Countdown to Warped Tour: Q&A with We the Kings' Travis Clark

We decided to mix things up for our next band on our Countdown to Warped tour, and bring in Bradenton boys We the Kings. Sure, technically Bradenton isn't in South Florida, but they still feel

like a South Florida band -- and that's good enough for us.

Their first hit single "Check Yes Juliet" has been stuck in our heads all week, and with their latest single "We'll Be a Dream" featuring Demi Lovato getting constant play on the airwaves, we're sure they're destined for greatness. 

We spoke with lead singer Travis Clark about their YouTube video diary sensation The King's Carriage, his obsession with Twilight, addiction to Chipotle, and... a fear of bras?

New Times: I know you guys aren't technically from South Florida, but I feel like a lot of fans try to claim you as one of our hometown bands.

Travis Clark: Yeah, it's weird because like I consider us a South Florida band. Only because if you were to say Central Florida... the only thing in Central Florida is Orlando. Everybody's like oh, if you're from Central Florida, you're definitely from Orlando, and everything else is South Florida.

Exactly. They automatically think Disney World and that's it, I feel like.

Yeah. Exactly. So I definitely consider myself in a South Florida band.

What's it like to have such a loyal fan base with so many South Florida fans?

It's awesome. I mean sometimes it's very nerve wrecking because you want to impress everybody and you don't wanna let anybody down. Sometimes we get a little stressed out hoping we're doing the right thing and everything like that. But having such a loyal fan base really plays an important key factor in our personal lives, because at this point we can do whatever we want and people will support us the whole way, as long as we're doing everything we do for the right reasons. We do everything we possibly can to show our appreciation to our fans, and I think that's one of the things that's kept us going as a band.

Yeah, and you entertain them, also. I was watching a few of the videos from "the King's Carriage" and I was cracking up watching them.

Yeah, they're definitely ridiculous.

Yeah, I feel like I know you guys just from watching the videos.

[Laughs]. We're so happy to find out that people actually like those videos, because I feel like we have just a weird sense of humor that's kinda like sarcastic and very like A.D.D. and fun. I'm really happy to hear that everybody gets our humor and doesn't think we're stupid.

Is there any truth to any of them? Like do you really sleepwalk? Do you suck at kickball? Are you really afraid of bras?

[Laughs]. All of the King's Carriage videos are loosely based on kind of a true story. I'm not actually bad at kickball, I think I can hold my ground. But we just thought it would be funnier if someone in the band was terrible at kickball.

Are you really afraid of bras? And do you sleepwalk?

Umm I definitely sleepwalk. I'm definitely not afraid of bras [Laughs]. But it was funny. I think that video started 'cause me and our guitarist Hunter were playing an acoustic event for a radio station up North and they booked us at a church hall because it was pretty much the only place that could hold all the kids that wanted to come to the show. And in the middle of our acoustic set, Hunter and I see a bra thrown on stage

In a church?!

A church! And we got so weirded out, we had no idea what to do. We just like froze. We were so speechless. It was crazy. We're normally really good with entertaining people and not making things awkward, but when that bra came up on stage at the church, that was literally our weakness. So we decided to make a video about it.

Was there anybody from the church actually there witnessing it?

Yeah, they thought it was funny [Laughs]. So that kind of like got us off the hook, which was cool. We told them when we were backstage, "It's rock and roll. Our fans are crazy, and that's why we love 'em."

I also noticed that you have Dirk Burger in one of your videos? He reminds me a lot of Cobra Starship... they do something similar.

[Laughs]. Guy Ripley! Yeah, Cobra are really good friends of ours, and that's actually really influenced off of Ryland's character, Guy Ripley. You'll definitely see Dirk Burger in a lot of new King's Carriages, 'cause Hunter played it really well.

Do you have anything else planned for new episodes of King's Carriage? Saw that you guys did a "Confused with Ke$ha episode" where you were pretending to be Ke$ha?
That actually came from a true story.

Somebody actually confused you for Ke$ha?

We played like a couple shows with Ke$ha for radio. And when I walk around, I put a hoodie on and I have sunglasses. So if you just caught like a quick glance, I guess people might think that I could be Ke$ha in a weird way.

But Ke$ha doesn't have red hair, and she has a girlish body.

But the fans will see me literally walk by a doorway back stage and they'll be like "Ke$ha! Ke$ha!" and start freaking out, so we did a video about it and got her to be a part of it. But now that we're starting the Warped Tour in a few days, the camera's gonna be out and we're definitely gonna be filming a ton of Kings Carriages and constantly keeping a close interaction with our fans.

I actually found myself addicted to Kings Carriage. I kept watching each video, hoping it would be funnier than the last.

Have you seen the video we did about Twilight? I think our publicist is having us go to the Premiere. I'm kind of like a Twilight guy. I'm not even embarrassed to say it at this point. It's just my guilty pleasure. So I'm just gonna go with it.

Do you read the books also? Or is it just the movies?

No, I blame touring on my lack of reading. I would definitely read more if I was home. It's just when we're traveling and stuff I'll get sick when trying to read in moving cars, so I think it would be tough for me to get stuff accomplished. When we're in the cities we have so much to do, so I try to stick to the movies.

That's crazy. Are you like on Team Jacob or Team Edward? Are you that fanatical? Or do you just like the movies?

I would say if I had to choose, like if you put me on the spot, now I'd say Team Edward. But I dunno if I'd classify myself as that fanatical for the whole Twilight thing.

So you're not gonna be fanboying when you go to the Premiere tonight?

