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Scottish band Travis celebrates 8 years of success with Travis: Singles, a collection of 17 of their best songs. On the occasion The Record talks exclusively to bassist Dougie Payne.

TR: You are putting out 17 of your biggest songs on one album – is it a greatest hits record then?
Dougie: It’s not actually a ‘greatest hits’ or a ‘best of’. We called it Singles because that’s exactly what it is – we feel that a ‘best of’ or a ‘greatest hits’ is something that you do at the end of your career because you don’t know what your greatest hits have been yet, you don’t know what your ‘best of’ is until you’ve finished and done all the things that you’re going to do. So we thought it was a nice opportunity for us to collect all the 17 singles that we’ve released and put it in one place and see how they come together as a body of work. It’s kind of like a bookmark in the pages if you like, and that means we can go on and be a bit more objective about what we’ve done in the past and be a bit more free about what we’ll do in the future.

TR: You’re also releasing a DVD on the same day as the CD – what’s on there?
Dougie: We’re releasing a DVD on the same day which has all 17 videos on it. It has loads of other stuff as well – we get very involved in the making of the DVD. Quite often we see bands putting things out that are just slapped together but what we’ve done is gone through all our home video footage over the past ten years and we’ve taken some really interesting stuff from there and put that in - important TV performances we did and live footage, Glastonbury 2000 and loads of hidden extras as well.

TR: Are there any surprises on the DVD?
Dougie: Lots of them - Easter eggs I think they’re called. We’ve put on a lot of very stupid funny stuff, and you’ll somehow have to work out how to access it. I’m sure it will be on the Internet in a matter of days. [Laughs]

TR: What makes an essential Travis song?
Dougie: Not just a Travis song, but what makes an essential song is pure and simple melody. Because when you hear a great melody you really want to sing along and everyone does, whether it’s in the shower, or you hear someone on the road. It’s all about connecting with people. If you can write words that can go over the melody and you can kind of just give in to it and just let the melody carry you then that’s great. And if those words, when you scrutinise, them can be good and give you something and be truthful, then you’ve got a really great song.

TR: Do you have a favourite Travis song?
Dougie: It’s quite difficult. At the moment it changes from day to day because we’re doing a small club tour. We’re doing a lot of tiny shows which we haven’t done since we first started and so we’re rehearsing and we’re going to play all the songs. At the moment one which comes to mind is Driftwood, it’s a lovely song. Hearing the original recorded version of it was quite interesting. Because we don’t really listen to our own stuff very much…it seems so narcissistic and when I listened to it again while going through the videos and stuff I thought it was incredible.

TR: Do you change your songs around when playing them live?
Dougie: No we try and do them exactly as they are on the record as much as possible. Because it’s one of those things that when you go to see a band and when they get to your favourite song, they change it around completely, and it’s like ‘Oh come on! You can play the song!’

You can read the rest of exclusive with Travis in the October 2004 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.

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