This is my interview with Travis Clark, singer/guitarist, of We the Kings from their show in Mentor, OH on July 31st. I am a huge fan of this band and after a few previous attempts at an interview, it was nice to finally meet them. Here are links to the bands videos, their latest “Friday Is Forever”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRMw1udsp-I and their smash hit “Check Yes Juliet”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1R_txIuuio&feature=relmfu.
First off, how are you?
I’m doing fantastic. We just got done with our show and it was a good one. It was a success.
Are you enjoying this tour so far?
So far, it’s been amazing. Every show has been completely sold out in the venues and we’ve been playing a bunch of theme parks so we’ve been able to do a lot of the water parks and roller coasters. It’s been like a vacation tour.
Do you have a favorite song or place to perform live?
My favorite place would have to be this place in Washington state, it’s called The Gorge. It is like a Grand Canyon type thing and the stage is on the edge of a cliff. I kid you not, it’s the most beautiful thing. The crowd stands on this incline so they can see this band playing and there’s just a giant gorge directly behind us. It’s this huge thing, there’s a river running down it and everything. It’s one of the best places to play and it’s only like 3 hours from Seattle. My favorite song right now is probably “Say You Like Me” because it’s off the new record and it’s fun to hear the new songs live and hear the crowd singing along.
Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?
The best advice that I always got was from my dad. He always said to think about what you want and what your idea of success is and aim for that. Don’t necessarily aim for what somebody else’s success is whether it’d be money, fame, or popularity. I’ve always just wanted to play music and I never cared if there was money involved, if we are popular, or anything like that. I aim for that and I think if more artists aimed for that then they’d be happier.
If you could give yourself advice 5 years ago, what would you say?
I’d probably say to just be more aware of everything that is going on. I was so into high school and I loved every part of it but I would have definitely told myself to cherish the moments I spent with my friends. Now, I have this awesome life but I don’t get to see my friends really ever. The people I grew up with my entire life are working their own jobs and I’m on tour for 11 months out of the year so I don’t really get to see them. That would probably be the one thing I told myself.
If you could co-write an album with anyone, who would it be and why?
Off the top of my head, it would probably be either Jason Mraz or Chris Martin from Coldplay. It would be so fun to work with either of them and they are so talented. Their songs are amazing.
What bands or artists have influenced you the most?
I grew up listening to Blink-182, Jimmy Eat World, Green Day, and those other punk rock bands. New Found Glory was like my jam growing up. It’s weird; I’m saying all these bands that I’m now friends with so it always ends up with me telling each of them when we first meet ‘I’m a huge fan.’ We’ve met Blink a bunch of times, it’s really awesome to be around them because they were the reason I got into music. I went to one of their shows and called the guys and said ‘we need to start a band’ and that’s where it all began. They hold such a monumental moment in my life and they don’t even know. I talk to them normally but on the inside, I’m a little school girl that’s freaking out. It’s crazy.
We haven’t seen an episode of King’s Carriage in awhile, will we anytime soon?
(Laughs) Yeah, we took a break from King’s Carriage because we started recording the record but now that the record is now finished and out, we’ll probably get back into it.
What was different going into the studio working on this new record, Sunshine State of Mind?
I’m not really sure. We did it the same way that we’ve done records which is I’ll write the songs in a period of time whether it’s a year, a year and a half, six months, and we then go into the studio to demo them out on my computer, on Garage Band. We then listen to the songs and how they are demoed and from there we decide which ones we want to work on and which ones we want to use. As a band, we just finesse everything from there. It was fun though. I was living in New York City for awhile, doing a lot of recording and a lot of writing. I’m from Florida so it was really cool to just live in a completely different place. New York City is such a change of pace in comparison to the beach life in Florida. I think that helped influence the record, to be a little more fast-paced than everything else.
Twilight. Are you excited for the new movie? Seeing it opening night? Are you glad it was split into two movies?
So there are three Twilight films already out and I have yet to see the last one although I do want to, I just kind of forgot about it which is bad. I’m a bad Twilight fan. I forgot about my passion for Twilight for a moment.
What’s the craziest experience you’ve had after a show?
We were in the Philippines and we had police escorts everywhere. The traffic was so slow that the crowd from the show was running by the car, past the police motorcycle escorts and right next to our car. They were just banging on the van. It was like a scary movie, like a zombie apocalypse. On the other hand, it was amazing because we had never ever gotten that kind of attention in our lives and it felt so much like a Beatles moment. Kids were pounding on the windows just trying to get to us. It was amazing.
Who is your favorite band that you’ve toured with?
I don’t know. Warped Tour is different because you tour with so many bands that you would never really tour with on a normal club tour because it’s a completely different style of music. Some of our best friends are in the bands that we tour with nonstop like Cobra Starship, they are probably my favorite to tour with because they are so much fun to hang out with and they are all our best friends. We love touring with them, they are incredible, funny, and just amazing to hang out with. They are probably my favorite.
What’s your greatest memory with the band so far?
Something that actually happened a year and a half ago. We’re huge baseball fans and we played a hometown show at the Tampa Bay Rays stadium, about 30 minutes from where we live, and the mayor of the city actually came and presented us all with keys to the city on the field. I got to have the first pitch. We played on center field at the end of the game and all the fans came down on the field. We played for 36,000 people. That whole night is just so unforgettable and everything that happened was just so incredible and just so shocking. That is definitely in the top 5 highlights for this band.
Malls are fun. It’s free shows. We play so many shows that sometimes we have to charge $15 or $30 for a ticket just to make costs and the venue’s costs for stuff. So when we get to play mall shows where it is a free show, we play the more different acoustic side of the band, they hear how we really are and we can’t hide behind drums or loud guitars. I like it because kids either think we’re talented or they get to hear us from an entirely different perspective. I’d say that the whole reason we did this was to offer that to the kids. These are cities that we don’t normally play at either; we haven’t played Mentor in our lives, so to play at a city that just has a really popular mall is awesome.
What are your plans for the future?
Since we just released Sunshine State of Mind, we are just going to tour for the next year and a half straight. We are going to Australia at the end of this tour, South America in January, the U.K. at the end of this year. Our song “Say You Like Me” is going to radio so that’ll be fun. We have more U.S. shows, colleges, malls, everything. We are just going to play anywhere and everywhere we can. I don’t care if it’s even a pool party, we’ll do it. We love touring and that’s one of the things we cherish, just being able to be on the road with our best friends.