Interview by EsteeS
There is something delicate and special about Ryan Manon as a person that flows directly into his music, record label and publishing company, all of which are threaded with a trust in human connection and sincerity.
Ryan is the guitarist and vocalist in Dreamend, a Chicago based band that streams brilliant ambient music that internally coats its listeners. Dreamend has released two albums, As If by Ghosts in 2004, and Maybe Weâ€™re Making God Sad and Lonely in 2005. Their most recent release, Maybe Weâ€™re Making God Sad and Lonely, is what Ryan says is â€œthe best thing I have ever been a part of.â€?
Maybe Weâ€™re Making God Sad and Lonely sustains the intimate feel As If by Ghosts rolls in, but it also pulls itâ€™s listeners into Dreamendâ€™s warm inner gyrating of emotions with lengthier songs that give Dreamend the space they need to express emotion clearly and entirely.
â€œThe sound/songwriting has changed a great deal I think. From As If by Ghosts to this new one is a logical progression in sound, but they do not sound the same. On As If by Ghosts there is very standard songwriting, verse chorus are loud, soft, distorted and clean. On the new one, there are not so many predictabilities. We only used distortion for one minute and thirty seconds on the whole record, yet it gets louder and louder. We wrote all the songs together instead of me bringing ideas into the space and it going from there.â€?
The album art for Maybe Weâ€™re Making God Sad and Lonely is an exceptional and affecting painting by artist William Schaff.
â€œThe title is the name of the painting that Will painted for this album. He was listening to demos of the songs while he worked. It just made sense to use that title.â€?
William Schaff is an artist from Rhode Island that is known to do the album art for bands such as Godspeed you Black Emperor, Songs: Ohia, Alec K Redfearn and the Eyesores.
â€œWill is by far-by far-the greatest artist I have ever seen. Seriously, heâ€™s better than Goya.â€?
Dreamendâ€™s relationship within the band is bizarre, but somehow, the purity within the bandâ€™s rapport seems to directly influence the musicâ€™s straightforward quality.
â€œI donâ€™t know, none of us are friends.â€? Ryan says after I asked what Mike, Dreamendâ€™s drummer, is currently studying in school.
â€œThat is why I think we play so well together. No bullshit. I have nothing vested in them personally. We only know each other through music. Itâ€™s quite beautiful, actually.â€?
Aside from Dreamendâ€™s impersonal relationship on a social level, as of recently, each of the three members now live in different states. Ryan lives in Chicago, Derek (second guitar) in Vermont, and Mike in New Mexico.
â€œI don't know how this tour in October is going to work out with us never practicing.
That suits us nicely though, fits in with everything else.â€?
Much like the band, the recording process of Maybe Weâ€™re Making God Sad and Lonely was also gone about in a less conventional manner.
â€œThe night before our west coast tour in January we crammed into the space. The night prior I had come in, set up microphones, and tested them. I did not tell the band we were recording for the albumâ€¦We did every song in one take, I believe. After that tour and the European one in April I sat down and listened to what we had recorded and loved it. There are some flaws, but that is music. I hate a perfected sound. I did two days of overdubs in my home.â€?
Dreamend is one of the twelve bands on Ryanâ€™s own Graveface Records, a record label he finances single-handedly with his day jobs.
â€œI have a few stupid jobs, restaurants, orchestras, and such. They pay for me to have my record label, Graveface Records. I hate all my jobs except Graveface, which is more like a dream come true than a job anyway.â€?
Amongst other Bands, Graveface Records works with Monster Movie, Hundred Hands and The Loose Salute.
â€œI think that the main thing I look for besides brilliance is their desire to be a part of a family. We all help each other out. I want it to be like Motown records, minus the abuse, where everyone plays on everyoneâ€™s record, (and where) everyone promotes each other not just by touring and not because they are obligated to. There are no contracts, just our words.â€?
This business method is incredibly risky, and to have that kind of confidence in people is at times disappointing.
â€œOne of the bands I released last year released their new album with a different label, even though we (Graveface) agreed to do it. That was the only reason I had spent the money I had on them in the first place, to get the rights to their brand new stuff. In other words, they used me to get something re-released and then lied and took advantage of the no contract fact.â€?
Though this method proves imperfect, Ryanâ€™s continual refusal to work with contracts shows unshakable ethics.
â€œIâ€™ve turned down working with a band because they forced a contract on me. You wouldn't sign a contract with your mom would you? Well, I wouldn't, I should say.â€?
The last and youngest item on Ryanâ€™s plate is a subsidiary to Graveface Records called Graveface Press.
â€œThe first book coming out is by William Schaff. It is a collection of the art he has done for bands and then a page or two written by said bands about the art. I will be pressing a Graveface sampler to be sold with it in the hopes that it helps these bands.â€?
Ryanâ€™s desire to help other musicians and artists has left him needing some assistance himself.
â€œI really need help with the label but am so antisocial that I cannot see it happening. There are no other labels on the planet that are one person. Maybe one owner but no help! Never.â€?
Though Ryan points out the fact that he is antisocial, I canâ€™t help but call attention to Ryanâ€™s ability to have a profound understanding and connection with certain people that is deeper then any ordinary social level of interaction.
â€œExactly.â€? he confirms.
â€œIt happens with such few people I meet, but I guess when it happens it is a strong bond.â€?
This bond, however, is the key component to everything Ryan has invested himself in and is what makes his music outstanding.