Travis and Aneesh, a guitar duo composed of BU engineering seniors Travis Rich and Aneesh Acharya, started playing covers of popular indie songs when they studied abroad together in Germany in 2007. They have rarely played live, but after getting good feedback from posting their videos on Youtube, the duo started writing their own songs, which they are just starting to post online. Although fairly standard indie fair, their music stands out for its instrumental complexity and Acharya’s raw yet sweet voice. They are also two of the funniest musicians/scientists we know, which you’ll see from the interview we conducted with the duo.
Quad: Do you have a name? What do you want to be called? Travis and Aneesh? T&A?
Aneesh: We don’t have a name.
Travis: Aneebis. We could just be Egypt, because that’s like Aneebis.
A: Aneebis is not the Egyptian God.
T: Anubis is.
A: Yeah but we’re not Anubis. And my name is not Anoosh. And your name’s not Trabis.
T: Yes it is. Trabis. But the thing is, both of us have been called those names.
A: When have you been called Trabis?
T: You can call me Trabis.
When did you pick up the guitar?
T: I tried to start learning when I was 14. But I had small fat fingers so I stopped. So I waited eight years. And I had bigger fat fingers.
A: So you were older than you are today?
T: By that point I was 22. So I went back in time to when I wasn’t 22. I’m trying to figuring out when it was. It was, okay, it was fall semester of 2007.
How often did you practice to reach the level that you’re at now?
T: In Germany, when me and Anoosh studied abroad, we didn’t have a lot of work, so we played a lot then. Probably two hours a day. That’s probably when I got most of my deficiencies out.
Aneesh? When did you start?
A: I started playing in fall of 2006, so the year before him…I was better when we started practicing in Germany. I also had the summer before when I was doing nothing just living in Boston.
When did you start putting your stuff on Youtube?
A: At the end of Germany, so, summer of 2007.
How did that go initially?
T: I was really excited the night we did it.
A: It went pretty well. The first video is still on there, when we had beards.
Have you gotten interesting feedback on Youtube?
A: We’ve gotten pretty good comments, yeah.
T: There were a lot of beard comments.
A: ‘What guitar is that?’ is one of the more common ones.
T: There was a big argument. What was that argument about?
A: I dunno, but someone said my guitar looked like it had a mustache, and then people started flaming about nothing relevant. And some random guy stepped up to defend us, but we weren’t being attacked, so I’m not sure what was going on with that argument.
What was the inspiration to first write songs of your own?
A: Just be cool. I dunno. We would just play around, and one of us would find some chords that we liked.
T: Woah, dude!
A: We had, how many different chords did we have before we even wrote anything? They were just terrible, terrible songs.
T: Yeah, we had a bunch of “songs” that were nothing but sound. Obviously.
A: Even now we’ve got a bunch of that.
T: There was no feeling is what I’m trying to say. There was no emotion, it was just sound.
Why is Aneesh the only one who sings?
T: He’s got a more girly voice, so it’s easier for him to hit the high notes.
Aneesh, why are you the only one who sings?
A: Well, I dunno. If Travis learns to harmonize I’d be happy to, you know, split up that.
T: Yeah, I just don’t have the dynamic ranj that he has.
A: How are you going to type that up, that word? R-U-N-eng? Eng isn’t a letter.
You’re both engineering students, but do you plan to branch out with music at all? What’s the future?
A: I dunno. We want to write more, but just haven’t gotten around to it.
T: Yeah, we were talking about trying to find bars to [play live] last semester, but we never had the time.
A: I could see it as more than a hobby, more than you just casually play around when you go home. I wouldn’t mind that.
Your songs are very dynamic, lots of speed changes and key changes, variation in strumming and picking. How conscious is that, because it’s very dynamic?
T: I think our songs start off very plain, like four chords. And then we’ll just be playing those and getting bored so we’ll throw in something and it’ll kind of grow.
A: All our songs tend to start out with four or five or six chords. And then we’ll find some strumming that sounds kind of interesting and try to add in some things to make it sound good. It’s not like we sit down and say, “We want to play this way and this way and this way.” It just kind of evolves.
What was the inspiration for Start from Scratch?
T: We have no inspiration.
A: We have no sources of inspiration. There’s probably a lot of hyperbole in our lyrics. Just because we have pretty easy lives.
T: So we have to make it look like we struggle.
A: No, there are minor struggles, and we kind of extrapolate from there. I’m sure there’s some element of truth, but how much, who knows? Always, always, always the chords come first and the music comes first.
Do you have anything else to add? Any gigs coming up?
T: I was going to play in my room later.
A: Should we give a shout-out to some product or something?
T: I like…uh…
T: Yeah. Chips.
Travis and Aneesh’s Youtube page, which contains all of their songs, can be found here.