Ryanhood rolls into Tucson with latest album
Ryan Green and Cameron Hood possess the kind of affable dynamic obvious to everyone who meets them, and also to those who listen to their music. They’re the heart of Tucson’s own Ryanhood, and they have the air of musicians that are well-versed in the tribulations of coming up, yet are tempered and humble for two extremely talented people. From street performing on the streets of Boston’s Quincy Market in 2004 to opening for Jason Mraz and Train, they’re touring behind their latest album, starting Nov. 7.
After Night Came Sun, Ryanhood’s fourth release, presents a heartfelt slice of hook-heavy, folk-laced pop, complete with introspective musings and lush instrumentals. Made to evoke the sense of a Greenetic live performance, the album was produced by Ryan Alfred, whose background in the capture of live music is evident from beginning to end. Production centered around a few guitars, two amps and a handful of microphones, letting the songs written by Green and Hood shine through the mix and breathe, and lending a painstakingly crafted feel to all 12 tracks.
Daily Wildcat: You guys came up in a time when social media wasn’t as prevalent in the rise of a band — you started Ryanhood in Boston, making a name for yourselves by street performing. How has that initial push affected the band?
Ryan Green: We played a lot at Quincy Market, which is a pretty tourist-y area. People would come see us play, buy the record, then go back to where they’re from. Sometimes people will see us at shows and realize, “Oh my god, I saw those guys street perform seven years ago in Boston.”
Cameron Hood: We never felt like we were making a name for ourselves, though.
Green: Now, we go and play a show in Iowa, and people show up, and you realize you’ve planted these seeds across the country. It feels great.
Hood: I feel like if we have a song that catches the imagination of the public and creates a buzz, we’ve laid enough seeds around the country that things would sprout in a full way. And maybe it won’t ever happen, but we’re still nurturing things all over.
How long did After Night Came Sun take to write? Were the songs shaped with something specific in mind?
Green: It’s a collection of songs spanning a year or two, with the exceptions of the Goldens — those were probably written back in Boston.
Hood: We wanted each performance, each instrument to have a really strong emotion behind it. Sometimes, we left the imperfection in there so you could hear the voice break, and you’d know that there was a person behind it. I always say that it’s the imperfections that bring people closer, not further apart.
What instrumentation did you use in the recording process? The production is really strong, and the mix tends to sound like a live performance.
Hood: We used two combo amps, an Orange and a Mesa and primarily one acoustic guitar, just a Taylor that Ryan (Alfred) had just gotten. We spent a lot of time demo-ing, we were really ready when we got in the studio.
Green: We didn’t have a giant arsenal. A lot of the different sounds came from moving the mics, using what we had. No click tracks were used, no vocal tuning- we moved the tempos around and what not. We had a lot of fun recording a record that way.
How did the songwriting dynamic work on this album?
Green: It’s probably equal between Cameron and I on this record, there’s the freedom to do it that way. It’s always hard to share a song, but our favorites are co-writes, like “Second City” and “After Night Came Sun.”
Hood: I’m more lyrical and melody focused, I’ll just deliver you a song. Ryan’s more “What’s going to musically move me?” It’s more how we can make it special, how we can get color.
Green: It’s trying to make it so unique that somebody listens to the whole thing.
*What direction would Ryanhood like to head in with the release of After Night Came Sun? *
Hood: It’d be great to be selling out to theaters, playing to audiences that want to be there; I’m big on connecting with the audience. This idea comes from taking a year off, so even if you don’t ever create that buzz, we still want to make music that is beautiful to us.
Green: I feel like we’ve made a record we both love, where there’s no perceptions of what the songs should be. We’ve got enough for another album here soon, and hopefully we’ll keep the creative flow we’ve found here.