The Sleeping and Envy On The Coast: Band On Band

Doug: You guys have a very unique sound. Not only personality-wise but I think we get along very well because it’s nice to meet and get along with other bands that aren’t playing the same bullshit to get another fan. I honestly, not only as an interview question, I wonder what a few of your main influences. I hear Incubus from you, I hear a lot of hip-hop, and I was always very curious as to what you as a singer are into.

Ryan: I was listening to all straight up punk rock music until I was about 14 or 15-years-old, Rancid, NOFX, Millencolin, I was just one of those kids I loved all that shit, Pennywise. I don’t know what happened, but Incubus came along, and I think I heard the S.C.I.E.N.C.E. record and I saw that this band was doing something aggressive but this dude was singing over it. I was just like, ‘Oh shit, I think I want to learn how to sing.’ I love aggression and I love yelling into a fucking microphone, but I think I want to use this as an instrument like this dude. That’s when I really started figuring out how to sing and really spending time on it. I think even before that though, my dad has always been singing in the house since I was a kid. All of his friends used to work for the airlines and used to give him music and stuff, there’s been as early as I can remember Motown playing in my house all the time. I wasn’t raised on rock music really, my dad raised me on Motown, Stevie Wonder and the Temptations, that’s the stuff I remember being around. I’ve always been obsessed with melody. I didn’t get into heavier stuff and didn’t get into rock and hardcore and that stuff until much later. I would say that’s where most of my influence comes from. Dudes like Chino and people like that who are doing something completely insane with their voice have always been huge influences on me. Being able to take your voice and do something completely unique with it is unbelievable.

Doug: What’s the best band you’ve ever played with, and who would you like to play with in the future?

Ryan: I would say that we’ve toured with a lot of amazing bands and there are a few that stick out in my memory for certain reasons. When we toured with the Circa Survive dudes we were in a really crappy place at the time mentally, when we went out on tour with them they really saved us from ourselves, essentially, and really helped us in changing our perspective on things and seeing what we really wanted to do with this band and prioritizing our art and our music and not really giving a shit about anything else surrounding that, because so many people around us at that time were telling us otherwise and we were really fucking confused and those dudes really helped us out during a time when we were really naïve to a lot of shit. One of the most unbelievable things is when we went to Australia and we played on a festival with Incubus there. And I’ve been a fan of theirs for a long time, and I met all those dudes and they were all unbelievable people. Such sweet dudes. Ben brought Jeremy and me up on the stage, and it was like no one was allowed up on stage and it was a cool bro thing. We were talking about the Roots and all sorts of shit, and that was unbelievable. In regard to touring with someone in the future, I’d love to be the type of band, I think we have a decently versatile fanbase right now, we bring in so many different types of people I’ve noticed, and I’d love to be able to just tour with a lot of the musicians that are outside of the realm of this scene. Who knows if it’s ever possible, and we’ll ever get that to that level, but it would be nice to tour with some of the R&B acts that I love, dudes like Bilal. We did a show with Grandmaster Flash the other day, which is ridiculous. To be able to do stuff like that is what it’s all about, ignoring genres and scenes and stuff like that.

Doug: Alright, if you could tandem jump with any famous person in the world, who would you tandem jump with and why? Remember, I’m asking you a tandem jump question because survival is important and you want to trust the famous person that you want to be rubbing against with your life.

Ryan: This is easy. Well, considering a) that I’m rubbing against them, and b) I need to trust them. Although I don’t know anything about this person, because they are a celebrity and I’m not, I would have to pick Scarlett Johansson, just because a) she’s beautiful, and b) she put out an entire record of Tom Waits covers, which has to say something about her personality. I mean, if she’s got good taste in music, and I have to survive with her, we’re already one step ahead of the game. I’ll tandem jump with Scarlett Johansson any day.