Well I've met them all before and they're all like really, really cool, so I'll definitely go say hi and hang out for a little bit. But as far as like sneaking pictures or videos and selling them on eBay, I definitely won't be doing that.

I don't think actual fans would do that.

Even for us, for We the Kings... when we put out "We'll be a Dream" as our new single, it's done so well that it's sparked a little more excitement for the band, which is awesome. But on the flip side of things, we have people coming to shows with a stack of printout posters, and it'll be some like weird looking old guy, and he'll be like, "Can you sign these?" and he'll have like 35 posters that he just printed off his computer. And we know at that point that he's going to sell them. So it's a whole new thing of hilarity right now.

Yeah, I was gonna ask how you got the idea to get Demi Lovato to sing with you in "We'll be a Dream."

She's been a friend of ours for a while, and she really does have an incredible voice, beyond the Disney star-type persona. And when we were doing the song, I wanted to have a friend sing on it versus like... I could've contacted any publicist from any band, and I didn't want to do that. I'd rather keep it more friendly. So I called her and asked if she wanted to be on the song, and she was already a fan to begin with, so it was easy to ask. And she was like really, really excited. She loved the song and then we recorded it together, and I think it came out sounding amazing.

It's kind of awesome that there's such a big group of local bands playing at Warped Tour this year.

It's really cool 'cause we've been on tour with like every single one of the Florida bands that are playing. You know even Mayday Parade, they're from Tallahassee, but still Florida. We've been on tour with every single one of those bands countless times, so it's cool 'cause it's like a reunion tour but it's like summer camp for all of us. So it's gonna be fun for us to all just hang out for two months and play music.

It's crazy 'cause you guys haven't been around for that long, and they all seem to like mention you guys as the band that they love and how awesome you guys are.

That's awesome. We haven't been around very long, but when we do tour, those people become like our family out on the road. It's weird, it's like the bond you have with another band that you take on the road is really special.

What's it going to be like coming back to your hometown state for Warped Tour?

It's going to be awesome. It's definitely the most nervous that we are out of all the shows, because our families come out, our parents and brothers and sisters and best friends, and people who have known us for so long. It stems from we want to impress them and think well of us, so we really try hard. But it's such a fun show because our fans are so supportive from the South Florida area, so it's insane. It's definitely one of the funnest shows, but I dunno. It's kind of nerve wrecking.

Do you have anything planned for your Florida shows?

I'm not sure. I mean it's gonna be so hot, so maybe we'll try to figure out like a generator on stage that sprays cold water out on everybody just to cool everybody off... or sunscreen.

Are there any bands that you're looking forward to working with that maybe you're a huge fan of that you've never gotten to tour with before?

I know we're doing a lot of the shows with... we've played a few shows with each of the bands, but we've never actually toured with. All American Rejects, Motion City Soundtrack, Sum 41... all those bands we grew up listening to, so I think it's really cool to be able to share the same stage as them and really just know them as people outside of their music. I mean they're gonna have a bus just like us, they're gonna walk around just like us, they're gonna eat the same catering as us; it's crazy, but I love it.

Speaking of catering, what are your favorite food indulgences while you're on tour?

When I'm in LA, In-N-Out Burger is really big for us. If you've never had it -- because they don't have it on the East Coast -- you have to have it, 'cause it's amazing. Late night stops we usually do the Pizza Hut/Taco Bell type thing/KFC sometimes even, like the Three in One. A lot of the gas station Subways... It's definitely pretty gross what we eat. Definitely the late night stuff is a lot more gross than our regular eating. But when we pull into a venue or something, we immediately search for the nearest Chipotle.

Yeah, I heard that you guys were kind of hooked on it.

We are. We've tried for the past year and a half to two years to get sponsored by Chipotle and even though we haven't, we're still going there. So I think they've realized that they don't even have to sponsor us.

Yeah, I noticed that in an interview you guys mentioned that you knew when the first Chipotle was opening in the UK, and they were from London, and had no idea that one was even opening.

April 30. It's open. We want them to be a success.

I came across your Tumblr account "Who is Travis Clark" and it's actually pretty funny. It looks like you put a lot of effort into it.

I do. I feel bad because it's been a while since I've posted, because I want posts to be more in depth, so it's tough for me sometimes to get everything set on the blog. But I think a blog is cool. I love putting music and videos on that people can kind of share with their friends. And also I used to do this thing called "Old School Sundays," which is when I tell people a fun fact about my life or a funny story about

Yeah, I saw that story about you and your mom shopping, wasn't sure if that was part of it.

Yeah! It was! Where I thought she was robbing the place? [Laughs]. It's funny, when stuff happens like that and it's just like a weird moment, I feel like that's the stuff you remember for the rest of your life. I love my blog because when I'm 80 years old or whatever, I'd love to be able to go back and look at it, and see the people who care about me and my fans posting comments on it. I just think that's really cool. I'll be able to show my kids and grand kids that I was once cool [laughs].

I noticed one thing in particular that kind of cracked me up. You have a little speech bubble at the top that says "Save the Redheads." Are you guys endangered?

[Laughs]. I found out that the recessive gene is red hair and blue eyes, which is what I have, so I just thought it was a funny little quote. People took it to a whole other level, like they were telling me to sell semen samples to get girls pregnant and insure a red headed baby. They got crazy about it, so I started to hold back a little bit on it because it was starting to get creepy. But I thought it was funny to say that we're kind of like dinosaurs in the sense that redheads will not exist in another hundred or two hundred years.

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Christine Borges
Contact: Christine Borges