May 12, 2014 Interview – Ryan Hayes of Righteous Vendetta
Sometimes a fresh start is all someone needs to launch themselves into an entire new world of possibilities. For the hardcore-scene band Righteous Vendetta the season was ripe for change as the band shed their skin and morphed themselves into a melodic hard rock band on their latest album The Fire Inside. Through years of dedication, hard work, and a never say die attitude, Righteous Vendetta are prime to make a big move with radio air play and a name many are beginning to recognize on touring bills. Recently we sat down with lead vocalist Ryan Hayes for a personal look at the story behind the band, their yearn for change, drive to success, and much more.
CrypticRock.com – Righteous Vendetta have been working hard now for the past 5-6 years. Your first two full-length albums, The Dawning and Lawless, are intense pieces of music but vastly different than the band’s current sound and configurations. What ignited the band to decide to change the style of the band’s music?
Ryan Hayes – It was a combination of things but the big thing was we played a show with Hatebreed and after the show Jamey Jasta said you guys are really good and I would like to sign you and I would like to hear you guys do a lot more singing and more of a rock sound. So we kind of experimented with it which is actually on radio now. That was the first thing we did and it ended up being really successful for us. We just shifted into that and we said we can do this, let’s make it happen.
CrypticRock.com – Considering you have been working so hard touring and crafting the band’s music, did you find it a difficult decision to make this leap of progress with the band’s sound or was it more of a breath of fresh air to the band?
Ryan Hayes – It was definitely a breath of fresh air because we were touring the underground hardcore scene for three years. We were just doing circles and not really getting anywhere. We were just ready to be out of that, we were over it, we were jaded. We wanted just a fresh new thing to work for. The genre change really did it for us.
CrypticRock.com – Sometimes you need that change and inspirations as a musician. The band’s latest album ‘The Fire Inside is the product of the band challenging your song writing skills. What was the writing and recording process like for this new album?
Ryan Hayes – It was grueling. Not so much the music was the hard thing to write, we had most of that already done before we got into the studio. It was writing the choruses, hooks, and singing melodies in the studio. We did a lot of that on the spot, that is when we work best together. We had some stressful times writing choruses on the spot. That is just the way our producer and we work best. We do our best work when we are under the gun and pressure. We said let’s write the most important parts of the songs, the chorus, under the pressure. That was probably the most stressful part of recording the whole record, to write it and instantly something I never sang before right after.
CrypticRock.com – That is pretty crazy. It is not very often a band does that. You wrote it and sung it right there. That is putting a lot of pressure on yourself.
Ryan Hayes – Yea, it was a lot of pressure, but that is just the way the band works. All bands have weird quirks, and that is one of ours.
CrypticRock.com – Well it worked very well. The album sounds great. It’s extremely dynamic and full of uplifting lyrical content. How exciting was it for you to see the end product of your labors come out so extraordinarily well?
Ryan Hayes – It was an amazing feeling. When the entire record, The Fire Inside, came together it was over the course of a year it took to get it all together. When we finally got it and received that final product which I could pop into a CD player and listen to it mixed and mastered, it was one of those things which I loved every part of it. There is not a thing in it that I would change, it was just perfect in my eyes. It was one of the best and most accomplishing feelings I ever felt. It was definitely a milestone for me.
CrypticRock.com – You should be proud of it, it came on real well. Now with the songs off this new album the band has become open to a broader audience of fans. The music is extremely edgy, full of in-depth content but does have a more accessible sound. How do you find new fans who may have not been familiar with Righteous Vendetta prior are reacting to the music?
Ryan Hayes – Really well. Most of the fans that hear our music is live because we are touring all the time. They see it live first and then listen to the record. I think that is a good way for people to understand how our music works and how it flows. Once you see it live, I think you can feel the record better and understand where it is going. We have had almost all 100% feedback on the record from anyone which has written or tells us about it, but obviously people who do not like the record will not tell us (laughs).
CrypticRock.com – (laughs) Well you cannot please everyone. As stated the lyrical theme to the record is very passionate and provides an adrenaline rush. The level you took your voice to on this album is very impressive and brings the words to life. What did you do this time around differently approaching the singing?
Ryan Hayes – My roots are in screaming, I uses to just be a screaming, I did not do clean singing at all. When we started to doing the genre change and the Fire Inside record I actually had to learn how to sing. Actually sit down and teach myself. I did not get any professional lessons, but the best thing I learned is I can just teach myself best if I just do it. Learning how to do it my way. I just played shows and I sounded really bad for a while because I had to teach myself how to singing. Just trial and error , learning about how my voice feels and how it works over the course of the year taught me how to sing our music. I would not consider myself a singer in any aspect, I can just sing our music.
CrypticRock.com – You did an excellent job and this is obviously new to it. If you keep at it, it will only get better with time.
Ryan Hayes – I hope so. I have already seen it. Just being on the road solidifies all the people playing in the band. Everyone gets better when you tour. It just makes everything that much more solid because you are doing it every day.
CrypticRock.com – That is true, practice makes perfect. Your single “This Pain” is actually being played on SiriusXM octane right now. How does it feel to be heard by such a broad range of people on the station?
