Fran Healy: 'I'm sick of getting booted in the balls for being a songwriter'

Fran Healy: 'I'm sick of getting booted in the balls for being a songwriter'

Travis frontman Fran Healy has told Music Week the band's new album 10 Songs is his response to the multiple co-writer trend.

The average number of credited songwriters needed to write the 100 biggest UK hits of 2019 was 4.77, according to the latest Music Week research - 0.57 down on 2018’s average of 5.34.

Out today via BMG, 10 Songs is the Scottish rockers' ninth studio LP and their first since 2016's Everything At Once (42,305 sales, OCC). 

“In the age where you get 10 guys in a room writing one song, this is one guy in a room writing 10 songs,” said Healy. “We’ve got to respect our industry and that’s what it is – an industry – and that goes back to the time of [US hitmaking factory] the Brill Building and collaborative writing.

"But I do think 10 people writing one song is a little bit extreme. Personally, I think two people is as many as there should be because one does the melody and one does the lyrics. The 10 people thing is a little bit too industrial, but it’s a job and it powers the industry."

I feel very about the songs, I think we've got a very, very strong collection

Fran Healy, Travis

Travis took home the coveted Audience Award at the Edinburgh International Film Festival for 2018 documentary Almost Fashionable - A Film About Travis, which was directed by Healy. The documentary follows the band on tour in Mexico in 2016 alongside journalist Wyndham Wallace, whose had previously made clear his disdain for the group's music.

"We made a documentary called Almost Fashionable about how we get pilloried a little by critics," said Healy. "I don’t think they actually realise how punk we are and how radical it is these days to write a simple song from your heart. The reason nobody does it is because it’s fucking hard.

"Me and loads of other songwriters are still leading that charge of sitting at the end of your bed and mining your gut for things that have happened in your life that maybe people can relate to, and it takes fucking ages. I’m sick of getting booted in the balls for being a fucking songwriter, I think people should stick up for us more.”

Both BMG UK president Alistair Norbury and manager Emma Greengrass of Wildlife Entertainment have hailed 10 Songs as the band's finest record since their 2.7 million-selling, BRIT Award-winning 1999 sophomore release The Man Who. The success of lead single A Ghost, which became Travis' biggest radio hit since 2003 when it peaked at No.12 on the UK Airplay Chart earlier this summer, bodes well for its parent album, but Healy is keeping his feet on the ground.

“I don't have any expectations and I never have expectations," he said. "Clearly, I feel very strongly about the songs, I think we've got a very, very strong collection of songs.

"Sometimes you might just get a nice little bit of lift in your sales and sail into people's view. But if we do get lucky and the wind is in our sails, I think we've got one of the best records we've ever made to go with and that goes against all reason because, let's be honest, bands don't usually make their best records when they’re 47... Unless they're Paul Simon!" 

Subscribers can read the full Travis feature here

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