An Interview With Greeley Estates Front-man Ryan Zimmerman

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Fresh off the the release of their latest release The Narrow Road, we recently got to ask Greeley Estates front-man Ryan Zimmerman some questions about their latest release, plans for their next release Devil Son and a few other things like piracy and which member would be eaten first if stuck on an island.

Tell us a little bit about the writing process for your current two EP effort entitled The Narrow Road and Devil Son respectively; was there anything that was done differently in terms of how both EP’s were written compared to previous records?

We actually did this record on our own without a label and produced it ourselves. It was a different process but we like how it turned out. I actually did all the vocals at my house this time so it was kind of nice to be able to work on them any time of the day. We set out to write a full length but realized after writing a bunch of songs that it made more sense to split it into two EP’s so we could concentrate on both directions.

Did you record both discs at once like an album and then split them up or are they both sonically and thematically different releases?

Yeah we did it all at once but made sure The Narrow Road was mixed and mastered first.  Devil Son is still in the mixing stage at the moment. They will be very different sonically and thematically. Two totally different directions…

You guys have been quite a productive band since “No Rain, No Rainbow” you’ve rolled out a record per year, what keeps the band motivated?

We love writing music its what we live for.  I think if you get too comfortable and ease up then you lose your edge. We try to make each release unique and also keep the intensity that we’ve had in the past.

Dave did an awesome job producing The Narrow Road and undoubtedly Devil Son, was there a reason you guys decided to produce it yourselves instead of going with someone like Cory Spotts for production again, and what effect did it have on the end result?

We love Cory Spotts he is like a sixth member in Greeley and I would give him a lot of credit for what this bands sound has become.  On this record we did it independently and didn’t have the funds that we normally have to do a record. We thought we would give David our guitarist a chance and see how it turned out. We are all very happy with the end result. David did a great job. I’m sure he will do great things in the future with music production.

When The Death of Greeley Estates was released critics ripped the production to shreds for having too much reverb and sounding muddy, what were the bands thoughts on the production, do you agree it could have been a better sounding record production wise?

Honestly now I think we all agree that it could have sounded better including Cory, but at the time we were down with it and felt good about it.  I still love that record and it cracks me up how many little producer divas there are out there that love to talk crap but don’t have a clue about production. Cory produced most of our records including our biggest release Go West Young Man…

Any up and coming bands that you’ve seen or heard of recently you want to tell people about?

I’m not sure off the top of my head too many up and coming bands right now. I did really like the new “Wolves at the Gate” album. I think that band is sick and has a cool message.

You’ve already basically said that The Narrow Road and Devil Son will both be different discs, but definitely putting the questions to rest is there any truth to that?

There is truth to that. We will have to see haha. Its not rap rock though so don’t worry too much.

Does music piracy affect Greeley Estates? What is the bands stance on piracy and is it as big of a problem as people are being told it is?

Yeah piracy definitely affects us in a big way. Now that we are doing this independently every album that is purchased directly helps the band and every album stolen directly hurts us.  We didn’t ask our fans to help us pay for the record but we do ask that they would support us and purchase our music.

If you guys were trapped on an island without food and someone had to be eaten, which member of the band would be eaten first?

Wow not sure. We would probably kill David first but I’m not sure we would eat him.

Are there any benefits and downsides being a signed band (you were recently signed to Tragic Hero) over being an independent one? The two new EP’s are being released independently, is it harder to release music independently and still ensure your music remains accessible?

This is our 7th album and we felt that our fans would have our backs and support us.  I think if you’re a brand new band trying to build a fan-base then a record label is probably the best way to get your music out there.  We don’t have any resentment towards Tragic Hero.  They are an awesome label. It was just time for us to try something new.

What is Greeley Estates favourite place to tour?

Japan is unreal we love that country. Great people that appreciate music for what it is.  Some of our favorite U.S cities to play are Chicago, NYC, Salt Lake, Denver and of course Phoenix.

What is the craziest moment/experience you’ve had while on tour?

I’ve been knocked out a few times on stage.  The last time we were in Florida and I got hit by David’s guitar 30 seconds into the set. The ambulance showed up and that was it. Quickest set we have ever done.

You’ve most likely been asked this question a million times already, but you guys started out as a soft sounding band writing songs mostly sung and then Go West was released and it showed a new-found heavier side of Greeley, what prompted the change?

You cant write the same record over and over and I think that’s why we are still around. We want to constantly switch it up. Another reason for the change at that time was our guitarist Brandon took over the song writing coming into Go West…. and he has a heavier influence.

What music are you currently listening too?

I feel like I’m listening to something new everyday. I do like a lot of chill music.  Bon Iver and Sigur Ros are staples that I’m always jamming. They both help keep me mellow.  Lately I’ve been listening to the new Deftones record a ton and also been jamming some older stuff like Jimmy Eat Worlds “Clarity” album and Brand New’s “Your Favorite Weapon” album.

Who in the band attracts the attention of the ladies the most?

Kyle. He’s filthy looking and the girls love it.

When can we expect to see you in Australia next?

Probably wont be out till spring of 2013 but we would love to get to Australia soon!

Who or what inspired you to become a vocalist of a band?

So many bands over the years inspired me. Bands from all different genres like The Smashing Pumpkins, Glassjaw, The Used, MxPx, Taking Back Sunday, The Bled, Finch and so on…

Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions Ryan, good luck with the new EP’s and tour plans.