Ask iAN * Interview with The Black Ryder’s Scott Von Ryper
Â On a late Sunday night in the Silverlake area of Los Angeles, iAN and his field assistant (Partner in Crime) Jessi Knippel, sat down with Scott Von Ryper of The Black Ryder armed with a camera, cigarettes, wine, beer and fan questions to discuss music, the collaborating and supporting other bands, embarrassing songs and the wonder that is The Black Ryderâ€¦here is what came out.
Â AskiAN: Welcome to another addition of ask iAN..Black Ryder tasty, Scott Von Ryper (trilling the â€śrâ€ť) weâ€™re having a little interview with him. Weâ€™re in sunny wait itâ€™s not sunnyâ€¦weâ€™re in a dark night of Los Angeles, letâ€™s move along and have the interview. Letâ€™s find out a bit about our beautiful man. The man (shouting)â€¦goddamn heâ€™s beautiful isnâ€™t heâ€¦
Â Jessi Knippel: So our first question is fromâ€¦how do we pronounce thatâ€¦
Â AI: He has a very hard to pronounce name (playfully emphasizing the vowels in the name and with flair) Abhishek Duggal!
Â Scott Von Ryper: I have a very hard to pronounce name is that what he said?
JK: You do yesâ€¦
SVR: Whatâ€™s his name sorry?
Â AI: Itâ€™s ahâ€¦Abhishek Duggal.
Â SVR: My point exactly.
Â JK: So he asks who would you like to work with again? And is there anyone else you would like to work with who you havenâ€™t yet musician wise?
Â SVR: Ok let me think, everyone we have worked with so far hasnâ€™t come to us through a business arrangement or a third party saying you should work with this person. Itâ€™s more about friendship or people just happening to be where we were at when we were recording and it felt right. So I would be really happy to work with everyone we have worked with in the past because theyâ€™re still friends and because if we worked with them it was good, making itâ€™s way to the album and it was what it was meant to be. Working with people in the futureâ€¦
Â AI: Like someone you havenâ€™t worked with but you would like toâ€¦
Â SVR: In regard to my self and that I know of Aimee we donâ€™t really have a hit list of people that we want to approach or feel â€śfuck we should really work with these peopleâ€ť. It really is as you meet people and they inspire you, you feel inspired to work with them but itâ€™s only after you meet them. We donâ€™t troll the lists of albums that are out or whatâ€™s hot or anything that we like and start to create a list of people we want to work with. To be honest itâ€™s not even fore front in our minds, the idea of â€śwho do you want to work withâ€ť at the fore front of our minds really is what it is that we want to do and trying to make that happen. The other tends to come a little later in the recording process, more like â€śhey maybe this needs a harmonica partâ€ť or â€śthis needs something you and I canâ€™t doâ€ť so we think about looking outside our little bubble to try and work with someone. So yeah I donâ€™t really know how to answer that, there is no one we have on a list, there is no hit list no chalk board in our studio of people to work with next or people to approach or get our manager to ask their manager, that just doesnâ€™t exist.
Â AI: Hereâ€™s a another question it comes from some of your fans but itâ€™s mixed with mine, when you were a lad what did you listen to that really stood out to you? I mean we all listen to some drab things growing up but what are some things that stayed with youâ€¦
Â (pause for the obligatory LAPD Helicopter to fly overhead) JK/AI: We have the LAPD over headâ€¦
Â SVR: This is really an LA moment, I have to say that when I first moved to LA, almost a year ago, it was one thing that was really outstanding to me was, all the helicopters. I lived next to a hospital for a while in a hotel where there were helicopters landing all the time and it was a really LA thing.
Â AI: Were there spotlights in your bedroom?
Â SVR: Now itâ€™s more of an LA thing, not because Iâ€™m next to a hospital but because of course there are helicopters circling all the time and yelling out â€śhey stopâ€¦donâ€™t moveâ€ť.
Â AI: When the guyâ€™s like Iâ€™m just using the restroomâ€¦.ok back to the question who stuck with you influence wise as you were growing up and you said hey theyâ€™re fantrastique!â€¦and it really touched your heart?
Â SVR: I guess we were really, really, really lucky in the fact that a lot of the bands that we love, when The Black Ryder started, we ended up becoming close to or being friends with or toured with or something that connected us so we were lucky in that we got to work with most of those bands in someway. Some of them contributed to our album or we contributed to theirs or some special musical interaction happened.
AI: Did you listen to the Saints when you were growing up? (iAN chuckles at this)
Â SVR: I have to admit that, you and I have talked a bit about Australian music, I heard the Saints butâ€¦
AI: I guess what Iâ€™m saying is were they on the radio where you were growing up?
SVR: They were on the radioâ€¦
Â AI: Because we had different radio in America..
Â SVR: They were on the radio, but when Aimee and I started The Black Ryder we were defiantly not thinking about what was on the radioâ€¦
Â AI: Of course not but I mean when you were growing up you heard different things.
Â SVR: So the artists we had respect for were these artists that we ended up having some kind of relationship.
