Thoughts

What is Tales of Apollo?

  Tales of Apollo is my latest music project. My goal is to release an EP later this year/early next year starting this month with the single “You Don’t Feel the Same”. Before its release, I wanted to take a moment to explain the idea behind Tales of Apollo. I’ve been asked if the name/project is inspired by the Greek god Apollo, the god of the sun, light, music and prophecy. The answer is ... well ...no. The name has a very complex and profound beginning. I thought it sounded cool. See …. I told you it was profound. However, even though the name was random, I have a special bond with it. I’ve always been fascinated by space. I love watching movies like Apollo 13, Interstellar, the Martian. We as a society are fascinated by the seemingly endless possibilities space can offer. We look at the stars and wonder what could be out there. It brings up questions about life beyond this earth, whether a higher being is out there, etc. However for me, when I look at the stars, I think of people. I like to think each star, planet, etc is a reflection of an individual here. I think we spend too much time looking up at space, wishing our lives were as unique and fascinating as the stars in the sky. In my opinion, our lives absolutely are as unique and fascinating. I think we have just lost sight of life’s true value. We are truly blessed just to wake up each and every day. We are blessed just to take our next breath. Too many times, we get lost in our daily routines that we miss out on experiencing the beauty of life. Yes we have ups and downs, and sometimes our lives can feel like an all out rollercoaster. Personally, I think that’s the beauty of it. We all have a different story to tell. We’ve all experienced different twists and turns that I think need to be shared. The goal of Tales of Apollo is to tell those stories. I have partnered with different artists, producers, musicians and songwriters to be featured on this EP. Some are friends that I’ve met in my time here in LA, and others will be strangers that I’m meeting for the first time. Either way, my goal is that each individual will help bring these stories to life. We all have stories to share, and I think it is powerful to hear them. The highs, lows, and everywhere in between.  I hope you will join us for the ride.

 - Travis Boothman

3 Ways to Improve Guitar In Your Church Without Touching a Guitar

Make a new best friend …. with the sound guy

 One thing I have observed at churches is there is a lot of division between the stage and the booth. Let’s face it. Sometimes musicians and sound guys can be tough to work with. However the reality is that we all are trying to serve in the church, and create the best possible worship experience. A simple way to improve worship in the church is to improve these relationships. Over the last couple of years I have noticed that some of my closest friends have been sound guys. These relationships have given me a much greater understanding of the ups & downs of audio in that church. It has also opened up a consistent line of communication for improving guitar tone in the mix. I try to ask the sound guys every week how my guitar sounds and if there is anything I can do on my end to help. When they see something can be improved it allows me to adjust to the overall sound rather than just my own personal preference. A very important part of this is to actually MAKE THOSE CHANGES! Don’t just listen to their opinion and then completely ignore it.  Sometimes its as simple as messing with the EQ on my amps/pedals or even playing certain parts an octave higher or lower. Either way these simple questions have shown the sound guys that I care about how my tone affects the overall mix, and that goes a long way 

 

Listen …. a lot 

  One of the best classes I took in college was Critical Listening. This class was designed primarily to listen and identify frequencies. Listening to white noise over and over again was very redundant but it is one of the most beneficial classes I ever took. The goal of the class was by the end to be able to identify frequencies and how they affect different sounds. This class allowed me to understand where my guitar needs to lie in the mix and how to quickly improve my tone. I have seen on too many occasions people who know what sounds good but don’t know how to get there. Today I have a much better understanding of what I am listening to and if I need to adjust on the fly I can make educated decisions rather than going by trial and error. This also helps me in communicating with the sound guy. Instead of just telling the sound guy mixing monitors my guitar sounds muddy and hoping he can read my mind and guess what I want, I can ask him to pull down 400hz 2 db in my monitor. Quick educated decisions are always better than trial and error.

