Sun Powers Quad Concert


Mariel Rossi-deVries, editor

Trapdoor Social, an alternative energy band from Los Angeles, played to a packed quad at lunch on May 22.

The band played a variety of original songs which ranged in style from alternative rock to mainstream pop. Trapdoor Social powers their drums, guitars, microphones using solar panels on the roof of their van.

They intended to bring their music to the school in April, but had to cancel because of rain.

“We started the band in late 2011,” said band co-founder Skylar Funk. He and friend Merritt Graves both studied environmental analysis at Pomona College in Claremont. “We [Funk and Graves] came out of college to promote sustainability and try to make a difference in that area. We both liked writing songs and wanted to be in a band so we just gave it a shot together,” said Funk.

The band has gained 3 new members since its inception, with Graves on piano, Funk and Louie Gonzalez on guitar, Ben Ebert on drums and Patrick Griffen on Bass. They were accompanied by their sound engineer and tour manager Jose Verdin.

Before their arrival on campus, Trapdoor Social had been on a 2 month North American tour. “That was super fun, we went all over the place. We went to Vancouver, all the way to New York, up in Bangor, Maine. Then we went down to Florida and back to Los Angeles,” said Verdin. When asked about the how the band handled unpredictable changes in weather, Verdin said that sometimes they were rained out. “The rain is pretty much our worst nemesis when we go across the country,” he said.

“I personally got into it because they brought up a lot of good points about global warming and sustainability,” said Gonzalez. “This group did start off with that message in mind. We were always into promoting sustainability and renewable energy.”

Ebert, the newest member of the band and recent USC graduate, said that Trapdoor Social sends a clear message that people can pursue their interests while remaining conscious of their impact on the environment. “With shows like this, we are trying to show young people that solar energy is totally here and usable. The sun is here and we can harness it to do really cool things. We play a show because it’s what we do, we’re a band, and we want to put the message across that sustainability is here and it is doable.”

First and foremost, Trapdoor Social is focused on its music. “This is the second school we’ve ever played in. It’s a really cool opportunity to do but we’re just figuring this out,” said Funk.

What makes the band stand out, according to Ebert, is the fusion of different music genres. “It’s really fun because we all have different taste in music. Skyler likes alternative and Merritt’s into some alternative rock. Patrick is into EDM and I’m really into heavy metal and screamo. It’s cool when we all come together and create these songs,” said Ebert.

Next on the band’s agenda is a tour in June and then they will return to Los Angeles to record their next album.