All About Community: Troubled Minds’ New Era

Scrunchie sat down with Troubled Minds frontman Matt Aldawood to chat about new music and the value of community. Based out of Phoenix, pop punk band Troubled Minds returns with their new single “like i used to be” after two years of pausing releases. The song captures Aldawood’s rebirth of the band and returning to what he loves most after time spent working on other projects.

After spending the pandemic writing new material and taking time off the stage, Aldawood reflects on how the past couple of years, although they have been difficult, reaffirmed his belief in the music community. Moving forward, the main goal of the band is to meet new people in the scene, make friends, and never take community for granted.

What is your go-to gas station order?

If it’s Circle K, I always do a Cliff Bar, a peanut butter Cliff Bar specifically, and a coffee. At the Circle K they have a new Origin coffee that’s pretty ood, and that’s my go-to coffee every day. I have this thing called Sip N Save, but you pay six bucks a month and get a free drink every day. It works for sodas and stuff, but I just use it for coffee. I would love a Circle K Sponsorship. I dig Circle K because the deals are great.

Your upcoming single “like i used to be” debuts this Friday after a lengthy grace period following “Burn”. What can you tell us about the track ahead of its release?

I am the most proud of this song. I think that the song is a huge leap forward for us. Not just being a better band, but finding our sound and creating something that I’m really happy with. I’m genuinely happy with the song, and I can’t really say the same about “Burn” or any of the other songs we’ve put out in the past. I can say it’s got cool riffs. It’s a pop-punk song, but it’s Midwest-emo inspired with the guitar work, so you can relate it to Free Throw’s newer stuff. So if you like that, I can’t guarantee you’re gonna love it, but I have a huge feeling you’re gonna like it. It’s good, I like it.

It sounds like a rebirth for the band.

Yeah, absolutely. All we did during the pandemic was write songs. We met up, for band practice once a week, and just kind of wrote. We wrote over ten songs. There were songs we were writing, and then we’d scrap it. But we had twenty-ish songs, and we whittled it down to ten we wanted for an album. Then we found a label that was down to help us put it out, we just had to wait eight months or so for them to finish other bands’ album cycles. Then they couldn’t help us after that eight-month period, and within that eight-month period I wrote “like I used to be,” and now it’s an eleven-song album. B

Based on the cover art and its background, there seems to be a lot of nostalgia tied into this song. What was going through your mind while writing the song?

I was thinking a lot about how I really wish I had a little bit more free time to pursue the band, and free time to spend just hanging out with my friends and doing other things besides working a lot. That was a lot about what I was thinking about. It’s been so long since I’ve put out music, and so long since I’ve prioritized myself. I guess that’s kind of what I was thinking of, I was thinking “Man, I really want to prioritize myself like I used to,” back in 2019 and early 2020. A lot of that was going through my head. Just to give a little more background with myself, I do all of our own recordings, and I record a lot of local bands in the Phoenix area. I was doing a lot of that in 2020, 2021, and not doing a lot with my own music. And it was cool, at one point I was working with five different local bands and recording five days a week. And it was cool, it was tight, I was like, “Whoa, sick, maybe I can be a producer.” But then I realized doing all of that and not working on things for myself was not very exciting to me. I learned a lot from the past two years and I’m ready to move forward and put myself first, and that’s what the song is about. I’m a huge nerd when it comes to studio stuff, but I’ve learned its okay to apply my experiences and my knowledge in that field just to myself, and I can be selective with who I want to help out.

Going off of that, your EPK mentions the single being about “getting caught up in the business of life and putting your passions on hold..” Your EPK also mentions this is your first single in two years. Did you feel like life stopped you from putting out music sooner? What emotions are you experiencing ahead of this release?

A lot of excitement. It seems like the single is well-received so far, with who I’ve sent the song to, like just recently. I sent it to The Yellow Button on Tiktok, she’s super cool. I think her music taste is super great, and she makes awesome videos. I pitched to her, and she got back to me. There’s her, somebody from Get Alternative followed us, that was pretty cool. We’re opening for Heart Attack Man, they’re a band I really like. I reached out to their tour manager for press, and she really likes the song and is helping us out as well. They’re staying the night at our house after the show. I’m probably forgetting other things. There’s a lot of really cool experiences, a lot of really cool people that seem to be digging the song so far.

Along with the single release this Friday, you’re also playing a show with Heart Attack Man as part of their first headlining run. It appears you’ve built a solid circle of friends you frequently play live with, what does this community mean to you?

It means the world to me, honestly. Literally, it’s like my whole life. I came to terms with that in the last two years when we had to stop playing shows and my sense of community just became this thing on my phone. That was really hard for me, but to keep this positive, it was really cool to know how much the music scene means to me, and know how much that sense of community means to me. It means literally everything. It’s one of those situations when once it’s taken away from you, you realize how much it really means to you. Moving forward, with this new song and everything we’re trying to put out now, I think my main goal with this band is make friends, and that’s it. I could care less about pretty much anything else. There’s other things I care about, I want people to have fun at our shows and I want people to feel safe at our shows. Things like that, but that really all kind of comes around this idea and philosophy of “Be friends with everyone.” Make friends with everyone, treat everyone warmly, make everyone feel like a rock star whether they’re in a band or not. That’s just kind of my biggest philosophy with the whole music thing and the whole sense of community.

Not only are you releasing “like i used to be,” but you’re also releasing 11 total songs this year. Tell us a little more about how this project came together.

Going back to when we started writing, which was 2020, it was like, “Okay, lets use this no shows period to write, maybe we can write like three songs.” Then we wrote three songs, then we wrote two more and made an EP. We all thought it was just gonna last a month or whatever. But we wrote I think 20 songs. And it was like, “Alright, cool, we’re doing an album now.” So that was kind of how it came about. it just came about from writing and writing and writing, over a course of waiting.

What is one thing you appreciate about each of your bandmates?

I appreciate John for being so dedicated to the band. Troubled Minds is my baby, I’ve been making music under the name since 2013. Me and other members since then. John is the only other member that really treats it like his baby too, and I love that about him. I love how great he is at playing guitar and picking up bass. We played a show in Flagstaff, which is just like two hours north of Phoenix, and the afternoon of our bass player got food poisoning and he ended up playing bass. He’s super versatile like that. I’m super thankful for how talented he is. That’s John, super dedicated, super talented.

Gabe is great in interviews, I wish he was here to help me. He’s very chill. Everyone says that when they first meet him, they’re like, “How is he so chill?”. He’s very relaxed, very calm, if there’s a situation, he knows how to calm everyone down and be logical. He’s also very good at bass, I don’t have to show him chords or anything, he hears it and he just plays.

We’re kind of in limbo with drummers, I think. But I’ll talk about Christian, because he played drums on the album. I like how he is still somewhat dedicated to the band. I appreciate him as a roommate, he’s a great roommate.

What are your plans for the rest of the year?

Make a lot of friends. That’s the goal, once this song comes out I’m gonna make friends with as many bands and as many photographers and just people in the music scene as I possibly can. We’re gonna release some more singles. My goals for the next year are to drop a lot more music, because it’s already recorded. Tell everyone to get ready for a lot more music. Songs that sound different than this song, but still work cohesively.

Check out Troubled Minds…





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