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An interview with Josh Travis of Emmure

Posted March 26, 2017 by George Archibald in Interviews

Advancing the Torch

An interview with Josh Travis of Emmure

Interviewed by: George Archibald
Photos by: Andrew Bastion
The band Emmure has always been about making a statement. After most of the band’s line up left in December 2015. Founding member Frankie Palmeri decided to reform the band with Josh Travis, Josh Miller, and Phil Lockett, members formally of The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza and Glass Cloud. This realigned band just recently released a new album, ‘Look at Yourself’ on March 3rd. This new album has a bit of the older Emmure flare, mixed with a rebirth of energy from the band; expanding music even further than on previous releases. While on tour supporting the new album, with After the Burial, Fit for An Autopsy, Fit for A King, and Invent Animate; I got a chance to meet with and speak to guitarist Josh Travis about his inspirations, and background.

GA: You have a new album ‘Look at Yourself’, that was released on March 3rd. This is the first release with the new lineup, can you tell us how the lineup came to be?
JT: It was super simple. All of us, my bass player Phil Lockett and my drummer Josh Miller, were apart of another project called Glass Cloud. At the time, we weren’t doing anything musically. Frankie Palmeri hit me up, and told me what was going on with his project. We talked about having me do a record with him. The wheels started spinning, and we started putting material together. He asked, if I had any people in mind that can come in, and outfit this whole thing. I was like, well yeah… my band. So, it was like super simple. I brought the dudes over, and here we are now.

GA: How was the recording process on this album different from what Emmure has done in the past?
JT: It would be hard for to say honestly, because I have no knowledge on what their processes were like on any other records. For myself personally, it was way different because we had a producer on this record. I’ve never worked with a producer before. I’ve had tons of engineers in the past, but to have somebody come in, and get hands on with the material was a first for me. It was a super awesome experience.

GA: How is the tour going, and any anticipated stops on this tour, or favorite stops?
JT: It is so hard to say, because you always hope that shows go well. You always hope that there are people at the shows, and whatnot. I couldn’t tell you the coolest show, because every single show has been insane. For me, I’ve done tours in the past where this one city was so sick, and that one was so sick; but it’s been literally every single show on this tour that has been insane. It has been unreal the reception we have been getting.

GA: What gear are you currently using on this tour?
JT: I use Mesa Amps, that is my direct tone. In front of the amps, I am using Line 6 Helix, for a lot of the effects; noise gating and tube screaming. Basically, for any kind of effects I am using Line 6 stuff. Guitar-wise I only use Legator Guitars. So, that’s my whole rig.

GA: You all (the newest members of Emmure) came from Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza, and Glass Cloud; how has the writing (for music) dynamic changed for you since joining Emmure?
JT: Honestly it is a very easy change, because it is not so technically driven. It is more about a vibe. It is more about a bounce more so than anything else. We don’t have to spend so much time focusing on the fret board. Like, if you miss that one note, it just throws your whole vibe off, because you botched that one thing. This stuff isn’t really like that. It’s more like writing for a groove. It is one thousand percent a vibe, groove based thing we are going for. It is sick to be able to have so much fun playing the material; not to say Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza and Glass Cloud weren’t fun, but it is different from those bands.

GA: It’s a little bit of a weight off the shoulders, and can just have fun huh?
JT: Yea, absolutely. It’s really cool to have a change like that. Where we can kind of mess with each other more onstage now, and make fun of each other on stage. Like in the middle of songs, my drummer will be throwing sticks at me, and stuff (playfully). We can do that because the music is not so technically demanding. We can have fun while we are playing. It is really cool because, it is a super different vibe for us. We love it absolutely.

GA: What would you say is your biggest inspiration for doing music?
JT: Ever since I was a little kid, that is all it has ever been, is music. As far as metal goes, I guess it was the most aggressive… You know like when you are a kid, you are a bad kid. You always want to break something, or throw something. You just want to be that rebellious person. The best way to get that out was with more aggressive types of music. Fast forward here we are now.

GA: When did you start playing guitar, and then how did the progression occur from going from a 6, to a 7, then an 8, and ending with an 9-string guitar?
JT: I guess, I started playing guitar probably fifteen years ago. It sucks to say, because I should be way better at guitar, for playing for that long.

