One of Muscle Shoals, AL’s newest acts, Yes Trespassing has a brand new single ominously titled, “Atom Bomb.” The four-piece rock band is a pandemic-born powerhouse consisting of Trey Nichols (Lead Vocals, Guitar), Jonathan Mackey (Bass, Vocals), Dylan Johnson (Drums), and Emmett Redding (Guitar, Vocals). Together, Yes Trespassing has taken the angst and energy of the past few years and distilled it down into a dynamic track full of manic urgency.
From the first notes of “Atom Bomb,” the band evokes alarm as the staccato guitars, then Mackey’s gnarly distorted bass, and dissonant feedback swells resolve into a brutal chord progression. This isn’t a simple rock and roll tune. It’s as much a grunge anthem as it is a devastatingly dark alternative ballad. The changes are interesting, the transitions elaborate. It’s highly cinematic.
Nichols, supported by his bandmates sings the verse in what can best be described as a driving heartbeat rhythm, /So what’s it take to split the atom/and who is gonna fly the plane?/temptation now to push the button/is slowly driving me insane./
The tone of the guitars is particularly worth mentioning here. Along with Johnson’s explosive drum fills they create a real sense of tension and buildup throughout “Atom Bomb” that leads to shredded tremolo solos and epic instrumental breaks.
Nicols really shines on this track. His style feels effortless even as he belts and screams his vocals. Yes Trespassing is going to be playing a lot more shows now that things seem to be opening up and “Atom Bomb” would make a great closer. Not just because it’s epic as hell, but because damn, anyone would be hoarse after belting like that.
There’s a lot to look forward to with this band. If “Atom Bomb” is any indication, they’ve really just begun to explore what they have to offer as highly capable, inventive, and badass musicians.
As an artist all forms of work we release has a lot of effort and energy put into it. Our first EP we tracked in one single day in the studio. However, Atom Bomb is a song we’ve held onto since we formed a band. Oftentimes holding onto a song and playing it multiple times live before we ever record it is a typical process. This way we get the song right where it needs to be, in terms of structure, crowd reaction, energy, technicality, and so forth. Atom Bomb was the first song we spent all day in the studio on, and went back and forth mixing it for about 2 months before we decided to move forwards. We take our projects very seriously and make sure they are done justice before we release them. We quite literally put our blood, sweat, and tears into this work.Yes Trespassing
This is a really new band, formed during the pandemic. How was the experience of creating and playing music together during that time? How did Yes Trespassing manage to form in these circumstances?
Trey Nichols, frontman, guitar: “Forming during the pandemic was very therapeutic for us. Jonathan (bass, backing vocals) had been away for college for two years and came home in summer of 2020. I hadn’t been in a band for over a year by the fall of 2020, and missed the electricity and fellowship of being in a rock band. Dylan (drummer, a Birmingham native with family in Florida and no ties to Florence) was getting ready to return to Florida to be with family after spending a year looking for the right musicians to play with and having no luck. It seemed to be what we all needed. Dylan and I met by fate alone, when I picked up a last-minute 45 minute acoustic set at a local venue and Dylan felt compelled to walk inside, as a sort of last-ditch effort before deciding to return to Florida.
We instantly hit it off and I called Jon to ask about the three of us jamming the next week. We ended up starting the title track of our debut EP, “When The Light Is Gone” that very day. Emmett came into the story in early April of 2021, a week before we recording our EP. Jon, Dylan and I had recorded some demos in January and after listening back, realized that something was missing. Emmett (guitar, backing vocals) was that something. To make a long story short, the pandemic allowed us to work on our material without the stress of playing shows all the time. We were able to start playing shows on our own time and grow closer as bandmates and friends.”
What are some of the major themes in “Atom Bomb?” Who or what is the bomb?
Atom Bomb is all about being fired up. The first time we started working on the song, the high pitched guitar note was the first thing to happen. We all thought it sounded eerily similar to a beeping countdown on a bomb. We decided to stick with that theme for the lyrics, with lines like “Set me off, light my fuse” and all the while Trey is singing of explosions and fire. The underlying theme of pent-up anger and emotion is a great parallel to a ticking time-bomb. The bomb is yourself if you can’t find a way to get your emotions out in a healthy manner.
Yes Trespassing is a great band name. How did you land on that one?
