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The L: I came across an interview you did with The L back in '06 where you were asked why you decided to move to New York. You said you knew that if you were still in Oklahoma or Dallas, the band wouldn't ever be what you wanted it to be. So now, a few years removed from that, are you happy with where you are as a band? Are you happy you're in New York?
TJ: Well, as a band, it's really cool that anybody cares at all. Even when it's kind of frustrating when something's not happening, it's still really cool to just remember—We could be playing for nobody for the rest of our lives. As far as geography goes, this recent trip to Dallas that I just got back from today totally confirms that this is where I feel at home, musically and as far as friendships go. I think it offers the correct amount of challenge and, after you settle in, comfort. We're lucky to have friends that are encouraging to us, as far as our music goes. There are obviously tons of obstacles, but in so many other cities, I can't imagine?I know in certain cities–two of them, Oklahoma City and Dallas–we'd find people, and they'd be like, "You shouldn't really stay in this city." I think we feel pretty at home here; we've made a little bit of a nest for ourselves.
The L: Have you ever been recognized on the street? Is that weird for you?
TJ: It's not really weird. Well, it depends on how they do it. Some people are kinda creepy. I can remember this one guy, I was walking with Emily down the street, and he was just like "Emily and Travis." And I was like, "Huh?" And he was like, "Muggabears." Stuff like that. It's cool. But it doesn't happen very often. It's still really cool..
The L: How did you get involved in the whole Death by Audio clan?
TJ: Well, Emily lives there, so that was the main thing. Although she moved in because a couple people there had become fans of ours, I guess, and so that was how she found out about it. And we started practicing there–there's a practice space that all the people that live there use. And then this past March, after I got back from SXSW, I was super broke, and I told Oliver from A Place to Bury Strangers and Matt from this band Sisters, "If you guys have any work making pedals, I'm so broke, I would do anything." A few days later, Matt was like, "Hey, I have work if you need some."
The L: How do you think the Brooklyn music scene has changed since you first moved here?
TJ: It's definitely changed?but the way it's changed to me could just be what I know about now versus what I knew about then. I mean, at the time, I didn't really know much about places like Death by Audio. I remember going to shows at, like, Asterisk, and seeing A Place to Bury Strangers and not knowing who they were. But I think one thing I see a lot more of is electronic/free-form noise, and I don't know if that's really what's more popular right now or if just more people are doing it. I never really thought about it until right now–but maybe this happens every couple years where things get really revivalist almost, where it's like, "Let's just play really good rock n' roll, man." And then for a while it gets kind of weirder, and it seems like it's back again. As far as what's really big, there're a lot more bands that are playing normal rock n' roll. But there are a lot more bands than there seemed to be doing things like electronic noise too.