Hi. So we’ve been quiet for a few months, haven’t been promoting our most recent album and staying silent on most everything. Figured some of you might wanna know why. We’ve been a band now for 10 years as of January, and in that time we have gone nonstop… album, tour, album, tour etc… on Native we toured 2 1/2 years… 50+ countries and 225 dates. We went straight from that into finishing ‘Oh My My’, our longest (and most difficult to finish), and straight from that into promo for ‘Wherever I Go’ in April 2016. About 3-4 weeks into the promo for the 2nd single ‘Kids’ I (Ryan) hit a physical, emotional, psychological wall. I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, not sleeping, on meds, not happy, anxiety on a crippling level and it was triggered from sheer exhaustion. I looked at a calendar, realized I had been gone 200 days of 2016 and still had 3 more weeks of being gone.. From my family, my wife, my kids, my friends, basically my life. I also realized that had been the last 10 years. At that moment I wanted to quit, and almost did. I called my manager and said “pull the plug”… cancel tv’s cancel promo, cancel the single, cancel the album. At the time we had a tour planned for the US in February, straight into Europe and then the rest of the world. We were gonna be gone again, for ages. The thought of it literally sent me into a sweat and made me feel like I was going to have a heart attack. Crippling anxiety. It also made me stop writing songs. I didn’t have the motivation or joy necessary to. That’s over now.
‘Oh My My’ is my favorite album, it’s bonkers and eclectic and we planned on releasing/promoting lots of songs we wanted to get to, but that album is also what made me collapse… in addition to travel we had an inhuman amount of stress surrounding basic things like artwork and videos. Everywhere we turned something got messed up and had to be redone, at the cost of our time and lives and families. It was never ending. So, for the first time ever and hopefully the last, I asked our label (who is amazing) to stop. Stop the album, stop the promo, don’t release another song. Hit pause. And they did.
So now we are here. What does that mean for our band? We’ve taken 4 months off, I had to dive headfirst into writing for anything but 1R.. so I’ve been busy with a lot of other artists, having the most fun I’ve had in ages, but in those sessions occasionally a 1R idea pops out. Fortunately we still love what we do and love you guys immensely, and love performing live. LOOOOVE. So we are going to. But we are changing the entire scope of how we release music and approach touring.
I had the idea even before our last album of releasing “songs”… when we want, as often as we want, however we want. Not albums, songs. It’s always frustrated me that by the time u get to a 3rd, 4th or 5th single off an album that song may have been produced 2-3 years ago….and sounds dated. What if 3 months into an album you write a song that feels relevant NOW?? Albums aren’t built to be flexible or get out of their own way. So here’s what we’re gonna do. Starting tomorrow we will be dropping new music as often as humanly possible… monthly, weekly sometimes, and it will be VARIED and with collaborations and may feel bonkers at first. Some will be remixes others will be just me on piano or guitar. Some will sound super trendy and new, some will sound classic and old school or very “OneRepublic”. News flash: I am ADD AF and always have been. It is IMPOSSIBLE for me to stick to one lane or one style or sound, I am incapable of it and so are the rest of the guys. That’s part of my anxiety, “what this album supposed to sound like?!!” No more. We like too many styles of music to “sound like OneRepublic” 24/7. Newsflash 2: l have honestly never known what our sound is, not once. I leave that up to your interpretation of it. All I’m ever chasing is goosebumps or emotion or fun. Love, God, Hope. What else is there? In whatever shade or color that is– Currently I’m chasing it. I’m a songs guy, the sound is always evolving.
So…. some of these songs you’re absolutely gonna love… some you might totally hate, some will be a breath of fresh air and some you’ll skip. And guess what? It doesn’t matter. that’s the point. All the songs will be me singing and us playing. So it’s Us. We won’t be chasing trends but we will react to what’s around us, we won’t be trying to re-write songs from our past but some will unavoidably sound nostalgic. SONGS.
So whats ‘No Vacancy’ and where did it come from? I had a series of sessions with my friends Tor and Mikkel (Stargate) in early January. The 2nd song we wrote was No Vacancy. The session didn’t start as a song for OneRepublic, we were trying to write a Gotye style song for Selena actually, but when I sang the chorus it just felt right. The lyric idea started with me thinking about my kids and then I realized it was kinda just relatable to anyone. It had a Police vibe I loved… Tor sped it up and added the plucky guitar chords. A month later we ended up doing a concert in the Caribbean and that’s where I finished the lyrics and vocals and instrumental bits. As I said I react to what’s around me, thus the island vibe and palm trees etc….(and yes I realize I’m pronouncing “Vacancy” an odd way but how the hell else can it rhyme with “so damn empty!!??”). It’s not a first single, it’s a song for April. It’s fun, it’s summer, it’s a song some will love and some wont- I honestly don’t care. WE like it :). My goal for now is I want people to bliss out. We are in some dark times, we wanna make some lifted music that helps people feel happy. Feel connected, feel human, and love each other as much as possible. BLISS. OUT.
‘No Vacancy’ likely won’t sound like the next song we drop… or it may. We have more new music scheduled 2 weeks from tomorrow, so here’s the deal:
To all our fans: we hope you enjoy our new approach to releasing music, you will be hearing it as we make it. There are no “first singles”, there are no “album cycles”, there’s us getting inspired, writing a tune, and getting it to you fast as we can. Because of Streaming services we can finally do what I’ve wanted to do for years. Some songs you will love, some you may loathe, but guess what?? Wait another couple weeks and you’ll have something new that may just be your favorite thing ever. We will tour when it makes sense, put out artwork when it’s good, and we are making merch WE wanna wear… for you. We will go to radio with songs when it feels like we should, not before. And we will tour… but not so much we end up hating life.
Love you, hope you enjoy No Vacancy, it’s simply one shade of a sound that we like this month, and tomorrow, I’m gonna write something totally different.