Â JK: So our next question is from Dave Gibbons..Gibson like the guitar: he asks what is the first song that comes to mind that you shared with your first girlfriend?
Â AI: Like your valentine.
SVR: I canâ€™t remember that at all, I have an atrocious memory to begin with and I donâ€™t remember anything earlier than high school reallyâ€¦and as far as I know I donâ€™t have any awful experiences that have caused me to block this period out and I also havenâ€™t had any extremely nasty drug binges that could also have caused me to block it out subconsciously. I donâ€™t really have a song from a first girlfriend but certainly girlfriends in particular and relationships that you have are amazing from the perspective that every time you see someone and youâ€™re close to them they introduce you to music that you havenâ€™t been introduced to before. Sometimes that music becomes very special and becomes a big thing in your life and you never forget, you never do, forget where it came to you from if it came to you from a very special person. Whether that be a girlfriend or a special friend or something. So nothing I can remember from my first girlfriend, or second or third or fourth or whatever, but I can certainly remember music that has been presented to me through other relationships I have had later in life and I have always appreciated the fact that people have turned me onto stuff because itâ€™s become part of myâ€¦
AI: Itâ€™s help you become yourselfâ€¦
Â SVR: Yeah it does.
Â AI: Due to other people. Iâ€™m always thankful to other people for making me who I am because they turn me onto so much.
Â SVR: Iâ€™m always as well when people turn me onto music. Iâ€™m always thankful for that and try to remember to turn other people that I know on to that.
Â AI: What was, if I may interject real quick, Iâ€™m from Wichita, Kansas and grew up on whatever was going on at the time that you saw on TV or whatever the fuck. Then I went to Kansas City and I met this guy. Named David Dryden who turned into my mentor and he turned me onto Nick Cave. And because Australiaâ€™s on the other side of the world and here I am from Wichita but I would have never heard of music from the other side of the world with out help from this Cat, this guy turned me on to the other side of the world and the music coming from there. I wasnâ€™t getting it from the radio in Wichita, Kansasâ€¦I wasnâ€™t getting any of that. But this guy turns me onto music from the other side of the world as well as books and other things. It stayed with me and next thing I knew I was beating on the door going â€śCan you turn me onto some more music please?â€ť It was just very helpful.
Â SVR: See other than the internet, which has been something that has comeâ€¦
Â AI: Which wasnâ€™t around when I was a kid.
SVR: Yeah it wasnâ€™t around when I was a young kid. It is a blessing in so many ways for bands who are not getting played on the radio because they get introduced to fans all around the world. The other fifty percent of how it works is really about word of mouth. But the internet comes in here again because word of mouth is not what it used to be. Word of mouth used to be people actually seeing each other, talking about a band that they had heard of and turning their friends onto the band. Now itâ€™s about someone from France saying to someone from Germany or someone from LA or someone from New Zealand or from South America saying to them â€śHey I really love this band you should check them outâ€ť or posting a clip of this band up on YouTube or Facebook or whatever it is. However you might debate the evils and the positives of those social media networks itâ€™s like word of mouth has changed now that itâ€™s global and The Black Ryder have benefitted absolutely so much from that. Itâ€™s like when we started writing music, way before we release an album, as soon as we had music written we started posting it up. We would write a song on a Thursday night spending ten hours on it working all through the night get something together and then just post it up. It wasnâ€™t finished by any means but we just put it up. It is the most incredible experience ever for someone who has lived outside of that reality to someone who is now living in that reality (the quickness of the internet) where someone from France or Germany two minutes later sends you an email or a response going â€śI LOVE THIS SONGâ€ť. That really encouraged Aimee and I to continue when we first started. We didnâ€™t really feel like we had much going on locally, in fact we didnâ€™t have anything going on anywhere. We were just locked away in our house writing music. We werenâ€™t playing live, we werenâ€™t doing anything except posting music up so that was what gave us the encouragement just to keep doing it more and more and more and to keep posting up more stuff. Itâ€™s debatable how good that is to do, just to post up everything that youâ€™re doing every second of the day but it really did encourage us on our first album. When we were posting up demo after demo, after demoâ€¦you know here is the fifth version of this song or hereâ€™s a new song we did last night. You know it was encouraging to us.
Â AI: Another thing you had spoken about earlier was that about playing music with people who are more of a community helping one another out with shows and â€śhey thank you for your support digging us but look at our friends here, the Black Ryder whateverâ€ť can you speak on that a little bitâ€¦
Â JK: The collaborative nature of musicâ€¦
Â AI: Itâ€™s not even the music its more â€śyou should really listen to thisâ€ť your band is kind of known for that so is Black Rebel (Motorcycle Club).
Â SVR: What we are doing right now is a pure effect of that. You are involved with BRMC and youâ€™re doing an interview with The Black Ryder.
AI: Well thatâ€™s because I love you!
Â SVR: But we recently discovered a band from LA, we were looking for a band to play with here and I read an interview with this band because I was checking them out and they asked the band what advice would you give to young bands. Which is a stock-standard question for an interview and a really hard one to answer as well. Because you never really feel like you are in a position to give advice to anyone.
Â AI: Yeah but you have been around the bend and block.
