TGLR was fortunate enough to score an awesome interview with We The Kings frontman, Travis Clark, and as promised in our Interview Preview we are posting the interview for the rest of the you in the blogosphere to truly understand how awesome professional musicians and bands are. While we have had interviews in the past, this is our first "big break" if you will, and we hope that because of this interview, we will be able to score other big artists in the future (if any of you guys have connections, please contact us at our new email address: TGLR007@gmail.com. This was a great experience, and we hope that you enjoy the extensive interview that we conducted with Travis. Check out both We The Kings' singles: Check Yes Juliet, and their new single Secret Valentine!!!
Without further ado…We The Kings', TRAVIS CLARK!!!:
TGLR: How did you guys meet and come to form your band? Is there any pre-band history between you guys?
Travis: We met in middle school and elementary school and became really good friends. In high school we formed this band together, and we didn't even really care if we knew how to play instruments, it was just like, 'Hey dude, did your mom buy you a bass?' We'd all get together and just start writing songs, trying to get girls in high school, 'cuz we were all just dorky little middle school and high school kids. We formed a band and people just started digging our music, and we were like 'Woah! This is awesome!' We got our name from the middle school we attended, King Middle School.
TGLR: How did you guys get to be where you are today (What was your big break)?
Travis: Pretty much our big break was when our manager sent us an email after he had heard our music on the internet. He was like, 'Hey, I dig this stuff, hit me back'. We thought he was just joking, but it was the real deal. He was like 'Let me fly you up to New York', and I was like, 'Okay!' We found a label, S-Curve Records, and we ended up signing up with them because they felt the most real to us. It was pretty much the best decision of our entire life.
TGLR: When you were growing up, did you ever expect to become big? Or was it all just for fun?
Travis: We never really expected it. Our idea of success was just being able to play in local bars, you know, being the underage kids, and radio stations, and just trying to get people to come out to shows. That was really all we had intended, and we were having a really good time doing it. Now we're really just doing it on a higher level, and it's just like a dream come true.
TGLR: What did it feel like the first time you heard one of your songs on the radio?
Travis: The first time I heard us on the radio, I was coming back from the beach, and I turned on the car, and Check Yes Juliet, our first single was playing. And I was like 'Oh, I didn't think I had that CD in the car'. Then I looked down at the dashboard and I realized it was our hometown radio station, like the big, big radio station in our hometown, and they were playing it. After they were done playing it they were like, 'That's new music from WE THE KINGS your hometown…', and I literally could not talk for minutes after. I was just so stunned, and just amazed that we actually got on the radio. It was one of the coolest feelings in my entire life. There's really no explanation for it. It's crazy man. Going from just playing to have fun with our friends, to hearing our songs on the radio, it's just unreal. Even today, it's just unreal.
TGLR: Do you like listening to your own music or other people's music?
Travis: After you record it you kinda take a little bit of a break on it, but after that, even today we'll listen to some of our music. We're constantly getting internet feedback on our music and stuff like that from different internet outlets like Myspace, and we'll just go to our page and start commenting back people, and when our music is on, I won't always turn it off. Sometimes it's cool to hear ourselves every once in a while.
TGLR: Would you rather jam together in your garage or play a live show?
Travis: Definitely a live show. It's literally like being in the garage with hundreds of people that are screaming and so excited; it just makes you more excited and stoked on what you're doing because it's like a reassuring moment that you did something right, and for whatever reason there are people out there that like your music. (We The Kings Tix!!!)
TGLR: Here's a little tough question. Would you rather have a larger fan base, but a higher number of people pirating your music? Or have higher record sales, but a smaller fan base?
Travis: We literally just put our music out there on the internet for everybody to catch hold of. It's their choice whether they choose to pay for it or not. For us it was just more getting people to listen to our music and getting feedback on whether people liked it or didn't. Our first single went on iTunes Download of the Week; everybody was able to download it for free. I would have to choose having a larger fan base and a higher number of people pirating our music versus more money. (THAT'S WHAT WE LIKE TO HEAR!!!)
TGLR: What's the most awesome thing you've eaten on tour so far?
TGLR: If you could team up with one band or producer who would it be? and Would you ever team up with a rap or hip-hop musician on a track?
Travis: Oh yeah, that would be awesome. There's this new dude called K'naan, he's awesome, he puts so much soul into his music, and it's just really different from everybody. He's from Africa, and he talks about Africa and how it's no different from growing up in the city; it's really cool. As far as bands, I'm hoping on this next record we can team up with some of our friends that we've met along the road, and just getting a few cameos in there.
TGLR: Who are your greatest influences and what genre do you guys listen to the most?
Travis: I would say our greatest influence is Jim Atkins of Jimmy Eat World, John Lennon of the Beatles, Blink-182 really got me started with the band, my mom is a singer-songwriter. She's sort of a hippy, so she taught me all these Beatles songs and I just fell in love with it. Third Eye Blind is another band I really like a lot. What we listen to the most, if it's before shows, we like to listen to really energetic music, that that gets us hyped up, and before I go to bed I'll probably listen to The Fray or something like that to really calm me.
TGLR: So I guess that you're happy that Blink-182 is coming back?
Travis: Dude, I am stoked.
TGLR: What is your take on "beef" in the music industry?
Travis: To be honest with you, and this probably goes against everything that most musicians are supposed to say, but I really try to stay as far away from the politics as possible. I want to be able to play music because I love it, and for all the right reasons. I love being in a band, I love doing what I do, and I love traveling the country with my best friends. There's nothing that can really take that away.
TGLR: Do you have any thoughts on the Rihanna/Chris Brown situation?
Travis: To be totally truthful with you, we live on a tour bus, and we didn't even hear about it until 3 days after it happened. We were coming out on tour with "Kiss Kiss", and people were like freaking out, and we didn't even know why. And then they told us, and we were like holy crap! We gotta stop doing that! I'm almost positive that there's a story that people are hearing, and then there's the real story. I don't even really know what happened.
TGLR: Tupac or Biggie?
Travis: Probably Biggie. Not just because he's Biggie, I've just always kinda been East Coast.
TGLR: If you had any advice for aspiring musicians, what would it be?
Travis: My advice would definitely be you know what we did in order to get where we are; constantly try to play as many shows as you can. I'm the kind of person who would walk up to someone in a mall and say, 'Hey my name is Travis, I play for a band called We The Kings, you should listen to us!'. You'll get much farther if you really love it.
TGLR: How do you maintain your luscious locks on the road?
Travis: Oh that's tough. Sometimes they turn into dreads, because we don't get to shower as much as we'd like to, but literally we just wake up and we're ready to go. It's all about growin' it out. It's all about getting past that awkward stage, when it's not that long, but you have nothing to do with it, but once you get past that you're good.
Any words of advice or life lessons?
Travis: My life lesson, how I try to live my life, is just be happy. There's always bad stuff going on in the world, but life is much better spent if you have a smile on your face.
p.s. WE THE KINGS IS INCREDIBLE!!!
we don't lie.