5 QUESTIONS WITH T. MILLS
By: Brent X Mendoza
In a few short years hip-hop entrepreneur Travis Tatum Mills has moved from making beats in his bedroom, to being a featured performer on the Warped Tour, to selling out his own marquee shows here in Hollywood.
With his DIY drive and social media savvy, Mills has racked up some impressive online numbers and stats (over 36,000 followers on Twitter, 120,000 plus fans on Facebook, and over three million views on YouTube); stats that have translated into real world fans, and an upcoming headlining show here at The Roxy.
Before gathering your crew and rolling out for the big night, get to know this self-made musical savant who’s still in the dawn of a very promising career.
So you’re from Riverside… does the I.E. get a bad rap? Is the “909” where the real party is goin’ down?
[Laughter] Well it’s actually the “951” now! It changed a few years back… and I think the I.E. does get kind of a bad rap. I’ve heard off the wall stories from people in L.A. about Riverside and they have this image that is completely off. If anything, growing up there taught me to be humble. I made great friends and had my fun in the I.E. for as long as possible.
You sort of started off just making beats in your bedroom. Are you self-taught? How did you learn the software (i.e. Pro-Tools, Logic, Reason)?
Yeah, I’d say I’m self-taught. The first program I ever really learned was GarageBand, then I got into Logic. By the time I got to Pro-Tools, I wasn’t really “producing,” it was mainly just for tracking vocals.
I am in NO WAY a master of these, but I like to fuck around from time to time. I’d say I learned the most from experimenting with different things. It’s crazy how much you can learn from making mistakes.
How did you initially get noticed/get your music out to the masses? What advice would you give young music entrepreneurs looking to follow in your footsteps?
The Internet! I released two songs that I recorded in my room (on GarageBand), and my social networks started growing… I talked to my fans, I got to know them, and I listened to them. People started gravitating to my stuff online, so I just never stopped.
If you want to make music, you will. If you want to be successful at making music, you won’t stop until you’ve reached your desired level of success. I push myself to learn every day. I’m always finding new music, artists, and things that inspire me. With the internet, and the power of a laptop, you can write a song, record it, and post it all within a matter of hours. There is nothing to stop you from success, except yourself!
What was the first album you ever purchased with your own money?
The first album I ever remember seeing as a child was Nirvana’s Nevermind. I still have that disc today. I would play it over and over again.
The first album I ever purchased with my own money though would have to be Blink 182’s Cheshire Cat.
So you have some pretty die hard/enthusiastic fans. Any creepy fan gifts? Strange requests? T. Mills tattoos?
I love my fans! [Laughter] No creepy gifts really, just weed and Vans! And yeah there are hella tattoos! It’s crazy for me to see my name on someone else. I’m extremely grateful for the love. I have a pretty serious collection in my iPhoto now.
T. Mills takes the stage at The Roxy Theatre Friday, July 15. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15. For more information on the show click here.