Since my youth, there have always been a few select bands that leave a lasting impression; once their song comes on, it immediately makes me want to move. There are those bands whose songs instantly take you back to a specific situation in life, and it defines certain moments. In this case, I am talking about a group that we all know and love, Yellowcard. Having toured for years and melted our hearts with singles such as “Ocean Avenue” and “Way Away,” Yellowcard are back with a completely new sound, and I must admit, I love it. Their new album, Lift A Sail, is nothing like they’ve ever done, in the best way possible. You may hear it at first and not even know it’s them, and that’s the beauty of it.
I recently had the chance to chat with vocalist/guitarist Ryan Key about their new release, upcoming tour with Memphis May Fire, and so much more. Check it out below:
I want to first talk about the new record, Lift A Sail. I have had the pleasure of hearing it, and I can tell you guys are heading in a new direction on this one creatively. Would you say you took a lot of chances on this record?
Yes, we 100 percent took a lot of chances on this record. It’s definitely different from everything we’ve ever done before, and we are really proud of it. It’s not a pop punk record by any means. We knew from the second we started writing that this one was going to be extremely unlike anything else. I can’t wait for it to come out. It is a brand new direction, something we’ve always wanted to do.
You guys streamed the record. How was the reaction?
At first, some of the songs leaked, and we didn’t really know what to think. You know, you always have those diehard fans that will say, “Where is the Yellowcard I know?” or, “What happened to my favorite band?” you know, which is what we almost expected at first. But then when the full stream came out, people started getting it. Almost like, “Oh, okay, so this is what this is,” and it’s all been positive since. The reaction has almost been overwhelming. It’s so amazing. We are feeling so much love on this one and each song, and the single “One Bedroom” has all been getting such a great response. Our fans have always stuck with us.
Yellowcard have grown so much over the years, and it’s great to watch it from a fan’s standpoint. For you personally, what would you say has changed the most from a creative standpoint?
You know, there are so many things. I guess I’d have to say the way I become creative, you know, the way I write. What motivates me, and going outside of the box, doing things I’ve never done before. As you get older, obviously interests change and motivation becomes different, but I always try to do things I haven’t done before. We never want to do the same thing twice. My songwriting styles and techniques have definitely changed a lot. I would say I have a better understanding and approach when it comes to writing.
I think one thing that you guys should be most proud of in an industry that has definitely changed over the years is longevity. From my point of view, it’s very cool to see a band that has been touring since I was a kid. Did you ever imagine it would carry you this far?
Thanks for the compliment. I know, it’s crazy, right? Well, to be honest, at one point, the whole band did indeed think it would carry us this far. I mean, back in the time frame of around 2004-2006, when things just became huge for us, we thought nothing was ever going to stop us and we were going to be the biggest band on the planet. I think when success comes on so heavy like that, you are bound to think that way. I mean, of course you wish and hope it turns out that way, for this is our job. But then again, we were lucky enough to have been humbled and have situations in our careers that have brought us back to earth and the realization that we are lucky to have remained around this long, you know? It’s not every day bands get to tour for years and years and continue to gain new fans, so we are very blessed that way. So I guess the answer would be yes and no! We know how lucky we are and how hard we work. It’s been a great ride.
You guys are about to embark on a nice tour with one of my favorite bands Memphis May Fire, which will be stopping at Starland Ballroom on Halloween, Oct. 31! I was actually shocked when I heard this tour combo and I am sure a lot of people were as well. How did this lineup come about?
Yes, we can’t wait for Starland too! You know, it was the weirdest thing. We were all on Warped Tour a few years ago and were at this party with the owner of the tour and were kind of just throwing out the idea of how cool it would be to tour together, and he suddenly was like, “Dude, you have to make this happen! It would be so different, two bands that would never be expected to play together, we have to make this happen.” Then a lot of time went by and it was actually brought up again, when I never thought I’d hear anything of it, and we made it happen, and we couldn’t be more psyched about it.
Memphis May Fire is so incredibly talented, and to get to share the stage with them every night is going to be an amazing thing. Plus, we feel it will open the doors for a bunch of new fans who may or may not have seen our set before, and same for Memphis May Fire. Bringing together two different styles of music will always benefit everyone, and we couldn’t be more excited for this tour. It seems as if it’s gotten a great reaction too. We hope everyone enjoys it!
So you do find yourselves still seeing new fans each year at your shows?
100 percent, and we hope this new record opens the doors for a whole new listener as well.
You’ve accomplished so much! Is there anything in your long career that you have yet to achieve that is on your bucket list?
Yes! In fact, there is one thing in particular. I want to somehow get some gear, whether it’s a full set or just an acoustic guitar, and play a show in Antarctica. This is something I want to do so badly.
Very interesting! Why there?
That way I can say Yellowcard has played on seven continents. I will make it happen!
I hope it happens! Thanks so much for your time, Ryan, and good luck on tour!
See you at Starland!
You can catch Yellowcard and Memphis May Fire at Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ on Oct. 31, the Best Buy Theater in New York City on Nov. 2 and the Electric Factory in Philadelphia on Nov. 3. Their new record, Lift A Sail, is available now. For more information, go to yellowcardrock.com.