Interview: Ryan Hamilton

From indie band Smile Smile to collaboration with Jaret Reddick as People On Vacation, and now his solo material – Ryan Hamilton has been a busy boy lately. We caught up with him to talk about his solo material, playing gigs in peoples houses, Noel Gallagher, cassettes and the current music industry.

What sets your solo material aside from your other projects such as People On Vacation and Smile Smile?

This is the first time in my career that it’s JUST ME. Smile Smile was a sad, acoustic based indie band. Super simple, but beautiful sounding songs. POV brings elements of punk rock because of Jaret. This solo stuff is definitely not sad, and it’s definitely not punk rock. I was very conscious of making an album that sounded like my own, and I’m very proud of the poppy, rock n roll album I created. Slightly terrified to be going it alone, but I feel like that’s healthy. Haha!
Your upcoming UK tour is a ‘house party’ tour, tell us more about this?
There’s nothing like it. They are some of my favourite shows to play. I literally set up in someone’s living room with a small PA and 30-50 people. The shows are packed all the way up to the microphone. I can look every person right in the eye and interact with them all! Drinks, laughs, and good times all around. I love it.

What gave you the idea to do this?
I wanted to do something different for the people who WANT to hear my music. I didn’t want to book a tour and go play to half empty venues. With this solo album, in a lot of ways, I’m starting over. So it’s very important to not only do some fun, different things… but also to do things right.
Can you tell us anything about the secret locations?
Nope! Haha. Well, I can tell you that the hosts are pretty damn amazing for opening up their homes for something like this. I got almost 400 emails from people who wanted to host. Narrowing it down was the hardest part. I HATE letting people down. Especially folks who support my music. I feel very lucky to have the house party hosts we have.
Why have you released a solo album and tour so soon after the release of POV’s last album?
POV has been tough the last couple of years. Jaret’s been through A LOT. We had to delay the release AND the tour. Honestly, I didn’t want all the POV delays to also delay this solo album/tour. I’m not getting any younger! Haha! The timing felt right and thank God it’s worked out so far. The response has been great. I’m not sure what the future holds for POV. I’m not sure if we’ll make another album. So, it’s also important to me to keep moving forward.

Are you going to miss  Jaret on tour? or will he be the support act?
HA! He would NEVER let himself be the “support” act! Especially for ME! Haha. People forget that I was doing OK in the music industry before I met Jaret. I love the dude, but I’ll be just fine on my own.
You have given away a DIY-style cassette on your twitter account to a fan. What’s on the tape?
My new album! I made a copy for a friend, as a joke. I drew a cover for it, cut it out, put it together, and posted a pic… and people freaked out! So, I thought, what the hell, let’s make home-made cassettes of the new album! Their selling like crazy! Who knew.
Seeing as vinyl is still being pressed, do you feel cassettes should be as well?
Good question! I see cassettes as more of a decoration. Something cool you put on the mantle to look at. People still LISTEN to vinyl. It’s “cool” to have a record player and listen to vinyl. I don’t see people getting their old tape decks out. Especially with all the rewinding and fast forwarding you have to do with those things! Haha!

You are always touring the UK, and your wife is British, what sets UK fans aside from US fans or other fans from around the world?
For the record, I love ANY and ALL who are kind enough to support my musical career. That being said, people in the UK still seemingly love to GO to shows. I love that. People in the US love to stay home. We have lots of toys at home. People in America want to stay home with their toys and watch concerts on their huge televisions.
A little bird tells me there might be some guest appearances on your new album, can you tell us who they are?
It’s true! I’ll tell you this, Kelly Ogden from The Dollyrots sings ALL OVER the album. For me, her vocals were the icing on the proverbial cake.
Who would you like to work with in the future?
The bucket list answer is, Noel Gallagher. The realistic answer here on planet Earth is, Ben Kweller. Love that dude. So talented and so underrated. He should be HUGE everywhere! I mean he’s doing just fine. I just feel his talents deserve more attention. I also feel this new solo material would be a good fit with his stuff.

Do you feel it’s hard to make it in the music industry these days?
Yes. But luckily we we live in a time where technology makes it possible to work hard and make it on your own.
What advice do you have for anyone who wants to get in to the world of music?
MAKE SURE you’re ok with being poor, struggling, not knowing what’s next or if you’re ever going to “make it”. I’m a small fish in a big pond of music. I’m doing ok, and I know how lucky I am to be doing as well as I am. When people ask me that question I always have the same answer: Ignore what’s “fashionable”. Believe in yourself, and work hard every single day.
What’s next for Ryan Hamilton, POV and your other projects?
I’m really not sure. Lots of uncertainty in the future. But I can say with absolute certainty that I’ve never been happier, more fulfilled or more excited about the future.

About Neale McGeever

Contributing Editor - I'm an entertainment writer ('journalist') from the North East. My favourite bands include Slipknot, Nirvana and Ninja Sex Party... I've freelanced for the likes of Kerrang!,Closer, Front, ZOO, and many others! I'm also big in to movies, video games, live comedy and ...beer!

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