Pin It
Courtesy of Travis Bennett via Instagram @yungtaco

Travis Bennett on mastering his craft and his pivot to acting

To celebrate the release of the Jameson x Dickies collaboration, Dazed speaks to the actor about his career, mastering his craft and how Tyler, The Creator gave him the confidence to pursue his passion

Back in 2007, Travis Bennett (formally known as Yung Taco) began his career as a core member of Odd Future alongside the likes of Tyler, The Creator, Earl Sweatshirt and Frank Ocean. After years of touring as a DJ and pursuing different creative endeavours, in 2020 Bennett welcomed a new phase in his life, pivoting to a career in acting.

Despite the comedy skits he was involved in during his years in Odd Future, his official debut role saw Bennett feature in Dave Burd’s 2020 comedy series Dave. Starring as Elz, a producer from Philadelphia, the role solidified a new beginning for him. “You have to really go for it because so many times people don’t and then they end up trying something half-assed and then they get a half-assed response from it,” Bennett explained, discussing finding the confidence to pursue something new. “If you lean into it and really go for it, even if you fail at least you gave it your all”.

Recently, Bennett added another title under his wing after being announced as an ambassador for Jameson and Dickies’ brand new collaboration. Launched this summer, the collaboration celebrates community and creative craftsmanship, the two things Bennett has continuously championed throughout his career.

Below we spoke to the actor about his sudden career shift, growing up in Los Angeles, finding his creative community and working with Jameson.

Hi Travis! Is acting something you were always interested in pursuing or was there someone or something in particular that inspired that career pivot?

Travis Bennett: A combination of the two. I was always into it but I was scared to do it. I think that’s the biggest thing to take away. I was always just in fear of doing this because it’s hard to do first and foremost, but also it takes a lot of giving in to something. Dave really gave me the opportunity to try it, and between him, Lionel [Boyce], and Tyler, they really gave me the confidence to try.

Once you decided this is something you are passionate about and what you want to go into, how did you go about kind of honing and working on your skills and your craft?

Travis Bennett: By biting off more than I could chew and knowing that I had to get it down. I put myself in positions where I was almost setting myself up for fight or flight and I had no choice but to do my best. I put myself in that position a lot and I enjoy moving in the uncomfortable areas of the world now.

The Jameson and Dickies collaboration has a strong focus on community and building things together. How important has finding a creative community and finding your people been in your career so far? 

Travis Bennett: I got lucky because I first found that on Fairfax, just being by a kid, skating around, and finding my friends that I had been with for the past 16 years. Also, obviously coming up in a collaborative group, you learn those things. LA is a place where, when you’re native here, we’re really about each other and taking care of each other. I’d say that a lot of that comes from being just born and raised in a community that was inviting collaboration versus one that strays away from it.

Is there a key lesson that you’ve maybe taken away from growing up in that environment and being around so many other creative people?

Travis Bennett: Being open and not judgmental. I think that is the biggest thing to take away from that. You can judge a book by its cover, but you never know somebody until you talk to them. People often say ’I don’t trust anybody. I don’t need any new friends’. I think that’s a terrible way to live your life because you never know what somebody else can do for you. And it’s not only about what they can do for you, it’s what they can teach you and what you can learn from them. Maybe they can open your eyes to something you haven’t seen before and you can learn or try something new.

What would your advice be to someone who wants to rebrand themselves in a similar way that you have and work on a creative craft that is different to what they were doing before?

Travis Bennett: I asked for a lot of advice from other people, I won’t lie. There are people in my life that started out acting and are now doing music or vice versa. My advice to them would be to step into it freely with no low expectations and let down their guard. At the beginning of acting my guard was up as far as coming from music and the way things worked, I did not have to do X, Y and Z. The responsibility didn’t fall on me for a lot of things because I didn’t relate to music. I would just say, step into it, lean into it, fall in love with it and become obsessed with it. 

Being uncomfortable is so good for the human body. I started doing ice baths recently. It’s the craziest thing I’ve ever done because I hate being cold. In New York, it’s an everyday thing for me and doing that has been so like helpful as far as accepting okay this the most uncomfortable thing I’m gonna do today. Don’t treat anxiety like anxiety, treat it as if it’s excitement. It’s just your nerves. You’re excited and you’re nervous, but pick one.

Do you have a favourite piece from the Jameson x Dickies collection?

Travis Bennett: The jacket! The green jacket they have, the colour is just so nice. It’s not too green, it’s not too teal, it’s not too blue. It’s a good green. I know once it washes in and once I wear it more it’ll wash into such a good fade. 

Do you remember the first time you tried Jameson?

Travis Bennett: I was in Europe. My friend Anya moved to London to do her study abroad and we were on tour on my 21st birthday. We went to the bar when were staying at the K West Hotel in London. We got two drinks and my total was £21.21, I still have the receipt somewhere.

What is your favourite Jameson cocktail?

Travis Bennett: Jameson and ginger. Nice, classic and straight to the point. It’s refreshing and it can happen at any time of the day, obviously not too early. Daytime drinking is not my favourite thing to do but that’s something that I can drink during daytime and nighttime.

If Jameson Whiskey was a famous like actor, who do you think it would be? 

Travis Bennett: Cillian Murphy.

Looking to the future, what is you dream role or project?

Travis Bennett: I want to play Dennis Rodman and Kobe Bryant. I would love to play an LA thug because I grew up around some of them and embodying that would be nice. There’s stuff I’ve been working on which are just my dream projects. With the [writers’] strikes going on, there’s not much I can do. It is just a waiting game. Hopefully they resolve all the problems and everybody gets what they deserve.

The Jameson x Dickies collaboration is out now and available to shop here.