By Brittany Rudyck
CALGARY – One of the most notable (and humorous) statements from Betrayer’s guitarist/vocalist Travis Sargent implies his lack of experience as a musician and visual artist.
“Wow, it’s becoming clear through this interview that I’m a total fraud!” Sargent exclaims with a smile.
Sargent’s humorous self-deprecation can easily be credited to the audible evolution heard on the band’s second full-length album, April’s 12 Songs to Haunt You.
While the band’s 2014 debut Let the Good Times Die was great in its hollow garage guitar tones and its raunchy, psychedelic lo-fi quality, there’s something to be said for getting your friends involved in projects.
This is exactly what Betrayers did on their second full length, using former band members and expanding their own musical prowess. These few steps dramatically altered their work, creating intriguing and fun layers; something not overly present in their first record.
“I think the more people you get involved on a record, the better,” Sargent confirms.
“It becomes more interesting. It was also a nice way to deviate from the usual tricks we rely on and have someone else be in the mix.”
Whether it was in the recruitment of new people or simply a matter of time and maturity, 12 Songs to Haunt You is a clear departure from the old sound. The album is markedly more fun and easy going, weaving psych textures and whirling instrumentals, creating an easy, playful vibe. Sargent also mentioned the new ease with which the band now works its way through songs.
“Over time you learn to speak each other’s languages,” he says.
“The early days it may have taken months to work something out. Now we can figure it out in a day or two.”
Whatever the reason, one thing is crystal clear: Betrayers have a refreshingly humble approach to their craft.
“It was one of those things that starts out as a bedroom recording project where you put some songs out for fun for your friends to hear,” Sargent reminisces.
“I learned how to play guitar watching YouTube videos of Guitar Center dudes with ponytails and heavy metal guitars teaching basic chords and just figured it out.”
He pauses and adds with a shy grin, “I’m still not a shredder by any means.”
See the Betrayers in action with their new tunes May 5 at Nite Owl with nêhiyawak, Guantanamo Baywatch, Marlaena Moore and more (Calgary). You can also see them May 10 at Eamon McGrath’s book release at the Buckingham with Counterfeit Jeans (Edmonton). You can order a copy of 12 Songs to Haunt You at https://thebetrayers.bandcamp.com/.12 Songs to Haunt You, Buckingham, Counterfeit Jeans, Eamon McGrath, Guantanamo Baywatch, Marlaena Moore, nêhiyawak, Nite Owl