Over a few beers with friends back in 2014, the concept of creating an all-inclusive ragtag bunch of town-going friends was born. A Facebook group - and many a big night out later – Adelaide Trap Rats is on the verge of holding its very first curated event.
Right in the middle of launching their second range of merchandise and putting the final touches on their first event FILTH, we managed to snag a few words with founding member Henry Sawbridge on Adelaide’s nightlife, the trap scene and what we can expect from ATR from here on out.
For anyone who doesn't know, who and what is Adelaide Trap Rats?
The best way to explain the group is to start with explaining 'trap' I guess. Trap is sort of an umbrella term for a few electronic genres of music. It’s been around for a while, the music itself stems from the music you used to and still do hear behind rap. It’s the culture behind it that I find interesting and pretty hilarious actually. Starting out in 'trap houses' in Southern America in the 90's, the term became synonymous with drug culture and poor rappers of that time.
How did ATR start out?
Adelaide Trap Rats for me has sort of existed for a few years now, whether it was an official group or not. As with any group or collective it’s formed from a bunch of people with a common interest.
The idea for the actual group however came from a few beers with a couple of the heads I’d known from town discussing the scene as we saw it. Pairing the idea of how we all got around Adelaide like rats and that whole sort of dirty 'trap history' I made a Facebook event, whipped up a quick logo and added the crew I knew from town or knew who liked trap music. I didn’t really expect much of the group, I invited around 15 people to join just so we had a common group to discuss upcoming events, maybe share a few tunes and discuss 'trap stuff' but turns out they could all invite people they thought would like it too. By the end of the day there were 60... and now we have over 700 members.
"I think people just want to be part of something that’s not really constructed by any sort of 'town' rules or expectations."
Adelaide has always had a ‘love-hate’ relationship with nightlife. How can Adelaide change its attitude toward nightlife for the better?
It depends from whose perspective. From a patron’s point of view, it has to be all about going out and changing your experience for yourself. Stop with the negativity towards some venues and just leave if it’s not your thing. If it’s your average joe who doesn’t 'do' town then yeah by all means don’t go, just don’t label 'town' as the one venue or one group of heads that go there. Don’t even get me started on ‘all people out after 3am just want to fight each other and all clubs should be shut down' .. that’s an issue for another time.
Well while you’re at it, you may as well elaborate…
Although ATR is becoming a lot bigger than first anticipated I still feel like there is a great positive spirit in the group. People help each other out and generally are really nice to each other, whether they just know each other from town or the group or whatever.
It’s awesome to see, like just seeing someone in a rats shirt in town pretty much means they have something in common.
But every thing has its exceptions. Trying to create and grow something like ATR is a challenge but it’s made even harder when you face lockout laws and opinions from the State Government and Adelaide City Council.
What is it about the Adelaide scene which is so conducive to creating a community like ATR?
A few years ago Adelaide was and is doing a great job in booking big name artists from the trap scene in small venues, which is exactly how I personally like to see a gig. Smaller venues provide a great opportunity to get up close to an artist on the decks, often times with the opportunity to hang with them too. You won’t get that same experience in other states where an artist, if they’re big enough, will play to an audience four or five times as big.
I know the Australian tours for this genre of music usually tour the same venues of which are pretty small, but Adelaide just does a really good job of it. A scene like Adelaide’s ultimately brings people together, which you don’t find in other states. It’s fucking awesome.
Is ATR trying to change the scene or just offer a different experience from what is currently here?
ATR was born out of the scene - it’s meant to reflect what our side of town is all about; small venues and capacity but a lot of intensity and passion for the music we enjoy.
I do admit that there are some elements of the town scene some of us don’t enjoy, including pretention and the way some clubs run their nights or whatever… but I mean yeah, now we have grown to a big enough size and we know we have the support, we are going to try and change up the game a bit.
ATR have their first curated event happening at Ancient World early next month. Does this represent the next phase in ATR’s development?
It’s hard for me to believe the group is as big as it is already. I’ve released two runs of merch and ran this group for the past six months and it’s only getting bigger.
It’s hard to believe that four years ago I was partying hard every weekend and now I and a couple of other rats are on the other side having two booked events, the second featuring an international artist with a pretty big online following and tracks with millions of plays. I never meant to be running my own events but I guess it’s something the rats are keen for. I guess I’m just going with the flow.
For anyone who hasn't been to a trap or ATR event, what should they expect?
Everyone wearing the same shirt.
With this power-to-the-people mentality, we can all party hard with the knowledge that Adelaide’s nightlife is heading in the right direction.
If you are keen to be a part of ATR, you will be warmly welcomed here.
All images via Adelaide Trap Rats.