It’s hard to beat a party when the word “Free” is involved. It’s even better when that party is on the beach. Add fire pits and the offer sounds sweeter still. Add a large helping of live music, the invitation should be irresistable. These are the ingredients of this Sunday's Wheeland Brothers concert at Sea Legs at The Beach in Huntington Beach. The show will be in commemoration of the release of their latest CD, Lost in the Key of Sea (which came out Aug. 26). In advance of the show, the Weekly caught up with Travis Wheeland to talk about his and his brother Nate’s adventures since they first set out on the sea of their dreams.
After having earned an engineering degree and a business degree, respectively, Nate and Travis discovered that the careers those degrees provided for them were not particularly fulfilling. They did, however, serve an ironic function. “What we learned was how much we don’t like the corporate world and how much we don’t like someone telling us that they’re going to give us two weeks of our life back [for] vacation,” Travis says. That realization led the brothers to pursue music full time, and it has taken them around the country, to the Caribbean, and kept them on a mission to spread good vibes.
The brothers’ musical performances and recorded output are testaments to the reflective journey that they thrive on sharing with people. “When I go out and I play a show, I’m constantly trying to seek [the answers to the questions," Travis says. "‘Who am I’ and ‘How can I give more of the good parts of what I have to offer to people?’” Travis both tempers and feeds his exploratory path by coloring it with plenty of fun. “We do a lot of sneaking down to the beach and having bonfires...I feel like it’s partially our role to show civilization a good time and to break the rules in a way that’s responsible.”
One of their goals as artists is to challenge other people to break free of their “cookie-cutter” lifestyles, as they did. Travis is quick to point out that while breaking free of their square lifestyles, people still have to be responsible. “It’s not about partying," he says. "It’s not about how crazy you can get...I like to say I’m more about the stoke than smoke, and I’m more about the weekend than the drinking...it’s about feeding into people’s lives and building a community of friends that can all say, ‘My life is amazing.’”
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The brothers’ goal is not to have a big mansion on a hill, rather they are more interested in their journey than their destination. Along the way, however, there have been plenty of rewards. “Music has brought me into a lot of different people’s lives, [taken me to] a lot of different places, and has made me a lot more tolerant as a person and a lot more open to the idea that there’s always something you can learn from every person that you meet,” Travis says.
Much of this is reflected in their latest album, which was recorded mostly at Hurley Studios, in Costa Mesa — the principal exception being the vocals, which were recorded at Treehouse Studio, which is the name of the Baja beach hut-decorated studio the brothers built in Travis’s house. About the songs on their albums, Travis pointed out, “We [write them] as more of a journaling of life rather than a job where we sit down and write a song.” Regarding the tonal spectrum of material on the album, he said, “It has songs like daytime sunshine; it has songs that are kind of like nighttime soul-searching; it has songs that are kind of about meeting yourself where you’re at or thinking about the distant horizon.”
As for the show, Travis is particularly enthusiastic. He explained that the show’s purpose is about celebrating the community of people that has supported the band throughout its history. The show is taking place Sealegs At The Beach, a new branch of the Sealegs Winebar that operates on the sand. The venue is perfect for the brothers, and Travis says, “We’re trying to make the ultimate Wheeland Brothers show, and for us that’s a big bonfire beach jam on the sand.” His hopes for the show are that “the music will bring us all together and then send us all out [either] faster in a good direction we’re going or maybe turn us [toward] a direction that we need to go.”
The Wheeland Brothers perform at Sealegs At the Beach on Oct. 2. Music goes from 3:30-7:30 p.m. Free, all ages. For full details click here.