Currently Aaron sings, raps, generates, blends as well as creates.
Tell us about yourself ?
I’m Aaron J. Trumm – and that’s my act name 🙂 I’m from Albuquerque, NM, USA – I’ve also lived in Houston, TX, Oakland, CA, Austin, TX and even Denmark for about 3 months.
Goals in life? You know the older you get the more those change and swirl – but I’d say I’m still all about moving and inspiring people.
How long you been in performing arts ? Share some details of initial days / learning days / experimenting days to grow to BE WHAT YOU ARE TODAY
I’ve been making records nearly 28 years, and I’ve been on stages in various forms for almost that long. I started off in the studio thinking that I would never get on stage, but discovering slam poetry changed that – long ago – many moons (2002), I ended up being the 10th ranked slam poet in the world. That experience, and at the same time being an actor in a comedy gunfight show, really shaped me as a performer and made me believe that the number one goal of performing is connection. I don’t really care too much what the format is – whether I’m rapping or singing, saying a poem, or just talking to a room full of people – the point is to have a conversation (or a monologue!) and try to connect, communicate, and maybe move the energy in the room to a better plane.
What was most attractive part for you to be in this industry ?
Nothing about this industry is attractive to me, if I’m honest. The INDUSTRY is brutal, and probably the most unrealistic way to try to make money I can think of. It’s not the industry that’s attractive. It’s the work. It’s the work of creating and transcending and communicating, right?
Business-wise, whatever. It’s awesome when you find great collaborators. And yes getting off a stage when everyone is going apeshit, or winning a national level poetry slam, or having people tell you something you did moved them to tears – those things are really great. And I think ultimately one of the goals we all have more than money is fame – to be frank. Because a big part of the dream is to say something – to have a song or a book or a poem or whatever – that becomes part of the lexicon. Part of the culture at large. And then to go to work every day knowing that what you do really matters to people. Money of course is just an indicator of that. Not the end goal – not that I wouldn’t take 50 million dollars. 🙂 Of course once you do realize you’re doing something that matters – there’s a big pressure there. It’s easy to want to self sabotage, not promote, not show up – like me in the beginning not even want pictures taken of you – just in case what you’re doing is bad or you’re saying the wrong thing.
Share some experiences ( good or bad ) any that made you grow in life or profession ?
There’s been a whole line of mentors and partners in my career, all of which have made me what I am today – from my first recording mentors Manny and Rock to mentors in Film and TV like (another) Manny and Dale and fellow performers like Rodney and Tamara and Marcel (a bassist and two slam poets), to all of the many slam poets and actors I worked with to now a days my life partner (aka girlfriend of many many years) Sandra to probably most closest male friend Larry – those two people have really held me to account to be better and to communicate more clearly. My buddy D’Santi and his wife CC and the members of Una Mas and Underground Cadence – bands that I’ve done a good bit of singing with – they’ve really been inspiring too.
Slam is a hell of an experience too. when you have to get those scores, and the way you have to do is move touch inspire someone you’ve never met before in your life – you learn really quickly what works and what doesn’t. And how and why to care about other people.
Who inspired you ? How do you work on creating your own signature style ? How do you analyze all this to be known as you and BE YOU ?
Responding to the pressure trying to find the “right sound” while also staying true to your own changing self while also listening to the needs of other people – especially industry personnel – can be super overwhelming. I tend to follow whatever the hell I want, and that’s not always helpful. In a practical sense, my process always includes a vetting process – whether it’s a new poem for slam or a new song, early versions are presented in safe spaces – like to a couple of key people – Larry and Sandra, if you want specifics. What they say causes revisions, and then more and then more. Before I had them, it was the fellow slam poets and open mic community.
The main thing is I don’t analyze per se. I follow inspiration, and I try not to cling to a creation. If it keeps passing each gauntlet and getting good feedback, it gets a wider and wider exposure. once it’s out and circulating, I’m on to something else. Generally, what you see of me on video or audio recordings is a snapshot of the past. (obviously)
What do you want to convey through your music?
Possibility. That anything is possible. Transcendence and inspiration and love and maybe just a little fuck you to those who hold too much power.
Story behind making of your new track / Album?
