There’s a good chance Righteous Vendetta has played a show in your hometown, and if not, you can bet they’ve got it somewhere on their list. A band for over five years, the quintet from Cody, WY has an impressive touring record of playing over 1,100 shows in seven different countries, touring full-time for almost four years. With their oldest member topping out at just 24 years of age, the sky is the limit for the young rockers, with a track record a few thousand miles long to show for it. We got to talk with lead singer Ryan Hayes about the band and how new material from Righteous Vendetta might be closer than they think.
Substream Magazine: Thanks for taking a break from touring to talk with us. What’s your favorite part about being on the road?
Ryan Hayes: My favorite part is getting to meet people in different places every day. Driving to different cities and experiencing all the different subcultures in America.
SM: What do you miss the most when you’re touring?
RH: I miss eating good meals every day. You know, Mom’s cooking and being able to raid the fridge.
SM: The best city to play a show in is?
RH: My favorite place is in Austria. It was one of the most memorable places we’ve gotten to play. We got to hang out in some historical places that day. My favorite place to play in America has to be Springfield, Missouri because the shows are always off the hook when we go there.
SM: What’s the one place you want to play that you haven’t yet?
RH: The one place we haven’t played yet that we really want to play is Sydney, Australia. And in America, we’ve never played Boston, so that’s on our to-do list.
SM: I read on your Facebook page that two of your members are actually still teenagers. How does that affect how you guys do shows, especially shows at places like bars?
RH: It can be a problem and it usually depends on the state. Like in Utah, we’re not even allowed to play shows there because they won’t even let the guys in. One is seventeen and one is eighteen, so with the seventeen-year-old, most of the time, he has to sit outside until we play. Then, someone has to escort him in and after we’re done, they escort him right back out. It’s kind of a pain because people want to meet him after shows but they can’t because he’s no longer in the building, so yeah, that can be pretty frustrating.
SM: Has the lineup changes you went through recently helped you guys out?
RH: A member change is unfortunate, but it’s actually improved our band as far as morale goes. Usually, when there’s a member change, it’s because something was wrong, so with our new members, we were able to fix those issues. It’s always tough to train someone new to a new band, but we’ve had plenty of time to get used to one another, so now we’re rocking.
SM: Why did you choose to make a lyric video for your single “With Love?”
RH: It’s basically the band’s performance in silhouettes. That’s how we had it before, and we decided to just add the lyrics and put it in a different direction. So we wanted to make a music video that is also a lyric video. Most bands just make a lyric video with just the lyrics, but we did one with the band in the video.
SM: Will you guys be making any more music videos off The Fire Inside?
RH: We have one that hasn’t been released yet for a song called “What You’ve Done.” That’s our next thing we’re going to be releasing. The only thing that’s a bummer is that we shot the video before our member change, so one of the guys in the video isn’t even in the band anymore. So we’re kind of looking around to see if we can do another video with the current lineup in it.
SM: You released you latest album this past fall. How have your fans been reacting to The Fire Inside?
RH: Really well, it’s been awesome. Our record sales have been higher than they’ve ever been, our social media engagement is higher than it’s ever been, and people keep telling us that they love the record. It’s really taken off and by far the best response to any music we’ve released.
SM: What’s your favorite track off that album?
RH: My favorite song is “What You’ve Done.” It’s the most metal-ish one, and it was so much fun to write, record and play live. I fell like it’s the track that really sticks out on the record.
SM: So, when will you guys be back in the studio to start writing more music?
RH: Well, there’s a secret that not a lot of people know, but we actually pretty much have the entire next record written. We have about twenty new songs that we haven’t gone in and recorded yet. We basically have the record done, we just need to put it on a disk.
SM: Will you be going back to work with the same producer as The Fire Inside?
RH: Yeah, we’re going back to the same producer, Joel Wanasek at JTW Studios. He did The Fire Inside, the entire record. He did a lot for us on the record, not only do we owe it to him to go back, but we feel that he’s the next big producer of rock music, so we want to be a part of him coming up, so yes, we will be going back to him.
SM: What’s your favorite thing about writing new music?
RH: My favorite thing about it is watching it come together in the studio and hearing how everything comes together. There’s a feeling of accomplishment about it, like, “wow, this turned out better than we thought it would when we wrote it.” There’s no feeling like it.
SM: Got any advice for younger bands?
RH: Make sure you have good recordings. Your recordings are what point people to you and make people believe in you. The biggest thing I can stress is that they spend money and get good recordings, don’t go for mediocre. Good recordings are what going to take you to the next level. In the end it will help you way more than it will hurt you, spending that little extra money.
SM: Any more touring or other plans that you guys have lined up for this year?
RH: We’re going to be touring from now until June. We’ve got probably six to ten summer festival appearances across the country. Other than touring and the festivals, we’re still working on new music and seeing if we could write something better than we already have. There’s no talk of a record yet, but we’ll see.
SM: Which summer festival are you looking forward to playing the most?
RH: Definitely Dirt Fest. It’s going to be our first year. It’s going to be pretty cool.
SM: In your career, what do you feel the point will be for you when you can say that you made it?
RH: I feel like people never should feel like they made it. There’s always something more, something bigger you could do. For me, personally, the time when I can sit down and not be too worried about spending too much on a meal is the day I’ll feel like I made it, and not be stressed out about financial situations. But that’s how life is, it’s full of stress, and I feel like you’ll never get to a point where you think you’ve made it.
SM: Thanks for talking with us, Ryan!
RH: That you guys!
The Fire Inside available now on iTunes!
Interview by Stephanie Roe