We The Kings head to Australia later this month and I had a chat with Travis about the tour, their new album and his new baby. You can buy tickets to their shows here.
Hi Travis, Congrats on becoming a father!
Thank you very much, it is crazy! but in a crazy awesome way.
Your focus on life changes when you become a parent do you agree?
Yes my focus has completely changed. Just to let you know that it is 10.30 pm here and I had to walk her around the block where I live just to do anything to get her to sleep. Finally she passed out. She loves the song that I wrote for her. My wife just plays it on repeat while she is laying in her bassinet and her eyes get really heavy and she usually falls asleep. It is the cutest thing in the world.
That is so sweet. I used to drive my kids around in the car to get them to sleep.
Ah she hates the car right now so I hope at some point she will really enjoy the rumble of the car or the air-conditioning or the music what ever it is. Right now we just strap her in and she cries.
I have the other worry, my teens are driving and I don’t always know where they are.
Are they both boys?
No, one of each.
I think I am going to get Karma, because my brother and I were horrible. We put my parents through hell! We were always gone and this was before cell phones so that had to call around to our friends houses and wake up other parents to see if we were still there, which we never were and when we got vehicles it was like game over. My mum was always running around town trying to find us. Now I feel bad because I hope my daughter does not turn out like me!
I thought it was amazing that you shared the video of Kinsley being born. So many artists keep very quiet about their personal life. Sharing this with fans makes you so much more well I guess “normal” for want of a better word. Do you plan to keep these glimpses of your life available to your fans?
Actually that specific video, my wife and I are very not really against hospitals but we feel that people are overly medicated and people go to hospitals because they don’t know the alternatives. We realized that we wanted to have a natural home birth and we wanted to shed some light on it. So we took a really beautiful video that our daughter can see when she grows up. So we would have this for the rest of our lives, you know that it goes by the flick of a moment, even if you have a super long labour ever, it is also fast, before you know it you’re running round trying to find your teenagers. I just wanted to have something that was so beautiful to us and I know for We The Kings there is that the female audience, a demographic of younger girl’s and I think it would be awesome for them to know that there is an other alternative then just going hospital and having your baby “ in a normal way”. There is a safer and more natural way without drugs and it’s not scary you can totally do it. So I guess there was some educational purpose to the video and at the end of the day, we love the fact that we have this video for ever that captures those moments of how it actually was, once it was down we were laying there thinking what we just done? We have made this breathing soul, is really easy to forget the whole process of it. it is nice to have that but moving on in the future, I would love for her to become an inspiration for people everywhere and I want her to grow up in a positive, happy and loving environment and we’ve got so much love and support from We the Kings fan base and a wife is an actress so her fans as well, is really really awesome to have that. We want, and this is got nothing to do with people that want to keep their privacy, there are things that I don’t mind sharing with the world, like my daughter and my wife and I might do something really stupid and show it and it is fun for our fans who really like that. I grew up listening to music, I love blink 182 and Jimmy Eat World and that is why I started to play music and you really saw them at a show, occasionally they would put out a tour video that would be them on the road that we really like to see the other part of them, like who they were as people, We only saw them as rockstars. I like the idea that our fans get to see a little deeper into our lives and may be they can figure out why I write some of the songs that I write and in doing so it creates a more long-term fan base, because they know you and when they meet you, it is so funny as people say I feel like I know you and it is really a nice compliment to hear that but it is actually true. They can say to me “How is your daughter?” I know that it’s only been 3 1/2 weeks but when I do go and do a show I can’t stop thinking about her and it’s nice when people ask about her. I love that people know that about me.
I really liked how your music made me feel, it is super positive and helps me feel happy. How does it feel for you knowing that your music makes people feel so happy?
To be honest with you I think it is really ironic as we have been labeled in at that Emo world. Our friends and who we all grew up together were All Time Low, Mayday Parade and Simple Plan and bands like that. Which are all Emo bands. We all got grouped into this Emo genre and I don’t know if I’ve ever really written a very sad song, I try to write uplifting music, I’ve written music that mean so much to me and it can be about sad subjects but I use it in a positive light. It is funny that our music is fun and uplifting and happy and makes people feel like smiling, whether it is the energy or the lyrical subject or just like the sound coming from the speakers from the stage. It really such a great compliment to hear somebody that and music isn’t just called to listen to and that sounds great but that it makes them feel something which is hard to do in music so it is such a great compliment to hear that it does.
You can’t do it every song because everyone is a little bit different but hopefully what we strive for is that there are songs that each particular person can listen to and for whatever reason there a certain song speaks to them. That is why I write music because songs spoke to me as a kid growing up listening to music. I think it’s really great and I really appreciate you saying that. It is cool. I do feel like it is a huge responsibility sometimes that I have to continue doing that. It is not a stressful feeling but is like an encouragement so I want to keep writing this music knowing that someone out there is made happy by my music. Even if it is one person that in my opinion is a job well done.
We then had a chat about Emma, my daughter and how she loved ‘Say you like me” and Travis told me how that song came to be written.
That specific song I wrote when I was in Australia, when I was over there for Soundwave.
