moving there from Warwick?
NICK MCGOWAN: I went to Emmanuel College for my master’s degree in education. I ended up staying in Boston afterwards because I got a job as a teacher. I decided when I was an undergrad that I was going to go from studio art to teaching, and it happened in an organic way. I did go to the University of Rhode Island for my bachelor’s in art and I played in bands the whole time. I did music as a side thing and then I got the opportunity to teach. I really liked it, so I decided to pursue it as a career.
RD: Luxury Deathtrap started out as an acoustic duo, but now it’s a full-on rock trio with you on guitar and vocals, Amanda Stahle on bass and Eric Hochwald on drums. How did you go about crafting this current amplified sound the band has? Have any bands played a major influence on Luxury Deathtrap’s music?
NM: We knew that we wanted a big, heavy, ’90s rock sound, and the acoustic duo was sort of a way to hash out the songs. I started playing bass and then I started playing the bass like a guitar, and then I figured I’d buy one, so I bought an acoustic guitar. I then wrote the songs on it and then I had another guy who played acoustic join me for some open mic nights around Boston and Providence as an acoustic duo. Then I figured that these songs would be better served in more of a rock trio, a la Nirvana and bands like Failure that have a big power chord and crunchy sound. That’s how it happened.
RD: “Technogrip” has a theme that centers around a futuristic dystopian society where technology has become infused into man. What influenced this concept behind the single? Are you a big fan of films like “The Terminator” and “Blade Runner,” and did they play a part in the vision behind it?
NM: Absolutely, I’m a huge fan of “The Terminator” and I don’t think we’re that far away from science fiction anymore. I think James Cameron has become a real visionary and I think eventually Facebook and Google are going to eventually merge to form something similar to Skynet, but that’s a whole other topic. I had written the riff for it a while ago and I had the opening line, “Baby’s got a microchip and it’s too late to cut the cord,” that really set the stage for the theme of the song. We’ve been sort of forced into using technology a lot more due to COVID-19, and I think it’s an appropriate time to develop the single and craft the lyrics around a future dystopian society that’s dependent too much on technology. I feel that we’re on a slippery slope with how much tech has been infused in our lives and becoming one our synapses, that’s where I see it going and it turns into this whole sinister type of plot where surveillance comes into play and the microchip becomes a tracking device.
RD: This vision of technology and humanity joining together has actually been pushed by Elon Musk a lot, with him claiming that a microchip implanted in someone’s brain can cure paralysis, blindness or other things. You just alluded to it, but what are your feelings on this? Does it freak you out at all?
NM: It freaks me out immensely because anything that doesn’t belong in the body shouldn’t be in the body, I don’t care whose idea it is. If it’s Bill Gates or it’s Elon Musk, even if it’s for medical advancement, I think that it’s a slippery slope where it becomes more and more common and these things come with a whole other ethical issue as far as privacy goes. We need the ability to disconnect from technology, and that’s not going to be possible if it becomes ingrained in our body. We all need the ability to disconnect from it and I don’t see that ever happening if these implants become commonplace. I think it’s a bad idea and unfortunately, I don’t know if I’m just a pessimist or I watch too many movies, but I don’t see it as a good thing.
It’s a scary thing, it’s a foreign object in your body. Not like a metal plate but it’s something that can send and receive information which people can potentially hack into if it has a network associated with it. It’s open to malicious intent, which is why it’s a bad idea.
RD: Can we expect a full-length album or EP to follow up the single?
NM: We want to have this one as a one-off single and in the future we’re looking to do a live EP, which is our next project. These are songs that have already been recorded but not live, so that’s where we’re at.