As I found out in summer 2008, Travis singer Fran Healy is incredibly genuine and forthright with fans. So I guess it wasn’t surprising to see him on Twitter announce a new Web site, where I discovered he’s working on a solo album and has posted a demo of one of the tracks.
The album is called Wreckorder and Healy offered some insight on his thought process and motivation to record it:
“I love making demos. I would bring them to the band and we would re-record them and make them sound better/more professional but the thing which made the demo magic would always be lost in the final recordings. We would have demo-itis early on, trying to recapture that “thing”. It took a while to realise our time would be better spent trying to make new moments. I suppose that “thing” is just connected to the first time you do something. There is a certain cool carelessness which comes from not knowing where something is leading you. The usual procedure would be write songs-make demos-take demos to band-make album. Taking Travis out of the flow chart meant the recording process would stop at demo stage. But it would have to sound good too.
So I bought a nice old 10 channel recording desk and some beautiful microphones and began making new demos. Writing for something other than Travis was a great release. There was no baggage. No map. When I had enough cool moments, I asked the producer, Emery Dobyns, to come out to Berlin and we finished them together, adding overdubs and embellishing.”
He also spoke of recording demos with Neko Case (!) and getting Paul McCartney (!!!) to play bass on one track. That’s what’s known as a “good get.” If you’re a gear nerd, Healy also posted pics of what he’s using in the studio.
More important, he graciously shared a demo of a new song called Holiday, a song that seems to capture his feelings of a rocky point in Travis’ recent re-emergence. The lyrics are cathartic, if not dripping in self-pity: “Don’t be fooled cause you could do without me / I think I need a holiday / Another time another place / To disappear without a trace / When I return throw me away.”