Posted On 19 Oct 2018
On the new album, they shared: “Our 6th album, appropriately titled “SIX,” is the record our fans have been waiting for from We The Kings. The double meaning behind “SIX” lies within our fans for being the 6th member of WTK.”
We The Kings’ storied career has been marked by a deep reciprocity between the band and their fans. When the group—Travis Clark (vocals), Hunter Thomsen (guitar), Danny Duncan (drums), Charles Trippy (bass) and Coley O’Toole (keyboard, guitar)—broke out of Bradenton, Florida in 2007 with “Check Yes Juliet,” one of the most iconic songs of the late ’00s pop-punk movement, millions of listeners around the world instantly fell in love with their buoyant spirit and emotionally poignant songwriting.
Connect With We The Kings Here:
Facebook (1.4M likes): www.facebook.com/wethekings
Twitter (298k followers): www.twitter.com/wethekings
Instagram (123k followers): www.instagram.com/wethekings
Learn more about We The Kings in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! What is on tap for the rest of your day?
Well, I’ve actually already had a productive day so far (I think)…. I’ve been writing on the piano a lot lately, so I decided to hop on that last night until about 3am, then woke up around 8am and started writing another song on the acoustic guitar. I’ve been inspired a lot lately by my family, by summer, and by playing the entire Warped Tour. So I’m really trying to take advantage of song inspiration while it’s here 🙂 On top of that, my wife and I made fresh carrot and apple juice for the family and breakfast for our 2 little ones. They left the house to run some errands and that leaves me right here, right now on my computer talking with you guys! I just realized that I didn’t answer the question at all….haha so the real answer is: the rest of my day will be spent in and out of the studio I built in my house and outside getting everything ready for the pool that I am having built!
This summer All Access Music compiled a list of our artists favorite songs this summer so what was YOUR song of the summer?
This summer was very nostalgic for me. Being on the last year of warped tour, there were countless bands that have been around for 10-15 years or even more. I was lucky enough to hop on stage with my friends in Simple Plan over the course of the tour and sing “I’m Just A Kid” with them, which really summed up my entire summer experience on the final Vans Warped Tour. I felt like I was still that same kid that fell in love with music over and over again.
How has 2018 been treating you all? What is one musical goal that you have had for this year?
2018 has been really great for us so far. We did a 10 year anniversary tour of our very first album “Self Titled” and then went into Warped Tour for the summer. We are doing some festivals, radio shows, colleges, and military support shows throughout the rest of the year which should keep us busy but at the same time we’ll be able to spend some time with our families. One musical goal I’ve had for this year is for one of the songs from our album SIX to be a hit song. I know that sounds selfish, but when we have a hit song, we’re able to tour more, we’re able to play different places that we haven’t played before, and it allows us to be able to continue making more music.
Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be in this group together? Has anything surprised you about this ride so far?
I’ve always been a dreamer, so failing just wasn’t an option for me. With that being said, there definitely have been times (especially on stage) where I just kind of stop and think ‘WOW, this is insane, I can’t believe I’m standing here right now!’ That feeling happens actually quite often which is just a huge “THANK YOU” to the fans for allowing me to feel that.
How did you come up with your name? Was it easy to come up with one that you all could agree on? What other names were you possibly considering?
It was actually pretty easy to come up with our band name. We wanted to use something that let everyone know how long we’ve know each other and when we all got into music. We all went to King Middle School and that’s when we all really started getting more involved in music. So, ‘We The Kings’ kind of came naturally.
How do you think your hometown has influenced the sound and how you all carry yourselves in this group?
We come from a smaller size town, so it was always a “bigger” dream for us to make it, since we weren’t located in LA, NYC, Seattle, Chicago or Nashville. But it was really our town that shaped us into the kids we are and the music we make. Florida has always had a beach style vibe that comes with youth, young love, trial and error, and growth. We’ve always loved the youthful song that a lot of our songs have but also love when we can surprise our core fans and write a ballad. Fun fact, our very first ballad was on our first album and it was called “This Is Our Town” the song is all about Bradenton which a long time ago used to be called “BradenTOWN” which is why in the lyric I used “Dear Bradentown…” The song was written like a letter to thank you letter to Bradenton for the town that it was to us.