I remember I shared with you guys the song Stronger Together – funny thing about that one. It’s the first one I’ve succeeded at emulating the sound of something else at the request of a company. I was emulating something of mine so that made it easier. An old ice hockey teammate from college now has a company, GreenRope – and he heard a song of mine called Happy Every Day and another one called Don’t Stop – he said he liked those and he asked me to writing something he could use for his company’s anthem – basically it was a licensing agreement. He said I don’t need a jingle – I want you to just do something that’s you, and then maybe throw in the word green LOL So I asked him what his core values were and I really took to the idea that we’re stronger when we get together – that’s really core to his company’s thinking. So I took a rif I’d been playing on the piano which I knew could be a cool song but hadn’t found out how yet… and then the next day I sat in the bathroom at night while Sandra slept and I wrote these lyrics. I wrote verse one and then I came to the studio and wrote a chorus to the chorus of the piano thing – then a second verse – just trying to keep these concepts in mind… and all of a sudden I liked it. My bass buddy Rodney wasn’t available, so I had to do that myself – but my buddy Nathan the drummer threw down some drums, I got a guy named Paul to do some horns – and while I was on the road for a medical appointment at Stanford, CA (long story) I edited those horns up and got excited – next thing I knew I had a mix and Lars (from GreenRope) loved it! And I liked it too so I released it!
Any interesting trivia about making of song ?
I think I kind of covered that in the story – but one thing is that the horns were simpler – Paul gave me a pretty simple riff and I felt like it needed more, but he had given me some other licks toward the end – so I actually strategically edited so it sounds like he played some licks in spots he didn’t 🙂 🙂 the magic of editing! Lars was the one that asked for the spoken word intro – I wouldn’t have thought to do that and I was skeptical but I thought well what’s the harm in trying, I can always erase it – and actually I don’t mind that part at all.
People who you would like to thank ?
It’s really hard to do a proper thank you list because really the list is so so long and I don’t want to leave anybody out. Even the question about inspiration about was hard and I’ve left way too many people out. What we used to do is put this little logo of a little red hen on our records. That was sort of like, if you know you know. But basically it was the story of the red hen who made bread – who will help me sow this wheat? she would say. “not I” said the wolf “not I said the goose” – etc. who will help me cut the wheat – mash the wheat – bake the bread… nobody helped and as I say the story now it’s sort of negative like you think nobody helped you. In reality SO SO SO MANY people helped me and us. So I guess the red hen now would just be a kind of “hey thanks everybody” thing. you know who you are. and if I’m ever in the room with you – I should really be sure to thank you.
People who you would like to work with and people you idolize to be like professionally ?
Great question. I dunno. I really would have to meet somebody first to know. I always idolized Zach de la Rocha – but now I don’t buy the idea that anger is such a great gift. I’ve changed. There’s one guy I’d love to work with AGAIN – I’ve technically worked with him LOL Bob Balaban. He’s a director and an actor and you’ve seen him in a lot of things I guarantee it. He’s the rich father in a show called “The Politician” right now on Netflix. I was a featured extra – piano player – in an episode of a show called Greeves – grieves? with Nick Nolte. Bob was directing that episode and he was super easy going and professional and I’d really love to act in something with him directing or acting or both.
Where do you see your music 3 years from now ?
Who fucking knows. I’m really just hoping I’ll be alive and super healthy then. Hopefully COVID won’t be so dangerous and I can do something on stage again, but I don’t know what. My big dream musically is always to get a kick ass group together and present the best of my recorded stuff in a world class way as a real SHOW – not just half ass playing songs. So maybe that?
How would you like to stretch your boundaries of genre in future projects ?
I can never know how I’m going to stretch the boundaries – but I know that I will. I really never fit the genre or “soundalike” that I’m going for – but I’m actually loving the idea of a sort of ska and latin influence – like the song Stronger Together and Happy Every Day – I would love to bounce around on stage with a horn section and the band and be doing that – because it’s super not ska, and it’s super not rap, and it’s super not rock, and it’s super not latin music – but it’s also super all of those. sort of.
Message for Fans and listeners.
Here’s the deal. I’m not as ambitious as I once was. My company name is NQuit and that stands for Never Never Quit – but I’m not necessarily all about that now. If you hate something, or if the dream you thought you had turns out to suck – quit. The most important thing in the world is health and happiness. Not just yours, but the people around you. So even I’ve always thought a life best lived is not one which seeks to be normal and safe and make money doing something you hate – I also think art is the not the be all end all thing, and suffering for your art is just immature.
Love, health, vitality, and happiness. These are the things that I think you should be trying to create for yourself and your people – and your audience. And I think if you can do that, and you wanna be famous and do it for everybody – great! Or if you just do it for your grandma – also great. But just be committed to that light.