Canadian TRAVELER is the name acting in Heavy Metal waters since 2017. However, their musical experience is deeper, we should look for metal encyclopaedias in such bands as Gatekrashor (formed in 2008), Reborn Pariah (2006), Funeral Circle (2007) , Striker (2007), Pearl Reckless (2011), or Hazzerd (2013). So far, the quartet has not released much, only "Demo 2018", thanks to which I knew and contacted them, but also a split with Coronary. Well, the time has come for a full-length album to be out soon. However, the interview was committed before him, but it does not matter at all. The subject matter of the questions was still moving in different directions, but consider it for yourself. The questions were answered by guitarist Matt Ries.
Could you describe how was TRAVELER band formed? How did you get to your name, what does it symbolizes to you and how was the logo created?
The logo was created from an awful drawing I had. I just thought it would look cool if it were in the hands of someone with talent. Thanks, Frankie! Traveler was formed just from the thought of branching out from my previous projects. I wanted to see what would come from my own creativity. After seeing how well the demo was received, I figured the only logical thing to do would be to gather up some members! The name came to after we were told to change our name from Starbreaker. I guess Tony Harnell didn't approve of this haha.
So keeping with the whole space theme, Traveler fit perfectly. I like it more now. So I'm happy that happened.
Seems you have created a great formula for writing catchy songs where the riffs are strong and bass guitar with drums keep well the dynamics of the song while vocal is stunning and distinctive. All the things stick together and after spinning the fan has the impression of well-done work and the feeling of classics. Could you describe the writing process and how does the song become final so all of you are satisfied?
Thanks man, that really means a lot! Most of the writing process begins with a melody or a riff that gets stuck in my head for days. Then I'll put it to the guitar. Sometimes it doesn't work out. I have a bunch of half written songs. But when something clicks, all the pieces fall into place fairly quickly. Sometimes I'll start from the middle if I find myself playing a catchy hook. And work around that. I'll have a good skeletal structure for a song ready. Then refine it as I put lyrics to it.
I don't know who is the main author of the music, so I should have one question. Does your composer have a times when inspiration and creativity are as if they were naturally flowing in a certain period and there are also times when he cannot write anything meaningful? Do you ever try to look at the circumstances and the context when a creative period comes and what can cause it, or you think these things can't be traced at all and everything comes as "from above"?
I just try not to force anything. If I have to think about it for too long, it wont work. You'll know when a song will work when it flows naturally. There's always going to be those moments of creative lulls. It can get a little frustrating. But that's when you know it's a good time to step back for a while. A lot of circumstances can cause some creative strikes, though. For the most part, it's the hard times that inspire me to write. Or I'll be in an awesome mood and just write a song about something ridiculous like the lyrics in Starbreaker.
Some Heavy Metal bands try to get a certain positive link into their harmonies and atmosphere, maybe something more funny and less dramatic. In your music I see the more dramatic tendencies, but not literally spooky or monstrous. How do you perceive it as an author?
Well, most of the songs I've written for Traveler were inspired by hard times. So I guess it just comes across a little more dramatic. It sounds a little silly to keep it this simple. But when I'm writing a riff or a harmony, I'm mostly just playing something that I'd like to hear!
Where do you draw inspiration for your work? Could we also speak about conscious or subconscious inspiration? Do you think sometimes, for example, about the psychological aspect of your music as well? Do you think it's good to analyze your own music more deeply, look at it complexly, or it is better to let it go free and leave it "random"?
I've always liked writing songs that have meaning. Nothing wrong with yelling about beer and Satan. But the songs that I've cherished more from my favorite bands always had deeper meanings behind them. So the psychological side of things is always fun to throw in to the songs. I never really try to make it complex though. A healthy balance of random and thoughtfulness is key.
Could you describe what circumstances are best for your creative process? Are you better writing at night, in a changed state of consciousness, or you prefer a sober head? Do you have any special rituals or something like?
No special rituals. Beer is usually present in the writing room. But I've written songs absolutely hammered and completely sober. It just comes when it comes. And I'm not much of a pot smoker these days. But weed and guitar go hand in hand. It's an amazing writing tool. It's not always productive haha. But it's the best when your high and the riffs fly out effortlessly.
Could you describe what supporting themes you are leaning on in your lyrics? How much does this side have to correspond with music? Is the music first and then the lyric is written, or the opposite? Are you trying to reconcile these two elements, or it is not so much important to you?
The themes are kind of all over the place. Starbreaker was the product of listening to a lot of Neil Degrass Tyson. And just my general fascination with the unknown. And fantasizing over "what if" scenarios. I'm mostly just writing what comes to me first. As I said before, the hard times in life have inspired a lot of the lyrics as well. Sometimes I'll have a page of lyrics written before any music is written. Or vice versa. There are no rules.
Have you already heard about DMT or Dimethyltryptamine, a hallucinogenic substance that scientists once tried to produce in the laboratory, but it was later discovered this substance naturally exists, albeit in small quantities, in every living organism. It fills in the body mainly during sleep and in the last moments of life, which can lead to certain visions, and perhaps move a person's mind where he believed he will be taken after death. How do you look at this topic?
I've heard all about this. I think it's really cool. And I've been tempted to try it for a long time. To enter a dream world in a conscious state sounds amazing. But I would never go out of my way to go for it. I've heard it can rewire your perspective on life in a really positive way. But I think the intensity of it kinda keeps me away from it. I'm good sticking with other psychedelics haha.
Have you ever had a paranormal experience that could change your look at spiritual spheres or you have ever been based in this direction? Do you think everything we can perceive by our basic senses is what exists or there is much more?
Any experience I've had never really changed my outlook. Because it's never definitive. There's usually a good explanation for what you're experiencing. But it's a cool thing to wonder about. I've had an experience with what you would call "shadow people". It was
fucking terrifying. Your mind can play some ridiculous tricks on you though. So who knows what it actually was. I'll just say, I always keep an open mind about that stuff. While leaning more towards a more logical outlook.
What do dreams mean to you and what meaning do you attach to them? Have you ever had such a strong experience with sleeping or its disorders to feel anxiety, fear, or even complete horror at night? Do you think dreams are just pictures of our inside and experiences transformed into special visions?
I've had some pretty awful dreams where you wake up terrified. Or even ones where you feel pain. One time I dreamt the dude from the movie Scream was gutting me. I felt every stab and woke up thinking I was dying. Not sure what that means to me though. Other than just an awful unsettling feeling. I know there's a lot of people that think dreams have some sort of link to your reality. But I view them more as entertainment. I'm not going to pretend I know what they mean or anything. The palm reading dorks can handle that.
Could you tell what book you're currently reading, which literature you're most interested in and which movies have the biggest impact on you? Could you name a few? Which other kinds of art do you like and do you still have any other one besides music?
Hate to say it. But I'm not much of a book reader. If I had to say I'm reading anything, it's the graphic novel Crossed. Anyone who's read it knows how fucked up it is. It gets a little out of hand haha. But that's part of the fun. The movie that has the biggest impact on me is Terminator 2! Perfect in every way. That and probably Casino/Goodfellas, Heat, Hot Rod...
But I have a huge appreciation for physical art. Obviously the major ones like Boris and Frazetta. But I love my friends art as well. Take Dylan Barstad who does our art. Always been a big fan of his style for as long as I've known him. Was only natural to have him crush out a killer piece for us. And again for the full length!