 

Be a team player

I wish I didn’t have to write this one since it is so blatantly obvious but be a team player. Understand that we want to bring the best possible worship experience and sometimes that means laying down your pride, tone, style, or parts that you worked hard on. I had many times that I was playing at church and the other guitarist was completely stepping on my parts. I played with a blues player once who is very used to playing at all times and riffing throughout the song. If I played the lead parts I normally do it would mean 2 lead parts happening at times and no rhythm. So instead, I switched up playing all the parts I practiced, and I switched over to rhythm when the song needed it. Too many times we think the best sound is the most complicated sound. Worship music is very very simple, and that means the best thing for the song could be not playing at all or just strumming a simple chord every bar. Be humble and play what is best for the song not what is best for you and your style. I can tell you that I am not a “shredder”. I am not gonna go up there and blow your mind by my licks like Mateus Asato but I can tell you that I will play something that enhances the song. Maybe it’s doing swells, playing a basic arpeggio, or cranking my distortion pedal to 11. Be a team player. It goes a long way not only musically but also relationally when others see your desire to work as a group rather than just playing what you think sounds coolest. 

What I've Been Up To This Summer

This summer has truly been a blessing, and here are a couple reasons why!

Calvary Young Adults

For those of you that don't know I began attending Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village in March. It is a large church that honestly I never really considered because I thought it would be tough to get involved. Well .... I guess I was wrong since I got plugged in pretty quickly. Throughout my time there, the most exciting part for me has been the young adults ministry. When I began attending in March the young adults averaged around 100-125 people, and going back to September they were averaging around 20 people. The last couple weeks we had over 220 people! It's been crazy to see how God is using that ministry and to see people from so many different churches attending. Over these last couple of months I have consistently been playing guitar for young adults and I am loving it. The musicians in the worship band are killer! It has been an eye opening experience, being in LA, to see and play with so many talented musicians. It has definitely challenged me in my guitar playing and in my understanding of music/worship. Looking forward to seeing what's next for CYA!

High School Ministry Camp

My church hosted our yearly high school ministry camp this past week. I was asked to play guitar for the worship team at camp and due to my work schedule it didn't look like I would be able to participate. However lucky for me I was able to drive 2 hours directly from work to Murrieta Springs each day and get there in time for rehearsal/chapel, and man it was worth it. That week was one of my favorite worship experiences I have ever had. It was incredible to see the high school kids so excited and passionate in worship, and to see the impact God made in their lives during the week. At the end of the week the kids shared the victories they personally had in Christ, and it was amazing to see the kids give up their struggles to God. For me one of the best parts of the week was the fellowship I had with my bandmates. Not only were my bandmates killer musicians but they are also strong believers and awesome friends. We had some incredible worship sets including midnight worship, where we spent 1.5 hours going all out in worship. Everyone on and off the stage were having a blast, and I found myself breathing mighty heavily after several songs. Kids continued talking about midnight worship later in the week and just how much they enjoyed that night. So all in all it was a pretty incredible week at camp, and I was truly blessed to be a part of that team witnessing God do incredible things in lives including my own. Gear wise for any wondering I ran my Kemper AC15HW MK2 profile mono in/stereo out for camp. Sounded killer!

Vacation Bible School "VBS"

Vacation Bible School. Always one of the most exhausting and rewarding weeks of any church. I got the privilege of playing guitar and for the first time experiencing VBS in a very large church. Our theme was space entitled Enterprize, and we had over 600 kids attend each day! The kids were always bringing the energy and it was great for us as a band to be a lot more outgoing than we would normally be on a Sunday morning service. During the week we made it work that I could go wireless for the 2nd half of the week! So during "Endless Praise" I got to go out to the front of the stage with the kids and "shred". I know when I was a kid I loved when the musicians came down from the stage, so I tried to get down to the kids' level, gave some high fives and even took a selfie during one of the sets lol. I was also very excited because I got to run stereo for the first time at the church using my Vox AC15 Handwired and my Kemper Profiler using a Fender 62' Deluxe Reverb profile. It sounded great! Now I am running stereo consistently at the church and might even be trying out a Wet/Dry/Wet rig soon. But anyways, VBS was a fun week of worship and gave me time to develop some great relationships throughout the week! If you haven't been a part of a VBS, you need to do it. 