Â SVR: Yeah weâ€™ve been around the bend, up the block, down the ship and stuff like that. But what really impressed me about this band was the fact that they said donâ€™t let other bands in your community be your competitors make sure that you reach out to them, conference with them and do shows together fight the good fight together. One thing that has always been so apparent to Aimee and I , even when we were in our previous band The Morning After Girls was the worldwide community of bands in the genre. So many of the bands that we loved who were our friends would help us out by playing on our album or asked us to tour with them or mentioned us in interviews or something.
AI: And how could they not I mean reallyâ€¦I canâ€™t help but flatter you because youâ€™re beautiful. I canâ€™t help it.
SVR: I think you have as much as you receive that (the communal support) and if you are on the receiving end of that generosity you have to take the responsibility to make sure that youâ€™re also part of that. So even if you are a band at a low level, and a band that you know had done better than you , and when I say better than you what I mean is their doing bigger shows their doing whateverâ€¦itâ€™s like the whole better thing is weird, you have a responsibility. I think if people are helping you out by talking about your band and helping you on shows, you have to make sure youâ€™re continuing that cycle in that you find bands that you like or who approach you and you dig what they are doing, you start to mention them in interviews and you start to get them on shows.
Â AI: Youâ€™re not so self-centered, youâ€™re doing your thing fully but you also have time to share that spotlight and highlight othersâ€¦
Â SVR: The competitiveness of bands makes no sense to me at all, weâ€™re playing the same music and anyone who thinks that they are so original that they are apart from this I think are a bit delusional because weâ€™re all influenced by someone and we like your band and you like ours letâ€™s just support each other.
Â AI: I love that philosophyâ€¦everybody needs a little help and you pay it forward. If youâ€™ve had a little help you should be inspired by that, influenced by that, and do the same thing. Instead of the opposite with the competition and the competitive bullshit..
SVR: Itâ€™s very easy in life to think that, well our band is not that big so how are we going to make an impact on anyone in regard to who we talk about. And I think thatâ€™s the completely wrong way to go about it. Again coming back to the internet and this worldwide connection people do read what you have to say.
AI: We can reach each other faster.
SVR: People do read stuff. If it getâ€™s posted people read it and if you can help other bands out in your own journey as other bands are helping you out thatâ€™s exactly the way it should be. It doesnâ€™t make sense to me that you wouldnâ€™t do that soâ€¦and Aimee feels exactly the same way I do. I know because we talk about it all the time.
Â AI: Can you say something as well that I disagree with? (deep chuckle which getâ€™s a laugh out of Scott as well)
Â SVR: I will try..
Â AI: I have one question to add to this, how old were you when you played your first gig? And what was the name of your band?
Â SVR: (contemplating this for a moment) I was under age â€¦
Â AI: And they served pints thereâ€¦ and you snuck inâ€¦
This leads to a discussion on Australian beer and beer sizesâ€¦a favorite subject of our Ask iAN.
Â SVR: (smiling) No they actually donâ€™t serve pints in Australia.
AI: (a bit surprised) Oh they donâ€™t?
Â SVR: (sympathetic) No they donâ€™t.
AI: Well Iâ€™ve never been there so I wouldnâ€™t know.
Â SVR: No they serve..
Â AI: (excitedly) Oh thatâ€™s right they server those big fuckâ€™all cans!
Â SVR: They serve middies and schooners
Â AI: Theyâ€™re actually cans likeâ€¦(gesturing to the size of a Fosterâ€™s beer can) no you canâ€™t see my handsâ€¦their like this (gesturing again, cigarette dangling) Big!
SVR: And we have something like pots, which is kind of like a schooner.
Â AI: Isnâ€™t it some place like New Zealand where you just buy a crate of big fuckâ€™all cans that are like 24 ft tall?
Â SVR: No we donâ€™t have the big cans. That was something that first weirded me out when we first started touring the UK.
AI: Well whatâ€™s that beer, Fosterâ€™s in that commercial.
Â JK: Fosterâ€™s yeah itâ€™s an Australian beer.
Â AI: Yeah and they smash a guy's skull open with it!
SVR: (clarifying) Itâ€™s an Australian beer
Â AI: Now thatâ€™s Australiaâ€¦
SVR: Itâ€™s an Australian beer but itâ€™s not that popular in Australia
AI: I know but in Americaâ€¦
Â SVR: No one I know of in Australia drinks Fosterâ€™s.
Â AI: In Kansas itâ€™s kind of tasty cause youâ€™re drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon piss and you find that Fosterâ€™s is pretty fuckun' tastyâ€¦
JK: So what is a popular Australian beer, for Australians?
SVR: Oh my god if you live in Brisbane itâ€™s probably 4X (XXXX), if you live in Sydney itâ€™s probably VB (Victoria Bitters), if you live in Melbourne itâ€™s Melbourne Bitter, you know itâ€™s very localâ€¦.itâ€™s very regional.
Â AI: So what was the name of your band, your first band? I know that you had some kooky nameâ€¦
Â SVR: Ah the first band I was in was called Skull (sounding like scowl) and I played bassâ€¦
Â AI: Called what?
