Rebecca Marano recently caught up with Ryan Hamilton ahead of his gig at The Bodega on March 7th.
Hi Ryan, thank you so much for speaking to us at The Mic Today! My pleasure! Thank YOU!
So…you’re kicking off the UK tour with a house party gig, in Bolton of all places! How did that come about? I had the idea for a UK House Party Tour a few years ago. It was a way to MAKE SURE I played to people who REALLY wanted to hear the songs. I wasn’t stuck in some bar, fighting for people’s attention, where no one knew, or cared, who I was. That first house party tour not only SOLD OUT, it became one of my favourite things to do. Those shows are truly special, one of a kind events. It feels more like a bunch of friends hanging out… but with people singing along to MY songs. Haha. I love it, and I thought it’d be a fun way to kick the tour off.
After returning to the usual gig haunts, you’ll be visiting Nottingham’s Bodega on the 7th March. How you feeling about the gig? SO EXCITED! … and a little nervous, but in a good way. Our friends Lacey will be joining us on that one. My bandmates are from that neck of the woods, too. So, it’ll be sort of a hometown show for them. Should be a great night!
Have you ever played the Bodega before? Yeah. People On Vacation sold the place out last time we were over! I LOVE the venue. Perfect size for something like this solo tour. Good vibes and great staff there.
You were previously in band Smile, Smile before hooking up Jaret Reddick to form super-group People on Vacation – how were those experiences for you? Would we say “super-group”? Ok… I’ll take it! Haha. Smile Smile was my first taste of success, but it was a hard band to be in. So as much as I enjoyed and appreciated the success, it wasn’t FUN. People On Vacation has been A LOT of fun. Both projects were successful, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy being in People On Vacation considerably more than Smile Smile. Haha. It’s true!
Was it hard to say goodbye to Smile, Smile, or did it feel like natural ending? The end of that band was inevitable. We knew it would only last so long. So, I guess you could say it felt natural… because we knew it was coming. The hardest part was going, “Well… What the hell am I going to do now?”.
You mentioned on your video diary that you ‘feel like you’re doing something right’. What did you think was doing wrong? It’s true! I feel like I got brainwashed a few years ago. I fell victim to people behind the scenes (“manager” types) CONSTANTLY talking about money. How much MONEY can we make? How much MONEY will people pay? MONEY, MONEY, MONEY. Thinking back on it now, I don’t think we EVER discussed what the FANS wanted. It was all about how much MONEY we could get out of as many people as possible… and that’s how they measured our success!!! “How much MONEY is the band making?”. Ugh. I actually feel ashamed of myself for not speaking up sooner. When I finally got the chance to do this solo thing, I decided to reset, refocus etc… on the things that REALLY matter. The music business should be about MUSIC. So, for the first time in a LONG time, I’m focusing on the people who support me. Reaching out to them directly, asking THEM what THEY want. Creating real connections. Breaking down the ego, money driven walls of the music business… and guess what? IT’S WORKING. I essentially started over… and things are on a much smaller scale right now. But it’s GROWING at a crazy rate… and SO MANY exciting things are happening. I can barely keep up! I love it. Since breaking free of all the bull shit, this last year has been easily the most rewarding of my career.
What inspired you to go solo? The frustrations mentioned in my previous answer. Haha. Plus, I knew I was writing better songs than ever… and they didn’t sound like POV songs.
Are you nervous this time around about performing solo material? Yes. But that nervousness is outweighed by excitement. I think myself and my band are performing better than we ever have. I feel ready to perform the best shows of my career. I feel like this whole thing has been building towards everything that is about to happen… and that starts with this UK tour.
We’re loving ‘Records and Needles’. The video is so much fun! Did the artists featured in the video and lyrics directly inspire you? Thank you! SO happy with they way that video turned out! Yeah, most of those artists are heroes of mine. But, a few of them were just fun/funny ideas for the video. Haha.
What was the inspiration behind this song? To look back to GOOD music for inspiration. The old school rockers got it right… and we’re losing them at a staggering rate. I really don’t know what we’re going to after they’re gone. So, I think it’s important to look BACK.
Would you agree that it is rather pop-punk? No. I would not agree. I’m not a fan of “pop-punk” … and that’s not news to anyone. Haha.
I think it’s awesome that you and your wife made and filmed the video for Christmas Falls on the go-pro. What inspired you to do this? Thanks! Really, we just wanted to do something fun. We’re both creative people… and with the solo thing I have the opportunity to have an idea, and go for it! It’s a lot of fun to have that freedom.
If you’re yet to see the incredible video, check it out below!
Now for the serious stuff: Kyle Pilkington.What is it about Kyle Pilkington that you love so much? HA! I think you mean KARL Pilkington… unless we’re talking his brother, or uncle… and I have NO IDEA who that is. Haha. What I love about Karl is his honesty. This world is so full of bull shit. He cuts right through it! His opinions are strange… and grumpy… but he’s being HONEST, and real. Unafraid to say what he REALLY thinks. I love it. Such a strange, wonderful man. I never laugh harder than when I watch his travel related shows.
Do you think his shoulders are wormy? Haha! I do NOT! … but he clearly thinks the picture I drew for (and of) him, features “shoulders of a worm”. Thanks Karl. Haha.
OK…you can only watch one show for the rest of your life – An Idiot Abroad or Karl Pilkington’s The Moaning of Life. Which would you choose? An Idiot Abroad. Season 1. It will forever hold a special place in my heart
PS. GREAT questions. Really enjoyed this one. Cheers!
Tickets are still available for Ryan’s gig at The Bodega on March 7th, get them here!
By Rebecca Marano