PropertyOfZack spoke with Ryan of Mixtapes not too long ago and it turned out to be a great interview. Ryan and I discussed the band’s recent touring, a large increase in notoriety, recent releases, a new full-length slated for 2012, record labels, and plenty more. Read up and enjoy!
For the record, could you state your name and role in Mixtapes?
My name is Ryan and I play guitar and sing in Mixtapes.
The band has been home for a little while after touring pretty much from March straight through the end of May. How was that run of tours with a bunch of different bands?
They were actually really good. We actually talked about that because I think we’re in a pretty lucky position where we can do tours with bands like The Wonder Years and Fireworks and more pop-punk bands, and also do tours with like more punker bands like Dear Landlord and Red City Radio. It’s kind of cool because we like all the different stuff and we get to tour with totally different bands and also play at totally different venues and types of scenes. I think it’s actually fun and exciting because we always seem to get on different tours. All of them went really well. We were home for a week and we leave in like 4 days actually.
You guys got added to a few of The Wonder Years shows on that tour. Besides the not great circumstances behind it, were those good shows?
Yeah obviously the circumstances were terrible, especially since Fireworks are really good friends of ours, but the shows were awesome and it was a really good opportunity. It was fun because that was a great tour full of a lot of great people. Every band was super fun. Also, obviously, the shows were super packed as well so that adds.
POZ: Was the crowd into you guys at all of those bigger shows on the tour?
Ryan: Yeah actually we did really well. The cool thing about it was getting the notice about the tour literally the day before we had to leave. We put it out the best we could but in all the cities people showed up to see us and were stoked to see us. That was really surprising for us because of the notice and because those shows were out in the middle of the country, a place we had definitely never been. We played Omaha and Wichita, Kansas, and places like that where people knew our songs and it kind of blew our minds.
The name Mixtapes in general seems to be getting heard more and more over the last few months. Have you guys seen a difference in increase from fans online or on the road?
Yeah actually. It’s been weird, obviously in a good way. We get talked about, I feel, and talk too. It’s cool because I think our friends’ bands helped in the beginning like The Wonder Years and Four Year Strong and people I knew liked our stuff. We hadn’t really toured that much but every time they were on tour they would tell people about us. The reviews we got online and putting our record up for free, we didn’t expect anything to really snowball. We have already done things in the past 6 months that I thought we’d never do. Our goal when we started was to play a couple local shows and now we’re pretty much touring nonstop. Kind of funny.
POZ: Yeah and is it just really kind of the greatest thing to have friends in bands that are starting to blow up now like The Wonder Years and Fireworks that are going to continue to help you guys out?
Ryan: Yeah it’s been awesome. They’re all really nice people and they just kind of played our stuff for people and it helped us get shows out of town before we had anything and it was just really cool. We didn’t expect any of it at all. This was the most unexpected band I think you could ever possibly have. Literally there was just two of us and an acoustic guitar. We just started the band and we were going through stuff and we just wanted to play a few shows and maybe record an acoustic album. That was our first goal. Not that we really wanted to be acoustic from the beginning, but we didn’t want to have to mess with teaching people songs and stuff like that.
The band released A Short Collection Of Short Songs towards the end of the year in 2010. Do you think that added a little boost into bringing the band into 2011?
Yeah, I think so. I think the more time goes on I think the more people like it too. I guess that’s kind of like our weirder record in the way that its slow and like softer. We usually only play one song off of that record live, but I think the vibe of it is a little different than the other ones. People seem to like it. It’s sold out now so that’s cool and made me happy.
And another EP was just released in May called Hope Is For People. When were those tracks recorded?
They were actually recorded at two different times because originally Hope Is For People wasn’t much of a record, it was actually going to be a split with another band. Due to, I don’t know even know if miscommunication is the word, it doesn’t really matter nothing bad actually because they’re good friends of ours, but it was going to be an acoustic split but we broke the rules and kind of added drums and stuff to our songs. So it ended up not working out the way we wanted it to. We were sitting there for a day and didn’t really know what to do so we decided to record other new songs and add full band stuff to the other songs to not make them acoustic. So I think some of it was recorded in February and the rest of it was recorded like a month before it came out.
Has the initial reaction to the 7” been much different to A Short Collection?
Yeah this one I think, overall, I think people like more and I think we like it more because it’s more upbeat and we play all the songs live. I like the lyrics and the vibe of it. I’m just really happy with it I guess. I don’t have a particular awesome good reason, I just like the songs better and I think they flow better and I just like lyrics and the melodies, they’re just upbeat and fun.
Is this the kind of direction you want to continue on with?
Actually, not really but kind of is the best answer. We’re recording our first full-length over the winter. We’re going to tour the rest of the year, and then Fest in Gainesville will be our last show. Then we’re going to make a real album and take a few months and do it right. We already have like 14 of the songs written and some of them were written before Hope Is For People and A Short Collection. We want the album to go a certain way and kind of all over the place. I guess like there are shorter really fast ones. There’s a lot of slower piano stuff and like the last song on it is 4 minutes long which kind of bums me out because we try to not write long songs, but I like it and don’t want to change it.