West Coast Thoughts [First Impressions]

I will officially have been living in California for 7 weeks today. It feels great to really settle in and get back to some sort of routines. However I know it will take a while to fully adjust to the California lifestyle. Obviously there are many differences being 2000+ miles away from Boston, and I wanted to share some of them with you. These are random thoughts .... strong emphasis on random.

  1. Church Life - it has been different going from the Northeast where Christianity is basically assumed to be dead and your church is considered a mega church when you hit a thousand in attendance ..... for Easter. Now I have the chance to attend real MEGA churches such as Hillsong LA and Saddleback. However I have also noticed that sadly the culture of entertainment and production has a strong influence on the churches around here. There have been several messages where I felt like it was more of a motivational speech than a sermon. One of the churches (will be left nameless) also preached about an event that was not in in the Bible at all. I was truly disappointed, but now I am excited to say I believe I found a church that I can call home. 
  2. Blizzards > Wildfires - of course I knew about the wildfires. However I never fully realized that they never stop! I found this site that shows where the current wildfires are. Now most of them are up north around San Francisco/Sacramento area, but looking right now there are 9 different wildfires in California. That's crazy! I hope it is something I never run into, but I am getting used to the red flag warnings on my weather app now instead of blizzard warnings. Red flag warning = prime wildfire weather, but I was told not to worry where I live because it has already been burned. Cause that makes me feel so much better about it. You can see some of the fire on Youtube HERE.
  3. Grocery Bags - so in SoCal here, you actually have to purchase your grocery bags. I was so confused when there were no bags at Target at all and that you had to request paper bags to purchase. Later I found out that California is trying to push stores from using all these paper bags for the environment so if you want the bags you got to pay for them. Weird.
  4. Traffic - traffic here does not make sense. Boston has its rush hours and you know when to avoid Route 3 and 93, but LA traffic is anywhere at anytime. Some days it's a breeze and the next it takes 15 minutes to get a mile down the road. This doesn't bode well for someone always running late. Also you don't say "route" when referencing a highway, I mean "freeway". Here you just say "the 3". So for me, I would say I take "the 210" to work every day. I'm getting used to that now, and I'll probably be taking "the 93" instead of "route 93" when I get back to Boston.
  5. Animal Life - back home my biggest worry was a skunk or stray cat. Now that has changed. I have been told by my landlord that there has been a mountain lion in my yard sooooo that's just great. I'm keeping my eyes open. I haven't seen anything yet, but Stella will protect me and just sit on the mountain lion. She's a big cat if you didn't know that. #FatCat
  6. Music - so far I've only seen Johhnyswim in concert which was an incredible show! Next I have Switchfoot/Relient K the week of thanksgiving. Anyways, just going to Hillsong LA when I visited last year and most recently going to Mosaic, Reality LA, and Summit Church, there is a clear boost in musical talent here. I can see why it is so tough to stand out, so I am stepping up my game on social media (more to come). There is a reason they call Hollywood Blvd the street of broken dreams. Isn't that just lovely.
  7. Food - In N Out Burger and Chick Fil A are just as good the 1st time to the 10th time, and the employees are the best. I have had In N Out Burger way too much being 2 miles down the road, and the same would go for Chick Fil A if it were closer to me. Both of them have gluten free, which is great! Back home I would never think to wait 20 minutes for fast food, but for In N Out. #WorthIt. It's also so much cheaper!
  8. Hockey - Mass is known as one of the best if not the best states for hockey in the US. So coming to Cali I didn't know what to expect when it comes to competition level. I tried out a league my first week here and man was it bad! Thankfully they put me up into a higher division but my old team back in Mass would still easily crush everyone in this new league. Either way it's still fun, and the hope is I have too many gigs in the future to play hockey anyways.