ISSUE Magazine

Terracotta: Interview With Trick Mammoth by Raina Ng

A tired song, the song Himalayas starts, hanging on the face of a tune. Words that painted an immediate picture in my mind of flesh and skin that hung limply upon the bones of a face. Throughout Trick Mammoth’s album entitled Floristry, the theme ‘skin’ jumped out at me more than once.

The album is filled with lyrics, mostly inspired by movies that spoke of being trapped in one’s life, overwhelmed, or about escaping one’s mind, or skin, if you like. In Delphine (with a purpose), frontman and songwriter Adrian Ng writes a narrative centred upon Holly Golightly’s quote, “Because no matter where you run, you just end up running into yourself” (he tells Mess and Noise). The song, he says, is about Delphine who kills others (metaphorically) to escape herself.

In a wistful and sincere tone Vesper II (inspired by another Audrey Hepburn classic, Roman Holiday) paints a picture of he who gets lost in dreams trying to shake off a sort of tiredness and that feeling of being in-love. The character resolves his longing by inviting a girl on a vespa to a sort of escape as it ends dreamily mid sentence: Come with me on a vespa to…

When I first heard the song Terracotta the image of a girl creeping slowly out of her skin stuck with me. And when you get to the chorus, the song casts a sort of blurred Technicolor image — vivid — of a suicide scene. Adrian Ng shares a little about this.

Can you share the lyrics of Terracota?

The chorus goes: Saw you bleeding by an orchid, arms flailing in your summer jacket, crushing petals with a hammer, crushing out the morning after, tender was the knife that took you.The rest is kind of embarrassing.

What is the song about and what prompted you to write it?

It’s a suicide song. It’s more visual than emotional. Not quite sure what prompted me to write it, besides the fact that I’m quite fascinated with quite morbid themes.

The word SKIN, what does it make you see, and feel?

It makes me think of physicality, touch. Surfaces. Sharp, smooth, harsh, soft. It makes me feel slightly uncomfortable actually, also hopeful. In most cases, there is so much more beneath.

What do you think is the “skin” of a song and what do you think are its “heart and soul,” if you like?

I’m not quite sure. I guess the skin is the song in itself, the heart and soul is for the listener to create. You can’t control whether or not someone generates an emotional or deeper response to the music. It’s all subjective. The skin is the physical, the heart and soul is the meaning we associate with the physical.

Do you feel outside your own skin when you sing or write songs?

I guess, but writing songs is quite a natural process for me. I don’t set out to be another character or another person or be in a different skin, it just happens.


Album artwork by Emily Hlavac Green

Album artwork by Emily Hlavac Green


Trick Mammoth are Malaysian born Adrian Ng teamed with kiwis Millie Lovelock and Sam Valentine. Richard Ley-Hamilton sometimes joins them. They mostly work from The Attic, in Dunedin, New Zealand.


*Featured image by Abby Tai


This entry was written by Raina and published on 13/04/2014 at 00:00. It’s filed under Audio, Interview, ISSUE18, Raina Ng, Songs and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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