Here's my interview with singer Ryan Wyant
How'd you get started in music?:
I'd always been fascinated by music, even at a young age I was constantly listening to the radio and using the CD's my mom and dad had given to me. I'd always had an interest in singing, which is where the performance piece started. My family would do karaoke nights with one of those little machines, and singing quickly became a fascination. It was more than just fun, it was therapeutic and it evoked emotion. As I got older, I became increasingly more interested in the instrumental piece of music. I'm a huge gamer, so naturally when games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band became big, I was quick to jump on board. After a while, I realized I wanted to actually learn to play the real instruments. I started with guitar my sophomore year of high school, then bass the following year. I also play a little drums and piano, but not as fluently as I sing and play bass/guitar. I've struggled with depression and mental health issues my whole life, and music became a haven and an escape. This is probably the biggest reason I decided I wanted to become involved with music.
Who are your inspirations or influences?:
I could go on for hours on this one. I listen to primarily rock/metal, but if things sound good, they sound good. The biggest influence and inspiration for me personally is Metallica. My father gave me a CD of "...And Justice for All" when I was in elementary school, and it blew me away. Other key bands and influences include Alter Bridge, Iron Maiden, Slayer, Killswitch Engage, Megadeth, Aerosmith, Alice in Chains, Trivium, Linkin Park, Disturbed, AC/DC, Whitechapel, and Demon Hunter. Vocalists that have influenced me the most would be James Hetfield, Layne Staley, Chris Cornell, Chester Bennington, Myles Kennedy, Jesse Leach, and Howard Jones.
What advice would you offer aspiring performers?:
Nerves and confidence are two of the most important obstacles to overcome relating to performing. I used to be sheepish and refused to play and sing for others, because of those nerves and low confidence it made my performance suffer. Practice not only on your skills and musicianship, but learn to be confident and practice performing in front of others. Doesn't need to be a huge audience, just performing for a parent or friend will help you prepare. That's how I started. Also, don't give up if you are just starting out. Early stages of music creation and performing can be grueling, but it's rewarding as well. Don't fret on mistakes either, pun intended. Trial and error is a huge part of learning to play and perform. Mistakes are where your greatest lessons will sprout from.
How do you set yourselves apart from other bands or singers?
My bandmate and long-time friend, Matt Grayson, and I try to incorporate a wide variety of genre-related elements into our music. For example, he's more into heavier metal, while I like the more classic metal approach. We try to blend and incorporate our influences, but also to throw in our own ideas and experiment. We also switch up roles on instruments when we make music and record because our playstyle and preferences are different, so it makes our sound less static and more dynamic. We also like to keep the heaviness of the music diverse and play with the idea of using different tones and effects with our intruments and mixing.
Any new gigs or albums in the future?:
Yes, we are currently four songs into an album that we are working on. It's themed around the darker parts of my life experiences and my struggles with mental health issues. I'm laying out some things that are very personal, but I'm an advocate for mental health awareness, so I'm hoping it will not only be therapeutic to write and create music about, but to also inspire others to reach out, and hopefully change some minds about the stigmatization of mental health. The current running title is "Songs of Darker Days", but like everything in art, it is subject to change. We'll be incorporating and blending choral and symphonic elements into this album as well, so it should be pretty awesome once we're all finished up!