Formed in 2017 by iconic L.A. bassist/vocalist Abby Travis, Sumo Princess are a post punk, stoner rock, art core duo. Drummer Gene Trautmann (Queens of the Stoneage, Eagles of Death Metal, Mark Lineman) and Travis have been friends since the 1980’s when she was in The Lovedolls and he was playing with paisley underground stalwarts The Miracle Workers. Guest musicians on the album include Mathias Schneeberger (Masters of Reality, Bran Van 3000) who plays organ on “Crooked Plough,” and Tommy Greñas (Far-flung) who plays synth on “Kali Ma.”
In a recent Sumo Princess interview with the LA Weekly Travis replied, regarding her choice of instrument: “… the band is just bass and drums. I’m looking for more high end and the Music Man [Ernie Ball bass guitar] gets so much fuzz and I’m looking for those overtones. It’s more comfortable to play and it gets the sound I want for that project.” She adds “I’m an Ampeg artist so I use an Ampeg VR and an 8-by-10 [speaker cabinet].”
“The album was recorded in 2017 and 2018,” Travis explains. “Basically any time I was at home, in between touring with Cher and The Go-Go’s, and Gene was also available; we’d just record stuff whenever we could.” Of the seven tracks, four were mixed and basics were tracked by by Mathias Schneeberger (The Obsessed, Sunn, Mark Lineman, Afghan Whigs). But she adds “all the vocals and most of the keys I recorded myself at my studio, Tarantula Ranch.” The credits also include David O. Jones who recorded at Wasatch Studios and mixes Ed Munsef, Mathias Schneeberger and Travis.
Abby Travis has been touring professionally and working as a session player since the early 1990s. Her body of work includes international tours or albums with artists like Cher, The Go-Go’s, Beck, Elastica, KMFDM, Eagles of Death Metal, and Masters of Reality. Her career is punctuated by historic performances like her show with U2’s The Edge, Juliette Lewis, and Rage Against the Machine’s Brad Will at the 2017 Women’s March in downtown L.A. which Billboard Magazine reported on.
“A lot of the music on this new album is my reaction to being a hired gun for so long” Travis muses. “I just get sick of being appropriate and tastefully restrained. Most of Sumo Princess’s music is very aggressive and quite political, albeit by metaphor rather than an anvil to the skull.”
Bass Magazine premiered the video for the first single, “Click Bait,” and enthuses “Abby Travis plays heavily fuzzed and effected bass while singing in her 3 octave range…the band has been compared to Royal Blood meets the B52s and Motorhead meets Nina Hagen.” While music critic Steve Hochman (California Report) has compared her earlier work to glam-era David Bowie.
( Cover Photo by John Stapleton)
Sumo Princess Record Release Show: Sunday, May 26th at Bootleg Theater Los Angeles, California https://www.facebook.com/events/571755570011533/