Animal Style Records has put out the last few releases. How has your relationship with Matt been?
Matt’s awesome. I’ve never actually met Matt but he’s probably become one of my best friends. It’s funny because originally he contacted us and all he really wanted to do is put Maps out on vinyl, which is funny because that still hasn’t come out on vinyl. We just ended up talking and I was like why don’t we just do a new record? We just ended up talking and we have a lot of similar tastes. Every single thing Matt has ever said he’d do he’s done, and it’s been on time, and there’s never been an issue. We just work together really well. I wish I had something bad to say about him but I don’t.
POZ: Will maps ever come out on vinyl?
Ryan: It is, it will hopefully be out by Fest, that’s the plan. We get asked about it a lot and I want it out on vinyl because the songs have very special places for our band. I don’t really have a good reason as to why it hasn’t happened yet, but the plan is to have it by Fest on Halloween.
Mixtapes will be hitting the road again shortly with Fireworks and Hostage Calm. How stoked are you for those dates?
We’re really stoked about that actually. We leave Saturday for that. The tour is going to be great because Fireworks are our good friends. Like Tim from Fireworks actually played drums on Maps, our first record. We’ve known those guys for a really long time. It’s funny because he played on the record but we’ve only played one show with them in the past year, so it will be cool to actually go out on tour and hang out with them every day. Hostage Calm are great guys. I think it’s going to be a fun tour. And then we get to play The Wonder Years release show in the middle of that which is going to be crazy.
Will you be playing any newer songs from the full-length, or will you be keeping it to the older set?
We know a couple of them. When I say we have 14 done, like Maura and I know them acoustically and we’ve taught a few to the band. We might play one or two it just depends. Maybe I’m just weird, but when I was growing up and went to see a band I had never seen before, especially since we’re going to be playing places we never have before, whenever they played a new song I got kind of bored. But I also think I have the shortest attention span ever, so other people might not be that way. So I don’t really know if we should play new songs. We might play one. I mean every band ever says this, but I think the new songs are our best ones. But the reason I feel that’s more backed up is some of them were written a while ago and we decided to save them for the album because they were really good.
So just more about the new record, do you guys want to keep writing and build up as many tracks as you can?
Yeah the plan is, we have 14 pretty much done and we’re going to keep writing all year obviously. Basically from November 1st through like February the plan is to not tour at all, which is why we’ve been touring so much and trying to hit every spot we can. All winter we’re going to start learning and demoing the songs. Everything we’re happy enough to record we are going to record and then we’ll see what makes the album and the order and how we want everything to go. All of the other records were recorded such last minute. Especially since I’m such an asshole. On most of our records like I’ll have a song done and it will be the day before we have to record, and I’m like “Hey let’s run this song because I want it to be on the record.” That’s probably really cruel to do to band mates but it always has worked out luckily and we get everything done last minute and are happy with it. This time we won’t have to do that, so we’ll record a lot more songs.
When would you guys want to have the new record out by?
If everything went perfectly we would love it to come out in spring when we start touring again because that would make the most sense. So if everything works out perfectly, which nothing ever does when you’re in a band, that would be the ideal time to put it out.
Do you guys have any more summer touring worked out yet?
We’re doing the Fireworks/Hostage Calm thing and then we’ll be home for a week and then the first three weeks of July we’re announcing the west coast tour with Seahaven which is going to be awesome. From there we’ll be home for a week and then we’re playing Insubordination Fest in Baltimore which is going to be amazing for me because there are a lot of good pop-punk bands. Then we’re touring with a band called Candy Hearts from there down to Florida and then Fest in October. That’s everything that is confirmed but I’m sure there will be more hopefully because in September we want to do something fun.
And just for the record, Animal Style has obviously been great for you guys, but it can kind of be assumed that you guys are going to get some more popularity throughout the year. Do you know if the record will come out on that label or are you guys kind of shopping around at all?
The honest answer but I’m not really sure, we’ve talked to labels and honestly the plan is that we’re going to record the album ourselves and do the artwork ourselves and pay for it so we kind of own everything, and then when the album is done the way we want it to be done, we’re going to give it to all the labels we’ve talked to and figure out what we’re going to do. We don’t really have any plans. We’re going to try to not worry about that. I think most bands worry about that as a circle point and we just kind of put it in the back of our minds. We’re just happy to be touring and it’s awesome that people like our band, so the label thing, to me, I guess in a way is important but at the same time isn’t because we’re going to make the album and it will come out on some label. If people want it they are going to hear it. It’ll probably come out on a cool label. We’re hoping for either Sumerian or Victory, or maybe even Eulogy (laughs). I’m just joking. We don’t have any plans beyond that so whoever wants to put it out and wants to give us the closest sum to $1 million, that’s who we’re going to go with. So that actually might be Victory, so who knows (laughs).
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