What year was that?
I think it was 2009 it was after ‘ Smile Kid’ was released Maybe 2010. That was one of the songs that we wrote for the 2011 release. I was that same kid, you let thoughts get into your head and they just kind of snowball into a thing that is really not. It is so much easier to say “Hey do you like me?” Can we have this conversation? And if you don’t it’s totally cool. It is a confidence builder of a song and I’m glad people took it like that. I actually wrote that song while I was in Australia. There was a girl that I wanted to come to the show and it is this whole long drawn out story but we were having a huge meet and greet after the show and she left and we never exchanged numbers are anything like that and man I wish I had just said ‘Hey do you like me?” Then I probably would have got to hang out with her. It all worked out, I have a beautiful wife, a beautiful daughter so I wouldn’t change my situation.
I see that you are giving away physical copies of your new album, for local fans of yours, will these be for sale in Australia? We love physical copies down here. I was asked by a few of my friends to ask you that!
I know that we are definitely going to bring some, a lot of people and I love this about our fans, is that they really like physical copies. I guess it’s having something to hold and it’s not just on the computer. So we are definitely going to bring some down. As a Christmas present, we have our hometown show and this year we decided to do a free show and the capacity doubled and we actually said that we were going to give the first thousand people a copy of the CD but we ended up giving closer to 1200. It was amazing it was so much fun to play the new songs that we have not played in front of anyone else, our family and our friends came and it was a really fun night and am so happy that we did at that way. We will definitely bring our albums to Australia so people can buy physical copy if they want it. I think it is rad that people want to.
How did you decided on the title?
I knew that I wanted to call the old Strange Love since we started writing some of the songs and it really defined the album really well. People asked me what do you mean ‘Strange Love’ another figure was the fact that when you do find someone to love, you do find that person whether it is like your significant other or whether it is like your child you realize that at some moment how crazy it was that that came to fruition and how that is even possible. With all the good and bad things that you have done that led up to that moment it’s crazy how strange that love is. it is strange that all that stuff happened and even if one of those things hadn’t you might not have met that person that you love. A lot of the songs were written about my life, especially the love songs. I always want to call it Strange Love.
Really like the album cover, to me it looks like a heart with a child finger painting over it, was it carefully planned to look like that?
Ha! I should show you the original demo, I went to the Art Store and got different colored paper and I made this really cool heart logo, like a folding heart logo and I thought this would be really cool and I just put this red heart on a white board and wrote We the Kings and wrote Strange Love underneath it. I thought that just couldn’t be a normal heart because that doesn’t make sense with the album being called Strange Love. I told the artist that was going to design the artwork ‘Can you just make it super colorful, like almost like hide the heart in a bunch of colors?” He said “yeah, I shall try and do paint swatches.” “I so whatever that means that sounds perfect!” So he did it and it ended up looking awesome. It looked like something that Coldplay would do and I love Coldplay.
Your lyric video for Love Again is hilarious, who came up with that idea? I love it!
Ha! That was actually to be completely honest and give you full disclosure, my producer and I were really drunk……. and we came up with that idea, we have always been kind of like the fun band that people look up to as far as morally correct things and we try and be inspirational and we try to be a good influence on our younger fans. We went out and went drinking and I said “ How funny would it be if we did a video with just stick figures, doing windmills in a video?” He just started dying of laughing and went back to the studio that night and he made it on his phone. We made the first scene where the guy goes in and takes off his tie and we added the censor bar. I’m not sure whether it was because we were so drunk but we just started dying of laughter. We just want to use it for any song it didn’t matter what someone was that could have been a ballad, but we have to use this lyric video. In all honesty that’s how it started, it was a really stupid idea when me and my best friend were drunk and he just happened to know how to make it happen. So we just did the whole thing and put Love Again into it.
That is an awesome story! I love it.
Do you have one song in particular that you are most proud of off the album?
Definitely, it would be Jenny’s Song, that song is definitely my favorite. We were not even sure if we were going to put it on the album or not, it was actually a song that I wrote for my wife without her knowing and I played it on our wedding. My manager, who was at our wedding, was like that song is incredible! I had this idea of writing a song and not show anybody and record it myself and then put it in my will then when I have passed away whenever that was I wanted to hand it to someone to release it. Like my last dying wish was for people to hear this song. It was part of that idea that I wrote this song. Then I finished it and decided to play it at my wedding to my wife. I was so nervous when I was playing it, I had already set up the guitar and the microphone and I asked the wedding party to come and sit in front of us, and I just sat there on a chair and played it for her. I did not have a name to the song so I called it ’Jenny’s Song’.
Did she cry?
Yes she cried! My managers said this is a really great song, I think people really love it and I think it shows a different side of you, so we put it on the album. it is definitely my favorite song. We will definite play it in Australia.
I better let you go Travis as we are out of time. Sadly!
I do have that characteristic of a music journalists asking one question and I will literally spend 20 minutes just answering that one question!
Yes I did notice that! (laughing) I shall see you when you come to Melbourne!
Awesome, thanks Jen, for talking with me, you have an awesome day.
Have a great night!