Â JK: Skullâ€¦
AI: You were called what?! (laughing)
SVR: It was called Scarletâ€¦
AI: Scarletâ€¦(to Jessi) you said Skull..
JK: Oh I thought you said Skullâ€¦
Â AI: It was Scarlet like a scarlet red-letterâ€¦.yeah thatâ€™s cool.
Â SVR: Yeah I played bass and sangâ€¦
Â AI: Did you get wasty? Did you pass out?
Â SVR: We were talking about this earlierâ€¦it was the first time I came to LA (Before we started the interview Scott had mentioned that his first time in LA was at 19. He came to do some writing on the dime of a record label during one of the heydays of record label excessâ€¦they put him up in an expensive hotel and he was here for about three weeks before heading back to Australia) Scarlet was signedâ€¦
AI: Scarlet made it to LA?
SVR: Scarlet was signed to a major label AI:
Â Oh my godâ€¦why donâ€™t I know about this? Oh thatâ€™s mad..
Â SVR: When I was 19, and they sent me over here on some kind of bullshit co-writing tour and put me up in some extremely expensive hotel for a couple of weeks to do something.
AI: But you were digginâ€™ it.
SVR: No actually I came home afterâ€¦.
Â AI: You were scared and you went home!
SVR: I wasnâ€™t scared, but I was conscious of the fact that we were spending a lot of money. You know and in the 90â€™s and the 80â€™s whatever it was that kind of money was nothing but in the back of my mind I knew it was still something. Youâ€™ve got to pay that debt back.
Â AI: Right well it always comes back to bite you on the arse.
Â SVR: So this isnâ€™t really a conversation that is so relevant to today because most record labels donâ€™t do this anymore but as an artist you have to think of record companies as a bank they are a bank that are lending you money.
Â AI: A lot of people donâ€™t know this type of stuff from the musical inside.
SVR: They are a bank that is loaning you money that you have to pay back.
Â AI: Yeah but is there interest? Is there an interest type charge thing?
Â SVR: There is not an interest charge other than the fact that you know that you have to make it back before you make money.
Â AI: I am trying to let people know who donâ€™t have record contracts so they can understand the point of view because most people thinkâ€¦why did Kurt Cobain kill himself? (slipping into a hillbilly kansas redneck accent) He was a millionaire, he had a record contract, he rocked the worldâ€¦(going back to regular Jack Nicolsonesque voice) but what they donâ€™t understand the reality of theâ€¦
Â SVR: I think the reality of so many bands, even those that are doing well is the fact that they might not be earning that money. You know itâ€™s like theyâ€™re selling a bunch of records and particularly in the 90â€™s or even in the 80â€™s, especially in the late 80â€™s, youâ€™re selling a lot of records but the record company back then would put you in a studio that was a couple of thousand dollars a day and youâ€™re spending a bunch of money on stupid shite that you would never even dream of doing today. And a lot of bands that sold a lot of records never saw any of that money because it went to paying back the debtâ€¦.paying back the record company.
Â AI: So everything goes right back, but people think you must be rich because people donâ€™t understand the moneyâ€¦the bank.
SVR: So the difference, as someone who is old enough to remember that time and remember being involved in music and record companies and business at that time, was that we were very aware of that bank/debt dynamic on The Black Ryder side of things, we had a very big deal put in front of us at some point early on.
Â AI: At least you knew what to stay the fuck away from.
SVR: Yes but when someone throws the idea of a huge amount of money in front of you when you really need that money to record an album, to do film clips, to do publicity to do everything you do as a band itâ€™s very tempting to take it. But we decided not to take it and just do it on our own because you totally lose control of everything. Not just control of your music..
Â AI: Creative control..
SVR: Control of your finances as well.
Â AI: Both creative control and cash.
SVR: Credit is huge obviously. You never want to be asked by your record company to write a song thatâ€™s a bit more radio friendly. Iâ€™ve been in that situation. We never want to be in that position and we havenâ€™t been because weâ€™ve never placed our self in that position, in The Black Ryder.
AI: Thatâ€™s kind of smart though.
SVR: Well yeah but weâ€™re not alone anymore people are very aware of that now
Â AI: People are waking up to a lot of thingsâ€¦
Â SVR: Times have changed and so technology wonderfully good or bad has taken us to the point where we can now avoid using the record company as a bank you know because we donâ€™t need them anymore because we can do our own thing.
Â At this point in the interview Ask iAN asked the busboy for a beer and all agreed to take a break after iAN asks Scott one more questionâ€¦
Â AI: Can you please tell me if you remember the name of the first song you wrote? Or at least one of the first five songs you wroteâ€¦when you were discovering guitar
Â SVR: When I was fifteen or sixteen I had a four-track recorder, no it was before I owned a four-track recorderâ€¦(we are given insight into the creative process of a younger Scott Von Ryper) by not having a multi-track recorder I simply recorded tracks and putting it down and then recording while playing the other track into the next recorded track. I had the next incoming track going on and that is how I recorded my first song.
