Interview with Trapped In Static

[Originally posted on UK Arts Directory 20/10/13]


Trapped In Static (TIS) are a new rock band from New York. I instantly fell in love with their music. I’m currently hooked on their EP “On a Stage”!

TIS are becoming very popular, very quickly. They’ve been playing lots of festivals, including being the headline band at Park Rock Festival 2012 in Maryland. They’ve appeared on National TV and radio, and in May/June 2012 their single “What Else Is There” was selected by Sound Cues Music & Red Lab Records for a film production.

In May this year, TIS were voted Top Artist on and were awarded $10,000 to help with financing their music. They have quite an original and addictive sound and I’m looking forward to hearing more music from them.

I invited the band here for a chat. I think everyone needs to know about them!

Interview with Trapped In Static

How did you choose the name Trapped In Static?

Athan: Its quite a challenge to find the right name for a band, but a while back I wrote a song called ‘Trapped In Static’, and when we were looking for a name, debating back and forth with some really funny ideas, one of our then members, suggested we should use that name, and so we did. We don’t play that song anymore! The name is kind of the opposite of what the band is.

The meaning static for us, refers to when a person feels the inability to break away from the masses, and stay trapped in a world where they cannot be their true self. This is the message we are trying to pass along with our music: breakaway, be yourself, don’t stay trapped in the static that surrounds you (that’s a part of the lyrics from that song).

How long has the band been together?

David: The band has been together since September 2011. Athan on vocals, guitar and keyboards and me on drums. When we perform live, we have more members.

You were recently voted top artist on ArtistSignal’s monthly competition. Congratulations! How did that feel, and what difference will the prize money make to the band’s current projects?

Athan: It was a long painful process, a lot of social networking, not much sleep but the end justified the means. We were able to buy some gear that we needed for our gigs, and spend some money on gear for our home studio. We still have some scheduled recordings for live drum sessions as well. Music is a very expensive business, shows, promotion, gear, lots of expenses.

Would you encourage other artists to take part in the ArtistSignal contest? If so, do you have any tips for good promotion?

Athan: Well you may not be able to win the $10K but you can grow your fan base. If you do end up winning, it’s definitely a good start to fund an album. Good exposure all over the world especially if you manage to stay on the Top 20 during voting rounds, and an online radio where you can pretty much listen to any artist and discover some great talents.

If you have a big fan base it’s definitely the easiest way to go. Of course let’s not forget that it’s the only online contest that you need to vote every hour! Create social events, tag friends, comment, you will end up annoying most of your friends, but in the end, that’s what friends are for right? Help you in a time of need! If you have friends / fans in different time zone that’s definitely a big plus!

I understand you’re working on an album at the moment. How is that going? Can you tell us a bit about the songs that will appear on the new album.

Athan: We have been working on an album for quite a while. We are going back and forth on that because we want to use an outside producer to produce the tracks, we haven’t decided on one yet. We will definitely have some of the EP tracks on the album, reproduced though and some other new ones that we have been working on, in which the sound is definitely more “fresh”. David and I have been experimenting with some electronic sounds and drumbeats, but still in the alternative rock / indie rock vibe.

Who writes Trapped In Static’s songs?

Athan: I write most of the lyrics in the songs and the melodic lines, but lately we had some interesting jam sessions with David and we came up with a couple of tunes that will be on the album for sure. Sometimes we start the opposite way, just mumbling a melody and end up having a whole song with no lyrics to sing along…got a couple of those too.

I’ve really enjoyed listening to your EP ‘On a Stage’. It’s one of my favorites at the moment. How long did it take to put that EP together?

Athan: It’s very hard to work with us, we are very dedicated and trying to get exactly what we imagine on each track! We get excited in our first recordings, which we may end up finish a whole song in 4 hours, and then we start changing things and get frustrated (haha).

These songs have been ready for a long time actually but we never decided to post them online, since we wanted to finish the whole album. When we got on Artist Signal, people kept asking for our songs, so we finally decided to get some of the songs together and make them available on iTunes. All the songs were produced in our home studio by myself and David. The song ‘Mirrors’ for example was basically finished in 4-5 hours.

‘Lost Souls’ was hard to mix and we still feel that it’s a song that needs a full production: it will definitely be one of the songs in the album. ‘In City Of Bright Lights’ we probably have 10 different versions of that song, and we actually love every one of them! Can’t really estimate how long it took to finish this EP but definitely it wasn’t long.

David: Once we start recording, no sleep till we get it done!


Who are the band’s musical influences?

Athan: My first exposure to music was classic rock and the reason I wanted to learn how to play the guitar was Dire Straits. Our sound though is something more alternative for sure, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, Creed. I would say my vocal range is something like that, with some U2, Coldplay, Lifehouse and Kings Of Leon.

David: I am more on the indie side, Mutemath, Foals, Two Door Cinema Club, The Coral, Black Keys, I always enjoy an upbeat rhythm but then I like going heavy again. You can see that we have some ‘dancy’ beats but also some heavy guitar riffs as well.

Do you have any upcoming tours planned?

Athan: We have been working on setting up a tour from east coast to midwest but not sure yet on the dates. Hopefully before the end of the year.

Do you have any other news for your fans?

David: First a big thanks to our fans for their support on the Artist Signal contest, because it was a joined effort and without the TIS. Street Team it wouldn’t be possible!

Athan: We consider ourselves tech friendly (haha) so we will be giving away some cool free stuff at our gigs and some online contests as well. Also we’ll be collaborating with some fellow female artists and we are working on some music videos! A lot of social, sneak peeks and more so stay tuned, the TIS. invasion will soon begin!


Band Bio:

Trapped In Static (TIS) is an alternative rock/indie band based in New York City formed by singer/guitarist Athan Hilaki (previously with GAD.) and drummer David Torres in 2011. With Athan’s vocals, often characterized as a mix of Chris Cornell, Dave Grohl, Eddie Vedder and Scott Stapp, David’s heavy but always funky drum rhythms, they create their own sound with influences from Nirvana and U2 to Coldplay and Kings Of Leon, something that always leaves the unknown crowd asking… “How come we’ve never heard of you guys before?”

Trapped In Static was the TOP Artist of May 2013 at winning a prize of $10.000, a contest that includes over 1000 artists worldwide! TIS. has performed live in some of New York City’s hottest concert venues such as Gramercy Theater, The Bitter End, Knitting Factory, Pianos, Bowery Electric, Delancey and Arlene’s Grocery as well as the cable TV show “Minding Your Business” and “Niteclub Ratings”. TIS has also appeared live on, Ellas TV, WVIP FM, Nexus Productions Radio, and Hellas FM radio.

Find out more about the band:


[Originally posted on UK Arts Directory 20/10/13]



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