The Return of Yellowcard: Exclusive first interview with frontman Ryan Key

August 2, 2010 by Tim Karan

The Return of Yellowcard: Exclusive first interview with frontman Ryan Key

When YELLOWCARD announced in April 2008 that they would be going on “indefinite hiatus,” they said it would only be temporary—and they’re a band of their word. The violin-tinged pop-punk outfit are back from their two-year break, freshly signed to Hopeless Records and working on a new full-length. In this exclusive first interview back with frontman RYAN KEY, he reveals this isn’t a reunion for Yellowcard; instead, it’s just picking up right where they left off.

What has changed for you since going on hiatus?
For me, the break has been exactly right. I moved back east to Athens, Georgia, where I’ve been close to my family and far from the distractions that often pulled me down in Los Angeles. I’ve really tried to use these past two years to make myself a better person by finding what’s important to me. Family has always been a strong theme in my life and in my music. Through every up and down on this crazy ride, my family has always been right behind me. Being close to them for two uninterrupted years has given me a fresh perspective on both my life and my career. I’m really grateful that I still have the opportunity to do this for a living, and I feel confident that having this time to focus on self-improvement will only make me better at it.

What prompted the return of Yellowcard?
I believe it was around the holidays at the end of last year when [drummer Longineu Parsons] began to reach out to each of us and express his thoughts in regards to making a new Yellowcard album. It had been several months since I had spoken to him, and I hadn't really talked to [violinist] Sean Mackin since his wedding last summer. When L.P. called, I think a light came on for both Sean and me that it was time to start communicating. Once that happened, we all quickly realized how much we were missing the band and being together.

Who is now in the band?
The band is still me, Ryan Mendez on guitar, Sean on violin, and Longineu on the drums. We do have a new addition to the family. Our long time friend Sean O'Donnell will be playing bass for us. We are all very excited to have him on board.

Why is now the right time?
I'm not sure if it’s anything more than a positive energy surrounding all of us at this moment. We haven't really had a “the time is now” discussion because I think we just have a great feeling about what lies ahead.

What's the plan? Will there be touring first or work on a new album?
The new record is first on the list. We signed with Hopeless Records and we can already tell it’s going to be an incredible relationship. We are so unbelievably fortunate that Neal Avron [who produced 2003’s Ocean Avenue, 2006’s Lights And Sounds, and 2007’s Paper Walls] will be recording and mixing our new album. He is truly like a sixth member of Yellowcard, and having him on board makes everything even more exciting for us. We’re scheduled to start recording at the end of September.

When can we expect all of this?
I think it’s important to note that we, as a band, aren't viewing this next chapter in our career as a “reunion.” While we have taken some time off, our plan is to pick up right where we left off. We’ll be back out on the road for as long as possible supporting this new album and working just as hard as we've always known how to. Our collective passion is making music that we then get to go out and watch affect people in a positive way. So you can expect the best Yellowcard album we can make, and to see us touring as soon as possible.

Do you expect new music to be in the same vein as older Yellowcard, more recent material or something entirely new?
We love watching a roomful of people exploding with energy. I think there has been an unspoken consciousness of that during this writing process. We want to make an album that we are passionate about playing and one that fans are in love with while listening to. It’s always hard for us to say what vein it's in until people hear it and start letting us know what they think. So far, writing has been nothing but fun. I know it’s something that will translate into the recordings and the shows.

What's the general vibe within the band now?
Excitement. We’ve all had some time to focus on our personal lives and now everyone is just anxious to get back out there. We really feel recharged. alt

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