Trap Them + an interview with Ryan McKenney

Trap Them - Ryan McKenny front page
Posted 17 March 2011   Interviews

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One of the prime objectives with The Bone Reader is to encourage people to buy the music they listen to and support art and artists.   Some of us get it and some of us don’t – I really think we need to shift the paradigm on digital downloads when it comes to music and recognizing the implications of shitting on independent artists.  Recognizing that many of whom are broke or really hurting financially…

TBR:  If you could look out into the crowd and suddenly recognize all the people who have downloaded your music and not paid for it, how would you react?

R: Now that downloading has become such an everyday part of music listening, it doesn’t really have an effect on me as much as maybe it should. Especially in a live setting, seeing those people would mean even less. The main reason I’d say that is that most bands don’t make much money off record sales, definitely not as much as touring. When you play a show, you are compensated immediately, without much overhead taken out. You are paid nightly, as opposed to holding your breath to see if you have any sort of royalties after paying off whatever outstanding debt you may have with the record label you’re on. Playing shows are where most bands are still retaining a DIY ethic. YOU drive to these shows. YOU load on stage and play a set. YOU decide to be willing to tour as much as you want.

Would I like for people to still spend money buying records? Of course. But, from what I’ve witnessed so far, the best way to convince them to buy a physical copy is to play a set in front of them and let them soak in every facet of what the band embodies. We sell a lot of our music at our shows, based on our live set. So, to a degree, we are our own best “marketing” tool.

TBR:  I saw that a few of your paintings were up for auction on eBay (and bind on one, myself).  Were you surprised at the final price that they went for?  Happy?  Disappointed?

R: To be honest, I’m happy to sell them for any price. It means someone wanted to take something I created to incorporate into Trap Them and wanted it as a part of their collection. Painting is not something I necessarliy will ever do to make a lot of money on. Some of them sold for nearly what it cost to create them. More important than the money, to me, is that they mean enough to someone else to want to have them hanging up in their home.I can’t believe they are all gone. I feel it’s quite a sense of personal accomplishment. I kept my favorite for myself and gave one to my personal partner in crime (Brian), so the two people that started this band will always have a reminder of what they started.

Ryan McKenny - Trap Them live

Photo by Brian Leli

TBR:  Do you see your outlook and it’s reflection in the lyrics to be pessimistic or more like “reporting” on the human condition?

R: I don’t see anything pessimistic about reflecting reality. The world is a depressing place at many turns. There’s no need to sugar-coat what goes on every day. On the other hand, I don’t want to ever consider myself bringing attention to these isues through these songs. I’m not trying to convey any message or bring awareness to the listener. That not my place and I have no desire to be viewed as anything more than a lyricist/vocalist for this band. If people take influence or interest in what I say, it’s important and appreciated, but it’s never expected or demanded.

TBR:  Personally, do you see any value in the notion or condition of being at peace?  Do you feel it’s a worthwhile goal and what would “being at peace” mean to you?

R: Being “at peace” doesn’t seem possible with the way our lives are structured right now. There isn’t a sense of stability, of everyday life. One month you’re home and the next month your home is a van. Are there moments of pure ease? Of course. But, as for right now, the best we can do is rely on those moments until we have a firm place to plant our feet. Touring is hectic. It’s anxiety-ridden from one moment to the next… the same can be said for home life. I think the only option is to stay afloat and not get dragged down into complete confusion and you start to question everything you do.