Â AI: But can you remember the name of one of those songs? Because you know itâ€™s gonna be embarrassing and thatâ€™s why we need it. It was called Sweet Georgia Brown's AssÂ in the Moonlight hour or the Midnight hourâ€¦
Â SVR: (smiling) I wish it was, I donâ€™t think it was â€¦I think it was called something that you would name a song when you were fifteen. I canâ€™t remember.
Â AI: Sweet Black Boots!
Â SVR: I canâ€™t remember. I can remember how I did it, I remember doing it and where I did it but I donâ€™t remember the name.
AI: Ok let me ask you one more question and then weâ€™ll take a break..you used to work with a four track and various other thingsâ€¦.Do you use ProTools?
Â SVR: Absolutely.
Â PART 2 After a really long piss (iAN) and alcohol break where Ask iAN procured more beer and Scott more wine we were ready to jump back into the interview.
Â JK: This is the second part of the Ask iAN interview with Scott from The Black Ryderâ€¦.and I am Jessi. So we are moving on to a question about..what were we talking aboutâ€¦oh yeah we were asking Scott about the new album and where they are at in the process with the new album and what the music sounds like. (as we are talking to Scott about the possible new album there is a group of high-end hipsters (fuckmooks) behind us talking about music and i-pods and the accessibility of music creating an interesting backdrop for a conversation about music)
Â AI: Rock nâ€™ Rollâ€¦
Â SVR: The new album is well itâ€™s a funny thing we record music a lot but weâ€™re tying to work out what part of that music is suitable or the right things for The Black Ryder album. We really like and we have been talking a lot about soundtracks and recording for your own benefit. So weâ€™ve been recording a lot of stuff that is really beautiful to listen to â€¦which is definitely rule number one of a recordâ€¦and also how you work out what music we do is actually suitable for our album. We get really incentivized (?) by people approaching us to do soundtracks and things and giving us a time limit for it as well..
Â AI: Fuck thatâ€¦
Â SVR: We work really well for under the pump for doing something like this
Â AI: Time limit are you kidding? Seriously time limitâ€¦(English accent) Come on man you canâ€™t put a time limit on musicâ€¦
Â SVR: Weâ€™re extremely slow moving with our music. You know you have to look at the first album and it took forever it was years in the making.
Â AI: How long did that take you?
Â SVR: A long.... time.
Â AI: Well it came out 2010 somewhere else and 2009 somewhere else..
SVR: We took our time but we firmly believe in taking our time and I donâ€™t think that anyone should feel pressured to be making music to anyone elseâ€™s time frame so certainly for our album we do it whenever we want.
AI: Right on.
Â SVR: I was doing an interview the other day where we were talking about this, because the Black Ryder album the band whatever was still being discovered now by people after being releasedâ€¦
Â AI: It takes time especially in America
Â SVR: After being released in let me thinkâ€¦I donâ€™t know it was two years ago ( November 2009) and of course itâ€™s different when you move and different territories it comes out at different times. Certainly we feel like we are under no pressure other than our own pressure to write music for and release a newer album. So the new album isâ€¦well itâ€™s not even a new album thats the thing weâ€™re not really feeling like when we write and when we record that weâ€™ve got some chalk board up on the wall that has this many songs and where weâ€™re at. Itâ€™s a very standard thing for a band to do for an album. We get asked to do things or we do stuff for soundtracks and some of the music is really extremely different to our first album or to anything else that people think of as the Black Ryder. So there is a process that we go through working out how far weâ€™re gonna take people with it and how much of that musicâ€™s gonna be Black Ryder. So thatâ€™s where weâ€™re at right now reallyâ€¦Weâ€™re writing music that we really love, that weâ€™re totally in love with and thatâ€™s the most important thing ever for a musician is to be totally in love with the music youâ€™re playing. If you canâ€™t listen to your own music I donâ€™t really care about what people say about listening to your own band. But if youâ€™re not writing music that you donâ€™t go home and listen to and you listen to when youâ€™re going through a moment when youâ€™re sad or when youâ€™re traveling or when youâ€™re on a roadtrip or anything. If you donâ€™t want to listen to that music then how do you expect other people to want to listen to itâ€¦
Â AI: Your music kind of has a lot ofâ€¦if I may be so bold to say this
SVR: You may be so bold
Â AI: It has a lot of landscape to it. Thatâ€™s not easy itâ€™s not like youâ€™re writing a real simple (making guitar noises) a, b, c, d, e, f, gâ€¦itâ€™s like a Salvador Dali painting, that has a lot of depth and itâ€™s huge and itâ€™s not simpleâ€¦so expect (British accent again) â€śIâ€™m gonna give you that in like two weeks thenâ€¦yeah Iâ€™ll just get it to you in like two weeksâ€ť itâ€™s not a FedEx fuckunâ€™ packageâ€¦
Â SVR: We could release an album tomorrow, really we have enough musicâ€¦
Â AI: Do you write everyday? Or pretty much every other day?
Â SVR: (very insistent) No, no we do not, we definitely do notâ€¦and in fact after the last album we took a really long break. Weâ€™re just not one of those bands that write music everyday. But when we feel like writing, when we get together we can come up with five pieces in a day.
