Travis Mills and Nick Gross used to look forward every year to watching X Games on television. Now, the pop-punk-rock duo Girlfriends will perform live to close out the event and get some of their own turns on the ski slopes during their first visit to Aspen.
“X Games is such an iconic kind of staple in the lifestyle that Nick and I grew up in, just being two kids from SoCal,” said Mills, the singer and guitar player. “My whole life as a kid revolved around skateboarding, BMX, snowboarding, and action sports. So, the X Games were something that we would tune into every year to watch our heroes compete. To be the soundtrack to that this year, especially in a place like Aspen, it’s a bucket-list moment.”
He and Gross met in 2015 around the Los Angeles music scene — Mills was a successful solo recording artist known as T. Mills, and Gross owned a recording studio and played drums. Mills heard Gross play drums and asked him to join him onstage for a show he was performing.
Fast forward to 2020, both wanted to move on from their previous musical projects and teamed up to create something new.
Girlfriends was born.
“The timing of us coming out of other projects was good,” said Gross. “Travis and I just having authentic backgrounds and just loving the style of music that we play and having that kind of come out naturally for the project at the time that it did was unique, as well. So, it was it was all in the universe’s plan, I guess.”
He and Mills have a symbiotic and complementary way of creating music together, with Mills being the core songwriter and lyricist, and Gross laying down the musical foundation behind the lyrics and melodies.
Mills’ lyrics focus on his personal experiences from love to life to career and his perspective on how those events have shaped him. His hope is to create a community with his listeners who may have experienced similar hardships and let them know he understands how they feel, provide support, and illustrate they are not alone.
“I know what the bands that I love to growing up listening to did for me, you know, when I was an angsty, depressed, anxious teenager,” he said. “If I’m kind of a support system for people out there who are going through similar things that I went through — I mean, that’s why I started making music in the first place.”
The duo cited Blink 182 as one of their biggest musical influences, which comes through in their sound, not only because they admire the band so much, but also because they are working with John Feldmann, who produced and co-wrote Blink 182’s 2016 Gold record, California, and also tapped Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker to do a feature on the track, “Where Were You.”
“A lot of these random things are kind of coming full circle for us. Whether it’s having Travis Barker on our album or getting to play something like X Games. it’s just super cool,” said Gross.
And, what are the duo most looking forward to when not performing this weekend?
“For me, selfishly, I’m really excited to to get to snowboard Aspen for the first time ever and kind of turn this into a work-and-pleasure trip, you know,” said Mills.
Girlfriends will perform on Sunday at 3:30-4:15 p.m.
For a full winter 2023 X Games music schedule, visit xgames.com/x-games-aspen-2023-music.
All performances are free to the public.