Mt Egypt Interview - His New Album III Is Out Now

Posted by Miss Ess, May 13, 2009 04:58pm | Post a Comment
Travis Graves is the one and only member of the musical act known as Mt. Egypt. His latest album, III, is out now on vinyl only from Secret Seven Records and available at Amoeba. Airy, cyclical and sweet, nature seems to surround the album. Its acoustic songs are confessional and simultaneously sunny- sounding. The record kinda makes me want to go to the beach but maybe for a good cry down near the crashing surf. Mt. Egypt's music has beautiful harmonies and gorgeous moments of sonic intensity. This all seems strange perhaps, coming from a formerly sponsored skateboarder who mostly listens to hip hop, but welcome to the enigma that is Mt. Egypt -- read on for more about what makes Travis tick, how his new record III came to be and also his brushes with greatness, including tours with Flaming Lips, Willie Nelson, Cat Power and even...The Osbournes!

Album artwork by Justin Limoges

Where does the name Mt Egypt come from?

Travis: The name Mt. Egypt came from an area in rural North Carolina out by my father’s house. It’s an homage to him, his songwriting and to spending long periods in the wilderness with little to no human contact.

When did you pick up the guitar?

Travis: My old man got me playing guitar when I was 12 or 13.

How did you start writing songs?

Travis: By the swimming pool – summer camp, Maryland – right before the lockers [literally] fell on my forehead. I was six or seven…

What musicians' posters did you have on your walls growing up?

Travis: I only ever had skateboarding posters on my wall.

What albums or artists do you like to skateboard to?

Travis: I don’t skateboard to any music, but what gets me hyped to skate right now: 1) E-40The Ball Street Journal 2) The first Wu-Tang 3) NasUntitled.

What was the album that really sparked your interest in music when you were growing up?

Travis: Will Oldham’s music made Mt. Egypt happen. I was 18. In particular, “Oh How I Enjoy the Light” from the album Lost Blues [& Other Songs].

What was the first live show you ever went to?

Travis: REM with my mom circa ’87.

I know you have toured with artists like Willie Nelson, Band of Horses, Flaming Lips and Cat Power...Please share some stories about these artists' idiosyncrasies that you learned from touring with them!

Travis: Willie Nelson smells good. Ben Bridwell from Band of Horses can knock you out. Wayne Coyne is a sweet, thoughtful man. Chan Marshall is a reminder of how strong women are.

What was the Flaming Lips' tour bus like?

Travis: Being on the Flaming Lips’ bus made me realize how much better vans are…I get motion sickness in buses…puke…

How did you end up touring with Willie Nelson and what was it like?

Travis: Miss Caitlin Crowell [Rodney Crowell and Roseanne Cash’s daughter who worked for Record Collection, Mt Egypt’s last label] hooked up the Willie tour. I was frazzled, but it made my grandpa proud.

Who produced this album and what was your concept for its sound?

Travis: Blake Mills produced this record…no concept, just song by song.

What was the process of making the record like? Where was it recorded and how was the experience of committing your songs to tape?

Travis: This record is all pro-tools. I’m glad these ghosts finally have a home. It was recorded at Zeitgeist Studios [in Los Angeles] by Sean V. with ghost dog Tony Berg.

A little bird told me you were on The Osbournes?! How did that come about and what was the
experience like?

Travis: The Dillman [pro skateboarder Jason Dill] brought my friend Nicki and I over there. It was like being at the circus. I didn’t talk to anyone really…watched the little dogs hump each other though.

What is your musical guilty pleasure?

Travis: All musical pleasure with no guilt, I must say.

What have you been listening to lately?

Travis: Nas, Nastradamus; The Game, LAX; and 105.9 in LA.

What is next for you once the record comes out?

Travis: Just keep working at my day job, skateboard whenever it feels appropriate, eat food, drink water, coffee, kombucha, listen to the rain and frogs all night. Go to Greg’s wedding…

What has been your best find at Amoeba over the years?

Travis: [Employee] Gregory Todd -- “Make new friends and keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.”

Mt. Egypt - Perspectives from MIKE PISCITELLI on Vimeo.

Also: coming up soon, Mt. Egypt's label, Secret Seven, will be joining forces with the Empty Cellar label to release a solo album from the front man of The Fresh & Onlys entitled The Two Sides of Tim Cohen.

Relevant Tags

Mt. Egypt (1), Secret Seven Records (10), Flaming Lips (19), Willie Nelson (8), Cat Power (17), The Osbournes (1), Jason Dill (1), Interview (341), Bonnie Prince Billy (17), Band Of Horses (12)