f you’ve ever seen a meme and thought to yourself, “Wow, this is really good, someone put way too much effort into making this,” it’s probable that you’ve stumbled across one of Largetrap’s original creations. As one of the most highly praised meme creators currently making waves online, Largetrap, whose real name is Nico, is renowned for his exceptional video memes that have appeared on nearly every major platform in the last few years. Curious to learn more about his process, as well as the creator himself, we chatted with Nico to dig into his backstory, creative process and history with meme culture to get a better sense of the man behind the memes.
Q: Hey, Nico. Thanks for letting us interview you and pick your brain a bit. Can we start out with a little introduction from you to let those unfamiliar with your work know what you do?
A: Hi there, first off, thanks for having me on this interview. I make almost exclusively video memes for Instagram, YouTube and Twitter. I try to focus a lot of my memes around things that are currently popular or trending. I’ve been editing in Adobe After Effects for years and enjoy it quite a lot, so I put a lot of effort into making my memes look as nice as possible.
Q: So, been playing some Among Us recently? I noticed a lot of your recent memes have revolved around the game. It’s insane to see how massive its gotten over the last couple of months despite being around for quite a while.
A: I’m a huge fan of Among Us. Some of my close friends and I started playing it a couple of weeks before it really blew up, which I think gave me a big head start on making memes about it. It’s a hilarious game to play with friends, so I knew right away that there was a lot of potential for making memes.
Q: I’d like to dive into your background a bit before we build up to more recent events, so could you fill us in on your backstory? Where’d you grow up, and what were a few of the websites or communities you spent time on back then that created your curiosity for internet culture?
A: I grew up in the Bay Area in a pretty typical middle-class setting. In terms of internet culture, I don’t think San Francisco is that different from other places. I grew up reading a lot of comics, which you can probably tell from looking at how many of my memes involve Marvel movies. I’ve been into video editing for a while, and one of the first edits I ever made was of me levitating my cat in my backyard when I was about 10. The only real website I spent a lot of time on at a young age was YouTube.
Q: Obviously as a meme creator now, I assume you were into meme culture at an early age too. What were your earliest experiences with memes during your younger years, and when did you start attempting your own meme creations?
A: Something I think I share with a lot of people my age is that my first real dive into memes was through iFunny. Every day they’d “feature” a set number of memes, and I used to eat those up (though I can’t say I remember any in particular). I started making memes in the spring of 2017 because I was bored. I thought it would be something fun to do with my free time but never expected it to amount to anything.
Q: Since many of your memes revolve around video games, can you also tell us a bit about your history as a gamer? Was there a specific game or community that put you on to creating memes about specific subcultures?
A: My parents were kinda anti-video-game for a while, so a lot of my REALLY early gamer memories were at friends’ houses playing Smash or Mario Kart. Eventually, my parents started to cave, and we got a Wii and a couple of LEGO games. I think the first game I truly got into though was Minecraft. I messed around with singleplayer for a while, but multiplayer is what got me hooked. I really liked being able to interact with others and show them things I made.
Q: Based on your earliest Instagram post, you started the @Largetrap account in 2017. Was this your first foray into making memes, or were there any earlier accounts you attempted before that? Also, was Instagram your first choice? How’d you decide to settle on that platform as your main beat?
A: Until @largetrap, I hadn’t attempted making memes before. I had some knowledge of video editing by this point, but when I first started LargeTrap, it was mostly pictures. I didn’t post my first video until I hit 100 followers, which, at the time, was a huge deal to me. I already followed a number of meme accounts on Instagram like @salad.snake, so making my memes on Instagram just made sense to me.
Q: What about the name itself? Where’d “Largetrap” come from and why’d you choose that as a handle? Does it have any particular meaning or was it more of a random choice?
A: The whole “traps aren’t gay” meme was really big at the time, with the internet pretty split on it. The only thing I knew was that I didn’t want to have a username with “.mp4” or “.exe” or anything else along those lines. I tried out a couple of usernames, but @largetrap wasn’t taken, and I thought it’d be easy enough for people to remember.
Q: While you’re best known for your exceptional, high-effort video memes, which are made with editing software like After Effects, how did your content evolve over time into what it is today? Can you give us some more info on how you got into editing video?
A: My earliest memes were a lot more shitpost-y than what you’ll see today. Most of them didn’t have to do with anything relevant, and instead, were based on kinda obscure formats. Once I started making actual videos for the account, I began to get a lot of feedback about how well made they were, which A) felt great, and B) inspired me to make more and shoot for higher and higher quality content.
Q: What was your creative process like at the beginning, and how did that transform as you honed your skills in the medium?
A: When it was just pictures, I would make them on my phone. I don’t even remember what I used for them, just some free photo-editing app. I announced on my account that I would post my first video at 100 followers. I was looking forward to it because I hadn’t used After Effects for at least a couple of years before that. My creative process has stayed more or less the same — I sit down and I edit for a few hours until I’m happy with what I have. My standards have gotten higher, but I’ve also gotten a lot more efficient at editing, so the overall time put in hasn’t changed much.
Q: When you’re creating memes, where do you draw inspiration from or get ideas for your content? Does it involve any research or do you prefer a more “off-the-cuff” approach?
