Travi the Native, the new form of Travis is a Tourist, took shape back in March, before all the madness. What followed is a trilogy of great singles. Announcing himself with the robot pop of ‘Heavy Love’, the saxophone-led, 70s jam ‘Still Hurting’ and finally somewhere in the middle his latest single ‘COOL’. It’s all an evolution of the slick songwriting that Travi has made his name on, and a great start to a new chapter.
We asked the man himself to delve into his influences, give us some thoughts and a playlist that’s more than worth a listen.
Nick Murphy – Harry Takes Drugs on the Weekend
I was always a fan of Chet Faker, and followed his whole rebrand and new set titled project pretty closely. I knew he was doing everything himself and was very much confident in his own opinion. This to me was his return to form tune. It feels super honest. It’s sparse in instrumentation but still creates this ‘coming of age’ epic film scene undertone. I love the intro of him just counting traffic lights, I also love that he seems to sing “Harry tooks drugs on the weekend” and kept that in instead of retaking the vocals. I love imperfections.
Talking Heads – This Must Be The Place
This is my ultimate. This song has a strange hold on me. My dad has always been a Talking Heads fan and he passed that on to me and we are both obsessed with David Byrne’s genius.
Personally I think it’s one of the most perfect love songs ever to be written. It so perfectly juxtaposes the heartfelt, meaningful lyrics “I come home, she lifted up her wings, I guess that this must be the place, there was a time before we were born, if someone asks this is where I’ll be.” With sounds and a groove that somehow become even more important than what’s being said. All with 4 chords.
I have vowed for this to be first dance at my wedding.
The 1975 – Menswear
It was hard for me to decide which 1975 tune to go for. They’re a marmite band it seems – you either love them or hate them. Personally they were a huge factor in a lot of the musical decisions I have made in the last 4 years or so. They were one of the first BIG bands to be genre bending and evolve in realtime. I can buy into that. This song was on their first record which I played to death. I am very much a lyrics person, I need to learn what is being talked about before I can really get attached to a song. There is something about Healy’s lyrics that felt so conversational and colloquial that it could have been one of my mates explaining a story to me. I fell in love with that, its just an account of what happened at a friend’s wedding. No big chorus, nothing other than a story to music. I think you can hear inspiration from the likes of this track in parts of Heavy Love, that minimal hip-hop electro vibe.
Frank Ocean – Blond
This is cheating, but I can’t pick a single song off of Blond. I’m not exaggerating when I say my whole life changed with this record. I had been a Frank fan for a few years and was impatiently waiting the release of this album. It came and I hated it. I won’t lie when I say that I fought with it for months , just not understanding it but for some reason I stuck with it and put it on over and over. Then one day it all clicked. As simple as that. I was living in Paris at the time and I took a long walk with the aim of getting a bit lost and trying to find my way back home, and I genuinely changed that day, and how I looked at music just became different and has stayed that way. The lyrics in this whole record are mental but incredible. The production is insane. There are songs within songs. There are mad interludes with phonecalls from his friends mum. It’s nuts. But it changed the course of hip-hop forever.
Souls of Mischief – 93 ’Til Infinity
This epitomises the sound that made me fall in love with hip hop at such a young age. I didn’t hear this song until probably 20 though and I was deep in love by then. It still transports me back to the less polished side of hip hop in California.
It’s a perfect loop. The distorted drums and bass. The annoying siren that pans from one earphone to the other. So simple. So good. It’s original lo-fi. From that period of time. As they say…
“This is how we chill, from 93 ’til.”
Sylvan Esso – Hey mami
I first heard Sylvan Esso by stumbling across their first NPR Tiny Desk, at some late hour of the night when I shoulda been sleeping, and ‘Coffee’ started the session. I was hooked immediately. Hey mami opens their first album, and was hugely responsible for my movement into more electronic sounds and moving away from just acoustic instruments. The bass is so obnoxious and the vocal is so pretty and polished. It’s so groovy, and you can’t help but move along when the second verse kicks.
Bon Iver – 33 “GOD”
Another album that came out while I was living in France, so it definitely transports me there anytime I listen. Also an album I fought with for a while. Not sure what I was expecting from his 3rd record but it wasn’t this on first listen.
This song though was just thunder. The vocal effects. The distant drums overdubbed. The bass rattles out of the speakers.
This was also my first introduction to the Teenage Engineering OP-1 Synth.
It was said that a vast majority of this album was written solely on that.
All the pitched and sampled vocals from other songs – Paulo Nutini’s ‘Iron Sky’ and Jim Ed Browns ‘Morning’ blew me away.
Dominic Fike – Phone Numbers
I discovered Dominic Fike through BROCKHAMPTON, and I hadn’t really heard an artist like him before that was that authentic and talented across all platforms, writing, singing, rapping, producing.
He also writes in such a conversational way and I appreciate when its obvious people have a good relationship with words and how they use them. The rhymes mid sentence and more than one rhyme within a rhyme. Big fan of that. I love the mix of acoustic and electronic instruments. The guitar is so bad sounding its good. Also Dom’s flow between verse one and two is so diverse, I love when an artist can show depth in one song and sometimes by passing the normal constraints of “verse one should be like verse two just with different words.”
Haim – Gasoline
This is a recent one. I’m a huge fan of HAIM and have been since their first record. It’s very much from a different era but with a reinventing the wheel type modern stamp on it. That’s just the dream right?
Danielle’s vocals are always killer but chorus two, when the sisters do what they do best and harmonise, it’s perfect. It just sounds like LA.
I love how minimal everything is. The drum sound is so flat, the vocal’s actual peak coming into the second verse. The electric guitar sounds like it was played drunk. The bass is low in the mix, but the hi-hats are so loud. It’s almost ‘wrong’ but that makes me love it even more. Banger.
Bruce Springsteen – I’m On Fire
I realised that most of these tunes were modern enough, I guess that’s just the phase I’m in this week. But it is ever changing and ten songs is very hard to choose ha! I am very thankful to my mum and dad for educating me on all the music of their generation. I remember getting similar feelings over and over again from the songs they used to play for me. That nostalgia, that cool.
This is one of many that has stuck with me forever. We all know its epic. The snare drum panned totally left, and the guitar right, and Bruce bare and raw right down the middle. The subtle use of the synth. It’s all so minimal and needs nothing else. I also love that you can hear it slightly speed up and slow down as the song goes on. Imperfectly perfect.