Travis Moor, frontman for Denver indie-rock quartet the Hunger Artist, was born to a seventeen-year-old mother. Growing up, he switched elementary schools often, struggling to find people to relate to. “It was pretty strange,” says Moor. “Always being the new brown kid at school, I never fit in. It was really tough making friends. It very much made it hard to feel at home, ever.”
Moor, who has Hispanic and Native American ancestry, turned to music for solace. He sang with a school choir at age five, played clarinet in band class in elementary school, and learned to play guitar at twelve.
“Everybody’s got their own struggles that they have to face,” says Moor. “Most of the struggles that I’ve had to face have been overcoming the cultural stereotypes that are ever-pervasive, whether or not anybody realizes it — even overcoming them myself, not just in other people’s eyes. Music has definitely been cathartic. … Writing [music] always helped me organize my thoughts and figure out what I was thinking, even if I hadn’t consciously been thinking about it.”
Around 2010, Moor recorded a demo of his own music and started the Hunger Artist with keyboardist Hunter Fausnaugh, bassist Collin Fausnaugh and drummer Stefan Short — friends of friends whom he’d met at a party. The four grew close while creating music together. “My bandmates are just awesome people,” says Moor. “I like playing music with my best friends.”
Moor took the band’s name from Franz Kafka’s “A Hunger Artist,” a parable of a self-destructive artist who starves himself. He’s fascinated by this artist archetype and has included references to the story in his songwriting.
The Hunger Artist released a new EP, titled Uh… on April 17; it includes songs that will be part of a greater concept album set for release in spring 2019. The band will also release a second EP this fall.
“[The concept album] is about my experiences growing up,” Moor says. “It’s nine tracks of my experience of being me, really, and trying to say it in a universal way, as humanely as possible.”
The new EP consists of three up-tempo pop-punk songs. Moor’s angsty but driving vocals share self-aware musings about topics ranging from love to the pressures of creating marketable music. Near the end of “I Know! I Don’t Know...” he sings, “This is where I repeat myself, because repetition, that’s what fucking sells.”
Aside from all the music he’s making, Moor has some offbeat merch ideas. “This is gonna sound pretty absurd, but I’ve got plungers that I want to sell with Kanye West’s face on them,” he says.
On a more serious note, Moor hopes his music will reach young people who are struggling with their identity, struggling to make friends, or just growing up in uncertain circumstances.
Says Moor: “My ultimate goal is to find an audience that relates to what I’m saying, because growing up, all that really kept me going was finding other artists who did that for me.”
The Hunger Artist E.P. Release Party and Bake Sale with Pathless Sea and Secret Mormon, 8 p.m. Friday, April 20, WhatSpot (a warehouse just south of Rocky’s Autos at 6150 Federal Boulevard), donations welcome.