Ryan Sheridan (Interview 11th May 2011)

With a debut album ‘The Day You Live Forever’ in the bag, Ryan Sheridan brings his brand of high temp acoustic rock to Set Theatre, Kilkenny tonight. With single ‘Jigsaw’ getting loads of airplay and supporting slots with The Script recently in the O2 the Monaghan man is set for big things. Tickets There caught up with Sheridan before the gig to talk about the new record, living inNew York and Riverdance.  

Tickets There: Firstly, how’s the tour going so far?

Ryan: The tour is going brilliant so far. It’s full crowds every night, you know we’ve had a great response. People already know some of the songs from the album so I’m over the moon about that. Yeah it’s going really really well.

Tickets There: “The day you live forever” was released on Friday. Can you tell me a little bit about it? For example, how would you describe the album?

Ryan: It has been along time coming – this album. I think it’s a bit of a storyboard of my life that started years ago. There are some songs in there that were conceived in New York and then I started writing for the album so it’s a bit of a storyboard. There’s a bit of everything for everybody kind of thing.

Tickets There: You left Ireland in your teens and went to the US to perform with Riverdance. With so much time spent over there are there many American influences on the record?

Ryan: I got immersed in bluegrass in a big way because I’ve a bit of a traditional head so I would have to say I was drawn to that and that comes out on the album. Also Jeff Buckley was very influential around that time and Tom Waits.

Tickets There: Has performing as a dancer for Riverdance influenced your musical style?

Ryan: Yeah it definitely has. I was away since I was fifteen years old until I was twenty-two so its definitely influenced the live shows. Plus I was a fiddle player at one stage so that influenced my style as well.

Tickets There: In 2004 you moved from New York to Glasgow. What brought you to Scotland?

Ryan: I came back to New York after being a way for a little bit but I didn’t fancy it at the time so a friend of mine was playing music in Glasgow and that’s when I moved over there and decided to start a band. I felt I wanted to expand a bit. I was kind of a singer songwriter on the acoustic guitar and then I went to Glasgow and that was more of a band sense there. And I think there things were a little bit more experimental. I was trying to get a few things out of my head. You know I was working on guitar riffs and I was trying to develop a bigger sound.

Tickets There: And did you find it easy to make that progression from being a dancer with Riverdance to writing songs?

Ryan: Yeah it was, but it was also exciting and it was new. It all started in New York doing the pubs and clubs. But when I was in New York I was living on my own for a long time as well so you have to channel it some ways and song writing seemed to do that and so Glasgow took things further again. It was more instrumental and I wanted a bigger sound

Tickets There: What brought you back home to Ireland?

Ryan: I was sick of partying in Glasgow and so I decided to come back and try out Dublin for a while and I was looking for a drummer and I got on the internet and I found Artur my percussionist and that’s how we met for the first time.

Tickets There: I went to see you play on the weekend and it was great, I really enjoyed it. It was obvious to me that there is a strong musical relationship between you and Artur. You seem to have formed a tight unit, which for some acts takes years.

Ryan: Yeah it’s kind of strange. You know a fellow from Poland and a fellow form Monaghan playing together. But we started busking and jamming and it blended together really well. He’s hard to listen to sometimes and musically he’s alright [laughs].

Tickets There: You were first noticed by the manager of the Olympia theatre – Brian Whitehead. Can you tell me a little bit about how that happened?

Ryan: We were busking just last year in Temple Bar and lucky enough we got moved a few times by the Guards and then we said we try this one more spot. We started playing there and then I got a business card thrown into the guitar case. And then at the end of the day I was looking at it and I was thinking I know that name so I gave him a ring and it all just took off from there. A year later the album is out and I’m touring around the country. It was just meant to be.

Tickets There: The album is out on Rubyworks who also has the likes of Gavin Friday Sinead O’Connor and Fight Like Apes on their roster. What are they like as label?

Ryan:  Rubyworks are great. They’re very hands on. It’s a small independent label so. It’s possible a lot of the time to be a small fish in a small pond

Tickets There: Joe Chester produced the album. What was he like to work with?

Ryan: He was brilliant I have to say. He took us through our paces. He told us when to start and stop and helped us get what we needed out of our heads. And I’d say he helped to bring a very organic feel to it.

Tickets There: You played Oxygen last year and you are playing again this year. What is it like to play the festival circuit compared to smaller venues?

Ryan: I have to say I love the festivals. It’s just a totally different atmosphere. Everyone there for the music you know and people are tipsy all day and having the craic. Plus I think the songs sound great on the bigger stages. The bigger the better I say. 

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