Friends since childhood, We The Kings — Travis Clark: Lead Singer; Charles Trippy: Bass; Danny Duncan: Drums; Hunter Thomsen: Lead guitar; Coley O’Toole: Guitar. — have been through a lot in their nearly 10 years as a band. Their hard work and passion for music has resulted in a string of memorable hits, garnered them a dedicated fanbase and taken them around the world. We The Kings recently took a well-deserved look back at their journey and commemorated their achievements over past decade with a retrospective release. Titled ‘So Far,’ the album is a collection of the band’s hits, fan favorites, four previously unreleased songs and club remixes and “The Story of Tonight,” a cover from ‘Hamilton: The Musical.” The band recently kicked off their summer as part of the legendary Warped Tour, where they will play over 50 shows nationwide. Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with bass guitarist Charles Trippy while while the band treks across the nation on the Warped Tour for a quick Q&A. In the interview Charles discusses his passion for music, the influences who shaped the artist we see today and what the future holds for this band on the rise.
Going all the way back to the beginning, what are you first memories of music in your life?
I remember buying my first bass, a Washburn, and trying to learning how to play “Johnny Quest” by Less Than Jake and being terrible at it. [laughs]
How did you first start getting involved with the arts and when did you decide music was something you wanted to pursue professionally?
I was kind of “born” into it. My father was a part of the Gregg Allman band while I was a kid, so the life of a tour bus was something that was familiar to me. Then in high school myself and a few friends started a band. I’ve always wanted it but I never actually thought I would be so blessed to have this as a career.
What can you tell us about the process of finding your creative voice as an artist?
I think for myself being open minded to different styles of music is very important. You never want to do the same thing over and over.
Who were some of the performers and people behind the scenes who helped to shape the artist we see today?
My parents were always and still are supportive of everything I did. All they asked was I finish college, which I did, then do whatever I wanted!
You are clearly very driven when it comes to your career. What has kept you inspired throughout the years as an artist and fueled your creative fire?
For me, it’s getting on the stage and having all these beautiful faces screaming lyrics we wrote louder than the actual PA. It amps me up every time (no pun intended…. Okay, maybe slightly intended)
You recently released a greatest hits album titled “So Far.” What made now the time for this album?
We are nearing our ten year anniversary and thought it would be a nice bookmark to celebrate all that We The Kings has accomplished. We didn’t want to call it a greatest hits because that sometimes is associated with an end of something. We liked “so far” because it’s just that, so far these are the songs we really love. We will keep a greatest hits title for when we’re 80 :)
I’m sure a lot of thought went into creating this package. What were the biggest challenges you faced in bringing the album to life?
As with every album, each has its own set of challenges. For this album I think it was simply choosing which songs we wanted on it because to us each song is like a child. We don’t love one over another. We love them all but we can’t have a cd with 70+ songs…. Or can we? Nah, we’ll save that for those box sets that you see on TV at 3am
Looking back on the body of work you have created and the adventures you have had, what stands out as our creative milestones?
I think if you ask each member of the band they’ll all have different answers since it’s so personal, but for me just the fact we are able to play music and travel the world as a band and best friends is a milestone in itself for me.
You have been working alongside the other members of the band for years. What do they bring out of you creatively?
The beautiful thing about growing up together is we can be brutally honest with each other and not take it personally.
What can you tell us about the songwriting process for your music? What has changed and what has remained the same through the years?
I personally get frustrated and bored when a band puts out the “same” record over and over. I am proud of Travis’ ability to keep things fresh and to push us to do some things beyond our comfort zone. The old albums will always be there for people to enjoy, and now the new ones may become some peoples “old” album years down the road. Does that make sense?
How do you feel you have most evolved as an artist since you first started professionally?
I think personally I have gained a larger appreciation for the work that goes into a song. Not just writing it but recording it and the people that it takes to simply make an album happen.
As an artist, so many things can be said about the current state of music. What excites you about being a working artist?
The ability to share and create music so easily fascinates me!
Where do you see yourself headed musically in the future — both short and long term? Any timelines for returning to the studio?
We are constantly working on new songs, in fact we have been working on some for the next album!
You guys are currently out on the Warped Tour. How has your approach to touring changed through the years? Any secret to surviving a summer on the road?
Wet wipes. Don’t ask!
What is the best way for fans to help support you at this stage in your career?
Come to shows! Grab a shirt, show it off and tell your friends! The word of mouth is still extremely valuable to bands!
Many young artists can look to you for inspiration. What is the best lesson we can take away from your journey as an artist?
People will shit on you and your band at first. That’s good. Take that and make yourself awesome! You should hear some of our old “demos.” [laughs] Without that, we wouldn’t have grown or matured as a band. It’s important. Don’t take it as discouragement and quit. Quitting is easy I know but, if you want it, get in a van and tour, tour, tour! If it’s your dream make that shit happen! Am I allowed to say shit? [laughs]
Follow the continuing adventures of We The Kings at www.wethekingsmusic.com. Connect with the band via social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Get We The King’s latest release, ‘So Far,’ on iTunes!