Seniors’ Soundcloud Rap at 15,000+ plays


Cari Spencer

Seniors Jimmy Buck, Fischer Eiss and Ben Bissen make up the Trifle Gang.

By Cari Spencer, Orono High School

Cari Spencer
Editor in Chief

At 6Smith in downtown Wayzata, seniors Fisher Eiss, James “Jimmy” Buck and Ben Bissen sat down for dinner, having just released their song, “Hot Cold (prod. Ocean Beats),” to Soundcloud. It was Dec. 21, 2018 and their phones were “blowing up.”

“People were constantly texting us…random people would DM us and be like ‘this song’s on my playlist it’s actually really good,’” Buck said. “Random people would put it on VSCO, their [Instagram] stories, their finstas.”

Since then, their rap has continued to spread. Eiss and Bissen reminisced on a night when they were in the Kobe parking lot, in Plymouth, and heard “Hot Cold” playing from a stranger’s car. It was a girl from Blake who Buck apparently knew, but the shock was still there. The song had moved beyond Orono.

As of Feb. 24, the song has been played over 15,000 times. It was played at the girl’s varsity hockey game between puck drops, during lunch in the cafeteria and performed live at the Sadie Hawkins dance. Teachers, out-of-state friends from North Carolina and former OHS students have heard it too–one random listener from Sweden even commented and reposted the song.

The beginning of Trifle Gang is fitting for the high school group: it all started at school, in Grace Nohner’s creative writing class.

After Nohner gave a lesson on poetry that included song lyrics, the boys said that they realized song lyrics and poetry are essentially synonymous. For their class poetry assignment, Eiss decided to write a song. He drew inspiration from a YouTube video.

“I heard a video–this one guy talking about his past relationship–and he’s like ‘yeah this person was acting hot and cold to me … if you’re not by them they’ll just go cold, they won’t text you or they won’t talk to you, but when they’re with you they’re everything you want them to be,’” Eiss said, “it’s about growing from someone and things starting to get hot and cold, like seasons.”

At a psychology study session, Eiss played a beat (produced by Ocean Beats) that he found on YouTube, alongside his lyrics, for Buck and Bissen; they said that they couldn’t believe the lyrics were Eiss’s own. After realizing that the words genuinely came from their friend, they all got to work on the rest of the song. Buck pulled out his phone and wrote the rough draft for his verse on the spot.

“We… probably got nothing done for the study session,” Buck said.

For the next five weeks, they continued to craft “Hot Cold.” They even worked on it at Buck’s house until 10:30 pm, three school nights in a row.

“We were really concerned for this to be cheesy. I didn’t want it to be like, you know, people put stuff on Soundcloud and everybody’s like ‘what is this?’” Eiss said, “I didn’t want it to be like that.”

We were really concerned for this to be cheesy. I didn’t want it to be like, you know, people put stuff on Soundcloud and everybody’s like ‘what is this?’ I didn’t want it to be like that.”

— Senior Fischer Eiss

Initially, they said they were torn about the portion of the song where Eiss and Buck have a “conversation,” but after recording what they had so far it all came together.

“All we had was [Fisher’s] first verse, the chorus, conversation, and then [Jimmy’s] verse, and we listened to it and just went insane,” Bissen said, “we were so happy–I wish I recorded that. It would’ve been so sick.”

The same day that they released their song on Soundcloud, Bissen added his verse to the song. They recorded it on a semi-professional microphone at Buck’s house, mixed it on Garageband and the rest is history.

To those wondering, they received an A on their poetry assignment.

“Y’all triflin?”
All three friends share a love for music, not to mention musical backgrounds that prepared them for their eventual foray into the waters of Soundcloud. Buck took a decade of piano lessons, loves freestyling and, according to Eiss, “you can name any Logic song and he’ll rap you it.”

Bissen and Eiss are members of chamber choir, the highest-level choir at OHS. Eiss said that he’s played around with songwriting in the past, but this was the first song he completed.

“I self taught myself piano and guitar, I’m not very good at either of them but I think it has helped me with coming up with flows in the song,” Eiss said, “and I like singing in the car a lot.”

As for the name of the group? It all started about a year ago when Buck stumbled upon a Cassady Campbell prank video on YouTube.

“[Campbell] was in a college lecture, and he yells ‘y’all triflin!’ in the huge auditorium… everyone’s like ‘yo who’s this guy?’” Buck said, “and I thought it was hilarious, so I started saying like, ‘you trifling, trifle.’”

“Trifle” became a word that the trio and the rest of their friend group embraced, so when it came time to decide the name for the music group, “Trifle Gang” was suggested in a group message and they ran with it.

What’s next for Trifle Gang?
Trifle Gang is currently working on a song about Minnesota and days on the lake. They purchased the beat this time, so they will be able to completely call the song their own and even monetize it if they so desire–although all three members agree that making money from their music is nowhere near the top of their priority list. In the future, Trifle Gang plans to continue writing and recording songs, but with beats produced by Buck’s younger brother, junior William Buck.

“It’s a lot like hot cold, but it’s much more upbeat, like a fun happy song,” Buck said, bringing the conversation back to their second song.

“It’s such a vibe you can just dance to it so easily,” Bissen said, prompting Buck to jokingly interject:

“Okay what? Shut up right now,” Buck said, “you can dance to any song!”

The easy banter between Trifle Gang offers an implied explanation for how they work so well together. They’re just a few high school friends who looked for fun and stumbled upon unexpected success along the way.

“No, everytime I listen to this beat, dude, literally, it just makes me want to bop my head,” Bissen finally replied, turning towards Eiss, “I’m not even kidding. Fisher knows dude. I love this beat.”

Gathered around a table in the back of the school library, Trifle Gang laughed as senior Daniel Walker jokingly claimed to be their manager. It was a Friday afternoon, stress free from the end of the school week, and the three boys spoke excitedly about the unexpected torrent of positive feedback they received. It was clear that they write rhyme for the sake of music and genuine fun, but a hopeful potential lingered around them too.

Who knows? Maybe someday they will need a manager after all.

This story was originally published on The Spartan Speaks on February 26, 2019.