November 2017 - Travis Orbin Interview
Travis Orbin is known for his drumming contributions in Periphery, Sky Eats Airplane and Darkest Hour. During his busy lifestyle, I had a chance to ask him some questions:
What current projects are you working on?
I completed drum tracking for my first full-length record, ‘Silly String II’, about two weeks ago. I also just did some session work for Pete Peterson and Ben Eller. I’m currently working on sound design decorations for my album, finishing wrangling the last of the personnel, and will soon fly to Florida to mix in person with Patrick Campbell of Epilog Sound. I’ve other session things for which I am composing parts, that seems to(fortunately) be a constant in my career. Oh yes, and a Darkest Hour tour in December!
What has it been like playing in Darkest Hour? Was it challenging when initially joining, or did you feel right at home?
It’s a joy to play, write, jam, tour, etc. with the DH crew. There weren’t any particularly‘challenging’ aspects when initially playing and hanging with them, just behavioral differences. We’re all different animals.
Darkest Hour has released Godless Prophets & the Migrant Flora earlier this year. How has the response been from the fans both in touring and in album reviews?
I think it’s fair to say that we were all pretty blown away by how positively the album was received, both critically and by our fans. We’re very appreciative, especially considering that it was crowd-funded; we wanted to ‘deliver the goods’. Our headlining gigs are always great as long as people show up, haha! Support gigs are usually hit-or-miss, but I think it’s like that for a lot of bands.
Looking back on Sky Eats Airplane, what was the most rewarding and most challenging?
It was rewarding to finally get my feet wet from a professional standpoint regarding touring, recording, being on a label and dealing with management, etc. The challenging portions were dealing with member losses and ultimately watching it all dissipate, but it seems I’ve been fortunate enough to keep busy and filter whatever popularity/interest I’ve garnered from SEA fans into what I do. I also feel gratitude for having crossed paths with Zack Ordway, one of the most musically-gifted individuals I’ve ever met.
With the current fad of 10 year tours, do you see a SEA reunion in the future for a ten year tour or one-off show?
We’ve had offers to play in Texas at various festivals, but—for whatever reason(s)—we either haven’t pursued them or circumstances have precluded us. I’d be up for it!
What was it like drumming in Periphery during the inception of that progressive metal sound? Did it seem ground-breaking at the time?
I joined Periphery at the perfect time in my career and it was immensely rewarding,initially. Up until that point, I had only been involved with bands that wrote wholly organically. It was big fun taking Misha’s already masterfully programmed drums and somehow drawing out and exaggerating the bits that would become my own idiosyncrasies. I always knew they’d go on to make a name for themselves, but as far as“groundbreaking”, I think that is for the music-consuming audience to decide within the context of the annals of progressive metal music.
What do you enjoy most about being a session drummer part time? Is it tough fitting your schedule around band’s different recording needs?
It’s a hugely personal decision when deciding on a musician to hire to play your music,so I’m always honored to be asked. I try to adhere to any deadlines, but I mostly tell folks straight-up when I can do it and they’re usually alright with my provided timeline.
What is your favorite experience while touring? Worst experience?
Nothing can take the place of traveling somewhere new and exploring! What a privilege.No one likes loading in and out hah, especially when you’re in a smaller band with little to no aid.
Looking back on starting your career as a drummer, what advice would you give yourself?
That’s a tough question. I haven’t done everything to 100% perfection, but who has?However, I am satisfied with the path I’ve chosen. I suppose I’d tell myself to embrace proactivity sooner, rather than solely relying on jamming with bands/musicians.
What are your current plans and hopes for the future?
After ‘Silly String II’ I have two singles, an EP, and another full-length that are all already composed. The EP is a conceptual sequel to ‘Finite’, my fourth EP, and I’m very excited to get to work on that. The singles and the full-length will be a different breed of challenge, as they all contain vocal parts. I’ll have to completely switch hats and become a lyricist and get my chops up. But I adore creating and I don’t shy away from trying new things, regardless of how laborious they may be.
When you’re not drumming, what is your favorite thing to do?
I like lifting weights.
What are you currently jamming?
I’ve been hopelessly addicted to ‘Pet Sounds’. As soon as I think I’ve had my fill, I’ll take a short respite then put it back on and it won’t leave my car stereo again, indefinitely. I’ve also been listening to ‘Songs from the Big Chair’ and ‘Milestones’ frequently.
Any last shout outs?
Since I’m in the middle of this album, I think it’d be appropriate to give a shout-out to everyone involved (thus far, there will be more): Adam Edgemont, Cameron McLellan, Matt Riggen, John Sims, Ben Rachbach, Sophia Uddin, Owen McKinley, Ben Eller, Gabriel Riccio, JustinBonfini, and Patrick Campbell.
Find Travis online here: