Let’s start off by stating your name and what you do in Rookie of the Year?
Ryan - Hello Dear Folks! I'm Ryan and I sing and play acoustic guitar.
Mike - Hey thereee! I'm Mike and I play guitar and sing back ups.
Tell us a little about your new record “Sweet Attention.” Mike - It's a concept album that follows a teenage boy named Daniel. He moves from the east coast to the palm fringed roads and blue skies of Los Angeles when his mother gets a new job. They go in their station wagon and arrive at the block of flats they're to stay at. It doesn't seem too bad and fate has a plan for Daniel, as he meets Miyagi, the handyman at the complex. He soon learns that Miyagi is a patient and kind man, who teach him how to trim bonsai trees. It's pretty inspiring.
Ryan - Well with this record it was more of a group act for the writing. I pretty much came to the table with ideas along with everybody else. Then after the structure of the songs was completed I went into hibernation at my home in NC and wrote melodies and stuff for about half of the record and finished the rest in the studio with the help of some friends.
Was there anything you wanted to accomplish while writing and recording the record?
Ryan - Actually this record was more of a fun project for me and all of us. There are a few songs that really hit home for me, but for the most part I just wanted to write a record that is just a feel good record all around. We already wrote a sad ass record.
Mike - We really wanted to write a record that would translate well live. I really love our last record but we really didn't want to write the same record twice (or at least back to back). We really wanted to write a fun record this time around and just have a good time, it just felt like the right thing to do.
What are some songs on the new record that mean a lot to you and why?
Ryan - "Summer" - means a lot to me, it's about the life of someone that meant the world to me at one point. "Any Longer" – This song is about battling drug addiction, quit that hobby. "Savannah" - "Summer" was in a bad car wreck in Savannah and that week was probably the worst week of my life, but at the same time I experienced something super special. I still remember walking into the ER and looking down at her and her looking up at me in her hospital bed and smiling…ugh the song had to be written.
What was it like working with Matt Malpass? Mike - We worked with Matt on our last record, he has an amazing vibe. Anyone who knows him would agree.
Ryan - Matthew had been my friend for about 7 years now. We played in the same band together years ago and have been in different bands that have toured together.. The kid is Gold.
How did you go about choosing him to produce the new CD? Ryan - Well when it comes to recording vocals and adding the bells and whistles to a record, he's patient and I feel comfortable with him in the vocal booth. He doesn’t give a shit what I do… half of the time I'm in the vocal booth and were talking to each other in strange voices. We still always end up coming out with something awesome in the end.
Mike - His studio is 2 miles away from Ru San's. They have $1 rolls of sushi, playing a major part in the decision! haha Matt is just an all around great dude and great producer. We feel really comfortable and creative around him. This time next year every band will be begging their label's to let him produce their new record!!!!
Do you feel like you have changed since your last record? Why or why not?
Mike - We've definitely changed a bit for sure. When we recorded our last record I was 19 and we were all pretty new to the business and new to the whole recording process. We just decided that we're going to have fun this time around, fuck it. Gas is $4 dollars a gallon. What else can you do?
Ryan - Very much. I learned how to have peace with writing pop songs. Haha
Are you worried about your album leaking onto the internet? Mike - Nahhhhhhh. Whoever was planning on buying our record is still going to buy it regardless of whether it leaks or not. With releasing a new record, a major objective of ours is to expand our music to a new fan base (aka. people who have never heard of ROTY before). All of those "new" people haven't heard of us yet so they're not looking out for a new Rookie record on the internet. Does that make sense to you AP.net forum queens?? :)
Ryan - What???? That stuff happens??
You guys are going on a pretty big tour with Secondhand Serenade, My American Heart, Playradioplay, and The Graduate, how did you guys get on the tour? Anything you are looking forward to?
Ryan - John from Secondhand will probably be at my wedding if I ever get married. He’s a good buddy of the band and mine. He invited us to hangout for two months. We are very grateful for his friendship and love towards us.
Mike - We've done a few tours with Secondhand Serenade before and we've become really good friends over that time. I'm way stoked to do this tour; this is our first full US tour as a supporting band. We're used to doing rough headlining runs. We're excited to be able to play to new people every night with a new record. We should be doing some rad support tours for a while to come now, good times ahead.
