Photographer Joshua Shultz
BELLUS MAGAZINE (BM): How long have you been playing music?
TRAVIS WARNER (TW): I’ve been playing music most of my life. My dad plays piano, my mom sings, my grandmother sang and played, my grandfather played piano as well. Growing up I was always surrounded by music. I started off playing piano but jumped around from instrument to instrument a lot. My mom always laughs because I would save up money for video games, or a tv or something, but I always ended up spending it on a new instrument. I’ve played piano guitar bass drums clarinet, trumpet and accordion over the years in varying degrees. I’m definitely a jack of all trades and master of none, but it kind of works to my advantage with the way that I work.
TW: It’s just something I’ve always done no matter what else was going on in my life. No matter what kind of sports or extra curricular activities I was doing growing up, I was always playing music. It’s something I have always really loved to do, so when it came down to choosing a career path it was pretty natural. I figured if I was going to be spending all this time doing it, I might as well try to make a couple bucks. I think if I tallied up the hours I’ve spent doing it I’m probably making around $1/hr. It’s funny though because for a long time I didn’t like performing, but it’s just so boring playing by yourself. You start feeling like a crazy person – like you’re just sitting in a room talking to yourself for hours. Like those people you see driving on the freeway and you see them talking and laughing but there isn’t anyone else in the car. Then you see their bluetooth piece in their ear, but until that you just assume they’re nuts. Anyway, I got over my aversion to performing and I really love it now. It’s having a conversation really, you have something to say and you say it and then they clap or throw stuff at you depending on whether or not they liked what you said.
TW: I met Mike Schuppan and he offered to help me record so I said “yes”. That was the best “yes” answer I have ever given. Then I asked a couple friends Cassidy Turbin and Chris Rolontz to come record with me and they also said “yes”. We recorded most of the songs live without a metronome in order to get a more natural feel to the songs. Then I took those tracks back to the studio that Cassidy and I have and I added a bunch of instruments and harmonies. After I finished all the songs, I brought them back to Mike and he added some things to it like effects, and some guitar parts, etc. Then he mixed them all in 2 days at Capitol Studios. It was pretty crazy but I love how it all turned out. I think people spend way too much time making records these days, myself included. There’s too many heads in the room or something and the opinions go back and forth forever. I don’t think making records should be a thought process. I think it should be instinctual.
TW: This album is really how I learned how to make music. I didn’t know what I was doing when I started it, and now I think I have a pretty good idea of how to do it. It was a long learning process full of mistakes but also a lot of creative growth. The songs were originally written just for me and my guitar or piano, but once I started recording them they changed a lot. I started adding sections like instrumentals, intros and outros that you just don’t have when you play by yourself. It also has the first string arrangements that I ever wrote on, which was really a life-changing experience and something I’ll remember forever. When you’ve sat with melodies in your head for months and months, it’s the most satisfying thing in the world to sit with 10 people and have them all play your own thoughts back at you. It’s completely euphoric.
BM: When is it being released?
TW: We don’t have an official date yet because we’re working out some business logistics, but it will be out in the spring. We’re going to release a few tracks over the next couple weeks and then the full album probably March or April.
BM: What was it like filming your first music video?
TW: That was a really interesting experience for me. I’m used to doing things myself or at least being very involved in the entire process of creativity on the various projects I’m involved in, but for the music video I really had no clue what to do. Everyone who was there knew more about making music videos than I did and I didn’t quite know what to do with myself. I even tried to help the lighting guy move some metal poles or something but he didn’t need my help. I guess I was most useful to everyone sitting in the makeup chair getting my face powdered. I definitely got a little stir crazy until they actually put me in front of the camera.
BM: Can you tell me what inspired you to write the song “Single”?
TW: I was sitting in my friend Adrian’s living room talking about my album, and at the time I had recorded a bunch of songs but I didn’t feel like I had a single. I liked all my songs but I didn’t feel like there was a standout track that was upbeat and possibly radio friendly. So we were talking about how I didn’t have a single, and also I had been single for a long time at that point and was a bit frustrated because I wanted to meet a girl who could really steal my attention away from my work. That feeling where you just can’t stop thinking about that person no matter what – I just kind of missed that and didn’t want to be single anymore but also didn’t want to settle for a girl who would end up being a total bitch. So between those two conversations we probably said the word “single” a few hundred times and finally all of a sudden the idea for the song popped in my head. I told Adrian I was gonna go write the single for the album and I wanted him to direct the video, and I sent him the song a few days later.
BM: What is next on the horizon for Frith?
TW: A lot of shows, interviews, promotional stuff. I’m also working on writing the next album right now and I’m really excited about it. I’m taking a whole new approach to songwriting – writing to beats instead of sitting at my guitar or piano. That should be out later this year as well.
BM: What advice can you give to other aspiring artists out there?
TW: Stay away from “plan B”s. They only set you up for failure.