This Is Hell interview

24 06 2008

If there’s one thing to be said about This Is Hell, it’s the fact that this band has been touring their collective asses of the past few years. After several US, Europe and Canadian tours, the band released their second full-length album this year, called Misfortunes. I decided to ask vocalist Travis a couple of questions about their evolution as a band, what influences him and one of his more obscure tattoos…

Alright, let’s get this out of the way first, who are you and what do you do? My name is Travis and I “sing” for This Is Hell.

I don’t want to make wrong statements, so can you tell me how long This Is Hell has been a band? I believe we played our first show in June of 2004, so we are around the four year mark.

Four years doesn’t seem like a very long time, but yet you have managed to release a demo, two 7” records, a split 7” and two full-length albums. Looking back, which release are you most proud of? That’s a tough question because I feel like we are a band that has gotten better with each release, I think all bands should haha, otherwise something is wrong, So I’d have to say I’m most proud of Misfortunes, I just think that It’s out best material to date.

After the demo 7”, you were noticed by Trustkill Records. How did that happen, and what was your reaction? It happend because we toured our asses off, the first tour we ever did was two months straight, and while we were out on that tour I was booking our next one, and continued to do the same for a while. When Trustkill first got a hold of us I was pretty surprised.

Was it hard for you guys to make a decision about signing to Trustkill? Or was it an obvious choice? Umm, we had a few other labels interested, Victory was the only one as big as Trustkill that was interested but we weren’t about to go down that path. It wasn’t about signing to a “big” label, we just needed a label that was going to get behind the amount of touring we were doing and get our albums in stores and such. So I guess at the end of the day it was kind of an obvious choice.

Being on a label as big as Trustkill opens a lot of doors for a band. Did you keep this in mind when you were thinking about signing? Yeah like I said the biggest thing I wanted out of a label was promotion and distro, I knew they were capable of that, because other than that we were and still are a very self sufficient band.

Your decision to sign with Trustkill was much talked about on the Internet, and mostly in a negative way. How did that make you feel? I don’t know, I’ve always just been blown away by the double standards in the hardcore community, it’s like all these kids would be slagging us and Trustkill off but all these kids worshipped Terror, but they were willing to look the other way and pretend like Terror wasn’t a Trustkill band, and they do the same with other big labels.

What was the worst comment you got as a band on that issue? I don’t know, I didn’t really keep a tally, but the ones where people would say stuff like “don’t let Trustkill make you start singing” were good for a laugh, It’s scary to think how misinformed people are.

Since you guys signed to Trustkill you’ve had some very big tours with bigger bands such as Comeback Kid, Bayside and As I Lay Dying, yet you still play the small clubs too. What do you like to do the most? We didn’t tour with As I Lay Dying, only one show…. but anyway, the big tours are fun, you get to play to a bunch of kids who have probably never heard you before and they don’t know what label you are on, and most of all they don’t care! They just are stoked on music and want to check out bands. The catering on the big tours is pretty rad as well, being able to eat well every day for free on tour is awesome. Doing the small club stuff is dope as well for obvious reasons, for the most part the kids “get it”, there is no barrier, it’s intimate and fun, but i mean there are downsides to the small stuff as well, dealing with snobby kids who will stand outside while bands play and stuff like that.

So the last tour was supposed to be a tour to Canada with Blacklisted, and then Blacklisted was denied entrance at the Canadian border. How did that affect the tour? It was a bummer because they are friends of ours and we were looking forward to hanging out with them for a week, I’m sure there are some kids who wanted to see them and didn’t come out to the shows because they dropped off, but most of all I was just bummed that we didn’t get to hang out.

How did the rest of the tour go? It was pretty bad to be honest.

This Is Hell toured all over the world, which country was the most memorable? Umm, England, Belgium, Czech Republic.

The bandname is derived from an Elvis Costello song, and you used to cover Beastie Boys. It’s obvious you guys are influenced by all types of music. What other bands/musicians influence you? I personally love all types of music, I wouldn’t say you will hear the following bands in our sound, but they definitely have the ability to inspire me to make music and also make me want to not even bother making music haha…. Jawbreaker, Seaweed, Bane, The Old 97’s, Polar Bear Club, Glassjaw, Squeeze, Faith No More, CIV, The Movielife, and so on…

What’s your favourite artist, outside of hardcore and punk?
hahah, I think i answered this question above, and i’ll throw in Atmosphere, Nightmare Of You, I Am The Avalanche, Jukebox The Ghost, Underoath, Beat Union, The Dear & Departed, Alexisonfire.

Around the release of Sundowning, you were compared to American Nightmare. But now, it seems you have drifted away from that comparison. Are you glad about that? I mean we could’ve been compared to a shitty band and that would have stunk, but I honestly never understood the comparison, it was flattering I suppose, but become annoying because I don’t think we ever sounded like them.

If you look back on everything, what’s the best memory about being in This Is Hell? I have an awful memory so this is a bit hard, but i guess just all the touring, we’ve been lucky enough to tour Europe like five times, we’ve been to Canada a bunch of times and have toured America too many times.

What’s next for the band? Any new releases or tours coming up? We have a split 7 inch coming out with Nightmare Of You on Run For Cover Records, don’t have a release date yet, but probably later in the summer or so… no firm tour plans at the moment, possibly Europe in November with Soldiers.

Okay, last question, what’s the deal with your raccoon tattoo? I look like a raccoon, it’s a bit of a self portrait i guess…

That’s it for me! Thanks for answering my questions! Thank you buddy.

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‘Misfortunes’ by This Is Hell out now on Trustkill Records. Pick it up and be blown away.

A lot of thanks to Travis for taking the time to answer these questions. Also thanks to the people who I “borrowed” these pictures from. They are owned by their respective owners and are credited to them.

This Is Hell myspace

Trustkill Records website

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