2010 OSCAR WINNER: Ryan Bingham – Features in the latest issue of FAULT Magazine.
Best Original Song for CRAZY HEART:
Singer Songwriter Ryan Bingham has been nominated for an Academy Award for his song `The Weary Kind` from the movie `Crazy Heart`
We caught up with Ryan in the latest issue of FAULT Magazine.
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FAULT: Who/what made you choose a career in music?
Ryan: When I was 17 I was living in Laredo, Texas along the Texas/Mexico border. A guy that lived next door to me taught me how to play a few chords and from there I started making up songs. I really don’t think I had much of a choice. Sometimes it feels like the music has a hold of my hair and is dragging me down the road. It’s a bit of a love hate relationship.
FAULT: On Mescalito and Roadhouse Sun you worked with former Black Crowes’ guitarist Marc Ford. What did you learn from having him produce your work?
Ryan: When I first met Marc I was just a kid in a cowboy hat with a handful of songs. I didn’t have a whole lot of experience as far as playing with a band. Before then I had only played acoustic guitar accompanied by my drummer Matt Smith. Marc really taught us how to settle down and just play the tune. He was also a huge influence when it came to playing electric. He opened up the world of tone and volume to me.
FAULT: How encouraging is it for you to see folk music making such a prominent impact on the mainstream at the moment?
Ryan: Artists such as Seasick Steve and Fleet Foxes for instance have enjoyed considerable success on both sides of the Atlantic recently.
I think that it’s incredible. It gives me hope in that someday a song might actually have an influence. In anything.
FAULT: The Americana/folk genre is obviously very much steeped in the roots of America’s history, so for a modern folk musician such as yourself, how difficult is it to keep your music sounding fresh and current?
Ryan: Songwriting has been more like therapy for me than anything else. It’s sort of a permanent outlet that allows me to get stuff off my chest. Usually my songs are about people that I have loved, lost or met along the way, and or places that I was lucky enough to survive in. I just write as I go and let life be the inspiration. Everyday is full of new adventures and crazy people. If I need something to write about I usually just look around. Sometimes it’s beautiful and sometimes it’s pretty fucked-up. I think that if it’s honest it doesn’t necessarily have to be fresh or current.
FAULT: In your early musical days you took an old school ‘Do It Yourself’ approach to getting your music heard. What do you make of the Myspace generation of musicians, some of whom seem more content to let people listen to their music online rather than go out and actually play live? Does a band or an artist not need that experience on the road to shape themselves?
Ryan: One of the reasons I started playing live was because at the end of the night there would usually be a few bucks in the tip jar. It wasn’t much but it provided me with the freedom to travel. There are a lot of people in the world that enjoy live music, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to fly from London to your hometown to hear you play. The road shapes a lot more than just your music; it shapes your personality as well. You can’t just write a song about travelling through the badlands if you have never done it. Well I guess you can but don’t expect anyone to believe you. The best thing about the internet is that you can post your tour dates on there so people will know where the jam is gonna take place. The road is not an easy place and not everyone is cut out for it. Sometimes I wish I would have stayed in school, but then again I have learned a lot from the road. Playing live for me was and still is a means for survival. I think that anyone who plays music needs to figure out why they want people to hear it before they do anything.
FAULT: Are there any other musicians you’d like to work with, either producing your work or actually appearing on a song?
Ryan: I’ve always wondered what it would be like to have Tom Petty produce an album.
FAULT: Even in your 20’s you’ve got a voice which sounds more akin to Tom Waits. How do you think you’re going to sound in 15 – 20 years time?
Ryan: I just hope that there is still a sound to be heard.
FAULT: What is the future of Folk Music?
Ryan: Hopefully better than the present.
FAULT: What are you currently listening to?
Ryan: John Lennon.
FAULT: What is your FAULT?
Ryan: Having too many!!!!!!