Honesty is something frontman Zach Porter of The Tragic Thrills constantly keeps in mind. It completely surrounds the band’s debut self-titled album, which was self-funded and released a year ago.
“When I started writing that record there was a point where I was trying to find out what the next step in my life was,” Porter said. “I was very stubborn with my conviction with trying to keep my narrative the same and have everything pushing toward ideas and I didn’t want a love song and then [followed by a] breakup song. I wanted every song to have some teamwork in a way. Everything you work on, you want to try your best to stay true to yourself and what you’re working on.”
The pop-rock quintet from San Diego, California, recently signed to Washington Square, an imprint of Razor and Tie. While the label wanted to expand on the Tragic Thrills’ self-titled album with the rerelease, Porter had other intentions. He didn’t want to add to something that was already finished in his mind. He wanted it to stay natural. The musician has already been working on new material, but he couldn’t incorporate it into the band’s debut album.
“When I finished it, I felt like it was a complete thing and I didn’t want to take anything from what I was doing next either. It just didn’t seem natural,” Porter said. “It was an introduction to the band and that record was the band entirely. When we made it we were just starting out. It just made sense to have the introduction be self-titled from our standpoint.”
While the record was initially released last year, The Tragic Thrills had the opportunity to show off their songs to more people on a month-long tour with Air Traffic Controller in August. Porter enjoyed the energy from people at the shows and the album’s capability to do so, but that was something he planned while writing the record.
“When I’m on stage, am I going to be bored or embarrassed when I’m singing it around somebody,” Porter said. “I love the energy a lot. I like the album better live than I do [while listening to it] because of the dynamics and the energy on stage. I think about it a lot when writing.”
But trying to remain consistently focused on new material is an aspect Porter admitted struggling with. After pouring his heart and deepest thoughts out on the debut album, he found it difficult in what he wanted to say with future material. He finally found the right kind of inspiration: To experience life.
“It’s been totally an intense process for me but I have faith that it’s going to be the next thing up,” Porter said. “Sometimes I’ll go crazy and sit and work on music for 10 hours a day for a month and just realize I need to get out and experience life. It’s a blend of really working on your craft. The first record was kind of the best of everything I had. All of the best thoughts, feelings, greatest hits of my life are into that record. Now it’s either I fall off or take what I learned and grow from that.”
Whether that new material will be completed months from now or in several years, The Tragic Thrills have the self-titled rerelease to focus on for now. The band released an honest introduction album, and all they want from people is to take a listen.
“Regardless of success we have, I just want us to be a good band,” Porter said. “I like the idea of a band and I hope we become better and just be great.”