Learn more about Ryan at his website - http://www.rockitfilms.com
Whoa, Ned! I didn’t see you there.
What a total coincidence that you happen to be on this call and are the person I need to talk to! What’s your background compositionally, musically, human being-ly--
That’s not a word.
Shut up, what’s your life?
Well, I always knew when I was young that I wanted to sing and entertain, so I got into musical theatre at like age 11 to like age 20. And when I left musical theatre to go film school, there was no musical accompaniment left for me, and no songs written for me. And I realized if I wanted to continue singing and performing I had to learn an instrument to accompany myself. So that’s kind of the beginning for how I got into playing music. And then sometime in college I went I’m gonna try and write my own song and I worked on it for like 5 months and you know what, man? It was bad. I mean It was awful. And I tried and tried for probably like 3 or so years using chord progressions from other songs that I had learned until one day it just clicked for me and I started to find my voice.
What was your very first song about?
It was about a girl, it was about a tricky situation with a girl and I remember like the first lyric was “Why do you leave me here standing all alone?” or something like that. And it went (sings the phrase). And then all my friends would say “why did you just rewrite the buttercup song?” And I was like, “Why do you build me--“ “Why do you leave me--“ Okay. Yup. That’s exactly what I’ve done.
So you’ve released music in the past, do you have any coming up?
Well I’ve released live videos of my songs but I’ve never actually released anything officially as a musician. Right now, actually, is the time where I’m releasing my first single, late fall, and then I’m going to release come spring 2017. The whole 8 song album.
That’s awesome, congratulations!
Yeah, it’s done! I’ve been saying “oh it’s gonna be done” for like 3 years. But legitimately the website’s designed, it should be up next week, I’m putting everything onto iTunes and Spotify now. It’s all real stuff happening.
So this is your first album?
Yeah! Before this I was always sort of winging it as an artist, going off of my ear, I was sort of theoretically trained as a kid on how to read music but not really how to write music. I was just sort of going off of what felt right and I liked how it sounded. And I learned to trust that. When I play at shows and people tell me that they like a certain song, then it reinforces that what I am doing is somewhat right to other people, but definitely to me.
If a new song comes out it’ll usually just be me typically playing the guitar or piano and coming up with a little progression and then saying, “huh, I think I got something”. And then I’ll hum a melody and if a hook comes out then I’m like “ooh I’m excited, now I really got something. Shit. Now I have to figure out lyrics.” So the story for me is definitely the biggest challenge where just building the sounds is the most fun and natural part of my process. I’ll come up with a little lick and then I’ll come up with the hook, and say “okay, I’m on to something.” And then I’ll pick up the guitar every day and I’ll play it for 15-30 minutes, trying to build off of that. That allows me to remember what I had done the day prior that I liked. So it’s really just looking at the puzzle every day and going “how can I add a piece?”
So you actually offered yourself to me as a composer on The Hunted. You were already on to direct the show, and you asked “how are the composers?” and I answered “they’re great! We just don’t have anyone to write this one song.” And you were like “well, I don’t want to overstep my bounds, but I write songs...” Why specifically did you want to write a song for this show?
First of all I think your paraphrasing was pretty right on. You recall it as I recall it, so that’s good. Yeah, I definitely just wanted to offer my ear if you wanted ears, but then when you said there was an opening I thought, “this could be a fun opportunity!” I write for myself and I have typical artist issues, which makes the process really excruciating sometimes to call it done. But when its for someone else, its a fantasy type thing, it’s not all about reflection. This was a chance to play with something totally new and almost rule free. You gave me a brief synopsis and a green light and where I was at the time it just felt like a really fun opportunity. And where we are now, looking back at it, it was well worth it, I’m glad I asked.
How did you pick the style for “Between Two Fates”? What was your approach?
Well I’d sent you some of my tracks and that was further direction you gave me, is you listened to four of my songs and said “one of these is kind of in what we were thinking.” And so I went forth with that genre and just kind of picked up the guitar and started making stuff up. And in fact, the bridge I made up then and there. I’d never played that chord before, I think I was going for something else, and I plunked it and went “wait a minute!” That came together super fast because of a mistake. That’s what I love about song writing is when you try something new and different and it just clicks.
Once you got on set, was it weird to direct someone performing your song?
Not at all. I think I just approached the song not as mine. You know it’s something I wrote melodically and lyrically but then it was arranged by Will (Melones - Arranger and Score Mixer - Check out his company Doc's Basement) and collaboratively edited by the four of us, plus the performer. So at that point it was a big collaborative process and it became our song. By the time we got to set we already knew it was a great product and so I trusted in the song and I trusted in the performance, and at that point its his song and so my job as the director is to facilitate and observe his performance and see if I can help elevate it or inform it in any way.
On October 31st, we release this Action Comedy Musical Web Series that you directed and wrote a song for, what is your hope for The Hunted, and specifically your song post-release?
I’ve been saying it since Day 1, baby, we’re getting a Webby Award! No in all honesty, at the end of the day, if we’re happy with the product, that’s already a big success. I don’t want to force “goals” onto this. If people watch this and really start liking this, then that’s like the next achievement we can reach. Once we get there we can keep looking onward to bigger and better things. But that’s the tier that I hope for us, and that I think our product more than reaches that mark.