Interview: People On Vacation

 Photo: Dave Kai-Piper

Photo: Dave Kai-Piper

We did an email interview with Ryan Hamilton and Jaret Reddick from People On Vacation. For those not familiar, People On Vacation is a band consisting of Jaret Reddick (frontman for Bowling For Soup) and Ryan Hamilton. 

Mary McComish asked about their new album, The Chronicles Of Tim Powers, their chance at mainstream success in the UK and what the band has planned for 2015.

Their new album, The Chronicles Of Tim Powers, is out Feb. 3. Catch People On Vacation at one of their upcoming tour dates which you can find at wearepeopleonvacation.com.

Under The Rockies: Your album comes out on Feb. 3, hopefully. Excited for it to finally be released into the world?
Ryan Hamilton: YES! We’ve had to delay it a couple of times, but only because the initial response has been so good. We’re REALLY excited to finally “officially” release it.

The album was delayed due to People On Vacation possibly getting more mainstream success in the UK Does it feel weird, possibly getting more mainstream success in a country that’s not your own?
RH: I guess it’s a little strange, but we love it. It’s cool to have such amazing support from so far away. Hoping the U.S. catches on too. That’s the dream anyway. Mainstream success in the UK and at home. We’re lucky to be having things go our way in the UK. Definitely exciting times for our band over there.

You used PledgeMusic to fund this album – what was that experience like?
RH: Incredibly fun and rewarding. It really does feel like you’re making the album TOGETHER with all of the supporters/pledgers. 
Jaret Reddick: We are old pros now and I feel like it is much easier now that so many bands are doing it. It is essentially a pre-sale but with so much added content, and the fans are involved along the way. The fan is the label now. It is amazing how things have changed!

Tell me a little bit about The Chronicles Of Tim Powers.
RH: I’ve never been more proud of an album or a collection of songs. All the songs come from very personal places… but we tried our best to still keep the overall tone upbeat and hopeful. Even though there are stories of heartbreak and loss.
JR: I am so proud of this album. It is the first we have written front to back as a collection of songs. The passed albums have been collections of songs written over time. Pretty crazy how balanced this one turned out.

What were you listening to when recording this album? What inspired you?
RH: I’ve been listening to the same music for 20 years. Haha! I listen to a lot of “classic rock” from the ‘60s and '70s. I’m also a HUGE Tom Petty fan. Gotta mention Noel Gallagher too. Those early Oasis albums were huge for me as well. That’s pretty much what I listen to all the time. Classic rock, Tom Petty and Oasis. Haha! There’s some current stuff in there too… sometimes. 
JR: Ha! I was actually working on a Bowling For Soup album at the same time as this, so there was a lot happening. We both loved the fun. album and were listening to a lot of Foxy Shazam. I am sure Ryan was listening to some shit I hate and me him.

How does it differ from your debut album, The Summer and the Fall?
RH: The first half of The Summer and the Fall is really strong… but the rest of the album is a little all over the map. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. We just hadn’t really found our sound yet. After that album we found our identity as a band. I think it shows on this new album. I’m proud of the unexpected balance we found between Jaret and I’s musical styles. Have I mentioned how proud I am of this album? Haha.
JR: Like I said, we wrote this one and recorded it as a collection. I think we have a groove and we have found our groove. This is the first REAL album from POV, I think. This is what we sound like!

What inspired the comic book themed album cover? I know it’s something that also carries over in your website design as well.
RH: Well, I LOVE comic book art so I take full credit for the awesome cover. Haha.
JR: Ryan is a nerd. He spends a lot of time and money on comic books and in and around that world. He is also an amazing artist and has met a lot of people in that world. When we had the title, we didn’t really know how to tie it into the album itself. I mean, this album is pretty raw topically. We mean that shit! So Ryan found a very accomplished comic book guy that loves our band and made it happen. I am so happy with it all. Super cool!

What was the recording process like?
RH: Pretty seamless, actually. We have a system that we stick to. Couple of bumps in the road, but for the most part it was a really enjoyable, fun process. 
JR: We have that down too. We have an idea and start hashing it out and then immediately start recording it. I usually make a loop and we literally just start layering stuff on top. We later sent it to Linus of Hollywood to add bass and some other nuggets, he gets a drummer to play on it and it’s done! It is WAY different than the Bowling For Soup process, but it is a lot of fun. We laugh a lot.

Do you prefer being in the studio or on tour?
RH: I prefer being on tour. I like the random, unique moments that make each show different. 
JR: Nowadays, I’d rather be in the studio. I still love playing shows and I like to tour, but I have kids and a family. It is hard to be gone.

Do you enjoy having an outlet, People On Vacation, to pursue other styles of music that you wouldn’t normally pursue in your other musical endeavours?
RH: Yeah, I really do. But as time goes on, it’s becoming clear that POV is my only “real” band. It is now my priority and focus. Everything else takes a back seat. 
JR: 100 per cent. I love all of my bands so much because they are all different in song writing styles, process and just overall vibe. I am a lucky dude.

Besides People On Vacation, what else are you working on right now?
RH: I’m preparing to record my first solo album, and I draw and paint a lot. Getting ready to launch a new art store.
JR: Finishing up a Bowling For Soup greatest hits from the first 10 years. That comes out soon. Been doing more and more voice work, which I really like doing. Man, it is nonstop but I wouldn’t trade any of it!

What do you have planned for 2015?
RH: Releasing our new album, lots more touring and crossing our fingers that the stars align and our band gets a legitimate shot at that ever elusive “mainstream” success.

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Mary

Mary McComish is a journalist, music junkie, vegetarian, feminist and social media queen. She received her print journalism diploma from Lethbridge (yes, where Marilyn Manson was punched in the face) College and, since then, has freelanced as both a journalist and a graphic designer.