We got to know Trapper Schoepp when he interned for Lake Effect in his freshman year at UW-Milwaukee. He stayed with us as an intern throughout his entire academic career, all the while writing songs and performing in ever more famous circles. In 2012 he released his debut album Run, Engine, Run.
Another album followed in 2016, called Rangers and Valentines. And this spring saw the release of an EP, Bay Beach Amusement Park, a concept album based on Schoepp’s love of the amusement park of the same name in Green Bay.
He didn't actually step foot into Bay Beach until he was 21. But growing up and working with his brother Tanner just outside of the Pierce County Fair, Schoepp was surrounded by the constant sounds of the carnival. "So I don't know if this was some sort of strange effect of growing up - just positioned outside of the county fair - but I've always had these sounds in my head," says Schoepp. "And so when I went to Bay Beach for the first time, it felt like I had finally entered the park and kind of grown up in a way."
Schoepp's first ride at Bay Beach was the Zippin Pippin, which sparked the inspiration for his latest EP.
"I had that adrenaline rush that I hadn't had since I was a kid. You kind of forget about amusement parks until one looks you straight in the eye," he notes. "So I wrote (Zippin Pippin) repeatedly over and over, and with each pass more lyrics came to me and I set the song to that clickity clack rhythm of that roller coaster. It's kind of in a way how rock in roll music sounds, it has that back beat to it."
Once he stepped off of that first ride, Schoepp saw the amusement park through a different perspective.
"The impetus for the whole project was riding the Zippin Pippin for the first time and then walking around the amusement park and thinking, 'well this could be a song, or that could be a song.' With each summer I'd go back to the park and basically write a new song in my head while I was in the park," he explains.
Bay Beach Amusement Park has a total of six tracks - all inspired by rides at the park, and Trapper and his brother and bandmate Tanner stopped by the studio recently to share some of them from the EP:
Trapper and Tanner Schoepp will be performing in Green Bay Tuesday night at the very park the album is named after. They’ll also play at Tosa Tonight on August 30th.