Featuring members of bands like Of Mice & Men and The Tony Danza Tap Dance Extravaganza, Virginian four-piece Glass Cloud have just released their debut album ‘The Royal Thousand‘ locally via UNFD. This week we caught up with bass player Travis to tackle our Hotseat questions. Expand this post to take a read. You can pick up the album now [Here].
Name : Travis Wright Sykes
Band : Glass Cloud
Job In Band : I play bass and sing back up. I also write all the lyrics & vocal arrangements
Website Address : www.glasscloudmusic.com
Hometown : Hampton, Virginia, USA
Hometown is best known for : Nothing. haha.
Best venue in your hometown : The Norva in Norfolk is actually one of the best venues in the country and probably my personal favorite. The sound is incredible there.
Favourite show you’ve seen in your hometown : Usually you have to drive pretty far to catch a REALLY good show, but I saw Thursday, Thrice and Coheed and Cambria when I was like 15 in my hometown. That was pretty incredible.
Favourite show you’ve played in your hometown : Our drummer Chad and I grew up playing together and our first show at The Norva when we were like 16 was pretty dope. Glass Cloud’s CD release show is coming up and it’s in our hometown. I feel like that one will be pretty hot shit.
How did the band first come to exist? Our singer, Jerry, kind of collected us all together for our individual talents, which he did brilliantly because we all bring these completely different vibes and talents and energies to the band. Jerry, Chad and I grew up together. Chad and I were in school at Berklee College of Music in Boston while Jerry was touring in other bands and both of those things ended at about the same time. So, we put it all together.
How long has the band been going? Since May 2011, but we’ve only been playing live since March 2012.
Any particular story behind the name? Not so much a story as much as a technique. I wanted the name to have two syllables. I think terribly popular brands (Google, Youtube, Walmart, ebay, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) have two syllables and it just has a way of getting in your head. Plus, we wanted something that would come up immediately if you Googled it. You won’t get much results if you Google a band called “Europe”. haha. But yeah, in the age of technology and Internet, you have to have a lot of strategy in your name.
What’s your most recent release? Tell us a little about it… Our debut record “The Royal Thousand” came out July 10th on Equal Vision Records in the US, July 6th in Australia and New Zealand on UNFD, and July 2nd on Basick Records in the UK.
Got a personal stand out achievement of your band to date? I’m really proud of our record in general, but I think the best thing our band has achieved is our incredibly strong team. Our manager is like our fifth band member. Our US label is INCREDIBLY supportive. We have a great Australian team working so hard to get our music and name out there. Our UK label are genuinely good people and are actually fans of our MUSIC, which is what it’s all about. Our booking agent has hooked us up with AMAZING tours and has actually come out to see us play and visited us in the studio while we were recording. We just have incredible support and people who believe us and stand behind what we do.
OFF THE STAGE
What was your first introduction to music that made you think seriously about playing it? I can’t remember that far back, I was one of those kids who was constantly humming and singing and banging on pots and pans. I was writing lyrics when I was in elementary school. It’s just always been a part of me.
Any particular band / album or song that you personally credit as a major influence? Radiohead – Kid A, The Beatles – Revolver/Magical Mystery/everything else, D’angelo – Voodoo, J Dilla – Donuts, a million others..
Your first band name, and what style did you play? HAHA this is a great question. My first band (when I was 12) was called The Lame Duck Presidents and we were a straight up punk rock band. If you wanna go WAY back, I was writing rap songs in 5th grade with my friends Dan and Nick and we were called DNT…clever.
Most prized music related item you own? The first bass I ever got for christmas when I was 12. It’s a Peavey Milestone IV. It’s a cheap old bass but I’ve put all my own stuff in it and I love it. I don’t play it with GC, but it’s awesome.
When you’re not doing band related stuff, what are you usually found doing? I was always kind of a partier until I got in this band. Being on the road a lot makes me a homebody when I’m actually home. I usually just chill out with my woman and my family; Watch movies / read books / write / etc.
The thing you most look forward to just before a tour is… the open road, our country has some really beautiful shit in it.
The thing you least look forward to before a tour is… leaving my family.
ON THE STAGE
When on offer, what’s your one must have item on the rider? Water I guess. We don’t really ask for much. If we had a bigger budget, I’d ask for hot wings.
Favourite place you’ve toured… and why? We haven’t toured TOO much yet, but we have had good shows in Texas. And we actually really liked Iowa. haha. I think people there have less to do so they enjoy the shows more. They get really into it. It’s great.
Most memorable show you’ve played? and why? Probably our first show in Virginia. All of our friends and family came out and it was a good time. I’m excited for our hometown show in Virginia Beach too. It’s our CD release show, so it’s gonna be heavy.
Got a favourite song to play live? “If He Dies, He Dies”. That song is THE HYPE.
Any embarrassing on stage moments come to mind? I don’t really get embarrassed on stage. We’re all animals when we play. Sometimes I jump on top of Josh’s cabs when we play and one time they fell backwards and I fell on them and just kind of rolled back into playing.
Any pre-show rituals? Not really, just that we all keep to ourselves right before we play. We do our own things and get in the right head space. Chad plays on his drum pad, Jerry does vocal warm ups, Josh stresses out over something and I just have a drink or something.
What do you find is the hardest aspect of touring in a band today? Well, it’s harder economically than ever before. Gas is dumb expensive and NOBODY is trying to pay a musician. It’s pretty whack. But, we love what we do so people try to make you think it’s a privilege to do what you love professionally. It’s fucked up but it makes any success that much sweeter.
Last song you listened to? Fiona Apple – “Anything We Want”
Last album you acquired? The new Fiona Apple record. It’s brilliant. Like everything she does.
Which band or album is currently on high rotation? haha well the new Fiona Apple… also, the new Here We Go Magic, the new Robert Glasper and on some older shit, I’ve been on a Tears For Fears kick and a Billie Holiday kick.
Tell us an up and coming band or artist you think we should go and listen to right now? GLASS CLOUD. but, really.. we played a festival in California and the homey Chris Brea was filling in on vocals for Dr. Acula. He gave us his band’s EP and it is DOPE. They’re called Inside The Beehive and the EP is called Drink Bleach, Live Forever. Definitely worth checking out.
What’s on the cards for the next few months for the band? We are incredibly busy for the rest of this year. I can’t talk about it all yet, but this summer we’ll be on the Scream It Like You Mean It Tour with Attack Attack, We Came As Romans, Acacia Strain, The Chariot and like 12 other bands. That’s going to be a great time. We have a tour in September and another tour in October/November that we will announce soon too.
You can pick any one album for your band to cover in full, what would it be and why? I would want to do a Tears For Fears album called Songs From The Big Chair. I think Josh could kill those songs if he did his own arrangements and I have piles of ideas for vocal arrangements. We all love that record too.
You can pick any one band / artist to cover one of your albums in full, what would it be, and why? Well, we only have one record, but if I could pick a band/artist to cover it, I would pick The Robert Glasper Experiment. They do brilliant covers and re-arrange songs beautifully. Plus, I would want whoever covered it to be a completely different style.
One band you wish you were able to see live but never had the chance? Erykah Badu
One venue you have yet to play that you would love to? Madison Square Garden
The chance comes up to fill in for a member of a band for one tour, which band would it be, and why? Thom Yorke from Radiohead because he’s the shit and those songs must feel amazing to play in front of thousands of people.
A headline tour overseas comes up, tell us two bands you’d take along to support your band. Stevie Wonder and Prince…and we would open.
Got any final words? Our debut record, “The Royal Thousand”, is out! Pick it up in stores or on iTunes!