A: Very rarely do I do any REAL research. Nine times out of ten, I’ll have an idea at some random point in the day, write it down in my notes app, and then start editing it sometime in the next day or two. Honestly, it can be really hard to come up with ideas sometimes. With a large audience, I try to make stuff that is appealing to as many people as possible, which makes it hard to make anything too niche. When I’m really stumped for an idea, I like to just zone out and stop thinking about it for a while. I’ll go play some video games, talk to some friends, and when I come back a few hours later, it’s usually much easier to come up with something.
Q: Aside from your main account, you also operate @largetrap2 on Instagram. What’s the biggest difference between the two, and why did you branch that one off from your main?
A: Once @largetrap started getting big, I made @largertrap as a backup. Unfortunately, after getting nearly 100k followers, Instagram deactivated the account. A couple of months after that, I made @largetrap2 for the same reason. I currently use @largetrap2 as an unconventional repost account. I only post a couple of times a week and only stuff that I genuinely like.
Q: Then you’ve also branched off Instagram and share your content on platforms such as YouTube, Twitter, etc. Did this come about due to limitations on the platform, or was it simply to reach a wider audience?
A: About a year after starting @largetrap on Instagram, I made my YouTube channel. The main reason for it was just to see if I could reach more people. For a while, I posted really inconsistently on there, but lately, I’ve been taking it a lot more seriously and am starting to see some real growth. Over the last year especially, I’ve gotten a lot of requests for editing tutorials, two of which are now up on YouTube. If people keep asking for them, I’ll probably make more.
Q: Out of all these platforms, which one is your favorite and why? Additionally, how do the communities for both users and your fellow meme creators differ between them?
A: I’ll always love Instagram due to the time I’ve put into it and the community I’ve built, but YouTube is definitely growing on me. Videos on YouTube have the chance to really blow up, which is something I feel Instagram has been lacking for the last year and a half. Additionally, I think the YouTube community tends to be a lot more positive than Instagram.
Q: You recently surpassed over 800,000 followers on Instagram. What was your reaction to seeing this success, and why do you think people are drawn to your content versus other meme creators? Do you recall a specific moment or time when you realized you were on to something with your content?
A: So far, I think I was more excited to hit 100,000 followers than any other milestone (hitting 1 million followers might be able to top it out though). I do my best to gauge what people really want to see, and I put a lot of time into making those things look as good as possible. I think people can recognize the effort put in and are drawn to that. I started to really feel like I was on to something when big pages started reposting my content regularly.
Q: While some OC meme creators have spent far longer struggling to become successful in the ever-crowded space, you seem to have attained it in a relatively short amount of time, so why do you think that is exactly?
A: I really enjoy the editing, but honestly, I think people are drawn to the content — I try to make stuff that can be enjoyed pretty universally without being TOO “normie.”
Q: As an OC meme creator yourself, what are some other original creators that people may not know about, but should? We all know there are far too many reposters out there getting far too much credit.
A: There are far too many to name, but a couple of my favorites are @jonkarip, @jejkobbb, @jeffswiper and @igotsilver. I think all of these people are incredibly creative, put immense effort into their content and help move the OC community forward as a whole.
Q: What about some of your favorite meme formats or trends going around currently? Would you mind sharing a few that you love at the moment? Any you loathe or want to see die out?
A: Honestly, other than Among Us memes, there aren’t too many trends going on right now. I’m (clearly) a big fan of Among Us, but even I am starting to get pretty burnt out on those memes. October memes are usually pretty fun though, so at least we have that to look forward to.
Q: Since you’re immersed in the world, what insight or takes do you have on the current state of memes? Have you noticed any big trends or shifts in the culture that you think are important? Where’s the meme world headed in the near future?
A: One major thing I’ve noticed in my three years on Instagram is the lifespan of memes getting shorter and shorter. Memes used to be “funny” for like a month at a time, and now if you post something a couple of days after it starts trending, people will comment “not funny :|” This kinda sucks because I feel like a lot of people do it more to bandwagon than out of genuinely disliking something. I hope this doesn’t continue at this rate. If memes only last 30 minutes at a time, I’m fucked.
Q: So before we close out, I’d like to touch on something both you and your community have pointed out in the past about your content. It’s often said that you “put way too much effort into making memes,” which is even acknowledged by your YouTube description. My question is, since there are so many examples of meme accounts on Instagram who’ve seen massive success from reposting other people’s memes or making low-effort ones, why is that you do put so much effort into your content instead of taking an easier route?
A: Editing itself is pretty relaxing. I put on a podcast or listen to some music and just focus on making a meme for a couple of hours. It can be a really nice opportunity to not worry or think about anything else for a while. I personally believe there’s infinitely more satisfaction in people liking something you made than people liking something you stole from someone else.
Q: Any final word or additional info you’d like to add?
A: Follow @largetrap and @largetrap2, or subscribe to Largetrap on YouTube and check out my editing tutorials. I put a lot of work into them, and if you wanna start making your own memes, it’s literally breaking down my process. Also, go check out @traplarge on Twitter.
Largetrap is an original meme creator whose content focuses on high-quality video memes. You can check out his YouTube channel, Instagram or Twitter to find more of his work and stay up-to-date on his latest projects and meme tutorials.