We recently spoke with the Los Angeles indie rocker, Joey Ryan about his EP, the meaning behind his lyrics… even his first concert! Read on to find out more about this new artist you’re sure to be hearing a lot about.
Hi, how are you?
I’m good, how are you?
I’m good and I’m ready to go…
How would you describe your sound to new fans?
Um, to new fans… I would say it’s sort of mellow, acoustic, pop music. Folk… folky, pop music. I’d basically soulful folk music, with a little rock in there too.
Who are some of your musical inspirations?
As far as people who are playing now, some of my biggest inspirations are Ray LaMontagne. A lot of local LA singer-song writers. Um, I’ll name couple… Amber Rubarth and Chris Pierce.
What about growing up?
Ummm, growing up, I listened mostly to classic rock. So, like Neil Young… Bob Dylan… The Beatles… Crosby, Steels and Nash.
Did any of these artists inspire you to play guitar?
Actually, my dad inspired me to play guitar.
Your song “Loving You” was recently played on an episode of the CW’s drama, One Tree Hill. How did you feel about the great response from the fans of the show?
Oh, I was so flattered! Um, I was flattered that they paid attention to the music in the show because I really think in TV shows and in movies, the music really, really makes a huge difference and can make or break a scene. And I thought it worked really well in the scene. I was just really flattered and surprised at how many people contacted me about it and how popular the song was.
Well, “One Tree Hill” is partly known for the music that’s played, fans take such a strong interest. What was it like watching the show, hearing your music and knowing that millions of people were listening?
It was amazing. It was really the first time that song that was entirely my own was on a television show. I had a song that I co-wrote with somebody that was on a show, but this was basically the first time that I’ve been on TV and it was uh… it’s kind of indescribable knowing you’re sitting there in your little room and watching the TV, you how many millions of viewers are sitting there at the same time listening to you sing and watching the scene, which you know as so many more emotional sort of things going on. So, just knowing that everyone was going through that all together at the same time, to the backdrop of my song was kind of a trip.
Is there a story behind the song?
Yea, the song was written about a new relationship that I was in. And it sort of happened quickly after my previous relationship and I thought that I was ready to sort of be on my own for awhile and I wasn’t really looking for a relationship or anything. Then this girl sort of came in and changed my mind about that. I don’t know if you’re ever really looking for a relationship on purpose, but sometimes…specifically when you’re not looking, you can’t deny it. Yeah, and that was actually a few years ago and we’re still together.
You recently released your EP “California”, which was recorded at one of your live performances. Which of the songs on the record would you say is most personal to you?
Definitely this song called, “Giant Clock”. That was written when my dad got sick… well not when my dad got sick but, my dad got sick when I was a little kid. I never really realized the seriousness of the situation and how he really was until, you know, a couple of years ago when I started asking him about it. He’s fine now but, just realizing that he had me and my brother pretty young, he was, I think in his mid-30’s and had two little kids. It was more than likely that he wasn’t going to make it, he had Cancer. And just sort of realizing that he faced it, you know, a several year time period where it was just more than likely that he wasn’t going to make it and you know, leave my mom and the two of us behind. So, I just tried to get into that place where he would’ve been as much as possible and that’s where I looked at it from. I sort of realized a little bit how that must’ve felt, but I’m sure I can’t really understand it yet.
But, he’s doing okay now?
Yeah, he’s great! They had sort of an experimental treatment plan that lasted a couple of years.
Is there a certain process you go through when writing a song? Where do you get your inspiration from?
Usually I write about things that have been really emotional for me. Um, so I tend to think that things I’ve been through, sort of really impactful or specifically really emotional, will have common threads to other people’s experiences. So, everything I write is a true story and the more emotional that experience conjured up, the easier the song is for me to write. Also, I find the more it connects to other people because I think we all have common things inside of us that cause us to act similar to certain situations. If you’re honest about your own experiences, I think people will understand and connect with what you’re saying and will relate to it.
You play a lot of shows which are probably someone’s first concert. Do you remember your first concert? Who did you see?
The first concert I went to? I do, actually. I saw the Rolling Stones at Dodger Stadium.
Wow, that must’ve been incredible.
Yeah! And I didn’t go to very many concerts until later… until I was a bit older and in high school. But, yeah I didn’t drive there, so I must’ve been like 14 or 15… it was amazing. It really was.
Do you have any shows coming up in the near future where fans can go check you out?
Yeah, absolutely! I’m playing in…I have a lot of shows actually. [Laughs] I’m doing four shows this month in Los Angeles on March 11th at Room 5.
So, fans can find all of this on your MySpace?
Yeah, all of the shows are listed on my MySpace. The shows coming up are in Los Angeles, Ventura, and Orange County. Then in April, I’m doing a West Coast tour all the way up to Seattle. So, it’ll be Seattle… Portland, Oregon… San Francisco, Sacramento, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles.
Thanks for chatting us with today! We look forward to seeing you live and wish you all the best.
Cool, thanks! Yeah, I should be on the East Coast later this year.
“THE CALIFORNIA EP”
NOW ON ITUNES!