KURT TRAVIS has first-hand experience with the member turnover in DANCE GAVIN DANCE. When the band kicked out original vocalist Jonny Craig in 2007, Travis was brought in as his replacement. After four years with the band and two albums (2008’s Dance Gavin Dance and 2009’s Happiness), Travis was removed from DGD so that the original lineup (including Craig) could reassemble to record a follow-up to their 2007 debut, Downtown Battle Mountain. It wasn’t long before Travis hooked up with another Sacramento, California, outfit—the largely instrumental A LOT LIKE BIRDS. Now working on their first material together, Travis opens up about exiting DGD and entering into the next chapter of his musical career in this exclusive interview.
Can you explain the circumstances that led to you being out of Dance Gavin Dance?
Well, basically [the members of] Dance Gavin Dance made business decisions to kick multiple band members out. Initially, they decided to reform the original lineup from Downtown Battle Mountain. It's taken a little bit, but we're all still friends.
Do you have any anger over the way things went down?
I mean, sure, I've felt upset about dedicating almost four years to building something just to suddenly be asked to step down. But what can you do? Move on. Keep your creativity flowing and move on.
How did you hook up with A Lot Like Birds?
I went to a La Dispute show and A Lot Like Birds were one of the other bands playing. I was pretty blown away and felt they had this originality that was a step above any bands I've heard recently. To me, it sounded like traditional old-school screamo with a mix of the epic and ambient sounds of bands like Godspeed You! Black Emperor or old Sigor Rós. Mikey [Franzino, guitar] approached me after the show and asked if I wanted to sing on a track. As I listened to them more and more, I wanted to be more of a part in what they were doing. They were just as excited as I was to actually become part of ALLB. We’re working very fluently, writing and recording and things are looking up.
Have they had a vocalist before?
Mikey would sing at times, but it wasn't the main focus of the band. Now that I'm taking that role, the band will stay true their sound, but vocals will now be more of a focus.
What's the plan for the band in the near future?
Tours, recording and anything else we can get our hands on. I wanna play more house shows. alt