Saturday, May 9, 2009

very longwinded and verbose interview with Ryan.

We caught up with Thunders vocalist Ryan Reidy to ask about their upcoming full-length plans and the reception to their first release.

Now that Sympathetic Oscillations has been out for a bit, what’s your take of the reception? Was it what you were hoping for?

Ryan Reidy: I'll answer the second question first, because it will put my answer to the first bit in some context. Considering that the journey from beginning the songs and building my recording rig started a year and a half before it ended up in the hands of Andy and Annie Skinner at A Squared Industries, the gestation period for the vast majority of these songs was pretty lengthy. The sheer amount of time that had elapsed from beginning to end, which included going back to college to finish my degree, kind of made me unattached to the songs to a degree, simply because the time that had passed from initial inspiration to completed song was relatively long. Paradoxically, I feel very attached to the songs simply because they were only mine for so long, but I do not feel that is especially important with relation to the question asked. That's simply my own issue to wrestle with...but I digress.

Since I had, in effect, experienced these songs inside and out, on my own terms no less, for so long, I no longer felt like they really represented any sort of real emotional concepts or ideas that, while incredibly real at the time of writing, no longer seemed even remotely relevant. So, in a very very long, round-a-bout way, I wasn't really hoping for much. My time with the songs had already passed. Having said all of that, I am pretty pleased with its reception. It was kind of an "astronaut without a tether" feeling to the recording of that EP. I honestly had no idea what I was doing.

How much are you guys looking forward to SxSW? Have you been before?

RR: SxSW is a lot of fun. This will be my third time going. I suppose this should also be the place where I say that THUNDERS has never officially played any show associated with SxSW. Corporate sponsorship at the festival has been so prevalent in recent years, the proliferation of day parties with lots of free stuff, propped by a large amount of corporate money has allowed smaller bands - like us - a chance to take part in the fun. I mean, and not trying to sound too presumptuous, SxSW is really a party designed for people in the industry that miss spring break from high school or college. I'm not trying to make any moral stance on that, though. It can be a lot of fun.

What’s the plan for the forthcoming project – I’ve read you’re working on a full-length? Is that right?
RR: Ummmm, yes. We've been working on the full length since before the EP was released. The songs that were chosen to be on the EP were simply because they were the ones that were most completed at the time. We decided to release an EP simply as a way to help get shows and establish ourselves as a band. So, a lot of songs had already been written. Although, the identity of the band began to take shape more - as they so often do - from playing shows. I also began to write newer songs. The older songs were then, mostly, scrapped for some of the newer material that, in some ways, was written for this band in mind.

Prior to that, I feel like I was just writing songs without any real sort of frame of reference. The new songs seem like they are "our" songs, with some input from everyone, while the older ones just seem like "my" songs. Pretty recently the full length seems to be taking shape and getting some sort of identity unto itself. I'm pretty excited about it, actually.

The live show has been described as the best aspect for Thunders. Would you agree with that? Is that the favorite part of the gig for the band?

RR: I'm not sure if I even have an opinion of what kind of live band we are simply because I have never seen us. Of course, I'm not trying to sound cheeky or anything, but even down to how it sounds, I imagine that what I hear and experience is completely different than what other people do. I'm pretty far off into the things I have to do to make the songs happen that I rarely even notice the others on stage, even. I guess what I'm trying to say that it's a wholly different experience for me than it would be for the audience.

However, since a lot of time and care has been taken into the crafting of the songs themselves to stand by themselves, it seems like almost a slap in the face that something like a live show, that really only lasts the time a person sees the band can be the best part of a band. Especially against its record, which can be enjoyed for a lot longer time and under the listener's own control and context. I would really hate to be the kind of person that demands that other's only listen to and enjoy our/the/my music under whatever context we are making available to them. I guess it really isn't that important. There are certainly worse things that can be said about a band.

Speaking for myself only here: playing in front of people can take a lot out of you. Emotionally, physically, mentally... all of it. I often find myself leaving the stage feeling pretty awkward. Nine times out of ten, I want to leave immediately and find a quiet place to go. It's a strange mixed bag of feelings - feelings that I am at a loss to describe. I imagine that they come from the same place that would even motivate to make a record by myself. I think I am, at times, a control freak. Playing live, everything is out of one's control.

Finally, your place in the local music scene – has Indy helped or hindered your progress thus far? Have you thought of taking the act elsewhere or is there a local mission in mind?
RR: I think it's strange that, at least with all of the "local" press I read - which is also representative of the places I've lived, like Muncie - that somehow a question always comes up about where one lives and if they have a mission to "help" or be "hurt" from where they live. Compared to other cities, like say Bloomington or even Chicago, it seems like that question is kind of a non-issue. I think the reason for that might be because Indy and Muncie are comparably under-established as cultural hubs.

Maybe there's a collective chip on everyone's shoulders because of that. However, aside from a brief moment in my life where I had "Muncie Pride", I have ceased to have any real articulate opinion of such a thing. As Mark and I have discussed at length, everyone has to be from somewhere. We're from Indianapolis, and that is neither the flag we are waving, nor the name of the chip on our shoulder.

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