The Travel Guide Perseveres Through Pandemic

Jun 26, 2020

The Travel Guide recently released its first album in five years, Good God! I Want To Be Whole. Aided by former drummer Will Erickson and longtime friend Joey Lemon, founding member Thayne Coleman says that he worked hard to create an album he was truly satisfied with.

Joining Coleman in The Travel Guide these days are Caleb Drummond on bass, drummer Tim Cote and guitarist Mitchell Probst.

Coleman spoke with KMUW about the recording of the record and the state of his band today.

Interview Highlights

This record marks another step forward in the evolution of The Travel Guide. It sounds more confident on many different levels. Can you talk to me about how you see the growth of the band?

A lot of the evolution happened out of the record before that, Trading A Dream. As we listened to that record, there were certain things we were happy about but, sonically, we all thought we could do a little bit better. We all, I think, generally started paying more attention to sonics in both the sounds of our instruments, our amplifiers, and what all we were doing. I think a lot of that comes from sharpening our sound, based on what we didn't like about records in the past. I think a commitment all around to make this record sound how we wanted it to sound and just a step above what we had done on Trading A Dream.

I think your vocals are some of the best I've heard you do in the studio. Tell me about your approach this time, getting those vocal sounds.

This was a big part of this album. I, historically, and kind of infamously among bandmates, am never satisfied with the sound of my voice and almost get a bit neurotic with it.

With this record, I recorded all the vocals at home. It came out of doing tons and tons of takes and experimenting, not finishing takes until I was really satisfied with them. Previous records, even the sound of my voice on them has made me uncomfortable. With this record, it was one of my goals. I said, "I'm not stopping with the vocals until I can listen to them without squirming in my seat."

You're going on something like 10 years as a band. At least under the Travel Guide moniker. What is that like at this point, to think about a decade with the same project?

It's always been my creative outlet, driven by my songwriting and I think that everybody's who has been in it has kind of understood that. I started it open-ended. As long as I'm writing songs, they'll be made for this outlet. If I take some time off where I'm not doing it, then that's fine. I'm not going to break it up because I don't feel like doing it for a couple of months. I try not to think about it too much because I mainly see where we've come from where it started and how the songs have evolved. I'm looking ahead to try and write better and better stuff.

You're releasing a record really for the first time without any fanfare around it. No live shows, no CD release show. Is it strange to think about not having a gig as direct support for the record?

A big part of my own health and sanity was, about a year or so ago, letting go of doing as much of the live thing. I got to this point in my head where, if I wasn't playing every weekend, I was wasting my time and I would get this antsy-ness to get out there. I think a big part has been having to step back and just take it a little bit slower and more deliberately, as far as the creative process.

It's been alright, honestly. I haven't been itching to play as much which is maybe we haven't done as much live streaming stuff, because, to me, that's a big thing in music because of how short attention spans are: You always have to be doing something, and if we don't, people are going to forget about us. A big thing for me is letting go of that and focusing more on the creative process and the creation of it and having faith that if I make something that's honest enough and that I truly enjoy, an audience will find it.

Jedd Beaudoin is the host of Strange Currency. Follow him on Twitter @JeddBeaudoin. To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.