Ryan Traster on life coaches, Brooklyn, and "Cruel Love"

Categories: Vinyl Release
Photo by Peter Wrightwood
Nothing makes for better music than a breakup. Recently moving back to Minneapolis from Brooklyn, indie-folk artist Ryan Traster is getting set to release his 7" vinyl "Cruel Love" -- a song based on a breakup. Treading on soft sounds, snappy beats, and floating melodies, the song branches out from Ryan's normal sound, and leans more on the pop end of the spectrum rather than the folk.

The singer, along with his producer and bandmate, Mike McGarthwaite, sat down with Gimme Noise to talk about the release before his show Saturday at the 7th Street Entry with Scattered Trees.

Gimme Noise: You moved back recently to Minneapolis.

Ryan Traster: Yeah, three weeks ago.

GN: What was the reasoning for that?

RT: (laughs) well, I was living with a girl in Brooklyn, which was my third return to Brooklyn after two lengthy stints in L.A. I met this girl in L.A., then we moved to New York together. We lived together, and she and her life coach -- she had a life coach cause she's from L.A. -- they decided it wasn't a good fit anymore.

GN: Do you pay for a life coach?

RT: You certainly do. Let me tell you a thing or two about life coaches. So she has a life coach, which is not a therapist and not a sober coach, it's a rent-a-friend, if you will. It's a little harsh, but basically that's what it is. She talks to her on the phone once a week, and it costs a sizeable amount of money to have this conversation for about an hour. At one point along the way, it started getting personal -- part of the fact that there's maybe a conflict of interest with this life coach. If you're happy, she loses out on money. After their conversation, I had an hour to move back to Minneapolis, so I'm back here.

GN: What was the music community like in Brooklyn?

RT: It's cool. There's all these good bands playing every night; it's inspirational and exciting. It's not as closed off or tight-knit as people might think. People are really accepting of new groups. What I do, per se, it's not a popular vibe in Brooklyn. It tends to steer towards the noisier kind of music or straight indie-rock. Bands like Grizzly Bear or something with that kind of vibe tend to do better out there. It's not a huge folk scene, surprisingly enough.

GN: Did you play with anyone while out there?

RT: Yeah, most recently Kraig Johnson from Golden Smog. He has a music night out there, so I played with him a few times. I jammed with Norah Jones' drummer; he had a great thing going out there, and I think he still does it every Wednesday night. Just a basement and a bar in West Village. It fills up with people, and it's a good musician's vibe.

GN: Are you touring? Do you book your own shows?

RT: The last tour I did in the summertime, I booked it all myself. The tour before that, I was with another band, and we split the booking.

GN: Do you like booking?

RT: No, it's absolutely terrible I gotta say. Talent buyers are the sect of the music industry that are the most difficult to get ahold of. Let's say record label being the hardest, managers being a notch below, publicists a notch below that, whatever, right? Local venues are exponentially harder to reach than all of those people. I hate booking tours.

GN: You have to have that relationship, or they don't even bother answering.

RT: Absolutely. I feel if I had a solid booking agent, I'd probably tour ten months out of the year. I'm not a grounded person; I don't live anywhere. I just like to tour, but booking it myself is just too daunting a task -- let alone trying to get enough money at shows.

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