The two young dudes at the center of girlfriends have packed several lifetimes’ worth of success, heartbreak, and redemption into their first couple of decades on earth. Now, they are bringing it back to the start, with the caffeinated pop-punk style that first inspired them. Nick Gross (Big Noise, Gross Labs, Find Your Grind) and Travis Mills (musical artist, Beats 1 Host, actor) have made multiple realms of media their own, but music is at the heart of it all. Pulling from influential artists like blink-182, 5 Seconds Of Summer, The 1975, Phoenix and All Time Low, girlfriends is destined to cross boundaries and inspire massive sing-alongs with energetic hooks, fury, and optimistic swagger.
Gross and Mills first walked right up to the edge of rock stardom before either of them had even left their teens. The brash and catchy hip-hop Travis made in his Riverside, California bedroom and posted on MySpace as “T. Mills” led to a major label deal, a spot on the Warped Tour, and an electric buzz, presaging the era of SoundCloud emo-rap and laptop hooks that was to come. At 17, Gross found himself in New York’s Times Square playing MTV’s TRL, in a pop-punk band featured prominently on Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County, with a major label contract of their own.
In recent years, Travis experienced the loss of his close friend Lil Peep and the very public dissolution of a romantic relationship. He knew he needed a new creative vehicle to exorcise his demons. After seeing Nick drumming in an Instagram story, he called him up. It was a serendipitous conversation, as Nick (a multimedia CEO) also felt the urge to give a new pop-punk band his focus.
It was a no-brainer for the duo to enlist Feldmann, whose production and songwriting collaborations resulted in landmark albums by blink-182, 5 Seconds Of Summer, and The Used. girlfriends songs are urgent in their authenticity. They are forthright and totally adrenalized.
Like the punk rock music that first inspired him as a teenager, Mills sees girlfriends as an outlet for soulful expression and emotional catharsis, a means to process his feelings of grief, uncertainty, and renewed vigor for life, in a way that’s likely to connect with others who struggle. Nick is equally enthusiastic to have another crack at pop-punk, the genre that first set him on his career path.
girlfriends is old-school yet post-modern, vulnerable yet volatile, and altogether inspiring.