Minneapolis nice guys Joey Ryan and The Inks are making waves--and providing journalists with excellent pun opportunities--across the local and national music scene with their beachy pop melodies and addictive hooks. They very nicely (that's how nice guys do things!) took the time to talk with us about the song-writing process (read: whiskey, wine, and beer), the Minneapolis music scene, and their dreamy Bob Dylan cover band, "Bland on Bland."
Have a listen to a few of their songs, check out their adorable music video for the song "The Incredible Mr. Flowers" below (any friend of Legos is a friend of ours), and most importantly, head over to the Get In If You Want To Live launch party tomorrow night to see them play LIVE (that means in the flesh, grandmas and girlies, purrr!).*
*Paper Darts cannot confirm whether Joey Ryan and The Inks will actually appear in the buff. But we promise to slip them a Roofie or two regardless.
Paper Darts: Do you hold down day jobs in addition to playing in the band? How do you handle the work/life/creative work balance?
Joey Ryan and The Inks: Yes, most of us currently hold day jobs. It can be challenging to balance everything and there is certainly a desire to be able to put more time toward writing and expanding, but we're doing what we can with the time we have. I think work will always feel like it restricts the others a bit, but it also makes music something to really look forward to. That said, I don't think any of us would mind playing music for a living.
PD: How do you measure success for Joey Ryan and The Inks? Is there an ultimate goal that will help define it (making enough money to play music full-time, getting coverage in national press, etc.) or is it something less tangible?
JRI: I guess we really haven't defined what success would look like for us, but it's probably more toward the intangible end of the spectrum. We still aspire to bring our music to more people and we do work hard to create those opportunities, but at the end of the day, we have a lot of fun playing our music: that's what feels most important and what drives the other stuff.
PD: People who live in Minneapolis LOVE talking about how awesome it is to live in Minneapolis—from a musician’s perspective, does it live up to the hype? How was has the local community helped develop your voice?
JRI: Yes, I think it lives up to the hype from our perspective because the local music community basically helped create our band. Other than the Mitchell brothers [band members Chris Mitchell - Guitar/Vocals and Matt Mitchell - Bass], everyone else met and knew each other through the Twin Cities music scene and shared enough mutual respect and interest to reach out and create a new band. Most of us do play in other bands as well (New Century Masters, Demographics, Trap Farm) and it's a neat thing to have a lot of great friends who are also your influences.
PD: Favorite local bands we should all know about but probably don’t?
JRI: Aside from the bands we just listed? Big Lake, Lost Shepherds, Love Lake, Farewell Milwaukee, Wishbook, Fort Wilson Riot, and Villa to name a few.
PD: What’s the song writing process like for you--Long and labored? Peppered with sudden bursts of creativity? Best at night and saturated in whiskey?
JRI: Best at night and saturated in whiskey, wine and beer.
PD: Where do you draw inspiration for your lyrics—Personal life? Literature? Other musicians? Any reliable fallbacks when you’re in a lyrical rut?
JRI: Although there are countless sources of inspiration, our lyrics often come from a specific event or series of events. However, they typically come out in a way that describes more of the emotions surrounding it rather than the thing itself.
PD: If you were forced to become a cover band for the rest of your musical careers, what band would you cover and what would you call yourselves?
JRI: Well, probably Bob Dylan because we already have a pretty good head start. We played Rock the Cause's Glitterbal this past year as Bob Dylan and the Band. We are also opening E.L.nO. at Lee's Liqour Lounge the Friday before Halloween (10-28) playing a full set of Dylan covers as well. So maybe we weren't forced? We haven’t picked a name yet…Maybe "Bob Dylan’s 115th Cover Band" or "Bland on Bland"?
PD: Any artist (local, international, living, or dead) you’re dying to have design your cover art or merchandise?
JRI: It would be awesome to have Marcel Dzama design something for us.
PD: If you could do a musician-writer collaboration ala Ben Folds and Nick Hornby with any author, who would it be?
JRI: I suppose true collaboration requires both parties to be alive, but Kurt Vonnegut would probably top the list. His books and characters are just brimming with energy, imagination and humor, so you have to imagine he would've brought a lot of those same qualities to the table and inspired them in his collaborators. But he's no longer with us, so we'll just go with Dean Koontz. It would also be fun to collaborate with David Cross. Although it might be a train wreck, I suspect we would laugh a lot.