Catch up with lead singer/guitarist/pianist of Wyland, Ryan Sloan, and listen to the alt-rock band's latest single "Lights Go Dark" off their upcoming EP, Snake Hill, to be released March 3 and read more about the band in their last interview with us here.
Tell me what you've been up to since releasing your last EP, In A Sea Of Things Unsaid.
Ryan: Yeah, absolutely. It's been a long year. We released In A Sea Of Things Unsaid and went down to SXSW, promoted the EP down there and got a lot of great feedback; we played about 3-4 shows a day which was really tiring but fun. We came home and we just worked hard around New Jersey, we went right back into the studio, and started working on this EP that we're really excited to release. We went on tour in the Summer, we hit all over California, Las Vegas, and we're actually working on our next EP now, already. We're just trying to just constantly be ahead of the ball game.
Is there anyone you're listening to now that you think everyone should take a listen to?
Absolutely. I just started listening to this band called Bear's Den. They're from London and they're a folk duo but the one song that I've been literally listening to once a day, it's called "Red Earth & Pouring Rain" and it's a beautiful, beautiful song. It has this very 80's guitar kind of sound - which I feel like every band has now - but the song itself is just gorgeous. There's an episode in season 3 called "San Junipero" and that song is a perfect soundtrack for that episode, so you have to check that out.
Is there an album you would say is your favorite of 2016?
Hmm. I would, yeah. It's a local band, there's a band called American Trappist. The lead singer-songwriter, his name's Joe Michelini - he was in a band called River City Extension which was a big New Jersey band - and basically he released four EPs but they made up one album and he released one EP each season of 2016 and I think that that is probably one of the best things I've ever heard. The guy just pumps out this really great, powerful music. It's weird when you have a local band and you can just call the guy on the phone and be like, "hey, man, how you doing?" and, at the same time, he's writing music that is that good. It's weird, but yeah, that was definitely my favorite release of 2016.
What would you say your guilty pleasure song is?
Honestly any One Direction song to be honest, I get a lot of trouble for it. But that and I've been listening to the new OneRepublic song "Kids", that's been a guilty pleasure song, as well [laughs]. It's so good.
Drake or Kid Cudi?
Oh, Kid Cudi. For days.
Vinyl or digital?
I would definitely say vinyl. There's just a warmth there that can't be replicated on digital.
Otis Redding or Sam Cooke?
I would say Sam Cooke.
In a few words, how would you describe your sound as it is now?
I would say ambient soundscapes with melodic guitar riffs and heartfelt songwriting and lyrics.
What were your inspirations behind your single "Lights Go Dark"?
It's interesting 'cause the song was about, I was in a weird place, trying to figure out what to and how to write the next group of songs on this EP and that song was just me voicing that frustration and that moment where you don't really know how you're going to write something new. I feel like that's something that always happens. After you kind of write everything, it's like okay, well, I've got nothing left to say [laughs]. So while we were in California and everything, we were just traveling around and I was trying to find inspiration in all the places we were going to and that song's just basically about that. It seemed like after the election - and this song got released on the same day, which I don't know if that was a good thing or a bad thing - but a lot of people were messaging us and saying that the song touched them in a certain way regarding that, whether you were happy with the outcome or not. So that was really cool to hear people have a different perspective on what the song meant to them when it was something completely different for me.
Could you tell us more about your upcoming EP, Snake Hill?
The songwriting on Snake Hill is pretty much just about being young and being angsty and kind of rebelling against your parents and dreaming big for the future, so it has a very teenage mindset. But we've been trying to hone in on this more indie rock vibe; IASOTU had more ballads on it I think than we really wanted to have on it - even though we were extremely proud of it - Snake Hill is more rock n roll and in your face and we wanted to show that side of us and let people know that we're not just writing slow, sad songs.
If you had to choose, which track off this EP would you say you're most excited to share?
Oh, I might contradict myself [laughs]. We have one song called "The Answer" which is really cool and I love that song but my favorite is probably the ballad [laughs]. The ballad on there is called "Between Timid and Timbuktu" and I think it's probably one of my favorite songs that I've written. I don't think we're releasing it until about February or so, but it's a song about time travel and going back in time to fix a relationship that has gone in a bad direction.
How would you sum up Snake Hill EP in one sentence?
I would say adventure, going out and adventuring around the world.
What do you hope listeners are able to take away from your music?
It's cool because I feel like a lot of people have been reaching out to us from all around the world, like we have a lot of people in Mexico and South America and Europe that have been reaching out to us and saying what our music has meant to them and how they've, basically, processed certain songs... I suppose I just hope that that continues, above all else. We just want people to, if somebody's having a bad day, we'd want them to turn on a Wyland song; if they're having a great day, we want them to turn on a Wyland song; if they're going to the gym or just sitting in their car driving for 3 hours or whatever, we want them to put on a Wyland song and just feel something from that. I think that's really our only goal, is to get our music out to as many people as possible and hopefully people can vibe off of it and take something positive away from it.
Is there anything you want to add?
We have a show coming up on December 3rd at House of Independents in Asbury Park.