I got a chance to talk with Travis Woods of Tennessee via Huntington, WV is a vocalist/front man on the Deathcore (a hybrid mixture of hardcore and death metal) with his vocal talents being heavily influenced by a group called Napalm Death. He’s a pretty awesome guy.
How did you get into the industry of music? Who were your inspirations?
When I started high school, I was listening to Creed, but I always had an interest in music. At the end of my freshman year, I went to a park in Ashland City and saw a local band named Solmer play. I said well these guys are local people…and I didn’t know how the music industry worked…so I said if these guys can do it then I can do it. Then I started my first band and we used to do covers like Three Doors Down. After that we started writing originals that kind of like new metal. Throughout the years I’ve played with bands that have done well like Bishop. We were on a indie label called Spat Records.
What is your advice or tips for indie artists on booking shows?
Having somebody from outside of your band…even if it’s somebody who’s loosely associated with your band who you can trust…who can put their name [as a representative], it gives it more professionalism than the artist doing it themselves. Booking agents are kind of turned off by that.
What is your advice on building and keeping a strong fan base?
Having good materials. Playing solid sets. And don’t burn your crowd out. If you’re hitting the same venue over and over again with no breaks in between, you’re going to burn your fan base out and they’re not going to want to come out and pay you five and ten dollars a show to hear the same material. You have to fight those urges, but balance it out with staying relevant. Staying humble is huge. If someone comes up to you and want to shake your hand or talk to you give them that time.
What was your best show/performance? What was your worst?
My best show I’ve played recently had to been the Saliva show that we did December 13th at the Warehouse. We were kind of apprehensive walking into because we were heavy compared to some of the other bands being more alternative. The crowd was pumped up. They were nuts when we played. We were well received. Some fans thought we were one of the better bands of the show.
Our worst show was August of last year. The show kind of got canned. There weren’t a lot of people that showed up. There was supposed to be a benefit that was attached to it, but there was some weird stuff going on with that. It was one of those things where someone said they were sick and could we do a show, but they ended up not being sick and we were stuck with show. Yet, we ended up doing it and the venue donated the money to the American Cancer Society.
What is your advice to indie artists who are just starting out on the independent scene?
Take your time. I know it’s hard to fight that urge to get out there and play. In the past, I’ve had to fight the urge to jump the gun. Just fight it until it gets uncomfortable. Make sure your music is tight and honed. There are so many talented bands out there that will wipe the floor with you. Then [when you’re ready] take that step to play live.
What are some of your pet peeves?
I do not like the lack of brotherhood. There are so many bands out there to cut each other’s throats. I’m not a fan of “hometown rockstar syndrome”. They think they are big and bad. Give me a break, y’all are a small fish in a big pond.
I don’t like when venues try to dictate a band’s sound. You can literally screw up your entire night by having a disagreement with a sound guy. There’s another tip for new bands, try to avoid making sound guys mad.
Do you have any odd habits?
Probably dipping [snuff] is a bad one. I’m a country boy, so when I’m not playing music, I work on monster trucks for a team based out of Virginia.
Generally, even though I’m such a metal guy, you’ll probably find me listening to Jason Aldean or Keith Whitley or some type of country.
Pick one of the following subjects and do a top 5: foods, cities, bands.
Top five local bands that have been absolutely killing the scene:
This is a band in Murfreesboro called The Hope of Slaughter
These guys from High Twos from Clarksville.
A band from Humphrey, Kentucky called Consulting the Arbiter.
A band from Dickson called Kneel Before None.
Irukandji because they’re always trying to unite the Nashville area. They embody that community spirit that so many bands are lacking right now. Which is very important.
Is Travis Woods…the artist, the music, the fans…all a dream, a career, or a side gig?
In all honesty, when you’re putting so much heart into it, it’s definitely not a side gig. I’m a husband and a father before being in a band, but they fully support me on what I do. I think that anybody that does what we do and say they don’t want to make it a career is probably lying. Because who doesn’t want to get out and see the world and travel? It’s a balancing at between pushing forward and keeping things in perspective.
If you want to find Travis Woods and his band, check out the following page and give them a like…