Los Angeles-based pop-rock band Yellowcard, whose hits include “Ocean Avenue,”“Light and Sounds,”“Only One” and “Way Away” will perform live at the A Venue Hall in Makati Sunday, January 20. [firstpara]
Lead singer and rhythm guitarist Ryan Key took time out from a recording session to chat with FHM over the phone. Some excerpts:
Many people first discovered your music through the videogames like the Burnout racing games and Guitar Hero. Are you a big fan of videogames yourself?
Madden is my favorite football games and it’s one of the huge videogame franchises ever. And I feel good and excited to be included in two Madden games already.
Games are a really cool way to get people to notice our music as well as our new songs, if they’re already familiar with us.
You’ve been described as alternative, pop-rock, punk and even emo. As far as musical genres go, what exactly is the best way to describe Yellowcard?
People can call us whatever they want and it’s just fine with us. But we’re really more of a pop-rock band that is heavily influenced by other bands.
I think it would be a stretch to call us punk because punk is actually more than just music, it’s a lifestyle. I’d say we’re more old school and more fun than anything else people consider us to be.
When did you learn to play guitar and who were/are your influences as a musician?
I’ve been playing guitar since I was 13 years old. Nirvana, Kurt Cobain was an early influence. So was Billie Joe Crawford of Green Day.
Bad Religion was also one of the bands I listened to back in the day. As a kid, I had no desire to be Eddie Van Halen; I only wanted to learn enough to write songs over.
I play rhythm guitar and am totally happy with it although I wished I really took the time to learn more. Ryan (Mendez) is the real guitar genius of the band. He does all of those amazing solos that you hear in our songs.
So what exactly are your inspirations for writing songs?
We like working together a lot, writing songs together. We like traveling and being away together gives us a lot of inspirations. Truth is, a lot of our songs are not just about our own experiences but of people close to us as well. We also stay updated in the news as what happens out there is another source of inspiration.
The band has been around since 1997, releasing several albums and undergoing several line-up changes. This year, you’re set to release your seventh full-length. How has the music evolved for the band in terms of what you do when recording new material?
The core of the band is still pretty much the same although I’d say we’re a lot better now as musicians. We’re still working with the same producer since our first album and even now, we continue to learn so much from him. While we’re not averse to experimenting, at the end of the day we’re only willing to do it if it makes sense.
The Philippines is the only Southeast Asian stop in your current tour. Are you aware that you have a big following here? What exactly can your fans expect from your coming live performance?
It blows our mind that there are people who love our band from thousands of miles away. I have many friends from high school and it continues to amaze me what I do for a living. We’ve come a long way from being a band that plays for about 200 people in small clubs every night to thousands from many parts of the world. It’s amazing that we’re still out there touring.
We don’t have anything by way of special visual effects and all that fancy concert stuff. We just come out and rock and give our fans an awesome set that’s fun and filled with high energy and yes, a lot of fun. And yeah, it’s going to be hot and sweaty out there.
INTERVIEW BY EDWIN SALLAN