By popular demand, here are our lyrics:
Learning By Musical Montage Lyrics
Forgetting To Wake Up Lyrics
Through The Belly Of The Sea Lyrics
Sincerely, Severely Lyrics
Here is a Q&A between Kathy Atria (Eric and Travis’ Mother) and Travis Atria about his songwriting.
1. When did you first realize you could write music?
“The first time I realized I could write music was during a summer in late high school when my closest friends would come over everyday, and we’d all do silly things. We had that endless party and we’d get ice cream cakes. There was one night where one of my friends was playing this song he wrote for his girlfriend and my girlfriend at the time was there and she started crying. I said, ‘Wait a second. If anyone makes my girlfriend cry, it’s going to be me.’ So I decided to get on that bandwagon and not long after that, I wrote a song for her and then I wrote another. They weren’t very good and they were long. I remember I couldn’t seem to write a song that was less than five minutes long. I remember working so hard on the lyrics, writing, erasing, rewriting, and coming up with something like, ‘The sky looks like your eye, piece of pie,’ and feeling like, ‘Yes! That’s it! I got it!’”
2. How does a song come to you?
“Generally, they are two separate processes. I’ll just be playing the guitar or the bass and will come up with something that I like; maybe a short little 30 second chord progression or bass line or riff, and I’ll record it. And then sometimes as I’m going through my life, something will come into my head, maybe a couple of lines and I’ll write them down. Then later, I’ll go through the things I’ve recorded and see if I like any of them and then I’ll try to make them into songs and look at the lyrics I’ve written and try to fit them to the song. Sometimes, a song will come out fully formed, like “Hello, Dali’ came out all at once.”
3. From where do you receive your inspiration?
“Mostly, I get inspiration from other music and books. Whatever I’m making is only going to be as interesting as what I’m listening to or what I’m reading. I feel like our music has become more interesting as I’ve gotten into more interesting things. You hear something somebody else did, and my thought is usually, ‘I want to make something like that.’ And my intention is usually to steal whatever I liked directly from the song, but it always comes out differently because I’m a different person.”
4. Do your lyrics have special meaning to you?
“Most of the lyrics are personal. I started writing the songs for this album after a bad break up, and I think I wanted to write this really beautiful album about heart break, like Beck made this album called ‘Sea Change,’ which is just such a beautiful break up album, and he puts these universal truths and things that everybody feels in such a way. I find I’m not really good at doing that. I think, at least while I’m in the moment, I just can’t write about it. And then I thought about how people like Tom Waits and Paul Simon write these songs where there’s no way they lived through what they’re singing about, but they sing about it with such conviction that you believe it. So I realized that the lyrics didn’t always have to be about something personal, as long as I believed in them and could sing about them with conviction. So, that went into songs like ‘Stay in the Garden,’ where the lyrics are just kind of painting a picture. But, even if they’re not about me, they are always personal.”
5 How has music helped you deal with the difficulties in your life?
“I think the way I’ve always felt about music is that I’ve never been lonely when I have a guitar around me. It’s been a constant outlet for all emotions since I started playing. A close friend said something profound to me. He felt the songs that I wrote were the answers to the questions I had in my life. Music and writing songs has been a way for me to stay mentally healthy. Bob Marley said, ‘When music hits you, you feel no pain.’ When creating music, for me, going through that process there is always a moment when an idea becomes a song. When that happens, that’s when I want to get on my trampoline a start jumping.”
6. I especially love your song and lyrics to “Learning By Musical Montage.” How did that song develop?
“I still think that’s the best song I’ve ever done. I remember writing the piano part at home on our piano. As soon as I came up with that lick, I knew that no one ever came up with that before. That was completely mine. I invented it. That’s a rare thing. The song is in 5/4time, so it’s a strange meter, and I had a hard time thinking how I was going to sing over it. The lyrics are from conversations I had with my first girlfriend in High School about after-life and whether or not we believed in it. The idea was a nice image of all the light and radio waves that we produce from earth that travel into space forever. So, when we come to the end of our life, is this what happens? This song to me is the closest I’ve ever come to writing a perfect song. It’s the closest I’ve come to explaining exactly what my feelings and beliefs about life were at that time.”
7. I remember the first time I heard, “Cold Days (Come On).” Pop and I were driving home from Gainesville and we were all crying after listening to the lyrics. I think that song and many others helped you to express your heartbreak. Can you speak to that?
“I started writing that song about a different girl, but it ended up being about that first girlfriend. That’s a very autobiographical song. I wrote to her once about loving her like cold days. It’s like when the weather turns cold in South Florida and how much you love those cold days. It was also about the depression of breaking up with her and having the tube in my chest. I actually recoded that song while I was doing my medicine.”
8. How do you keep growing as a songwriter?
“There are two ways. I always feel like I can do better. It’s like whatever song I’m writing, I try to do better and write the perfect song. For me, it’s also getting into all different types of music. Collecting records has forced me into getting into many different styles of music. Because I’m exposed to many styles, it makes me want to either do something that reflects that style, or incorporate it into a song I’m writing.”
9. What song encompasses your favorite lyrics?
“Other than ‘Learning By Musical Montage,’ I would say for instance, the last verse on the song ‘Dope Illusion.’ ‘When you pass the next star, see if they found a solution. The end of the universe is just an illusion.’ I would also say ‘Sincerely Severely,’ because it’s not about outer space or poetic. It’s just very simple, direct and sexy.”
10. How does it feel to be so creative?
“I would say there are definitely extremes. There are times I’ll finish something, and I’ll say that this is the greatest thing anyone has come up with. And there are other times that you feel horrible about yourself. Overall, in the process of making this last album, there’s something I can tap into that comes through me, and I respect that fact. I don’t know why it is or where it comes from, but it won’t seem to leave me alone. My goal is to be thankful for that and get better at harnessing that and getting it out.”