Travis share single ‘Gaslight’ and talk new album ‘L.A. Times’: “America is so wrapped in their own history”

Travis have shared their jaunty new single ‘Gaslight’ and spoken to NME about their new album ‘L.A. Times’, supporting The Killers on their upcoming tour and 25 years of ‘The Man Who’.

The Glasgow quartet’s first record in four years is set for release on July 12 via BMG and focuses on the City Of Angels, where frontman Fran Healy has lived for the last decade.

During that time, the charismatic band leader has found himself the victim of a car-jacking and in a separate incident was “mauled” by a sausage dog that he tried to rescue from the scene of a car crash.

“Do you wanna see my scar [where I was bitten]?” he laughed holding out his hand as NME sat down with him to survey the damage at BMG’s London headquarters. “It was a beauty. I almost lost my hand saving my neighbour’s dog.”

Despite his own personal traumas, Healy confirmed that none of them will feature on the record itself. Instead, it hones in on the social disparities of the city – with first single ‘Gaslight’ finding the frontman contemplating how to defeat this ugly form of mind manipulation.

“I’ve had personal experience of it, my kids have had personal experience, friends have had it, you get it in schools, you get it in the police, you get it with politicians,” he explained. “Are we living in a time where it’s happening more? No I don’t think so. We’re like, ‘Oh my God it’s everywhere’ but it’s always been everywhere. It’s not nice to be on the receiving end of it but it’s nice to be emancipated from it. To rid yourself of it.”

Healy continued: “Someone said something to me once and it really struck a chord. That is, ‘Look, if there’s someone in your life who you’re maybe on the phone with and every time you see them or put the phone down, you don’t feel good about yourself, why the fuck are they in your life?’ Get them out of your fucking life. So it’s a song about getting people like that and saying, ‘Get to fuck.’”

The title track in particular, which the frontman described as a spoken word piece, focuses on the poverty stricken area of Skid Row, where Healy has a studio.

“My studio and where it’s based is where Skid Row is at its most intense,” he explained. “You’ve got literally people with nothing living here and driving through this [I remember seeing], was this canary yellow Lamborghini, just cruising through with this guy’s arm hanging out the window. He was some dude wearing mirrored glasses.

Travis ‘L.A. Times’ artwork CREDIT: Press

“About six months later [guitarist] Andy [Dunlop] sent me this piece of music we’d all played on and I was trying to fiddle a song into it. This part came out about seeing all this pain and suffering because that guy had really quite a lot of jewellery on his hand. Over there, people show off their wealth and I had this image of all this being reflected off the 50 facets of this guy’s big diamond ring. That’s where the song ‘L.A. Times’ comes from.”

He added: “You can live in Los Angeles and you can live in Hollywood, Venice [Beach] and never see Skid Row. Every day I’m driving through it and there’s a lot of mental illness around there and I’m pretty sure America can fix that. [But] they’re so wrapped up in their own history right now.”

To coincide with the record’s release, Travis will be supporting The Killers across their 16 date UK and Ireland arena tour later this summer.

“It’s gonna be great. We’ve been friends for years and years now and Ronnie [Vannucci Jr.] and Brandon [Flowers] are the sweetest guys,” Healy enthused.

“It’s nice to be a support band again too. I love being a support band. It reminds me of when we supported Oasis [on the ‘Be Here Now’ Tour in 1997]. We went on every single night to blow them off the stage which is what a good support band should be doing. You go on, the other band watch you from the wings going, ‘Fuck’. And then they come on and do a better show because of it.”

The Killers’ Brandon Flowers CREDIT: Chris Phelps

He continued: “I did say to Brandon, ‘I hope you know we’ll go on every single night and try and blow you off the stage’ and he was laughing. He was like, ‘Bring it on’, so it should be brilliant. They’re great guys.”

Elaborating further on their legendary tour with Oasis, Healy continued: “They were the fucking best band we ever toured with. Every night Noel [Gallagher] would be at the side of the stage plugging in and playing along to [Travis’ debut single] ‘All I Want To Do Is Rock’. And his amp is fucking loud man. It was louder than all our amps put together. We’d be like, ‘What the fuck is that?’ And it’d be Noel every night. And Liam is a sweetheart, just a lovely guy.”

When NME asked if he would like to see them reform, the frontman replied: “Of course – Liam and Noel are a powerhouse. They’re brothers and they have a relationship that you and I and nobody will understand. It makes kind of sense that they’re kind of like, ‘We’re done’. If they do get back together a lot of people will be very happy. It could just be a matter of doing a couple of gigs though because I think they’ll just get sick to death of each other.”

Oasis performing live CREDIT: Getty

Healy added: “When you’re under the scrutiny of fame and success and the magnifying glass of the media it makes everything really really difficult.”

The release of ‘L.A. Times’ comes 25 years after Travis’ landmark LP ‘The Man Who’ catapulted the four-piece into the commercial stratosphere, spending 11 weeks at Number One in the UK albums chart. It also earned them a legendary headline slot at Glastonbury.

Healy reflected: “25 years is so abstract isn’t it? When ‘The Man Who’ came out in 1999 it would be like in 1999 talking about an album that came out in 1974. But I remember it like it was yesterday.”

“It was a death-defying album. We had no idea where that record was gonna go. We were literally packing our bags. In our mind we were like, ‘That was good we gave it our best shot’. And it just went bananas. You never can tell. You never know how things are gonna go.”

Travis previously performed ‘The Man Who’ in full in 2018 and while they have no plans to do so again this year, Healy is potentially eyeing up a 30th anniversary tour of their 1997 debut album ‘Good Feeling’.

“That’d be fucking great,” he added. “That would be a good album to do. In 2027, fucking hell could you imagine? [After all this time] I’m amazed we’re still getting away with it.”

‘L.A. Times’ is released on July 12, and you can pre-order/pre-save the album here. Check out the tracklist below. 

‘Raze the Bar’
‘Live It All Again’
‘I Hope That You Spontaneously Combust’
‘Naked In New York City’
‘The River’
‘L.A. Times’

The post Travis share single ‘Gaslight’ and talk new album ‘L.A. Times’: “America is so wrapped in their own history” appeared first on NME.

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