|‘Your Neck Is Bleeding’
By Walter Price
“I’ll leave sick all over your car and a black mark on your heart forever.”
What a whirlwind few days it has been for the, properly named, UK outfit The Travis Waltons.
They have made a huge splash with the star filled video for their track “Homewrecker” from their remarkably crafted album Your Neck Is Bleeding. It was a marketing homerun for the London based band. Pulling myself as well as thousands more to see the video clip and then, hopefully, find and listen to their full effort.
What an effort it is. An album full of power-pop-rockin deeply versed and fresher than fresh arrangements, sometimes dark and humored and again sometimes melodic odes to the somewhat turbulent thought process and beer stained past adventures of Dan Flay.
Your Neck Is Bleeding is a refreshing ear treat in a world full of mediocre and self-indulgent alternative crap fests of albums or synth drowned DJ produced dance numbers that make me want to find the tallest building. (FYI: I like some Avicii, yee haw!)
The teamwork from Dan and Rob Sandall is clearly the results of their proper respect and love of making music. Rounding out the sonic honesty of the album are Peter Phillips, Ed Higgs and bass master Stephen Davidson.
I usually don’t like to single out tracks on albums But I thnk I will here. I prefer the first 10 tracks on Your Neck Is Bleeding. Take it for a spin and you will know why I consider The Travis Waltons a band you must keep eyes and ears on in 2014.
I decided it a grand idea to contact the band and find out a bit more. Here is my conversation with Dan & Rob….
Time warp, how did this band come to be?
Dan: About six years ago I’d given up on recording and a guy, Neil Rogers, who runs Half Ton Studios in Cambridge heard a demo and harassed me into recording a song with him, which then turned into a whole album. I played a few shows in Cambridge, moved away and sort of forgot about it a bit. Me and Rob have been friends for ages and he harassed me into starting a band and actually doing something with the album and so we got our friends Ed Higgs (drums), Stephen Davidson (bass) and Peter Phillips (guitar) to start a real-life band to play shows and party with.
Your release Your Neck Is Bleeding…Who’s life is responsible for the majority of the lyrical make up?
Dan: It was about a pretty dark time in my life. I moved to Germany for a year or two, bought some guinea pigs and a rabbit, got addicted to World of Warcraft and drank heavily for a few years and ate pizza every day. I downloaded World of Warcraft the other day and it’s terrible now, I’m not sure what happened. But I guess genuinely stuff did turn a bit dark for a while.
Is it easier writing about deeper thoughts when you can counter-balance with a bit of tongue-in-cheek?
Dan: I’m a big fan of Alkaline Trio. I think I just assumed a sense of humour would come across in my lyrics like with those guys but, looking back, I’m not sure one did. I don’t take myself seriously in real life but at the time it always seems like a good idea to make the lyrics as dark and depressing and honest as possible and maybe overshare a bit.
With the airwaves and charts being full of electronic music, is it a bit of bravery to have an album full of guitars, melodies and great story telling?
Dan: We were featured on a radio show earlier today, and to listen to our bit I had to listen to a lot of electronic, solo-artist kind of stuff. I appreciate that a lot of music that sounds similar to ours is not super popular (at least in UK) at the moment. Although, thinking about it, I can’t think of another band that’s doing something exactly the way we are. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. I definitely prefer guitars and melodies over everything else so we’ll definitely keep doing what we’re doing whether it’s popular or not, for sure.
Ok, everyone will be asking, so will I, how did the cameos come to be for the “Homewrecker” video?
ROB: It’s a bit of a mix of good fortune and just kind of saying hello to people. Frank is an old friend – I used to be a music journo of sorts myself and met him back in 2006 – so that was easy enough. Dan sorted Paul Aaron following a charity auction he took part in. Like he says himself, I don’t think we really believed it was going to happen until we saw the finished product.
And not forgetting a lot of our fans, who are kind of the most important cameos of all:most of them have been listening to Dan’s music for years, so it’s right that they’re part of us pushing harder.
With all the controversy surrounding the name Travis Walton, does the band fear any alien retribution?
Rob: Ed has a sock with a couple of snooker balls in and Dan can probably fight. I’m pretty sure they can BRING IT ON.
When will we see a full scale tour?
ROB: That’s the next job. UK first, then elsewhere. It’s been nice seeing fans pop up around the world, which of course means we need to think bigger, which is a bit scary!
Is there another album on the way or did I misread you Facebook page?
Dan: No, you’re right! A year ago I was planning on just releasing an album of instrumental songs, but wrote to my musical hero Paul Gonzenbach from The Jim Yoshii Pile-Up about it and he said he’d like to work together on it. I told Rob and that’s when we decided to start a real band, write some real songs and ask a bunch of other people to appear on it. We managed to get Charlie Simpson, Jamie Lenman from Reuben and Matt Pryor from The Get Up Kids on it as well as Andrew Futral from The Age Of Rockets/Field Mouse. It’s very close to being finished and we’re really proud of it.
What does the world need to know about The Travis Waltons that the current influx of media coverage is missing the point on?
ROB: I guess mainly it’s the slight misreporting of album cameos: the ‘big name’ appearances are all on album two, yet to be released. The current album with Homewrecker on just has 10 solid gold tunes. Which, you know, still rules.
Alright, who is it…Who runs the fastest?
Dan: Pete, 100%