Travis return with ‘A Ghost’ from new album ’10 Songs’: “I’m back in the fucking ring and I’ll take you all on”

"I feel like I’m going head-to-head with whoever’s out there"

Travis have returned with new single ‘A Ghost’, taken from their first album in four years, ’10 Songs’.

The ninth album from the Scottish indie veterans is launched by ‘A Ghost’ — complete with a video hand-drawn by frontman Fran Healy in collaboration with his 14-year-old son Clay while in isolation due to the coronavirus lockdown.

“I went into a self-imposed quarantine for two weeks when I got home after finishing the album, didn’t hug my son or leave my room – but we mixed and cut the record remotely,” Healy told NME. “After that, we didn’t have a way to make a video for ‘A Ghost’, so I drew the entire thing. It took four weeks working at 17 hours a day – almost without ever looking up.

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He continued: “Every 10 seconds is like 12 hours of drawing. It was an all or nothing situation so I just went for it. It also keeps your mind occupied and stops you going on Twitter. It was all getting me so stressed out because I want to punch Donald Trump in the face, so, so hard. It makes me anxious that I can’t.”

Speaking about the lyrics to the track, Healy said that he was inspired by a new lease of life and creative drive following some words of wisdom from young Clay.

“I’m 46-years-old now, but I don’t feel that way. I still feel like I’ve got a lot to do,” Healy told NME. “Being a parent, I gave the past 14 years of my life to my son completely. I wanted to be the dad that I’d never had. My son has been my sole focus and main project in the centre of the table, but about six months ago he came up to me and said, ‘Papa, you should really go for it with the band this time – I know you haven’t been pushing as hard as you could but I want you to do that now’.

“The lyrics were a combination of all that – looking at my foot and deciding to just fucking floor it again. It’s about looking at yourself in the mirror and seeing the ghost of someone. This reflection talks back to you and says, ‘It’s easier to be alive than hide under your pillow while your life is passing you by’.”

Travis, 2019. Credit: Ryan Johnson 2000
Travis, 2019 (Picture: Ryan Johnson 2000)

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Recorded at RAK studios in London, co-produced by Healy and Robin Baynton (Coldplay, Florence & The Machine) and featuring contributions from Grandaddy’s Jason Lytle, Greg Leisz (collaborator with Beck, Emmylou Harris, Bruce Springsteen) and Susanna Hoffs of The Bangles, ’10 Songs’ sees the frontman returning to the role of core songwriter across the whole record for the first time since 2003’s ’12 Memories’.

“I find it hard to sing other people’s songs,” admitted Healy. “I love Dougie [Payne, bassist] and Andy [Dunlop, guitarist] lots and that’s what makes Travis vibrate the way it does, but I needed to tell them that I had the energy to do this and they were totally cool with it.

“I’ve been writing for four years and had about 10 albums’ worth of stuff. From that, you can get about 10 really good things out of it. I’ve just been cruising for the last few records. I was pretending to drive. As a songwriter, I don’t feel like I’ve dug very deeply. This time, that’s not the case – shit happens and there’s a lot more to write about.”

As for how that drive fed into the album, Healy continued: “Now I’m feeling very, very competitive. I feel like I’m going head-to-head with whoever’s out there. Styles of music have changed, but the one thing that remains constant and certain is that humans will respond to a song and something that touches them a little bit deeper than something which just comes from the head.

“I’m a heavyweight at doing that. I’m back in the fucking ring and I’ll take you all on – come and get it.”

The tracklist of ’10 songs’ is:

‘Waving At The Window’
‘The Only Thing’ (feat. Susanna Hoffs)
‘Valentine’
‘Butterflies’
‘A Million Hearts’
‘A Ghost’
‘All Fall Down’
‘Kissing In The Wind’
‘Nina’s Song’
‘No Love Lost’

Travis release ’10 Songs’ on October 9.

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