When Lee Spielman’s not stage diving off who knows what, you can find him at his new shop, Babylon, in Los Angeles. The store has a minimalist look to it and has an entire wall covered in a vibrant mural done by Bob's Burgers illustrator, Jay Howell. Howell painted dozens of characters – some with pink hair, mohawks, shirtless or diving into the crowd. You can buy anything from clothing, art, pins, zines to skate decks. Behind the register is a black wall with Trash Talk's upside down peace sign logo lit up. Spielman has made a name for himself not only in music, but also in the Hollywood community through Babylon as of last year by being one of the few stores in LA that doesn’t care if you spend anything so long as you have a good time. The shop also has a bowl to skate in the back.
“It's not really all about retail and what we can sell. It's more community based, like what can we give back and what can people come here and learn. Everyone growing up has places that they go that help shape what they become as a young adult and shit. I hope that this place can kind of be that,” he tells the Weekly as he sits on the pavement next to the bowl while teenagers drop in and attempt to land tricks.
Spielman describes Babylon as a kid’s play place that consists of ramps, books, zines and and a place to hanging out with good friends. It’s revolved around creativity through practically any medium. He hopes to someday take the idea of Babylon replicate it in different cities around the globe.
After a two year break of touring in North America, Trash Talk will be kicking off their upcoming tour at Chain Reaction in Anaheim on Oct. 18.
“Us and Chain Reaction go super deep," Spielman says. "[It] kind of always has a little special place in our hearts because it's a place that we had some of our first crazy shows out of town. It's definitely a venue that's helped nurture a lot of punk and hardcore bands."
Trash Talk’s fast paced, aggressive sound can be attributed to Spielman’s self-proclaimed “spastic” personality and passion for punk music. The band started off as merely an outlet and gained inspiration to make music through the heavy Sacramento punk scene. When Trash Talk started in 2005, Spielman was only 17 years old when he decided to fully pursue his musical endeavors. He never envisioned himself going to college and felt opposed to having a 9-5 job that he felt would lead to uninteresting, routine schedule despite his creative aspirations.
Punk can get a bad rap for seeming like an aggressive, violent scene that only outcasts and guys with temper issues partake in to some. Spielman, on the other hand, considers punk to be more than just going to a show and listening to the music. It's a community based, positive scene that is essentially a lifestyle and with strong roots. As a skateboarder as well as a punker, the passion for his two worlds go hand in hand. When he was young, he discovered a lot of his music through pro skater's videos they released.
In true DIY fashion, Trash Talk released their self-titled album through their own record label, Trash Talk Collective. Years later, the band signed onto Odd Future Records and were the first non-hip-hop group on the label.
“I think we opened up to a whole new audience of people," Spielman says. "We get kids who come to shows who exclusively like punk and they see a rapper, they leave and they love it and vice versa…it's kind of cool to bring them together through music."
Since taking a break from music and building Babylon to what it is now, Spielman feels comfortable with where it’s at, and as a result, he and the band have new music they plan on releasing soon. He's highly anticipating getting the album together, releasing it and getting back on the road to play it out.
Between running a label, maintaining a shop, making music and touring, one wonders how Spielman does it.
“We're all humans, we all have a brain. Anything that one person can figure out, you can also figure out yourself if you just apply yourself," Spielman says. "Don't let anyone tell you [that] you can't do something, and if you truly believe in it, you'll figure out a way to get it done.”