Joey Ryan & the Inks: It's about exposing yourself and letting that inner self shine

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"It's odd that my name is in the band name. We are very much a band and a collaborative effort, so it's misleading to have my name in front," Joey Ryan of Joey Ryan & the Inks humbly admits. The lead singer and the rest of the Inks, Tim Dickson, Ryan Mach, and brothers Chris and Matt Mitchell, are crammed into a booth in the back of a very noisy Depot next door to First Ave. on a Friday night, yet they don't seem to mind the close proximity.

The band is very comfortable with one another, and that comfort is conveyed on their new EP, Pause, set to release at the Cedar Cultural Center on Saturday.

Pause doesn't move too far from their original sound, but it certainly had them experimenting with new directions, something that Matt Mitchell admits was because there was a level of ease that allowed for them to deviate. He shares, "There has to be a measure of comfort that you have with the rest of the band to be able to introduce something that's different." Ryan Mach adds, "In the early days, we wanted to be reminiscent of nostalgic '60s pop music, and we still have a lot of that in our sound, but on this album, we've let music from other generations and different genres creep in a bit more."

Sitting on the edge of the table is a box that contains the band's first pressing of Pause. With it in hand, it is flipped over on the table to reference the songs -- more in particular "The Transfiguration of Eugene Wolf." The title sounds like a new horror film, but Joey shares that it's actually about a real person when asked if Eugene Wolf really exists. "There is actually more than one Eugene Wolf, but our song is created around a good friend of mine's father. He makes music on his own time; he's an older guy who does funny records and stuff, but he puts a lot of time into it. The song is about exposing the inner person, coming to terms with being okay to let your inner self shine."

That introspective feel is a theme that weaves its way into a lot of the songs on Pause. The group felt they needed a moment to reflect and show discovery for dealing with things in life. Lyrically, the batch of songs opens up more to the interpretation of contemplation than the first two full-lengths held. The last song on Pause, "For a Minute," aptly sums up the theme. Mach says, "It's about slowing things down and enjoying the moment."

Much of that introspection comes from the many places the group is at in their lives. Being on their third album and including music in their hectic schedules has gained them a maturity that is lacking in younger bands. Matt shares that when he and Joey's previous band broke up, it was a little gut-wrenching. "I didn't ever want to take it that seriously again where I can feel like something's going to be taken away from me. I went into this band with the attitude that no matter what, we're going to have fun. If we stop having fun, I'm out. I wanted it to be more relaxed, and I think saying that out loud helped a lot. In a band that collaborates a lot you put a lot of trust in each other."


Anyone that has been to a Joey Ryan & the Inks show can witness that trust and, much more importantly, energy and fun onstage. Chris admits that's been the one thing that has kept it fresh for him. "Every time we play, it's about a loose group of guys where we take our music seriously, but we don't take ourselves seriously."

Moving forward, the band is planning on releasing smaller batches of high quality music in shorter time -- although it has been two years since their last album, Dennis Lane. The group essentially recorded half the amount of songs as the prior records for Pause, but spent the same amount of time recording them. Not driven by the trends of the industry, Joey Ryan & the Inks don't feel the pressure of a label and outside sources to follow other people's timelines.

Chris Mitchell says, "We're still feeling out what works best for us. This time we wanted to do an EP, and a lot of it is more organic rather than a laid out marketing plan." The band's goal is to release another EP within the 2013 year, and Joey hesitates before responding with, "If you're going to hold us to that, we better." While the songs are still raw, the name of the new EP has been tossed around with the idea of Fast Forward being thrown in the mix. They jokingly call out, "This one is Pause, and the next one is Play...or Stop and Reset! We're gonna go through all of the VCR buttons."

Joey Ryan & the Inks will release Pause at the Cedar Cultural Center on Saturday, April 20, 2013 with Farewell Milwaukee.
AA, $12 adv, $15 door, 7 pm
Purchase tickets here.



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