You have toured with a bunch of bands, what are your favorite bands to tour with?
Mike - We were lucky enough to be able to do some dates with Relient K earlier this year, those guys were super awesome to us and the crowds were great. Matt Thiessen actually helped out a lot with our record and we can't thank him enough for everything. Other favorite bands would have to be Secondhand Serenade, Making April, Permanent ME (RIP) Four Letter Lie and the Scenic. We're playing a few shows with Asteria on our way out to the Stay Classy Tour, those boys are fun to hang with.
Ryan - Relient K was fun, just being around Matty T and the boys is a great time. Matt ended up playing keys on our record so we really spent a lot of time together these past few months. Self Against City was a great run, those kids are the most down to earth brothers ever. Everybody I guess we tour with have certain things I enjoy I suppose.
Favorite cities/venues to play at? And why? Ryan - Hmm... The Orlando House of Blues is always a blast. The Town Ballroom in Buffalo NY is a good time. And as for venue itself…. And I think everybody would agree that has played there before, the Norva in Norfolk VA could be heaven on earth.
Pat - Philadelphia!
What is the best/worst show you have played so far and why? Ryan - The best show was probably opening for Gym Class Heroes at Six Flags in NJ. About 7,000 crazy fans. Worst show ever??? Hmmm...The day "The Goodnight Moon" came out we played for 5 kids in this college bar in NJ… we had just gotten off tour with Hit the Lights and Just Surrender… we were so bummed. haha
Mike - Worst show I can think of would have to be when we played in Lexington, Kentucky a week or so after "The Goodnight Moon" dropped. We played at some YMCA in front of about 20 people. Pat's strap locks broke and his bass fell to the ground. He picked it up back not knowing that the strap locks were broken and strapped it back up. The bass fell to the ground again. Our ex drummer TJ, also forgot to come in on one of our songs. I think "Having To Let Go", it was horribleeeeee! I think we are still too embarrassed to show our faces in Lexington after that set. Our so called CD RELEASE show with one microphone at TCNJ college in front of 7 and a half people was pretty awful as well. As for best shows, I'd say my favorite show recently was at the House of Blues in Orlando with Between the Trees. It was our first time playing a lot of our new songs to an audience, it was a great feeling to finally play the songs we worked so hard on down in Atlanta. Bamboozle 2007 was a lot of fun, we played a really small stage and I was prepared to play to the concrete but about 2000 people showed up right before our set and knew every word. It was the first time I realized that people other than my mom actually listen to our band sometimes hah.
What are some things you look forward to while out on the road? Ryan - I have friends all over this North American area of the world… its always good to just hangout and have a good time with friends that you haven’t seen in a long time. Also just meeting new bands is good. The Graduate boys are nice guys so I'm happy to be spending 2 months with them.
Mike - Noodles & Company, meeting new people, releasing a new record and finding the cheapest whiskey in different cities with the cleverest names. It passes the time, haha.
What's your greatest weakness as a band? Mike - Communication. Everyone in our band is so different, we didn't grow up together, and we didn't even grow up in the same states. So everyone expresses different forms of communication. I'm the kind of guy that will say and address whatever is bothering me the moment it's bothering me and other people will hold in their feelings until they are about to explode. Other than that, I'd have to say trailer maintenance, we're on our 4th trailer in 3 years. Going to get the bearings packed today, wish me luck.
Ryan - None of us talk well on stage. I'm going to stage talking classes in NYC this fall.
Anything else you want to say to the readers of AbsolutePunk.net? Ryan – Well, if this site didn’t exist… we would not be where we are now… so were very happy that they have been so kind to us. Means a lot.
Mike - Thank you for the interview, we appreciate everything that absolutepunk.net has done for our band and will continue to show our loving support! As to the readers, I hope you enjoy our new record and will give it a shot, we think it's pretty cool. Also, open your minds to some new music!!!!! There are a ton of great bands out there not getting the attention they deserve. It's not the end of the world if you don't love a band as much as their record label expects you to. Be yourself and do what makes you happy. :) Also check out the Scenic's new record and come say hi to us this summer on the road, we're pretty nice dudes.
You can check out Rookie of the Year's AbsolutePunk profile here and myspace here.