Interview Travis Bretzer: ‘My Idea Is To Blow Your Face Off With Hooks’

Say hello to Canada’s latest pop triumph – a quirky newcomer with a unique dayjob.

When it comes to writing the perfect pop song, arguably the trickiest part is trying to invent something that people will have trouble forgetting. It’s not just an art that’s rooted in pop music, either. Canadian troubadour Travis Bretzer is a guy who’s fully aware of this task. In fact, his daytime job is to write catchy jingles for his local radio station. Speaking on one of his given lunch-breaks, at his Edmonton home, the topic of capturing the public’s attention through melody is one he speaks very passionately of.

“Jingle writing has kept me intrigued with making hooks, because when I was a kid, the jingles were the biggest thing on the radio!” he says, with a cheshire cat smile on his face.

The art of writing the perfect pop-hook has always been at the forefront of Bretzer’s music, and the perfect example of this would be on his 2010 song ‘Find Another Guy’, which features on the low-key Bandcamp release ‘Saucy Tasters’.

The album, which has since been taken down, was one that was written in the aftermath of his first group. “I played in this band called The Subatomics, but when we broke up, I was like: ‘Fuck this man, music sucks!’

“I then went to Radio College, but kept playing the guitar as a hobby. I recorded that first record when I was living in a house full of dudes later on, but it was just me chilling around.” When the striking resemblances between ‘Find Another Guy’ and a typical local radio station jingle are pointed out to him, Bretzer’s quick to share his admiration for the tricks of his trade. “There was this one jingle called ‘The Legend of the Chevy Farm’ - it was just a car jingle. But it was this definitive song that everybody knew and everybody *respected* this melody. It was like brainwashing, and that’s something that’s always intrigued me.”

However, despite having released the ‘Saucy Tasters’ album three years ago, he was only snapped up by New York label Mexican Summer at the beginning of 2013. Earlier this summer, he released the ‘Making Love’ EP, which was an expansion on the quirky pop songs found on his original full-length.

In the space of time since his first collection of tracks, it’s quite noticeable listening to the latest release that his sound has turned in an interesting direction, with his ‘Making Love’ EP firmly rooted in the sound of acoustic, psychedelia-pop. He’s quick to point out that the ideas found on ‘Making Love’ weren’t intentionally formed. “I made a song called ‘Billy & I’ with this acoustic and it was just like, ‘This song fucking sucks! This is really weird’, but then something made me want to keep going in this direction. I just kept doing it, and it wasn’t really music that I was listening to at the time. I wasn’t really into hazy, psychedelic, acoustic singer-songwriter music! I was into Cheryl Crowe and Alanis Morissette. Like super-slick, 90s over-produced pop-rock.”

Bretzer’s now gearing up for the release of a proper debut album. He and his band are busy working away on “the plant”, as he refers to it, and recent singles ‘Low Volt’/’Debbie’ are a strong indication of what to expect. “It’s more… I don’t wanna say it’s a step up in audio, but it’s more focused, I’d say, in terms of an idea. My idea is to blow your face off with hooks. There’s gonna be a hook on top of a hook on top of a hook, and it’s there’s gonna be an extra hook on top!”

‘Low Volt’/’Debbie’ is out now on Mexican Summer.

Read the full interview in the new edition of DIY Weekly, available from iTunes now.

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