Later this week Ryan Bingham known for his Golden Globe after working making music for the film, “Crazy Heart,” for the track, “Weary Kind,” is the headliner for this year’s annual Ziegenbock Music Festival
which is to be held on October 6th as Sam Houston Raceway.
It Sounds Better Live: You have a new album out and now your own label, so how as the transition for Lost Highway Records to your own label?
Bingham: It was kind of gradual. I was coming to the end of my record contract with Lost Highway. Well you know now and days, with social media and the internet and stuff like that it’s a little bit more stressfully for bands. In my situation I like it on my own. Lost Highway was great when I was starting out they were really kind of, they were always supportive of me creatively and helping me grow when I was young and figure out what I was doing. I don’t know, me and my wife we just beginning to manage this stuff together and we are kind of doing all of the hands on stuff on the road, touring. It just kind of made sense for us to kind of go and keep it at home you know.
It Sounds Better Live: I mean every album that you have sounds a little different, but now that you have your own label you are less restricted, does that allow you to draw in more influences than before and mix things up?
Bingham: I always just kind of seem to take it as it comes you know. I always feel like I got to be one the road for a bit and travel around and kind of get those experiences that you have in life and go home and write them up at the end of the day. I try not to think about it too much, just kind of let be what it is.
It Sounds Better Live: That is clearly seen. After awards for “The Weary Kind,” it is still seen that you keep true to yourself and your music. How important is that to you?
Bingham: You know at the end of the day the songs and things like that, it has all been very personal to me and its more of a kind of therapeutic thing. You know just kind of get the stuff off of your chest and talk about hoe the world makes you feel. At the end of the day I am not influenced by trophies or anything like that you know. It is obviously great to win that award and go through that experience, and I am very honored and humbled by it and everything thing but its writing music and making songs what matters to me.
It Sounds Better Live: Well in this album you go from crazy harder rhythms to soft and deep with tracks like, “No Help From God,” and “Rising In the Ghetto.” How did you decide to order the tracks on your album, was
it according to how personal they were to you?
Bingham: Man it was really tough. I get out on the road and playing the songs live is always kind of an experiment just to feel how the songs flow together. For me, it always kind of just takes getting out
there and playing them live and seeing how they flow together one after the other. It was kind between me and wife and Justin Stanley (Co-Producer of Tomorrowland) all of us just kind of listening to them and playing them in different orders and things like that. Seeing how they flow and how they fit together is always a work in progress.
It Sounds Better Live: I imagine choosing a set list for a live show is as difficult. Do you make it according to where you will be playing or do you chose one at the beginning of your tour and stick with it?
Bingham: We have played three gigs so far and they are different every night. I have been trying to change it up. Some people want me to be playing the old song so I’ve been playing those as well. We are trying to see how the new songs will fit in with the old songs with the order and things like that. We got a lot of songs now to choose from and I want to play them all sometimes, but its like “shoot, we can’t play for four hours.” It kind of tough to just pick some and I kind of enjoy playing some of the songs that the people in the crowd are calling out. Trying to change it up playing what they are calling out in the middle of the set if we need to. I always try to keep a real
open mind when writing songs and playing them. There are a lot of different kind of people in the world that like a lot of different kinds of music and some songs work for some people and some songs don’t. I try to keep an open mind when I write and I try to keep an open mind when I play as well. I am always down to just kind of trying things and experimenting to see where it goes. Sometimes it just a whole fucking train wreck and other times you hit it. It’s just taking chances and being out there in life and see where it take you.
It Sounds Better Live: Well with the crowd reactions and them screaming out songs, does that mean you prefer smaller intimate venues than larger ones?
Bingham: It really depends, I enjoy playing the little broken down, stripped down kind of place but at big venues you can turn the amps up loud and really get up out there. I really enjoy kind of both.
It Sounds Better Live: With this album, like I said before you can hear the crazy guitar, so did you have the larger venues in mind when making it?
Bingham: Not so much as just that as more than anything I really just wanted to have fun with this record. The last record I had, “Junky Star,” I mean yeah I enjoyed the record but it was pretty dark and some of it was to damn sad playing it every night. You play those songs every night for months and its just every night is just…I really wanted to have fun with this record and turn it up loud and play some rock and roll. A little more upbeat and up tempo I just wanted to have some fun.
It Sounds Better Live: Well with that in mind, how was the writing style different in this album than the previous ones?
Bingham: It was basically kind of the same, I mean I always kind of go at in the same way as far as it goes but I always feel like every song I write it connects a chapter of my life. You grow up and you travel to different places. You experience different things, you meet new people, you go to different parts of the world, see how people live you know there are lots of different people in lots of different places that totally have their own thing. You experience that every other day and you have to take that into consideration and write about
that. The writing process is kind of basically the same but at the same time with this record I just wanted to keep it fun and exciting to play live on the road. Some of the songs are kind of really personal and kind of on the dark side and some of them I wasn’t as focused so much on the lyrics rather than trying to make them serious
and personal and dark and things like that. I also wanted to have fun with it and just kind of be a little bit more lose and not so fucking serious all of the time.
It Sounds Better Live: Speaking of your first album how is your Spanish since “Mescalito?”
Bingham: Ah, si yo hablo poquito. I lived down in Laredo Texas for about three years when I was younger and I picked up a little broken slang and Spanglish I call it. I always understand more than I can could really speak in conversation.
It Sounds Better Live: I guess that is why people who speak Spanish don’t talk shit about you when you are around.
Bingham: Yeah! Exactly! I kind of lost some of it because I moved away from it and I don’t speak it as much but I always have been very passionate about the culture and the language. I have been needing kind of to practice some more and get back into it.
It Sounds Better Live: Who would you like to play with at a show?
Bingham: Oh man, that is a tough one. Shit, let me try to think, if down in Houston maybe UGK. Maybe get Tom Petty or something like that. I have always been a big fan of his.
It Sounds Better Live: We also have the “Cactus Music,” show that you are doing coming up. Will that only be you and a guitar or your band as well?
Bingham: I am kind of waiting to see what happens when we get there. I am not really sure if we’ve gotta load all of the band stuff in. Maybe the band can set up shop and do it that way but either way I am going to be playing it by ear.
It Sounds Better Live: You are no longer with “The Dead Horses, “the band you did your previous albums with. How did you choose the new one you are with now?
Bingham: My friend Justin Stanley, which co-produced the record with me in Las Angeles, is a musician as well and he was on the road with Beck for a while. This guy Matt Sherrod also played drums with Justin and Beck and got him to come in and play on the record. I met Matt first and his wife is actually playing Bass with me, Kelly Sherrod. I kind of met everyone through Matt.
It Sounds Better Live: Well thank you for your time Ryan.
Bingham: Yeah man I appreciate it to. Good talking to you.