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Traveler talks ‘Bigger Than Us,’ inspirations, and dream collabs (Includes interview)

How did “Bigger Than Us” come about?

Traveler: I tend to take my time with my productions and “Bigger Than Us” is no exception. I actually started the song back in the summer of 2018 while I was in Greece. I was hearing the bassline in my head so I opened a new Ableton session and wrote it down. Almost immediately I heard the intro chords and a vocal top line melody. The hook lyrics for that melody were, “It’s Bigger Than Us,” but that melody never made it into the track! I first made the song a single drop arrangement so I could play it out at Burning Man 2018. I actually played out that version of the song with only one drop until late 2019 when I finally decided to finish the song.

Your music has a very uplifting, positive vibe. It’s much needed in the current climate. What inspires your songwriting and music?

Traveler: Thank you. I use a lot of major chords and key signatures to get that effect. I’m super blessed, I have a great life and my music reflects that. It is a gift for me to be able to make music and I feel a great responsibility as an artist to use my voice to spread positivity.

Which artists would you like to someday collaborate with as your dream collab choices? Tell us about the Disclosure, MNEK, Traveler “White Noise” bootleg that’s circulating.

Traveler: This is a tough one because I love so many different artists. It’d be cool to get a multi-artist collaboration going with Roger Troutman on Talkbox and Pretty Lights basslines and melodies. If I had to pick one single artist to collaborate with I’d choose Daft Punk, those guys are on another level. The “White Noise” bootleg started out as an older Traveler song called “Drift” that was released back in 2014. At the time, Traveler was still a live electronic duo. A few years later, MNEK released his cover of “White Noise” by Disclosure (originally sung by AlunaGeorge). Blair, the other half of Traveler at the time, found the acapella for MNEK’s cover and figured out that the key and chord progression matched “Drift.” We turned it into a mashup, played it out a few times, and forgot about it. I was digging through my hard drive for sunrise tracks to play last summer when I uncovered it and decided to give it the revamp it deserved.

What is your advice for young and aspiring DJs and producers?

Traveler: Be original, be kind, don’t do drugs (seriously), and never give up.

Were there any moments in your music career that helped define you?

Traveler: I’ve been DJing for over 17 years now and my career has had ups and downs, I feel like I’m finally hitting my stride as an artist. The best thing that ever happened to my music was getting discovered by the Envision Festival crew. They found my music and embraced me. Their support has given me an amazing platform to develop my sound over the years.

What would you like to tell our readers about “Bigger Than Us”?

Traveler: Just let the song take you into a trance and enjoy the groove.

What’s next in terms of releases for you? How about shows once life returns to normal? We know you play Burning Man every year but it got canceled this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Traveler: I’ve been taking advantage of this time to focus on my productions. I actually upgraded my studio and have been working on my analog mastering. I’ve got a ton of songs in the works and have been working with a new visual team to create custom motion graphic music videos for all of them. I’ve also been spending a lot of time restructuring my label, Outside In Movement. We’ve been incubating for a few years now, picking up some very talented young artists. Expect a ton of new music in the near future.

As for playing shows, I’m really not even thinking about that. I’m very particular about when and where I play. I have decided to no longer play venues that use single-use plastic cups and straws. I prefer to play festivals that practice the “Leave No Trace” ethos that developed within the Burning Man culture. The cancellation of Burning Man hurts but I am deeply saddened to see that many of my friends who work in the event industry are suffering.

Parting words to readers who may need a bit of uplift, today?

Traveler: Life is amazing, be grateful, we are here experiencing this together. Let’s all be good to one another and spread more love.

To learn more about Traveler and his music, check out his official website, Facebook page and SoundCloud page. Listeners and fans can follow him on Twitter and on Instagram.


James Hickey

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 20,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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