AI:Â May I ask you a really corny question?
Â SVR: Sure go for it?
Â AI: Do you remember when you were younger and you used to buy albums that were double albums that were gatefold?
Â SVR: Yes AI: And you opened up the gatefold and you not only had side A but you had side B and you had side C and D.
SVR: Thatâ€™s how we released our album here in Americaâ€¦we had a double vinyl album.
Â AI: I love that, love thatâ€¦I donâ€™t know because I have it on cd. I havenâ€™t gotten the vinyl yet I havenâ€™t been so lucky.Â
Â SVR: I only ever listen to music now on vinyl, it sounds like a really obvious cheap thing to say AI:
Â No, you know what it is? Itâ€™s like trying to trudge your fuckinâ€™ record player around, a victrola all over goddamned fuckun' tarnation, trying to listen to a jamâ€¦fuck that action*
SVR: Particularly after, as we were talking about it earlier, Iâ€™ve just recently moved into a place where I think I might stay for a while. Iâ€™ve been here for a year or so and I have a record player and Iâ€™ve unpacked some vinyl and Iâ€™ve been listening to vinyl. And the kind of stuff that I listen to, I have to admit that Aimee and I are really bad with staying in touch with new musicâ€¦as much as we were talking about supporting other bands and all that other stuffâ€¦weâ€™re really bad at staying in touch with whatâ€™s going on.
AI: You mean in the modern world?
SVR: The modern world yeahâ€¦
Â AI: Is he my brother? (stage whisper)
Â SVR: I listen to old music, I listen to blues music, I listen to classical music I listen to everything that doesnâ€™t sound remotely like rock n rollâ€¦.anything that was recorded in the 40â€™s or 50â€™s or 60â€™s
Â AI: Oh fuck yesâ€¦
Â SVR: So thatâ€™s what I listen toâ€¦and I thought before that Iâ€™d shut down my ears to modern music when we were in the process of the first album. Because I didnâ€™t want us to sound like anyone else and I know that people will say shit about my comment just then but it was really important to just shut it all down so it was all about what we were doing, because that is what we were doing.
Â AI: Fuck themâ€¦I think thatâ€™s why when I said earlier that you gave me such an old Americana feel, and what I mean by Americana is like these lackadaisical flowers blowing and cactus being itself and it was just beautiful... just the music (turing to Jessi) do you remember me saying to you â€ścan you please play that just one more timeâ€ť and I think that happened like four times â€ścan you please just play that one more timeâ€¦put that backâ€ť because it kept going with the cactus it keep going with the oceanâ€¦ (iAN is talking about listening to the Black Ryder in the car on the way back from BRMCâ€™s Del Mar show in San Diego)
Â JK: Yes, yes I doâ€¦It was â€śGone Without Feelingâ€ť
Â AI: And it wasnâ€™t now music it wasnâ€™t something advertized by BP on YouTubeâ€¦blah, blah blahâ€¦
Â SVR: But I think a lot of the times that the music that will make it to an album itâ€™s gonna be in touch with the rest of the music weâ€™re doing and thereâ€™s a central theme going onâ€¦less tracks.
Â AI: Probably because your songs would be longer
Â SVR: More organic, more simple thingsâ€¦one organ piece, one bass track, one vocalâ€¦something simpleâ€¦so that, from the music weâ€™ve created so far on the new album or whatever weâ€™ve done so far whether it makes the album or not itâ€™s all been really simple as opposed to the first album (2009â€™s Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride) which was not simple at all. It was eight guitar tracks and months and months of fiddling in the studio, which I loved at the timeâ€¦we wouldnâ€™t take that back at allâ€¦
AI: But youâ€™re growing all the time you knowâ€¦
SVR: Currently we feel like doing something simple something more immediateâ€¦a lot of the stuff weâ€™re doing is more improvisedâ€¦as in have an idea put it down leave it. You know we are always very concerned about making sure we leave tracks as they areâ€¦even on the first album, even if you recorded them at four oâ€™clock in the morning and you can hear the dogs walking around in the house, people coughing in the backgroundâ€¦that was itâ€¦
AI: One question that a fan had real quick that relates to what youâ€™re talking about is when you start on a song, I know you write all different ways and stuff do you ever start out with a loop trackâ€¦
SVR: Every time
Â AI: Or a vocal or is it all just however it happens? Or do you do it one way?
SVR: We never ever start out with a vocal AI:
Never with vocalsâ€¦you leave that to the end I guess or something?
SVR: Itâ€™s always once we have something together that we put a vocal on itâ€¦there is a mix-up way that we come up with music, sometimes it comes up with a loop that Aimee comes up with vocals or guitarâ€¦weâ€™ll put something down and then Iâ€™ll do some organ under it or something and thatâ€™s how it works. We never ever come together with each other with â€śhereâ€™s this great song that Iâ€™ve written and itâ€™s guitar chords and a vocalâ€ťâ€¦if that happens itâ€™s one percent of the time. Weâ€™re so reliant on each otherâ€™s opinion of things.
