Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Q-and-A: Ryan Hamilton dishes about new band People on Vacation’s album and a SXSW gig
Funny how Hamilton wasn't so sure about the whole thing: “It could have been a horrible disaster, 'cause I am not a huge fan of the whole emo/punk rock scene,” he said.
On Monday, a new local supergroup called People On Vaction – which features Smile Smile’s Ryan Hamilton and Bowling For Soup’s Jaret Riddick – officially unveiled to the world their new musical venture via their new website. The band gives a teasingly delicious taste of what they have been cooking up in the recording studio.
The website gives little insight to what is really going on with the band, but lucky for PegNews, Hamilton explained in a phone interview how People On Vacation came to be and what is in store for the buzzed-about band.
Pegasus News: How did you and Jaret come up with the idea to start a project like People On Vacation?
Ryan Hamilton: I guess two South By South Wests ago, he came to our showcase (Smile Smile) really just to see our management, to come and say hi. We had never met him, we didn’t know him at all, and I remember leaning over and saying to Jencey, “What the hell is the singer from Bowling For Soup doing at our show? He is going to hate it, why is he here?”
… Long story short, he was just really taken with the whole story and the music. He became a fan and invited us on tour. Like I said, we didn’t know him at all. He hadn’t become a friend at that point; he just saw us at SXSW that one time. So he invited us on tour and at first we said no. We were like, “Hell no, we are not going on tour with Bowling For Soup. Their fans are going to injure us and hate us.” But we went on tour and he and I became really good friends.
Growing up in Dallas and Fort Worth, I was completely aware of Bowling For Soup and how huge they got. It was kind of cool to be friends with a guy as successful and as cool as he was.
Eventually our friendship turned into, “Why don’t we get together and see what happens?” and neither one of us knew how it was going to go. It could have been a horrible disaster, 'cause I am not a huge fan of the whole emo/punk rock scene. Some of it I like, but the majority of it I don’t like. The musical world that Jencey and I kind of run around in, Jaret is not really familiar with at all either. We were both referencing bands that neither one of us knew.
He has a studio in his house and I went there one weekend, and before we knew it, four days later we had six finished songs. There is literally, like, standing up and high fiving while this was happening. We were like, “This is so good. We have no idea how this is working.” Some people hope to finish one song in a day or two or in a weekend, but we were just cranking them out. Four days, six songs finished with all the instrumentation. The song we are streaming now on the website is one of those songs ("Better Off Dead").
It was just this fluke, weird really nice surprise. He and I are both so excited about it. Who knows what will happen? I don’t know, he doesn’t know, but we are both really excited. The curiosity has been really overwhelming so far because people are like, “What? How does that work?”
Do you have shows planned when you both come back from touring with your respective bands?
The demand for the project has already been so overwhelming that we had to commit to a few shows just to do something because people wouldn’t stop talking. So we booked three Texas shows in Dallas, Austin, and Houston. But, we don’t even have a band yet. All we have are these finished songs and this record that is going to come out sometime next year! As soon as I get back from Canada and Jaret gets back from Europe, we are going to rehearse and get ready for those shows in January. And it looks like we are going to play SXSW, ironically.
What do you bring to the project and what does Jaret bring to the project?
Well, Jaret has written hit songs. He knows what works, he knows what will sell, and he knows what will be successful on the radio. He can hear it because he has had that success. He can take a song idea that I have and what he can add to it is this radio-friendly, you know “this is what works, this is what will be successful” mind frame. I have never had that. I have had this indie underground Smile Smile success.
Basically, he is bringing this successful songwriter hit-making point of view and I am bringing this – I’d hate to use the word but I am going to – indie spin on it all. Like I can take his very pop idea and twist it a little and try to make it a little weirder, and he can take my weirdness and make it a little more mainstream. We are tying to be smart about bringing our two worlds together.
Does is scare you with how much attention you are getting so quickly?
It does. It scares me. He is overly excited, like if you guys could see the text messages, you would probably throw up. It is just some, “Oh my god, I can’t believe this. I am so exited!” But I am scared. I don’t go to Europe and play for 2,000 people a night; he does. I think he has more of an idea that it could be this really huge deal and I am starting to get an inkling of it all and it scares me. I don’t know how to wrap my head around it.
How does Jencey [Hirunrusme, his bandmate in Smile Smile] feel about all of this?
She likes to give me a really hard time about it, but she is OK. She is being Jencey about it for sure. There won’t be any members from Bowling For Soup playing with us and Jencey won’t be either. I am not going to dip into that well, if you will. It is going to be all new people with Jaret and I. I mean, it means more success for Smile Smile if it goes well. She likes that. We love playing music; I think the only downer for her is that Smile Smile may be put on the backburner for a little bit while we give this thing a shot.
Smile Smile is not going anywhere. We are already working on another record, so we will be OK.
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