Exclusive Interview with We the Kings

This Saturday, the Ramapo News staff sat down with lead singer Travis Clark of We the Kings before their performance at the spring concert. We the Kings, who just released their newest single “Just Keep Breathing” on Friday, are currently working on their next album to be released this fall.

Ramapo News (RN): How do you choose the set of music for a college performance versus a regular venue?Travis Clark (TC): It doesn’t matter what type of show, it matters how long the set is, whether it is a nightclub or a college. An hour set, an hour and fifteen minute set, and an hour and a half set–those are usually the time increments we are given. From there, we typically ask people what they want to hear. We usually ask them what songs they want to hear and most times they say the most popular one. For example, if they were to say one that was left of center, we would play that. When we were kids going to our favorite band’s performance or show or whatever and they didn’t play one of the songs we wanted to hear, we would be bummed out. And it doesn’t matter that we’ve played “Check Yes Juliet” every single show we’ve ever played our entire life, it doesn’t mean that we’re just not going to play it one day, cause you know [fans] would be pissed.

RN: You just released your new single, “Just Keep Breathing” yesterday. Have you gotten any fan reaction?TC: This is actually an unreal statistic. It’s something that we’ve been really proud of because our fans are so incredibly awesome. We sold 20,000 copies in less than 24 hours, [and] we’ve never done that before.

On the ratings, we had five-star ratings. We’ve had over 15,000 five-star ratings, that’s the highest star you can get. And there hasn’t even been a four star, it’s been a hundred percent five-stars. I was using this example:, sometimes you go look at your favorite YouTube video and it’s the best and there’s always, like, one jack–s who [gives] one star. We don’t even have that, it’s all just five stars. [The fans] have been so supportive of us the whole time, and it’s so great.

RN: What can fans expect from your new album?
TC: Every record’s been different for us. We’ve been growing as well, along with our fan base. “Check Yes Juliet,” “Secret Valentine,” “Skyway Avenue,” “All Again for You”–those are our four most popular songs from that first CD, and we can’t do those again. You know those songs are special because they’re one-of-a-kind and every song is one-of-a-kind. So, some people want to hear the same record over and over again, but it goes nowhere.

We want to grow with the fan base, we want to grow with ourselves, we don’t want to fake it. We want to write what we love, and we want to write what is coming out. The “Just Keep Breathing” song that we released yesterday was a song I wrote about all the years I was bullied, like through elementary school, middle school, high school. And it was a song that kind of just wrote itself; I didn’t really have to try to write it, I had those feelings inside of me for a long time, and I’d been waiting to write it for a while.

I think it’s kind of an issue with kids today, they’re getting bullied and it’s a really, really tough thing and it’s saddening. So I wanted to try to do my part in saving the world, so I wrote this song and even if it saves one person or makes them feel better, the song was completely worth it. This record, it does sound different, but all the records sound different. I think that what we went with for this one was a lyrical nature; I think that the lyrics are really powerful on this record.

RN: Who are some of your musical influences?
TC: All five members of the band have different musical influences, but mine specifically, my mom taught me every Beatles song growing up, when I wanted to learn guitar, because she was a singer-songwriter and she loved the Beatles, so I had a really good musical upbringing. But I wanted to kind of venture off myself and find artists that I liked, so Blink 182, Jimmy Eat World, Green Day, Coldplay, Jason Mraz, those artists to me are so inspirational. Those are the artists that I’m personally influenced by.

RN: Yesterday, your single was being sold on iTunes for 29 cents. Do you know why that happened?
TC: The logistical part is iTunes has three tiers of pricing. It’s 69 cents, 99 cents and $1.29. Those are the only prices that a single is allowed to be, so we wanted to put it at 69 cents, but it doesn’t say that, it just says lowest tier. We did this deal by ourselves, it’s just us, there’s nobody backing us. We don’t have a bunch of money going into the band; we’re [just] putting out music that we love and without a record label. That’s why it’s so exciting we sold 20,000 in less than a day. We had nine different record labels call us wanting to sign us, we’re like ‘no, we want to do this ourselves.’ Why should our fans work their a—s off and give their hard-earned money to people wearing suits sitting behind a desk when what they’re really trying to pay for and support are the people in the bands that are touring.

We said we’re just going to do it ourselves because our fans mean everything to us, and we deserve to do what we want, and they deserve to really support the bands like they’re doing.

We were signing up for it and it said the lowest tier, so we picked the lowest tier so that our fans wouldn’t have to pay a lot of money. It was a glitch in the system. It registered as $1.29, but since we put lower, they cut off the dollar, because in that section there’s supposed to be a zero, so it was $1.29, but it was actually $0, so it was .29. Everywhere else in the world it was normal. It was .99 in the UK, .79 in Canada, $1.79 in Australia and .29 here.

We’re still the number one alternative band on iTunes and the number five band overall. So it’s insane.