Â AI: Are you two more similar or dichotomous, where youâ€™re different like a sun and a moon or are you like kind of the same and you work the same?
SVR: Somewhere in between.
AI: So itâ€™s a balance
Â SVR: If we have something then we play it for each other and if something happens then it happens if not then it disappears.
Â AI: I gotta ask this, one real big fuckinâ€™ question (smiling) have you ever written a shitty song? (Scott smiles) Heâ€™s like no are you fuckinâ€™ high? I know you havenâ€™t so fuck offâ€¦ You donâ€™t have to answer because I already know the answer itâ€™s noâ€¦
SVR: I would probably say no becauseâ€¦
AI: Told ya
SVR: Because it would never get to the point of even being a song if I thought it was shittyâ€¦
AI: I know, I know I was just being fecicious, shooty shoot.
Â SVR: So many times you write something and it turns into something that you think is worth recording and presenting to your partner and thatâ€™s what it is. If I donâ€™t think itâ€™s great I wonâ€™t play it for Aimee and if Aimee doesnâ€™t think what sheâ€™s done is great she wonâ€™t play it to meâ€¦I know sheâ€™s got a bunch of shit and I know Iâ€™ve got a bunch of shit that we may have just thrown down in a minute but have deleted it the next dayâ€¦or more often than not certainly in my case never would have been recorded ever.
AI: Thatâ€™s greatâ€¦Another question that I know that a lot of people wrote in can you tell us anything about the highlights or the lowlights ofâ€¦The Cult tour (the Black Ryder toured as the support band for the Cult in May of 2010)â€¦maybe cities that stood out a little bit different, or people you metâ€¦.I mean how was your tour?
Â SVR: I mean the highlights for us were, the highlights for me I can only speak for me was that I got to play every night and an occasional day off and that isâ€¦
Â AI: How long was that tour real quick Iâ€™m sorryâ€¦
Â SVR: It was split up in two parts but I think it was maybe four weeks and then six weeks or something like that playing every nightâ€¦ AI: Pretty close to two months or something.
Â SVR: With the occasional day off only because you couldnâ€™t get to the next venue in time..so the highlight is playing every night and how tired you become from playing every night
AI: Because youâ€™re growing and youâ€™re gettinâ€™ better
Â SVR: Your just getting so in tune that youâ€¦weâ€™re not a band that like to play a lot, obviouslyâ€¦
Â AI: Did you play Atlanta at all?
Â SVR: Yes
AI: Do the cities kind of mix in or do some stand out
Â SVR: Yes at some point they do but you know if you had asked me if there were any particular cities that stood out it would be difficult for me to say that.
Â AI: But the American tour was pretty fun
Â SVR: What I would say over all about the tourâ€¦you know we crossed the country twiceâ€¦Iâ€™m sure we clocked up a lot of fucking miles in the van, is that the American audiences on the Cult tour were amazing.
Â AI: Thatâ€™s a hell of a bill though
SVR: A few people every night knew who we were but every night, every night without fail we would always make an effort to go out to the merch table after shows and it was honestly just a beautiful thing to see people buying albums, asking us for photos or autographs or whatever it is that people do.
Â AI: Which Iâ€™m gonna get one later (an autograph)â€¦no wait really seriously I need an autograph later
Â SVR: It was amazing, because when youâ€™ve gone to a different country and you travel through places that you think these people are probably not going to like the Black Ryder because you have preconceptions of these peopleâ€¦.
AI: Wait, wait, wait a minuteâ€¦whatâ€™s he talking about somebodyâ€™s not going to like the Black Ryderâ€¦did he just fuckinâ€™ say that shit (Mimicking Scott) â€śsomebody may no like the Black Ryderâ€ťâ€¦fuck youâ€¦alright weâ€™re going back to the interviewâ€¦Iâ€™m sorry but..no way man
SVR: Just remember when youâ€™re on tour with another band, youâ€™re playing to their audienceâ€¦ The thing that is completely amazing on tours like that is when you meet people after the show and they said â€śI looked at what was happening at the show I was about to come to and I check out your band on line and I really liked it so I came early to seeâ€ť thatâ€™s amazing.
AI: Oh I see what youâ€™re sayingâ€¦youâ€™re winning them overâ€¦you all have the same hearts itâ€™s the same thing with Black Rebel.
SVR: To win over an audience like that is extremely satisfyingâ€¦
AI: Have you ever had a gig where you got booed?
Â AI: Never ever? When you were sixteen you never got booed? I didâ€¦
Â SVR: Nope
Â AI: I got booedâ€¦(laughs) they didnâ€™t like my trousersâ€¦
SVR: Sure Iâ€™ve played shows where people didnâ€™t dig it so much but Iâ€™ve never been booed.
Â AI: No? I think thatâ€™s really great because Iâ€™ve listened to the Cult for a long time since I was a younger cat and of course I love your musicâ€¦
SVR: Me too!