Ryan Hayes – It is amazing. We cannot thank them enough for taking a chance on the band. When we first gave them the single they didn’t even know who we are. It was one of these things where we got enough people to go request it that they said let’s give this band a chance. They ended up giving us a chance and the song has been playing on there for about three months now. The song is doing well and they are enjoying. It is just really cool. It is just one of those things that we cannot thank them enough for doing it.
CrypticRock.com – It is great to see all the hard work paying off. The band just completed a tour with Blue Felix and Cathercist. Having done extensive touring over the years what have you learned being on the road so much?
Ryan Hayes – The biggest thing I have learned is all of the time we have been doing this, the only people who are going to make your career move forward is yourself. You cannot trust anyone else, you cannot put the power in someone else’s hands because it just will not get done. We have only gotten to where we have gotten because we have grinded and pushed ourselves to do it. If I have learned anything it is you are in control of the success of your band no matter who is involved. Do not count on anyone else to do it for you, you have to do it yourself. That is the biggest advice I can give any starting band. You need to understand that no one wants to do this for you, you have to do it yourself. People will help you out along the way but in the end it is up to you. If I learned anything it is that fact right there.
CrypticRock.com – That is a very great fact to learn. If it is up to you if you want to make something happen. Keeping a positive attitude is very important too.
Ryan Hayes – Absolutely. There are so many things which can get you down. You have to stay positive because so many things can get you down financially, spiritually, and emotionally. It is just a recipe for disaster if you do not stay positive.
CrypticRock.com – That makes perfect sense. What are some of your musical influences?
Ryan Hayes – I would have to say my favorite band of all time and vocalist is Anders from In Flames. In Flames is probably my favorite band that I have enjoyed in the past five years. Everything about them is just amazing to me. That is a huge influence on how I write. As well as Killswitch Engage. I am a big Howard Jones fan, I like Jesse too, but Howard was a big influence on me. Bands like As I Lay Dying , Tim Lambesis , the screamer of the band, huge influence on me. Evergreen Terrace, all those underground hardcore bands. That is what I was, it was life. I owe all my inspiration to those guys.
CrypticRock.com – My last question for you is pertaining to films. CrypticRock.com is a music and horror film publication so we like to focus on all the genres. If you are a fan of horror films what are some of your favorite horror films?
Ryan Hayes – Our band is way into horror films. We watch scary movies all the time. I was a huge fan of the Saw series. Part 1,2,3. Those movies blew my mind when I first watched them. I thought they were great not only for blood and gore, but for plot twists. I thought the new Evil Dead (2013) was good. It was a good blood and gore movie. We watch a lot of the demon possession movies. The last one we watched was Insidious Two. The last one which wrecked me as a teenager was The Exorcist (1973). I watched that, I slept on the floor for years, it was weird. That really messed me up. That was the last movie that really did anything to me. I just laugh at The Exorcist now a days.
Purchase a The Fire Inside on iTunes here.
Righteous Vendetta will be hitting the road with Trapt, & The Veer Union on the following dates:
28 Seattle, WA – El Corozon
29 Yakima, WA – Seasones Performance Hall
30 Spokane, WA – Knitting Factory Concert House
31 Missoula, MT – The Wilma
18 Idaho Falls, ID – The Peppertree
19 Missoula, MT – Wilma Theater
20 Spearfish, SD – Zbar
21 Sioux City, IA – Awesome Biker Nights 15th Annual Motorcycle Rally Festival
24 Flint, MI – The Machine Shop
25 Traverse City, MI – Ground Zero
27 Watertown, NY – The Exhibition Hall
28 Portland, ME – The Asylum
29 Lawrence, MA – Claddagh
01 Stanhope, NJ – Stanhope House
02 Wilmington, DE – World Cafe Live
03 Amityville, NY – Revolution
05 Stroudsburg, PA – Sherman Theater
06 Clifton Park, NY – Upstate Concert Hall
07 Lancaster, PA – Chameleon Club
09 N. Myrtle Beach, SC – House Of Blues
10 Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade
11 Lake Buena Vista, FL – House Of Blues (Orlando)
12 St. Petersburg, FL – State Theatre
13 Pensacola, FL – Vinyl Music Hall
15 Baton Rouge, LA – The Varsity Theatre
17 Dallas, TX – Trees
18 San Antonio, TX – Backstage Live
19 Houston, TX – Scout Bar
20 Abilene, TX – The Lucky Mule
22 Fort Smith, AR – Neumeier’s Rib Room & Beer Garden
24 Arlington Heights, IL – Home Bar
25 Chesterfield, MI – Diesel Lounge
26 Cleveland, OH – RoverFest
29 Indianapolis, IN – The Vogue
31 Ft. Wayne, IN – Piere’s
01 Morristown, TN – Citizen Tribune (Jefferson Federal)
02 Clarkesville, TN – The Warehouse
03 St. Louis, MO – The Firebird
05 Sturgis, SD – Easyriders Saloon
07 Minot, ND – The ‘O’riginal Bar & Nightclub
09 Spring Lake Park, MN – POV’s
13 Rockford, IL – District
14 West Peoria, IL
15 Ringle, WI – Q and Z Expo Center
16 Glen Flora, WI – Northwoods Rock Rally
17 Lincoln, NE – Bourbon Theatre
25 Yakima, WA – Central Washington State Fair