Fat Trout Trailer Park pushes back against consumerism with “Fatberg”
For those of you who like your guitar rock melodic and spiky, you’ve come to the right place. Fat Trout Trailer Park is the chosen moniker of Sean Raab, expatriate Belgian and twisted pop savant. As FTTP, Raab is creating music that equally draws from decidedly unlikely sources such as modern psychedelia and crushing hip-hop. Couple that with a deliberately pointed worldview and your playlists are automatically refreshed, just like that.
Everything about “Fatberg” is positively on point. The video was filmed defying NYC lockdown orders during the early days of the pandemic. The song itself was inspired by Raab’s observations on rampant consumerism and class structures in America. It’s a vision that can only be experienced through an outside lens. It’s the first track from Fat Trout Trailer Park’s self-titled debut EP, slated for release Oct. 7 by 22TWENTY.
Raab discussed the making of the video, his worldview and what his next plans could be regarding Fat Trout Trailer Park. Oh, and about that name? Well, David Lynch has yet to hear Raab.
How and when did you end up in New York City from Belgium? Did you feel any kind of culture shock?
The size and weight of New York [City] is shocking no matter what. My girlfriend and I moved here in January 2019, and it definitely took quite some hustle to find our bearings. You can easily see how this city could eat a person up and spit them out. But once the city has thoroughly poked you, it’s all open arms.
On "Fatberg,” it seems like you're skewering the mindset of consumerism at any cost, even in fear. Are you making a commentary on humanity or what you're experiencing here in the U.S.?
The idea came to me after seeing a headline pass by that read ‘‘Fatberg” larger than a jumbo jet found under a seaside town. It’s obviously ridiculous that this is possible and that we as a society have let it happen. It’s using this disgusting result as a starting point to critique everything that goes on before it in the supply chain. Moving to the U.S. and experiencing consumerism and gaping inequality in this country up close has really propelled me to challenge this in my songs.
The video is totally guerrilla-style. Where was it shot? Did you go in with a plan or script or just improvise it and edit later? Did you have socially distanced help making it?
The creative team at 22TWENTY made the video. Basically, we constantly bounced ideas off each other and then went out to shoot them, socially distant in an empty, pandemic-stricken NYC. We ended up having three music videos’ worth of footage that we mashed together. The end product isn’t at all what we originally set out to do. We completely went where it took us. All of it is shot in Chinatown during peak COVID under curfew, which added to the eeriness. The security cam is actually in front of my apartment in Brooklyn, with the J train in the background.
Your bio mentions that you had a conservative upbringing. Do you see Fat Trout Trailer Park as a reaction to that? What do you want listeners to take away from your impending EP?
Definitely. Politics was always a personal struggle considering my nature and my nurture. The good thing is I’m definitely not alone. More and more younger people nowadays are able to seek their own beliefs. I’m really grateful for these experiences, though. Perspective on both sides is a valuable resource. By shedding light on 21st-century disillusionment, I want to comfort fellow comrades and make others uncomfortable.
How would you describe your music to a server at an all-night diner at 3 a.m.?
Like playing a Television record at 45 RPM while a Tahoe is blasting 808 subs through your open window, knowing I won’t be served after that answer.
Will Fat Trout Trailer Park expand into a band, or will you keep it a solo vision? Is the decision personal or pandemic-related?
For the moment, it is a solo vision, and there will be a band to perform these tracks live. That is, if the world ever gets its shit together and we’re able to play in venues again. The whole live experience will be different from the recordings, though, with each member bringing in their own flavor. That’s always something I really look for and appreciate in bandmates. This way, the singular vision evolves into an organism, and once listeners take hold of the songs, it continuously expands.
Have you sent a copy of the EP to David Lynch? Why did you pick that particular Twin Peaks reference?
[Laughs.] Hadn’t thought to do that yet. Might not be a bad idea. My girlfriend and I were watching the third season when it came out, and we happened to pause on a still of the Fat Trout Trailer Park sign. I had been coming up with names for this project and hadn’t yet landed on anything when she gave me the idea to run with this. It’s fairly deep cut since I believe it’s only onscreen once in that season and once in Fire Walk With Me.
Check out "Fatberg" below. Pre-save the track right here.