GA: I feel you on that one. I am almost 36 and I have been playing since I was 8.
JT: Are you a super shredder?
GA: Umm… not really, I am more of a groove kind of guy. I do, do some lead stuff.
JT: So, you and me, are kind of in the same boat then. I feel like for me to say I have been playing guitar for fifteen years. It’s like I should be able to jump on a guitar, and just destroy that thing; but at the same time lead stuff was never my thing. I love rhythm, there’s a lot of weird quirky stuff you can do with it. I never really got into the lead stuff. When I first started playing, I got my first 6 string, I can’t remember what brand it was. I had it for two weeks, and after that I went to the local music store, and they had a 7-string guitar there. So, I got that, and immediately I was done with 6 strings, because I always gravitated towards lower tunings. The standard E tuning was cool, but sonically it couldn’t get me to where it felt like this is home.

I never got any training on guitar, I don’t know any theory, I don’t know anything about anything. All I know is what it sounds like in my head, and I try to bring that top my hands. So, immediately 7 strings forever! Then when 8 strings came around I jumped onto that, then I played 8 strings forever. I was lucky enough with my guitar company, Legator, that they would go into the whole idea of making a 9-string guitar. Here we are now man.

We actually went all the way back to 6 strings, because a lot of people that are into low tunings, they don’t want to play 7, 8, and 9 string guitars. It is like you can put the biggest strings in the world on whatever guitar, but it is probably not going to sound very good. So, we made a 6-string guitar with a 30” scale, so you can tune that thing absurdly low.

GA: Kind of like a super baritone?
JT: Yea, now you don’t have to have these humongous neck guitars. That you know, you are trying to fiddle around on; not everyone has a big enough hand to get around on them. We are just trying to push the envelope, but keep things proper at the same time.

GA: What was your first Job/ if you weren’t doing music what would your profession be?
JT: First Job? I worked at a truck wash. I washed eighteen wheelers, like you know the insides of these things… Man one story I can tell, they must have been transporting chickens or something like that. Dude it was not cool. When I opened the doors, it looked like a bomb went off. Like something must of happen, because it was just blood, guts, and feathers everywhere. That day I quit. I guess if I wasn’t doing this (playing music in Emmure) ideally, I would be doing movie scoring. That is something I really want to get into. It is kind of hard to get into that, if you don’t know anyone in that world, and I don’t.

(Andrew Bastion, Empire Extreme Photographer): Elaborating on movie scores and soundtracks. What do you think of the Doom soundtrack?
JT: The Doom soundtrack was super awesome! I’m not super big on who is out there with internet presences, I don’t know anything about that; but when I heard the music. I could hear immediately that this was something brutal. I jumped on YouTube and saw the guy who made it all, and he was using a 9-string guitar. So, when I saw it, I was kind of jealous. I was like, ‘man why couldn’t I get on something like this.’ That would be so rad to be able to be in that kind of environment, and doing something like that. If they do a 2nd Doom and that guy is writing the soundtrack, I would love to be able to do it with him. Please let me be a part of Doom 2!

GA: I know some of you guys like to game, what is your favorite video game to play while on the road?
JT: I’m going to tell you, but I am tired of people getting all over my case about the two games I love in this world more than any of the other games. This is just what it is for me. (Andrew holds up a copy of NBA Jam) Yea, you got NBA Jam up there, I don’t put NBA Jam on this list because it lives in a world of its own man. My top two favorite games have to be, Forza Horizon the newest one that came out, and Fifa. Those are my games, that’s it. I will play anything else, I guess; but some of these newer, scarier games, I’ll have nightmares so I am not trying to play them. The guys are playing the newer Resident Evil, and stuff is jumping out at you, and you are running all over the walls…get out of here dude.

GA: There is a new Friday the 13th game coming out soon.
JT: And you know what, I’m not going to play it! That’s not going to happen!

I would like to thank Josh Travis for hanging out, and talking with me. I wish well on tour, and may the record sales continue to grow for you and the guys. Emmure’s latest release ‘Look at Yourself’ is out now. It is available at your local music store, and currently streaming online. The band is currently on tour with After the Burial, Fit for An Autopsy, Fit for A King, and Invent Animate.

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George Archibald
George Archibald


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