When the pandemic was in full swing and people were in “lockdown,” Trey began hiking at some local nature trails. He would sometimes go off-trail and just walk through the woods. One time when he had gone off-trail, he came across an old brick building with a barbed wire fence surrounding it. Naturally, he snuck through the fence to check it out. On one side of the building, someone had spray painted in big, yellow and green letters, “No Trespassing.” Trey laughed at the irony of it and took a picture. Months later, after meeting Dylan and forming the band with Jonathan, we started to discuss band names. After a few weeks had passed and nothing good had come out, Trey remembered the graffiti on that old brick building. He said, “What about No Trespassing?” Then, immediately, he said, “Wait… how about YES Trespassing?” It had a nice ring to it and we thought it perfectly encapsulated all of our desire to bend the rules now and then, as well as our past experiences of being places we weren’t supposed to be…
As opposed to your first EP, which you tracked in a single day, you’ve mentioned that you spent a lot of extra time getting “Atom Bomb” recorded and mixed so as to do it justice. What about this track made you go the extra mile?
It all comes down to the fact that by this time, we had several shows under our belt together and had a better idea of what we—and our listeners—wanted out of a Yes Trespassing song. We hadn’t even played a show together when we tracked the EP, and by the time we tracked Atom Bomb, we had already played it live multiple times. We gave ourselves time to shape it into its final version. Our goal each time we enter the studio is to make each song better than the last.
Speaking of fun recording tricks, about ¾ into “Atom Bomb” there’s a cool, almost reversed whispered vocal effect in the mix. What’s going on there?
That’s a great question! Half of the whispered tracks are Jonathan reading different parts of Revelation from the Bible. The other, less serious half, is Trey whispering words like buttcheeks, your mom, etc. into the microphone. It was just a fun little Easter egg and inside joke we decided to play on everyone. You’re hearing these dark, muffled whispers and you assume it’s something serious but you’re also hearing bathroom humor.
There are lots of cool effects going on in the mix from distortion to wah pedals and phase effects. What are some of your favorite music toys right now?
While we try to be careful with our use of effects, we like to be ready to throw the kitchen sink at certain parts in order to bring them to life. Emmett’s (Guitar) Boss Tera-echo has become a favorite for producing the kinds of sounds that make you question what realm you have arrived in when you hear our live show. In general, when we are going for our normal high-octane overdrive sound, you’re hearing a full tone OCD and a JHS morning glory (Trey) and an Analogman Prince of Tone (Emmett) both played through some cranked tube amps. We like to get creative with our recordings and in the past we’ve thrown a flanger on a whole drum track to juice up a fill. We like to evolve our sound and keep people on their toes (as well as entertain ourselves) by experimenting with different sounds, so we tend to treat effects pedals like playing cards.
About Yes Trespassing
Hailing from the legendary Muscle Shoals, AL, this four-piece rock outfit is adding new flavors to the Muscle Shoals sound and blowing minds across the Southeast. Trey Nichols (Lead Vocals, Guitar), Jonathan Mackey (Bass, Vocals), Dylan Johnson (Drums), and Emmett Redding (Guitar, Vocals), make up Yes Trespassing. The band formed in the midst of a pandemic and began arming themselves with material to share and tour with once things opened back up. Yes Trespassing is wasting no time making an impact in their region. Their single, Angelica, premiered on June 10th, 2021, the precursor to their debut EP, “When The Light Is Gone,” which released on July 3rd, 2021. Though they are just beginning to release content, the band has already begun playing shows in various states and cities, where crowds experience what one fan called a “wall of sound.” Yes Trespassing’s sound is heavily influenced by the 90’s and 2000’s rock movements, from alternative to grunge to even some heavier metal bands. Their songs emphasize the intertwining of instantly memorable melodies with thought-provoking lyrics that listeners easily relate to, while also providing a driving rhythm that demands head banging.
Their latest release “Atom Bomb” seems to start with high energy, but is actually a simmering build up to one of the most explosive bridges that Yes Trespassing has delivered on tape. Rhythm section Dylan Johnson and Jonathan Mackey create a driving pulse that leads your ears through every section. The song builds as if Jonathan Mackey and Dylan Johnson are driving the car with two caged beasts in the trunk, (Emmett Redding and Trey Nichols) scratching and begging to be unleashed. Finally at the peak of the ride, the beasts escape and unleash havoc while the car transforms into a two ton missile waiting to impact its target.
The band has only been a band for about a year, and have already played shows in notable venues around the southeast. Including “The Nick Rocks” “Saturn” both of which are in Birmingham, AL. Also playing the Alabama Music Hall of Fame during the W.C. Handy fest in Muscle Shoals, AL. Playing with notable artists such as Carver Commodore, In the Whale, The Burning Peppermints, Gentlemen’s Crow and much more. The band has also been featured in many radio interviews, podcasts, and recently even a magazine called “Flow”. The band is set to be in Austin, Texas for SXSW, and plans to tour even more of the country this year, also to release even more music that is in the works.
Featured image by Brady Jordan.