Fresh from a performance on the Warp Tour, I spoke to Elias Reidy, the lead guitarist and vocalist for Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, on June 23. We discussed the tour; their upcoming album, Don’t You Fake It; their current single and video, “Face Down” and songwriting.
After a brief moment with the bands tour manager he turned the phone over to Elias.
You’re from Ohio. Right? We’ve talked on the Internet.
Right, I saw you in Toledo when you were here with 30 Seconds to Mars.
Oh yeah! That was a great show. We loved that show. It was amazing, definitely the best show on that tour.
You ended up getting stranded here for a few days after that show. What happened?
We were scheduled to play with 30 Seconds to Mars the next night in Chicago and they had a lot of business to take care of, which is completely understandable. They had to shoot a video in Toronto. Due to their hectic schedule we took from Chicago on off and met up with them a few days later. So we got to relax in Toledo check out the scenery.
(I couldn’t help but laugh) I’m sorry – there’s not much to check out here.
Oh it’s not bad! We had fun.
What would you say some of the biggest hardships of being on the road are?
So far … When you’re living out of a van, you have to adapt your whole life. It’s very hard to separate your business life from your personal life when you’re living in a 10′ x 70′ area. We took all the seats out of the van and we’re basically sitting in a little pow-wow area talking to each other. It really puts you through a grinder and forces you to either break-up or become a stronger unit, and we’ve pulled through tremendously. We work as one now. I honestly think it’s been to our advantage.
You have a Jacksonville show coming up. Is there a different energy when you play to the hometown crowd?
It’s very interesting. When we jumped on the Warp Tour it’s like we’ve gotten the right crowd in front of us. Every show now in Florida has been just like a hometown show. The response has been incredible. The kids come out; they sing all the words. They are 100% supportive, just like our fans in Jacksonville. We love it. It’s a great feeling now, because before we would play in front of 1,000 kids who would just stare blankly at us and clap at the end of the songs. Now they are singing along and it’s an amazing feeling.
I understand that. When you were here in Toledo it was the first time I had seen you. I hadn’t heard the music but it was really easy to get into it because the songs themselves are very strong.
Thank you, that was our objective. People write us off as not having substance and being extremely technical, but that’s not what we’re trying to do. We are all very, very normal kids who come from your basic average home. We’re not trying to be extreme rock gods or sex gods or anything on stage. We are the kids that are in the crowd.
That’s what is great about Warp Tour, we can go see the other bands and they are all our favorite bands. We sing along, just like the kids are singing along to our music. We just want to write straight-forward rock songs people can relate to and everyone will understand.
If I had to (laughs) honestly, there is something for everybody. You could call us a pop/punk band, a pop band. You could call us a Coldplay, ballad band, a metal band. There is something fro everybody because all of our backgrounds come together. I understand people trying to label us so they can explain the music, but we just are who we are and whoever gets it, gets it. I guess I would say pop/punk mixed with a little bit of screamo. You know, rock-n-roll.
You have quite an energetic show. Is hard to keep that energy level up night to night?
Sometimes it can be because when you get on stage every single night and you work through the same routine every single night, the littlest of things can put you in the wrong mindset. It’s a struggle to let go of all of it.
We just have to remember there are 1,000 new faces in front of us and we have to perform our best for them. It’s just tough, from the time we wake up in the morning until the time we got to bed; it’s one big routine. We’ve just learned to not worry about the things we can’t control.
When you get into a tedious routine is it hard to keep it fresh?
We’ve learned to. At first we didn’t really understand it, and we’re really just getting in the rhythm of things. We are still learning to be a live touring band. Every night we’re getting closer and closer and it feels better and better.
We’ve learned how to really be ourselves onstage and perform the way we want to instead of getting caught in the moment and letting the show go whatever way it wants to. We’re learning to take control of it.
I read you spent 18 months focusing on the songwriting before you ever played live. Did having the solid repertoire of original material help give you a good base for your live show?
Oh definitely! When you’ve played the same songs for a few years, they grow on you and they change. It’s just a feeling, the songs themselves are entities and it’s like you are working with the song. It’s cool.
The longer you play things the more in can mature. The longer we play the songs we’re playing they just keep getting better every night.
What is the songwriting process like for you? Is it a solo or a team venture?
Usually what happens is I play a lot of guitar, I play all the time and we sit down and bring all our ideas to the table. We all take it very very seriously, which can sometimes get in the way, but it’s always for the better. We all care. It’s a 100 percent collaborative effort.
You’re in the final countdown for the July 18 release of Don’t You Fake It. Are you getting psyched?
Definitely! We are happy with the way things worked out. We were a bit skeptical on the release date. We didn’t know if it was too soon, or too late. Are the kids going to dig it? You know? Right now our crowds have just been growing and growing and when the record releases there’s going to be no stopping us.
The single “Face Down” got a huge debut on MTV2 and MTV.Com’s Overdrive, I’ve even seen it on YouTube. Have you received any fan feedback yet?
Everybody loves the video. Everyone who has come up to us to talk about the song tells us they love the video. People take our music very personally because everyone can relate to it, and feels like they own it. They make a point to come to us and talk to us about it, because it’s almost like we are screwing with their music, which we are. But they come up to us and tell us they think it depicts the song perfectly. They are happy for us.
The song has very gritty lyrics and a sociological message, Ronnie Winter has said the writing came from a personal place. Have you begun to get personal feedback from the fans … Maybe someone the song has touched because they are in a similar situation?
That song was actually released on the demo almost two years ago now. Almost two years and running and it never stops. Every day someone comes up to us who tells us how much that song has affected them or helped them. Everybody says they take it so personally. Domestic battery is just something everyone has either dealt with or knows someone who is dealing with it.
You’ll be heading out with the Warp Tour this summer. Any other immediate future plans?
After we finish the Warp Tour in August we’ll be looking to jump on another tour, and keep doing that until we begin the next album about a year from now.
Red Jumpsuit Apparatus has been a featured artist for July and their new album Don’t You Fake It will be released on July 18.