RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW BROOKLYN ARTIST HENRY RYEDER
What made you decide to become a soloist?
HR: I can’t not make music. I consider myself an artist first but every time I try to push out the sound from my brain it always springs back up in another song or composition or score, like a mental balloon. This isn’t to say that all the stuff in my head is good, but it’s certainly with me at all times.
Introduce us to you and your musical history?
HR: Trevor Antonio Vaz is a friend and the producer/mixing engineer on this project. I love Trevor’s solo work (under Tony Vaz on streaming) and reached out to him to produce this project. I’ve been playing and writing music since I was 7 or 8, even though I went to college for other things, I knew I would come back to it I’m a serious way.
What’s one question you’re sick of being asked when interviewed?
HR: I’m sick of answering for the tweets I made that caused all that ruckus a while back. I stand by what I said but also I’m a different person.
We set up RGM to share music with both countries, good idea?
HR: Unfortunately I’m against the idea of sharing music with others.
Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories?
HR: I believe JFK was assassinated.
Did you buy anything you don’t need in the pandemic?
HR: My Rickenbacker 4003s Bass. It’s changed my life and my posture. But it’s certainly something that’s been paying itself off – I used it on most of the tracks on Boy Image.
What useless party trick do you have?
HR: My friends and I have a playlist of the most absurd club music we can find on Spotify and often insist on putting it on at parties. It’ll often clear the room but if you time it right people will just assume it’s music that they should know. I love that blurred line between cherished and unloved art.
What was the most fun you have had on stage?
HR: I played in a band for a few years called the Neurotics, we played one unhinged release show where I got up in our photographer’s face and it made for some great pictures. I’m a performer at heart and love the idea of bringing other performance styles into my musical shows.
What was the worst experience on stage?
HR: Battle of the Bands senior year of high school. We had only practiced for the first time the night before and we had to discreetly turn down the volume on our guitarist’s amp so he would stop playing the wrong chords. Sorry, pal.
Tell us something about you / each member that you think people would be surprised about?
HR: I went to school for film, and It was always the construction of time and sound that I wanted to recreate. I never thought of building my own cinematic world without the music and cadence of the dialogue in mind. As I got older I became less entranced with narratives and the industries that exploit their creation and usage. In my music now I’m trying to take a broader look at narratives by collaging them instead of taking anyone at face value.
If you had to describe your band/music to an alien how would you describe it?
HR: They’d get it.
What makes you stand out as a artist?
HR: I’m not sure how to answer that without conjuring up some sense of arrogance I don’t have. I suppose a Darwinist view of art would incline me to say something about how much I put into my work, but I don’t feel that way about what I do. Being an artist is so much about reflecting the process of living things. Seeing competition would be to ignore the way that our roots are interconnected, how some plants face the sun, how some animals are protected and nurtured by others. The ruthlessness is a bit of a narrow view of life in my opinion, and that’s helped me stay present amidst the difficulties of being a human with an ego.
Right now, what’s pissing you off the most?
HR: The most damning reversal of constitutional rights in American history.
What’s your favourite song to play live and why?
HR: As a bass player I would have to say “Love Ain’t No Open Door”, just because it’s such a fun, simple bass line in the verses and so inverter and sliding in the choruses.
I hear you have a new ep, what can you tell us about it?
HR: If New Order were an indie band from Brooklyn in 2022, they’d sound a lot like Boy Image. This record is bedroom pop, but the bedroom is about as huge as you’d be able to find in New York City.
Talk me through the thought process of the EP ?
HR: During the 2020 lockdown I went through a bit of a transformational period as most human beings on the planet did. I had a pretty shut-in childhood so the lack of social contact during the pandemic was a very unnerving echo of some painful memories. From those lockdown feelings came this sense of nostalgia for a world I felt I didn’t get to appreciate in the moment. When I started reading Lizzy Goodman’s Meet Me in the Bathroom (about the indie music scene in the 2000’s), I felt an immediate urge to throw my creative self into exploring the art and style of that period, all while winking and nodding to that scene’s (and ultimately any “scene’s”) shortfalls and anachronisms. That’s where Boy Image came from: someone yearning to find themself in the dusty ruins of a world they never inhabited.
What was the recording process like?
HR: Chaotic! We started tracking in May of last year when Covid was still keeping a lot of things shut down, so we had to move cautiously and work around a lot of people’s schedules. By the end though Trevor and I had a great shorthand for handling production concepts and tracking days.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the ep?
HR: All of it. The more you play and make music professionally, the more you realize it’s like any creative endeavor. I’d say I found a sweet spot in this project with where I’m comfortable delegating control to others.
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
HR: Nope. On to the next thing.
What are your plans for the year ahead?
HR: Get a band. Play every gig I can.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
HR: Yes. I stand with the rights of birthing people in this country and all over the world. How awful it is to see such a sickening reversal of human rights in an age with such a blossom of information and educational access. My political and social views are guided by what I call “loving discomfort.” If I’m always learning from others in a way that disrupts what I thought I knew, then I’m happy.