Â AI: And so I think its good musicâ€¦what we were talking about earlier when other bands promote other bands or other friendsâ€¦â€¦But anyway itâ€™s like it doesnâ€™t matter if youâ€™re like a band or if youâ€™re an artist or if youâ€™re doing a film making thing if everybody supports every body like a communityâ€¦thatâ€™s what I try to do and thatâ€™s what I think a lot of people try to do.
SVR: The one thing thatâ€™s very important to us on the Cult tourâ€¦
Â AI: I want people to hear the Black Ryderâ€¦
Â SVR: I want people to know this about the Cult as wellâ€¦because no matter what you think about that bandâ€¦most people I know have very fond memories of themâ€¦
Â AI: They have some longevity to them.... SVR: All the tour with that band, we toured with them first in Australia and then they asked us to do the American tourâ€¦ they were so generous and giving in terms of them helping us out with their own show it made us play a better show every night.
AI: So they gave you enough room on stage when you opened upâ€¦
Â SVR: And Iâ€™ll give you details on that, they gave us enough room on stage, they had their lighting people help us out during our show, they had their visuals people doing visuals for us, and those peopleâ€¦
Â AI: Thatâ€™s right because Nicgorski, Billy Nicgorski (The Cobbs/BRMC/Hair Master), got some really great pictures of youâ€¦ am I right or am I hallucinating?
Â SVR: No youâ€™re rightâ€¦it comes to make a differenceâ€¦it really does like when you go to see a band if you see this is the way it is Iâ€™m not gonna argue against itâ€¦great lights, great visuals and everything adds to the whole perception of the bandâ€¦so this audience that weâ€™re playing to every nightâ€¦we were lucky enough to have great visuals and great lightsâ€¦due to the generosity of The Cult and thatâ€™s what Iâ€™m talking about this band, unlike any other main bands that you play with on a support tour they werenâ€™t threatened I mean of course they would have no reason to be threatenedâ€¦other than being disinterested.
Â AI: They welcomed you into the fold so to speak
Â SVR: Absolutelyâ€¦the shows that we did with either the Cult or BRMC or with Brian Jonestown or with the Ravenettesâ€¦Whatever band it was that asked us to play with them, of course, they had that great feeling that we were talking about before, itâ€™s a beautiful thing but because there was no sense of competitionâ€¦
AI: Because youâ€™re familyâ€¦
SVR: Because there was no sense of competition in terms of we have to make sure weâ€™re ten times better than the support band so you canâ€™t use this, you canâ€™t do that, you canâ€™t do this, you canâ€™t do that. These bands are so great that they want the support bands to be as great as they can be because they realize that if you make sure the band before them is as great as they can be, the audience is going to be even more warmed up. Thereâ€™s never any sense of competition. People are there to see themâ€¦..itâ€™s so fucking crazyâ€¦.. this whole support band thing, you know limiting what you can do, making sure that the sound is like 30 DBâ€™s lower, all that whole kind of bullshit
AI: So did you get your sound check in itâ€™s proper?
AI: Yeah, because in the old days it used to be like, â€śWeâ€™ll fuck up the support band and make sure that you knowâ€ť, well thatâ€™s not the right way to do it.
SVR: Those bands are good enough on their own, and when theyâ€™re confident enough to know that they are good at what they do. They donâ€™t need to limit any band that comes before themâ€¦
Â AI: Because your family. They arenâ€™t threatened because your family.
SVR- Ian, Ian Asbury. He was extremely instrumental in being a major support of our band in this country.
Â AI: Ian Asbury had this thing called â€śThe Gathering of the Tribesâ€ť that happened in like 19-fucking-08 or something,
SVR: I know about that
AI: Well thatâ€™s where Lollapalooza
SVR: Yes I know
Â AI: The Gathering of the Tribes took place, I think in, uh, San Francisco, my whole point was I wish that Black Ryder could have played at The Gathering of the Tribes. I know thatâ€™s kinda like high falutinâ€™ and H.P. Lovecraft andÂ goofed outÂ butâ€¦.if you guys, if we could just have a time machine type thing, H.G. Wellsâ€¦. (Ask iAN stutters in his words, stopping mid-thought, searching for the right words to convey his emotions.) What I got hung up on right now was when I listened to My Bloody Valentine, I get this certain feeling that comes over me that gives me this warmth, and you have that same type-you donâ€™t sound like them to me, but you give off that same warmth and I just wish that, that would have been apart of that the gathering of the tribes back then, but Iâ€™m glad we have you now.
Â SVR: My respect for an artist is not only about what theyâ€™ve done, but itâ€™s also about how they are when you meet them.
Â Unfortunately, we were sadly kicked out of the establishment. As it was a late hour, we said our good-byes, graciously thanked Scott Van Ryper for giving us a huge chunk of time to sit with us and let us have some insight into his world.
Big Chief Thanx to the sterling gentleman that is Scott Von Ryper for his time and patience and hospitalityÂ and also Jess (You fucking ROCK!)Â for all herÂ hard work and valuable friendship andÂ time, you're beautiful.Â
Â Always thanks to BRMC*
My hard drive crashed and gave up the ghost leaving me hot as a hornet because fotos of SVR in front of a wisteria tree will never get born, only one foto made it out alive....rolling just to keep on rollin"