On the surface, Travis Reilly kept calm and collected as he mingled with ‘peers’ the likes of Faith No More and Jane’s Addiction at this year’s Soundwave Festival… Underneath, the lead singer of This Is Hell felt like a humble fanboy amid some of rock and metal’s biggest heavyweights.
On the surface, Travis Reilly kept calm and collected as he mingled with ‘peers’ the likes of Faith No More and Jane’s Addiction at this year’s Soundwave Festival… Underneath, the lead singer of This Is Hell felt like a humble fanboy amid some of rock and metal’s biggest heavyweights. Less than a year later, he’s ready to do it all over again down under – this time as part of a killer triple bill including hardcore giants Architects and Comeback Kid.
“Soundwave was great because there were tons of friends and bands that we’d previously toured with,” says Reilly. “But at the same time it got a little intimidating, though you never show it. We all flew on the same plane together and stayed in the same motels with other big bands that we’ve been fans of for years. Unless they really insisted on hiding and not mingling, it was pretty cool… because we felt like we were all peers, even though it was certainly not the case in our minds!
“Like, Jane’s Addiction and Faith No More – they’re legendary bands so it’s weird to call them your peers. The feeling among everyone was generally that we were on the same level though.”
Which is not really surprising since This Is Hell are no spring chickens either. Having relentlessly toured their native America as well as the rest of the world since 2005, the Long Island hardcore lads have so far managed to pump out three full-length records and expand their fanbase to massive proportions, including Australia. Their latest offering Weight Of The World, sees a band truly coming into their own, as Reilly explains – with a lot of credit going to a new signing with Rise Records too.
“I think if we’d done another record on our old label, that would have been the death of us. When our Misfortunes album came out in 2008 we knew what we had to do because the label didn’t do a good job at all promoting it. We’d be out touring our asses off and we’d get kids come up to us looking at the CD going, ‘what’s this?’ We’d be like, ‘it’s our new album that came out three months ago’, and people would stare at us blankly because they never even knew it was out. It was frustrating, because we spent so much time making that recordl like two years!
“Maybe it was because the label thought our first album (Sundowning, 2006) did pretty well that things would just take care of themselves and they wouldn’t have to push it or anything. We signed with them in 2005 and the majority of their bands were already established, like 18 Visions and Throwdown and Bleeding Through… Maybe they thought we’d be like them. Or maybe they just assumed we’d never be financially successful and so they never even bothered. Who knows?”
Instead, This Is Hell stuck to their guns, continued with their brand of hardcore/metal and made the decision that they weren’t about to change for anybody – label or no label. Upon hearing of this, Rise Records immediately realised they were band ideal for their own roster and by early 2010, This Is Hell were snatched up by the Oregon-based imprint. “It’s been so cool to get a fresh start in life, because that’s really what it feels like for us,” insists Reilly. “The coolest thing is probably that on the label we’re on now, there’s really not bands on it like us at all! We’re very different to the rest of their artists which means that we stick out and don’t just blend into the background – they actually notice we’re there.”
Not that This Is Hell have ever really been the kind of band that could easily fade into the background, having literally toured non-stop since the beginning of their career. After busting their arses throughout years on the road, a label that busted its arse to gain the band some decent attention was exactly what Reilly was after. “We wanted to work with people who wanted to work hard for us,” Reilly states.
“Obviously, it’s not all about the work and you’ve got to have fun too, but most of all you’ve got to know that you’re getting a good deal with who you’re signed with. We were very much a DIY band up until we signed with Trustkill, we organised everything ourselves and booked our own tours. We knew what we were doing and we knew when something wasn’t right. Personally, for us, touring is really the only way to do it and actually make a living out of it. It’s still not easy, though. Maybe for bands of a different style, they might be able to make decent money by getting their songs on an Apple commercial or on a movie soundtrack or something like that. Our source of income is primarily just going out on tour.
“And in some ways, I wouldn’t actually have it any other way, because that’s actually the most fun part of it all anyway.”
Especially when you’re jumping in the van – or a plane halfway across the world – with two of the biggest bands in hardcore, Architects and Comeback Kid. Reilly agrees. “This tour is pretty much the only thing that’s on my mind right now! We’re also going to Europe in January with Deez Nuts from Australia and there are some festivals in the summertime.
“I don’t actually want to think about another record for the time being, this one only came out in June so we just want to have fun with it and get the songs out there. Rick (Jimenez, guitar) has been throwing around some ideas and showing them to me, so maybe he is thinking about it more than me. Rick handles about 95 percent of the writing so he writes stuff all the time anyway. Personally, I’m just hoping for as many tours as we can possibly squeeze into the new year.”
THIS IS HELL join ARCHITECTS and COMEBACK KID at Billboard The Venue on Sunday December 5 for two huge shows – U18 from 2pm, 18+ from 8pm. Tickets from ticketek.com.au, 132 849 or billboardthevenue.com.au. Their new album, Weight Of The World is out now.