The band, which played its first-ever live set at The Pyramid Scheme in late October, strives to get people dancing and ‘get down to a disco beat.’ The Local Spins Artist Spotlight.
SCROLL DOWN TO LISTEN TO THE TRAUNA SINGLE, “TALK TO ME”
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For eclectic indie-pop duo Trauna, it’s a musical mission that began in a Grand Rapids basement during the 2020 COVID quarantine — inspired while listening to another pop-propelled couple, Tennis, known for their swooning, 1950s-hued style.
Headed by Liz Freel and Connor Robertson, who not only share love for one another but also for psychedelic dance music and retro feels, Trauna has evolved into something that cannot be pigeonholed and really has only one goal: to get people to “shake their ass all over the world.”
“I think one thing that me and Liz are trying really hard with Trauna to do is to not restrict ourselves to a certain kind of style or sound. I personally have a lot of musical inspirations that are very, very vast,” said Robertson, who also a member of the national touring act Michigander and Grand Rapids-based alt-rock band Leland Blue.
“Those things wouldn’t fit into what Leland Blue is trying to do creatively, so I really focus on making all the projects that I’m a part of be their own thing. Trauna, definitely, is its own thing. I can hone in on different musical inspirations and musical ideas with Trauna that I couldn’t explore in Leland Blue or Michigander. It’s awesome, I love it.”
Added Freel: “I feel like the direction we are headed is like, ‘How can we make people move?’”
The duo did just that at The Pyramid Scheme in late October, playing their first-ever live set while sharing the bill with Michigander and West Michigan acts Dawning and The Fever Haze.
With an already-pumped-up crowd cheering in anticipation, Freel confidently shimmied onto the stage in a purple fringe jacket and launched into Trauna’s debut single, “Feel a Little.” The audience danced, took videos and otherwise encouraged the new band which oozed an undeniable chemistry throughout its performance.
“This is the scariest thing I’ve ever done in my life and I love it,” Freel told fans.
The crowd even sang along to the chorus of the duo’s latest single, “Talk To Me,” to close out the set, with Robertson and Freel making a choreographed exit amid resounding applause.
EXCITED ABOUT ADDING A FEMALE-FRONTED BAND TO WEST MICHIGAN’S SCENE
Trauna so far has released three singles, all recorded and produced by Robertson. And for a band that only recently played its first live show, Trauna has gained sizable traction on streaming services. “Talk to Me” earned a spot on Spotify’s “Fresh Finds: Pop” playlist.
“That one was super helpful,” Freel said. “When we got off that one we definitely noticed. I think finally performing the songs live will be the next step in getting new listeners.”
Said Robertson: “I think streaming numbers are very cool to look at and it’s really affirming when you get on a playlist like that, but nothing beats being in front of a live audience and making real fans that way.”
The pair takes inspiration from too many artists to count, but much like the band Blondie, they don’t want to limit themselves and always come up with new sounds that resonate with fans.
They’re also excited about adding another female-fronted band to Grand Rapids’ scene, expecially when it comes to indie music.
“Liz’s personality is just so big and so amazing. It’s going to be so cool to have a female-fronted band with this much personality in Grand Rapids,” Robertson said. “It’s going to be cool.”
Freel noted that Trauna already has gotten support from other artists. “The people in the scene who have been there supporting us are people I know very well. So bands like Dawning, Leland Blue, Michigander — they’re like a bunch of brothers to me or something. They’re the people who have been there since I started doing it, so it’s almost like a homey feel.”
Perhaps more than anything, in light of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, Freel and Robertson are striving to provide listeners and audience members an escape from the chaos.
“From a sociology standpoint, the whole planet has been going through some of the darkest s— ever. I just want people to enjoy themselves and dance,” Freel said.
“With COVID, politically we are just so, so, divided and we don’t know how to talk. We don’t even know how to come together, but everyone can get down to a disco beat.”
LISTEN: Trauna, “Talk to Me”
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