Stomping Grounds: Sam Trapkin (Diamond Youth) on Baltimore, Maryland

Diamond Youth

The members of Diamond Youth share a common back catalogue of bands who have inspired and defined their developing years as artists, and those influences decorate their sound like merit badges.  From Weezer to Queens of Stone Age, and Foo Fighters to the Beach Boys, their admiration of timeless and arena-worthy rock rock music mixed with their own unique artistic chops have already translated into two formidable EPs that have turned heads and earned the attention of Topshelf Records, who added the band to their growing roster.

Though Diamond Youth’s members are spread across Richmond, Chicago and Baltimore, the band claims the Maryland city as their current stomping grounds.  Ghettoblaster caught up with Diamond Youth’s Sam Trapkin to ask about the city.  Here is what he told us about Hampden skate park, avoiding teen moms with stroller rage, seeing Samiam play at Ottobar and more…

What’s your town’s nickname?

Brawltimore, Brawltimore Murderland, Smalltimore.

What’s your nickname for your town?

Baltimore.

Why do you live there?

I like it because it feels real. When you go to NYC or LA everyone thinks they’re an actor or model or something, everyone’s going for it. No one is going for it here. 

Did you grow up there? If not, what brought you there?

I grew up outside of D.C. about 45 minutes away. I moved up here for school when I was 18.

What’s the weirdest thing that has ever happened to you there?

Hmm. One time I heard commotion outside my door so I ran over to see what it was. Someone had abandoned a female police uniform, including badge and other police memorabilia, on my steps. Bundled up in the uniform was an assortment of weird looking pills and syringes. The only logical conclusion is that a diabetic female police officer was walking home from work and managed to stumble and drop some of her belongings. Right? 

What is your favorite local attraction (monument, park, etc)?

There’s a really cool skatepark in my neighborhood, Hampden. I go there on the weekends a lot. Everyone just there to have a good time, all kinds of kids. It’s not the best neighborhood so it’s cool to see all these different age kids from different backgrounds getting together. 

What is your favorite local event or festival?

Well we have this thing called Hampdenfest in my neighborhood, (you guessed it) Hampden. However, it’s less of a fest, and more of a mongoloid march, if you will. Apparently Hampden was founded by an inbred coal mining family in the 1800s, and I truly believe that. What a train wreck. If you’re not careful you get mowed down by a 16 year old mom with one of those big triple-wide baby strollers. It’s no joke. 

What is the best time of year to be there?

Summer time is the best. Everyone is outside doing cool stuff and being friends. 

Who is your favorite local celebrity?

We don’t really have those here. However, I find myself creating celebrity-like roles for employees of coffee/food venues I frequent. Something about a girl behind a register, you know?

Where is the best place to drink and what’s their specialty or happy hour?

If I was going to drink, I’d probably go to Sticky Rice or Johnny Rads. Both have cool vibes and dabble in some level of subculture. 

Who has the best jukebox (and what’s in it)?

I couldn’t even tell you. Do people actually use those?

Do you play music there? If so, where is your favorite place to play?

My favorite venues in Baltimore are Charm City Art Space and Ottobar. Both great for different occasions. 

Does where you live influence your music?

Hard to say. It has to in some way. I also spend a lot of time traveling and on the internet so I’m sure that adds up to something.

What is your favorite place to see live music and what was your favorite show there?

Probably the Ottobar. I’ve been going to shows there since I was 16 and have seen so many of my favorites there. Hard to say. I saw Samiam there last year and it was pretty mesmerizing. 

What is your favorite local band?

This doesn’t really count but there’s a band with members split between Connecticut and Baltimore called Hostage Calm. They’re the best!

What is your favorite diner or restaurant and what is their best dish?

I’m going to go with Sip n’ Bite. Sip n’ Bite is this old ass diner in East Baltimore that is about as Baltimore as you can get. There’s almost always a line and everything is super cheap. The waiters and waitresses have been there forever. I usually get one of their omelettes and drink several cups of coffee.

What is your favorite record store and what was your best find there?

There’s a store in my neighborhood called Celebrated Summer that is the bomb. My favorite record that I’ve gotten from there is Millencolin’s Pennybridge Pioneers, mostly because that’s one of my favorite records.

What is your favorite local publication (alternative weekly, zine, website or blog)?
thatguysonheroin.tumblr.com

What is your favorite local shop?
Chipotle.

If you could live anywhere else, where would that be?
Probably Los Angeles area. I visit there a lot and really like it. Growing up listening to punk bands and skateboarding, that’s the only the place you’d think about going. And it’s probably one of the only places that’s actually held up to my pre-conceptions.

(Visit Diamond Youth on the internet here: https://www.facebook.com/dmndyouth and http://topshelfrecords.com/tsr2/_pages/artist_diamond_youth.php.)