What it was like releasing your newest album, “Six”? Can you talk about the process? Did anything surprise you about the making of it? How does this collection show the growth that you have all gone through as a band?
The SIX album was actually really cool to make. It was the first album that we did entirely from my home studio. Because it was done in my home studio, there are a lot of things we decided not to polish. There are doors slamming, my daughters singing and talking in it while I was doing vocal takes, the band laughing in the background…etc We just wanted this album to sound more real and less produced then some of the other songs and albums we’ve put out. It was all in the nature of just trying something different and I have to say it was so much fun being able to do everything from the comfort of my home haha 🙂
I love the double meaning behind “Six” lies within your fans for being the 6th member of your band! Can you elaborate on the relationship that you have had with your fans over the years?
I say on it stage every night, but it’s not scripted, it’s genuine. I thank the fans for being exactly where they are at that exact moment and for being who they are at that exact moment. So many artists over the years (even bands that I’ve been a fan of) have forgotten how important it is to connect with your fans. From day 1, we’ve always been the band to stay later and make sure we get to meet everyone, even when we started bringing thousands and thousands of fans to our concerts. I think the moment we forget about the people who have supported us over the passed 10 years, is the moment that we as a band will cease to exist. I love our fans and I am so eternally grateful for the life that they’ve helped to give me.
Can you talk about the inspiration behind some of the songs on this collection? Typically how do you about writing your songs? Altogether or separate? While it’s difficult, can you pick out a few favorite songs and explain how they came together?
The songs for SIX were written over the course of about a year to a year and a half, which isn’t super uncommon. There are a lot of songs that we’ve written that we didn’t feel had the right vibe or had the right passion behind it so we didn’t release them. Every song on SIX is there for a reason. We wanted to put out a record that was real to who we were at this moment in time. I’ve always said that I’ll never release the same record twice, it almost feels offensive to that initial record to do that, so when crafting SIX, I kept that in mind. Also, it’s not difficult to pick a favorite….it is out right impossible. There is always something so special, so passionate to each of these songs that would make you feel bad picking another song as a favorite over it. There are a few songs on the record that have something extra special to them that are notable:
The Ocean And The Sun – the voices you hear in the intro of the song are my daughter Kinsley trying to copy what I was singing. She had just turned 2 years old and was in the mimicking stage, so every time I would try to sing something she would try to do it. Instead of taking it out, I decided to copy and paste it and make it the hook of the intro.
On My Love – I actually stole this saying from my wife and her family. They say “On My Love” which in a way means like “I promise” or “I cross my heart.” Her parents have said it forever and after being in the family I heard myself saying it all the time haha. I turned it into a love song that said no matter what life throws on our way or whatever obstacles we arrive at. That I will always and forever be there, on my love.
What I Wouldn’t Give – is the song that wasn’t ever going to see the light of day. I wrote this song the day after my mother-in-law AKA ‘MamaBear’ passed away. It was written in 15 minutes while sitting at my piano sobbing and trying to figure out why something like this would happen to someone so beautiful. She had been battling breast cancer for almost 10 years and through it all never once complained. She was and will always be one of the most influential people in my life. After writing the song, before showing anyone else, I recorded it and played it for my father-in-law who had asked me to play a song at her celebration of life since she was our #1 fan. I wasn’t sure if I could even get through anything I would play, but when I played What I Wouldn’t Give to him, he was in tears and asked me if I would play that for her at the service. I barely got through the song, but afterwards, the entire family demanded that I put it out on the record, they knew how many people would be able to relate with the song and how many people it could potentially help. With everyone’s blessing, I agreed to add it as the final song on SIX. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to play it live, but it is one of the most beautifully sad songs I’ve ever put together. I’d like to believe that MamaBear was with me for those 15 minutes while writing the song.
