The sounds we listen to can often become humdrum. From radio stations to MTV playing the same old songs, the sounds that are fresh are often ignored. Enter the four young kids (originally hailing from Jacksonville, Florida) who, under the name Yellowcard are ready to take their conquest to new heights. On July 22nd, Capitol Records releases their major label debut Ocean Avenue.
The sound of Yellowcard boasts traces of melody, intensity, and acoustics all packaged together into one dynamic sound that incorporates some fine violin work. They wanted to make music as a way of life, they followed their dreams and now they will be heard.
David: What were some factors that helped you guys sign with Capitol Records and how did it all come about?
Ryan Key: Well…we moved from Florida to California and basically just played everywhere and anywhere in LA and around the country until someone noticed who we were. Our live performance has always been the most important part of the band. I think the people at Capitol just loved the passion we brought on stage with us whether we were in front of 5 people or 500.
David: How has being on a major label changed things so far for the band?
Ryan Key: Things haven’t changed a whole lot just yet. We are told its going to get pretty intense once the record is released. But for now we are just touring our asses off and trying to keep up the same level of rocking that Yellowcard has always had.
David: How much did Lobster Records help you guys get to where you are now?
Ryan Key: They helped us enormously. They produced our first full length record which gave us music to get out and make fans with. They did the best they could to support and promote our early tours (at the time it was a two man staff so you can imagine they had their work cut out for them!) Lobster Records is a wonderful label run by wonderful people.
David: Why did you guys decide to incorporate the violin into your music?
Ryan Key: Ben, our guitar player and Sean, our violin player had been jamming around our hometown of Jacksonville, FL at local coffee shops and book stores. They were doing classical pieces on a classical guitar and the violin. Anyways, when Yellowcard recorded their first LP in 1997 they had Sean come and play on one of the slower songs on the record. The fans seemed to fall in love with the idea and the rest is history!
David: Talk about the opportunity of touring in Japan and how that has affected the band?
Ryan Key: It is an amazing opportunity. It is crazy to think that people in an entirely different part of the world know who Yellowcard is. We are very excited.
David: How did your parents respond to you guys dropping out of college on full scholarships to pursue the band as a career?
Ryan Key: At first they were pretty pissed. But something changed when we sent home copies of “One For the Kids”. I think at that point they understood that we were really serious about making music a way of life. They are behind all of us 110%.
David: What are some negative experiences the band has dealt with in the music industry?
Ryan Key: There is always a lot of legal bullshit that we didn’t have to deal with when we were playing in our garages and bedrooms. But most of the negative experiences in Yellowcard have been brought by our own trials and difficult times. We haven’t had any real industry nightmares just yet.
David: How did the choice to pick Michelle Branch’s “Everywhere” to cover come about? Any cover songs lined up in the future or songs the band would like to cover?
Ryan Key: We were offered a spot on the Fearless Records comp “Punk Goes Pop”. Sean sort of arranged and brought the song to the band. We put it together in the studio over a weekend and that was that. We hope to cover “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” by The Charlie Daniels Band someday.
David: Your new album Ocean Avenue comes out July 22. What can you tell the readers of Sound The Sirens to expect from it?
Ryan Key: We are very excited about Ocean Ave. It has all of the things you expect to hear from Yellowcard and a whole lot more. We experimented with some new sounds and brought out the best of the old. The record is a journey from start to finish. Hopefully everyone enjoys the ride.
David: What is with you guys beating the crap out of each other for personal shits and giggles causing you to break your jaw?
Ryan Key: Breaking my jaw has been the worst shit I have ever gone through but…you drink too much whiskey, you pay. We are idiots. That’s all.
David: Many times, the punk scene is full of camaraderie with bands. What bands are you guys really close with and respect and why?
Ryan Key: The list is forever long. We cherish the friends we make and the time we spend on the road. Being away from home as much as most bands are, your only friends are the guys and gals you share the stage with.
David: Years down the road what are you going to look back on from the time you spent in the band Yellowcard?
Ryan Key: I hope we can look back and know that we did exactly what WE wanted to do with our lives. We followed our dreams all the way through. I think that is the most important thing in life…be what you want to be…dream as big as you want. I want to look back and know we rocked as hard as we could and never gave up.