Hellhound Music chats with Ryan Zimmerman: front man of Greeley Estates
HHM: It’s no secret that Greeley has had some lineup issues, but did maintaining the same lineup [Between The Death of Greeley Estates and The Narrow Road] help you guys improve your sound, and/or the overall quality of The Narrow Road? Can you explain how?
Yeah, we have been a band for almost a decade now so we have had several lineup changes. I think the lineup we have now is the best we have had. We all lived together for a while to write the two new EPs and I think that helped the process.
HHM: You displayed an impressive range of vocals on The Narrow Road: from the deep growls of “Lot Lizards” to the more “old school Greeley cleans” on “Head Under Water” to the unique verse on “Doomsday.” Did you have some fun with this album, vocally? Did you experiment? Can you tell me a little bit about this?
Yeah, honestly I had a great time with this record. Our producer David actually came out to my house and recorded the vocals for the EPs. I think I felt more comfortable being at home and having the chance to jump in the studio whenever I was feeling it. I think our band has been through a lot of difficult times over the past few years so it was easy to let out the angst in the studio for this record.
HHM: I don’t know if you had the chance to read our review of The Narrow Road, but while reviewing it I noticed some major improvements and an impressive display of technical skill with the guitar work. Did the guys take a different approach to the composition? Or have they just evolved in their skill?
Yeah I checked it out. Thanks man! I like what you said about “DIE”. Yeah I think the guys improve with each record. We want to look forward on each new release and push ourselves to do something different.
HHM: Being that it’s your first independent release; how are the numbers turning up for The Narrow Road; is it selling well? Are you impressed by the support it has rallied, as an independent release?
You know I’m not sure of the numbers yet. We probably won’t know much until Feb 2013. So far it seems to have a good response. We feel we can count on our fans to have our backs with the independent release.
HHM: Is Greeley open to signing with a label in the future? Or is it DIY for good?
I think we are DIY for good.
HHM: Can you share your thoughts on the state of the industry, with respect to “scene” bands, 360 deals, labels, royalties, recoups, work for hire, etc. and the overall mentality behind the industry’s way of operating/treatment of musicians?
I think the industry is in a desperate spot right now trying to figure out how to survive. Bands have to be more hands on and creative in order to make it now. I don’t think labels are evil or anything. They have it rough too. Each band just needs to be smart about what they sign and do what’s best for their business.
HHM: I know there is no bad blood and you guys have nothing but love of the label, but with that said, what were the primary influences in your decision to leave Tragic Hero Records?
Yeah there is no bad blood with Tragic we love Tommy and everyone over there. I think the opportunity to own our music was just an exciting thought. We have been doing this long enough that we felt like it was time to try something new.
HHM: How was your experience with Science Records, and to be blunt, what went wrong with that label?
Honestly we were a younger band at the time so I’m not sure really what all went on with the label. They were good to us while we were there so I don’t have any complaints
HHM: Which song from The Narrow Road are you most proud of and why?
That’s a tough one. I think “Lennox House” and “Die” are my two favorites. I think they both have something to say and also will grab the listener musically right away.
HHM: On an older note: how was it collaborating with Craig Mabbitt on “Jealously Breads Killing Sprees?” Were you happy with the way the song turned out?
Yeah, Craig is an old buddy of ours from the AZ music scene. It was great having him be a part of the track. Always fun having guest vocals
HHM: On an ancient history note: Have the songs “Secret”, “Y’all with the Vampire Squad?” and “Life Is a Garden” pretty much been officially retired from the Greeley Set list?
Ha yeah for the most part. It’s Kind of difficult to play “life is a garden” and then jump into a song like “I shot the maid” I think the reason our band is still around is because we constantly reinvent ourselves
HHM: [As a longtime fan] I remember, 8 years ago, when Greeley Estates was just that hot new band on Pure Volume; does it shock you to see how far your band has come since those days? Did you ever imagine that you would be in the position you are today?
Yeah it is crazy to see what we have had a chance to do. I never thought I would get to see the world with this band or tour with some of my favorite artists. I feel blessed having the opportunity.
HHM: What can fans expect from Greeley Estates in the near future? Are there any tour announcements coming up? And is there anything else you would care to share with your fans?
As of now we are trying to finish up Devil Son and we really haven’t even planned out 2013 yet. Hopefully we will see everyone on the road soon. Thanks for all the support!
HHM: Final question, have you received any “finally somebody said it, thank god!” type of compliments from your fellow musician friends, with respect to your song “Die”? [haha]
Haha, I’ve had several people hit me up about that song. It wasn’t directed at any one person or band. I think it was just me venting over the state of the music scene at the moment.
Interview by Matt Crane – HHM
Pick up your copy of The Narrow Road on iTunes today.
A special thanks to Ryan and The Cadence PR
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