Where do you think you are all happiest- in the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere?
I’ve been asked this question a lot and I never really know what to say. When I’m in the studio, I get really excited to put the songs out and play them on stage live but when I’m on stage I get really excited and inspired to get back into the studio and write more songs for fans to go crazy for. I won’t cop out of the question though…if I can only choose one, I would say that there is absolutely no other feeling in the world compared to stepping away from the microphone on stage and hearing the lyrics that I put my blood, sweat and tears in being sung; actually not even “sung” they’re usually being screamed at us. It actually makes me forget the words all the time on stage because I get lost in how truly beautiful each crowd is. I know I speak for the rest of the band when I say that we take so much pride in saying that ‘we leave it all on the stage.’
Do you have any upcoming summer or fall tour dates you would like to share with our readers?
We are playing some shows for the US AirForce and Navy that we are incredibly honored to have the opportunity to be a part of. We’ve done about 25 or 30 shows all over the world for the military and we continue to request to go back because it’s something so unbelievably special to do whatever we can to make the lives of the men, women and children better who are serving and are in military families that sacrifice so much so that I can do what I do and be free.
How do you think being musicians and in this band still gives you the most joy in life today? What would you say is the most challenging part about it?
I think joy and happiness is something that every single person searches for in this life. I’ve been so fortunate to have a job that provides so much joy that has nothing to with monetary, ego, or physical things. I thought for the longest time that other things would make me happy like fame, or money, or friends, relationships, or even music. It took me awhile to really understand what it meant to be happy and today I can honestly tell you that I understand it. Take everything away that I have in my life, put me in a room, and ask me how I feel? I would tell you this, “I have my health, I have my mind, I have my soul, I have my faith, and even within this room I can close my eyes and think about all the love that I’ve experienced and just like that, become happy.”
We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how your own music is reflecting this time period? Or do you think it doesn’t? Would you say that other musicians are making music that has been influenced by this climate?
I’ve never let politics influence our music. It feels like the climate changes, but the negativity doesn’t. There are artists that I love who write about things that I don’t write about. It doesn’t mean that I don’t like the music or lyrics that they are putting out, it just simply means that I don’t connect with it in the same way that they did. That’s what has always been so powerful to me, how one song can mean so many different things to so many different people. Music really is an art form, and artists should write about what they’re passionate about, always.
What musicians would you love to work with in the future? What artists have really been inspiring this group and your music since day 1?
Chris Martin, Dave Grohl, Travis Barker, Jim Adkins, Paul McCartney (like I said in the beginning of this interview, I’m a dreamer), and any other artist that we’ve had the pleasure of sharing the stage with. It’s so cool to see what everyone else does, even different styles of music. You would be very surprised to see the variety of music I listen too 😉
If you guys were all going to be stranded on a deserted island, what musical item would you want to take with you and why?
A microphone so I could scream for help haha…. I’ve always pictured a deserted island and sitting up against a palm tree with a big straw hat playing an acoustic guitar. I’m sure I would be able to write a ton of great songs, other than the fact that I wouldn’t have anyway to remember the lyrics or record them…
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
Fans who like our music are going to continue to connect with the songs that hit a chord with them at that exact moment. I hope that’s what they take away from those songs, connectivity. I would love to believe that our music inspires hope, change, love, and creativity. I am who I am because of the music I listened to and I would love if one day someone said that about our music.
Where can our readers connect with you today?
All over! I do a lot on instagram (it’s my current favorite) so @TravisWeTheKings but we also do a ton on our Facebook.com/WeTheKings page. Wherever you end up finding us, I hope you stay and I hope to see you at a show when we come near you…and on top of all of that, make sure you say “HI” to me 🙂