(Guest interview by Nazy Ehsani)
When we were recently introduced to the music of the Up-and-Coming artist Ryan Langlois, we didn’t know what to expect. Originally from San Francisco and now Boston based, this talented songwriter has officially caught our attention. Upon listening to his tracks, we quickly became fans. His sounds consisting of a mix between a little Rooney and The Rolling Stones, what’s not to love? We had a chance to get acquainted with Ryan Langlois and get caught up on his musical journey, his Bay Area roots, and the release of his upcoming sophomore EP BANDIT which debuts on November 29th. Check out our chat with Ryan and listen to the full EP below.
Rabbits Black: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us before BANDIT is released shortly. Tell us about the EP. What can fans expect from it?
Ryan: Thanks for taking the time to listen! I’ve been describing Bandit as falling somewhere between Rooney and The Rolling Stones. There’s definitely a lot of California beach rock happening, but it’s rock n’ roll at its foundation. I even got a couple of friends to come in and sing some gospel backing vocals. We recorded Bandit with Will Holland and used a lot of vintage gear so there are a few moments when that retro sound really comes across.
Rabbits Black: Can you tell us the brief history of your band? How did it all come together?
Ryan: It all started through friendships and musical common ground. Sampson and I are both die-hard fans of The Band and bonded pretty quickly over 60s and 70s rock n’ roll music. I think we both knew pretty quickly that we had to play some tunes together. I actually met Carson after being in Boston for only a week or so. He’s a west coast transplant like myself so we just clicked and instantly began lamenting the absence of In n Out and beach weather. The newest addition was Tim, who is perhaps the sweetest dude in the world. It was just one of those things where I needed a bass player and he had been playing with Sampson and Carson in other projects so he filled the spot. Looking back it was a completely obvious choice and has really helped the sound of the record.
Rabbits Black: You started your first band at the tender age of just nine. That’s phenomenal by the way. How did you know at such an early age that music was for you and then set out to be a musician?
Ryan: Well at that point I just wanted to make some noise. I knew my dad had played drums in a college band and one day I asked him if we could set them up. I truly don’t remember there being any great plan or reason other than to pass some time. My parents raised me on everything from The Beatles to The Clash and music was a big part of my childhood. It makes sense that at some point I would want to make the transition and start giving it a go.
Ryan: Every song is different. These days I write a lot from an idea or a title and just fine tune as I go. I spend a lot of time on my bed staring at the ceiling and trying to figure out how best to approach an idea. It can get a little maddening at times, but it’s all part of the job. I’ve also been very lucky in terms of having access to incredibly talented peers and mentors, so I have a great support structure built into my writing process.
Rabbits Black: What was the best advice someone gave you about the ins and outs of the music business?
Ryan: The best advice I’ve received is to remember to take risks. If you reach out to people you admire, the absolute worst thing that can happen is that they don’t get back to you. This is a pretty measly amount of risk when you think about how cool it would be to actually work with some of your heroes. Keep going for it!
Rabbits Black: How does this upcoming second EP differ from your first one?
Ryan: Bandit really pushed me as a writer. I tried to stay out of the usual “I love you” or “You don’t love me” space and do something that was a little different. At the end of the day the goal is to write about common experiences in uncommon ways.
Rabbits Black: You’ve played shows all throughout the west coast, performing at various venues along the way. What are some of your favorite cities and venues?
Ryan: I love San Francisco and the East Bay. It’s where I grew up and the only place that feels like home. Although it no longer exists, my favorite place to play was Blakes on Telegraph in Berkeley. There was just a great vibe in that room and the people running it were awesome and completely helpful to young artists. It was also in a basement, which was the coolest thing to me at the time.
Rabbits Black: When you’re not writing music, what do you like to do?
Ryan: I’m a huge fantasy football nerd so I’m pretty much out of commission on Sundays. This season’s been a little rough but hopefully I can turn things around in the next few weeks!
Rabbits Black: What was the first concert you attended?
Ryan: The first show I ever went to was Green Day at the Bill Graham Civic in San Francisco. I think I was 9 or 10 and my mom had to go with me. The Living End opened and they had an upright bass player who would spin his bass and really give a great show. It was just amazing for a kid who had never seen anything like that before. I think that’s around the time that music began to take over every aspect of my life.
Rabbits Black: What are your plans after your EP release? Will you be touring shortly after and where can we come see you?
Ryan: I’m currently booking shows all around the Northeast for early 2015. Stay posted for details, but there should be more than a few opportunities to come out and say hi.