Travis Neal, vocalist for The Bloodline, sat down over lunch in San Diego to talk about the new album and what it means to him.
Travis Neal (Vocals), Shaun Glass (Guitar), Chuck Wepfer (Lead Guitar), and Frankie Harchut (Drums) raise from the ashes of Dirge Within to start a new chapter and a new band, The Bloodline. Travis took a few minutes to sit down with National Rock Review and talk about the band and the new album, We Are One. So, without further delay, on to the main course.
NRR: Okay, let’s start this interview off on the right foot. What’s for lunch?
Travis Neal: I just stopped at home. So I just made a sandwich real quick. Instead of buying some food, I was like, “I’m close to home.”
NRR: Now the official start of where the interview get’s really serious. Tell me about the band, the Bloodline, you guys are a fairly new band that I think your bio said you got together in January of this year. Fill me in on the back-story if you would?
Travis Neal: That might be a little off. We’ve been together as The Bloodline for, it’s been, I’d say about almost three years. We’ve been known, probably, since around January. The history of the band basically came from we were all in a band together called, Dirge Within. I joined the band late in the band’s career. We played a handful of shows as Dirge and you know they had a record that was out. [It] cycled for a while so they wanted to write and start getting on a new record. So, we set out to write the new record. Just slowly, we all decided that the more the music came out, the more we realized it wasn’t Dirge Within at all. It was a new band. You know, Dirge had some history behind and stuff like that. So, we just kind of, you know about three years ago, we decided to kill the band name and start fresh. Start over again with a fresh slate and a whole new brand, it’s kind of a bold move for a band that’s already established and has a following and tours under their belt as well as two national releases. We just felt the band wasn’t the same band anymore and we needed to move forward. So, then, that’s kind of ushered in the Bloodline from there and we never looked back. Now we have a record out and everybody is starting to know who we are, so it’s definitely cool.
NRR: Okay, what’s the name of the EP/LP, of the album?
Travis Neal: The record is called We Are One. It’s a full length and it’s a twelve song CD. There is two extra songs that aren’t listed that are bonus tracks on the actual hard copy of the CD. And then [you] can get the standard twelve song release via any media outlet.
NRR: Any thoughts of doing vinyl or are you not quite that old school?
Travis Neal: No, actually, that’s funny you say that. I’ve had quite a few people approach me here, in my hometown of San Diego, asking about vinyl and stuff like that. And I hit up one of our guys at the label. I asked him the ups and downs because I’ve never worked with vinyl. But yeah, it’s definitely something we want to do. I have some good ideas of what I want to do on releasing it vinyl. From what I gather, it’s costly undertaking. The label and [the band], we decided to let the album cycle for a little bit, get some touring under belt, and get some momentum. And then start to usher in some cool bonus stuff like vinyl and some other things like digi-paks, stuff like that, with the CD.
NRR: Nice, so tell me about the record itself. Was it random songs or more like the guys caught lightning in a bottle and the album was the result?
Travis Neal: We have a concept behind the title, We Are One. And that concept basically, it’s conveyed on the first song, on the intro on the CD, which is called, “The Bloodline.” And then it goes right into the first track, “We Are One.” That message, behind that song, it’s just basically what The Bloodline does stand for. That meaning at the end of the day, you know, with everything that’s going on in the world. You got people fighting over color, people fighting over religion, you know, and people fighting because they just don’t think you’re the same as them. In my eyes personally, the concept that I brought to the band was just in a sense we are all one. If you strip our flesh off, we’re the same color. We’re the same skin, you know, when there’s no skin there.
So, to me it’s a bonding with our fans and anybody that loves the band. We’re all part of it. We’re of the same blood. We are one. As for the rest of the record, it’s a hundred percent from the heart. All of the lyrics on the album are very, very personal to me. They deal with a just you know a good five or six year period of my life before I joined with the Bloodline, that was a little harder then normal. A little more trying then normal life should be. So, I guess you could say I ran into some bad luck and had some personal issues and everything. It was a life changing experience. Perseverance through it made me a better person and the Bloodline helped me get that out, an outlet for all of the stuff I held inside that allowed me to be a better person instead of holding it in. Each song on the record is very personal and I definitely think that anybody that listens to it from all walks of life can, you know, can relate to one or two songs on there from personal experience that they may have. Or take the lyrics to the songs and develop their own meaning that means something to them.
NRR: That brings me to two different questions. Did you then predominately write the album and the guys kind of filled in their various parts or was it still a fairly communal effort to write the album?
Travis Neal: Definitely communal. The band writes all the music. I came in, I write the all the lyrics. We just joined them together. Usually they give me pretty free reign on what I can say and how I convey things. It went really good with the lyric writing. It just fit over what we did. But, yes, definitely, we’re a cohesive unit as a band. You know, we write together as a band.
NRR: Everyone hates this question to one level or another but I find it fascinating the answers so I’ll ask anyway. With the twelve tracks that are listed and the two bonus tracks on the hard copy, with your feet to the fire which one would you choose as your favorite on the release?
Travis Neal: You know, I love all the songs on the record. I would definitely say, one of the most… there’s two of them that extremely personal to me, but one of them that I think is just an all around great song. It shows every side of this band, our heavy side, our rock side, you know, our commercial side as well as just really intense lyrics for me is definitely, “Above The Rain.” That’s probably, probably my all time favorite song on the record. I mean I love all of the songs don’t get me wrong, but if I had to pick one, it’s probably that song.
THE BLOODLINE – Above The Rain (Album Track)
NRR: For those that might not have had a chance to hear your music yet, can you describe your sound for me?
Travis Neal: Well, we’re basically, a heavy, active rock band. We have rock and metal tinges in our music. But overall I would say, this genre is coined active rock. We definitely keep our roots as heavy musicians. We add it in there. I guess more so as especially with the vocals, the screams and stuff like that I try to add them in as accents. Like a symbol hit or something would be in the vocals, but I can actually point us, you know, that heavy active rock band slash maybe melodic metal you know cause we do have melodic metal aspects to the band.
NRR: When you guys go out on tour for support of the album, is there a good fit of a band(s) for you to go out with?
Travis Neal: Yeah, I definitely have a personal wishlist I mean. But some of the bands I would love to play with, I mean, I think we would be a little out of their spectrum. We’d maybe be a little bit heavier then their crowd would be used. I would personally love to go out with like Shinedown or Breaking Benjamin. I love those bands and I think that we’d fit. But, more then likely, folks can expect to see us out with bands in the same genre as like All That Remains, Killswitch Engage, and In Flames, Wovenwar, Fear Factory, and Trivium stuff like that.
NRR: National Rock Review is lucky to cover all of the Rockstar Mayhem Fest this year. What festival would be the best fit for The Bloodline to hit as many new fans as possible?
Travis Neal: I would say Mayhem, but it seems Mayhem’s lineup is quite, quite aggressive this year compared to previous years. This year it seems like it’s a lot heavier. Definitely Rock on the Range, stuff like that we’d fit any of those because like I said they have a wide spectrum of different artists. In Europe the possibles are endless.
“I have to say, I’m pretty damn proud of this record. We worked on this record for about two years, through ups and downs and everything that goes hand in hand with living life. There is a lot of truth in this record for me lyrically, so the fact that this vision is finally come to be is pretty awesome. We as a band as well as our team are all in the same feelings and are so very proud to release this to each and every one of you. We hope you enjoy this as much as we all do.” ~ Travis Neal