Not many established bands are willing to take the risk of changing their name and starting back from the beginning. But that’s exactly what The Bloodline did. Formerly known as Dirge Within, the band thought it was better to start from scratch.
“We started writing the music and we felt that it wasn’t the band,” The Bloodline vocalist Travis Neal said. “The band had a rough history, and there was history of musicians coming in and out, and there were some ups and downs. So we all collectively thought with a new unit, it was a new band.”
Prior to joining Dirge Within in November 2012, Neal was the vocalist of Divine Heresy. Both bands are heavier than The Bloodline, which, according to Neal, is like a fusion of different elements from All That Remains, Killswitch Engage, Bullet For My Valentine, Staind and Shinedown. However, Neal says The Bloodline still has plenty to offer for those who enjoyed a specific member’s musical style.
“If you respect what we do as musicians, and you like the musician that’s playing, whether it’s the guitar player and his tone and his style, or the drummer and his style, or the vocalist and his clean voice and his heavy voice, as long as you’re fan of what we do as musicians, you’ll absolutely love what you’re about to hear.”
Once The Bloodline finally settled on their name, Neal said their manager asked them to make a statement, so the band decided to stand for unity. And approximately two years later, their debut album We Are One was released on May 4, but unity remained an important value during its creation.
“That is exactly what the ‘we are one’ means,” Neal said. “We are a cohesive unit with not only our team and our band members as a team, but we are with our fans. That’s exactly what I mean by the ‘we are one’ statement, ‘cause at the end of the day, so many people feel they sit in groups. They’re only this or they’re only that, or if they’re different, other people may not like that. And we’re trying to let people know it doesn’t matter who you are; where you come from; whether you’re gay, straight, transgender; any race; any religion. You can come to our show and listen to your music and we are the same as you. We’re no different even though we’re on the stage, we’ll come down and hang out. It’s not about what’s this and what’s that. We don’t support what’s right-wing and what’s left-wing. We support unity. Unity goes far beyond just the band members and the staff that helps the band. Unity goes with everybody that is listening to your music or comes out to your shows, or just giving you a thumbs up on Facebook.”
The Bloodline writes incredibly personal songs. Divided is about being caught between two important people in your life. The song was inspired by Neal’s struggle between his parents and his son’s mother. But the most personal song, at least for Neal, is the ballad Bedside Sorrow, which was written shortly after his grandfather’s burial.
“My grandfather had a hand in raising me, and my grandmother as well as my father and mother and stuff even though my father and mother weren’t together,” Neal said. “So he’s a very, very important man in my life, so it was the first time I had to experience somebody like that leaving the game of life. That song is about me sitting next to his bed in hospice watching it as it unfolded.”
The Bloodline hasn’t performed Bedside Sorrow live yet, but plans to. However, Neal says it would be difficult to get through it emotionally, because he chokes up during the bridge when he rehearses.
Regardless of what the album’s meaning and song inspiration, the most crucial part is the music, and the public’s response has surpassed the band’s expectations.
“We haven’t had really any negative feedback at all,” Neal said. “You never know, releasing the record, what people are going to say or do. It’s always a gamble. You believe in it, but like I said earlier, it depends on if you throw it out there and if it sticks, it sticks, and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. But the response has been awesome. Obviously, the people that have followed the band’s birth know the rise to where we were releasing a record and finally got picked up by a label and stuff like that, they’re all really excited, because they’ve been anticipating it for a long time. But the response from the masses in general, from the radio play that we’ve been receiving, just the promotion we’ve been receiving is awesome. It’s much more than we anticipated. We hope that people keep enjoying it. It’s pretty surreal for us.”
In addition to their debut album, The Bloodline finished up with The Civil Unrest Tour this June. They toured with Ill Niño, Kittie, Strait Line Stitch, Motograter, Thira, Lydia Can’t Breathe, Dark Cell, and many more. Despite the lineup, there’s always the potential that things don’t work out.
“Sometimes it goes easy and sometimes it’s not,” Neal said. “A musician who I worked with in the past, he made the comment one day when we were on the road and he’s like ‘I look at being a musician like being a professional gambler. Sometimes you go out, and you luck and win. You come home and you’re good. And sometimes, everything that could happen wrong happens and you come home broke.’ You never know until you go out there and it totally makes sense. It’s always a gamble when you jump in that van or jump in that bus and head out on the road. You never know what’s going to happen. It could be good, it could be bad, but that’s the risk we take doing what we love to do.”
Like many tours, there’s a noticeable difference in turnout on weekends as opposed to regular weekdays, and this one was no different.
“Some nights were obviously better than others, week nights,” Neal said. “As a musician, I’ve been playing for a while and come up to a local scene here in San Diego and then graduate soon to be in other bands that are touring nationally and globally. It’s just such a change in the way people come out and people don’t really come out the way the used to in full force. I guess people would rather sit at home and watch it on YouTube, but being there and experiencing it is what it’s all about. So sometimes on the weekday shows, there were still a good number of people there, but it wasn’t as good as a weekend show.”
However, as a whole, Neal says the entire experience was positive overall and a great opportunity to prove their mettle.
“It was really cool,” Neal said. “We were hitting markets that we’ve never played personally. I think Dirge has played there before and I played shows in some of the areas that we played with my previous band Divine Heresy, so it was cool to see people come out. There were a couple of people already wearing shirts and knowing some of the songs and stuff like that. But it was really cool, because we were playing in front of crowd that doesn’t really know us yet, ‘cause we’re a brand new band. And win them over, it’s the true test whether the music sounds good to you. It sounds good to us, but it’s the true test playing in front of a crowd that doesn’t know who you are. The music is good to the masses, and I think we did really well and made some more fans, and proved to the people who did come out to see us play that we’re there to bring it.”
Neal also said the tour was a great way to hear some of these upcoming bands and that The Bloodline looks forward to working with the other bands in the lineup in the future. They are also grateful for every fan who supports them and realize that it’s the fans who are the life blood, so to speak, for every band.
“We, as a band, appreciate each and every person that supported the band from the day of its birth, the present day and in the future and anyone who’s heard of the band and picked up the record,” Neal said. “We thank you and we’ll definitely see each and every one of you on the road.”
As for future tours, the details and dates are being worked out, but Neal says The Bloodline has some big tours coming toward the end of the year probably starting in August and likely in the U.S. and Canada. Nothing set in stone yet, but they’ve been talking with Fear Factory, The Devil You Know and Trivium.
The Bloodline Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/thebloodlineofficial?fref=ts
The Bloodline Twitter – https://twitter.com/bloodlinemusic
With Fire Youtube video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vucTnFPhBlo
Bedside Sorrow Youtube video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0P8oFEkT_u8