Expendables ‘super stoked’ for new full-on electric album
January 30, 2015
Recording a full-on electric reggae-rock album last year felt good to The Expendables bassist Ryan DeMars.
The new album, "Sand in the Sky," was released a couple weeks ago and DeMars is enjoying the ride.
"We’re super-stoked and excited about it," DeMars said during a telephone interview with The Park Record from Chico, California. "Our last album ["Gone Soft"] was an acoustic effort, but this one, however, is full studio and electric."
The Expendables — DeMars, guitarist/vocalist Geoff Weers, lead guitarist Raul Bianchi and drummer Adam Patterson — will show Park City how excited they are when they perform at Park City Live on Feb. 3.
"We’d like people to buy a ticket to the show and bring their friends," DeMars said. "We want everyone to have a good time at the show."
The songs for "Sand in the Sky" were written and partially recorded in the band’s new home studio, according to DeMars.
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"We basically acquired a warehouse space and have a legitimate practice room and rehearsal studio," DeMars said. "We did a lot of songwriting and our creative effort has been turned up a notch in this part of our career and the album is the first thing to come from that."
The band recruited Gordon Brislawn to co-produce the album.
"We recorded our ‘Gettin’ Filthy’ album with him back in 2004, and he’s just one of those guys who knows us," DeMars said. "He’s very personable as an individual and we get along with him really well and hang out outside of recording.
"At this point in our career, we know what we want to do with our music and we can communicate that with him," DeMars explained. "It just works with us. We have a good relationship and good vibe in the studio and that’s the most important thing when you’re recording an album."
"Sand in the Sky" was mixed by Butthole Surfer guitarist and producer Paul Leary, who has worked with Sublime, Slightly Stoopid, U2 and Weezer.
"Paul engineered, mixed and produced our last electric release ["Prove It"] with us," DeMars said "We love his style. He always puts his personal cool punches with ambient sounds and just stuff that really ties our sound together."
The band’s collective focus has changes a lot since the early days, DeMars said with a laugh.
"When we started out, we didn’t know what we were doing," he said. "We were just a bunch of friends jamming at parties and we liked the style of music we played."
DeMars and his bandmates didn’t think much deeper than that at the time.
"When we began working with engineers, we were clueless and just jumped in and did what we knew what to do and threw the rest up in the air and let it fall where it did," he said. "These days, things seem more thought out, let’s say."
In the past 16 years, The Expendables have experienced more than DeMars ever thought they would.
"One of our dreams was to go overseas, and we went to Germany with the Mad Caddies in 2010," he said. "We opened up bigger shows and got to play with our friends."
The best career highlight for DeMars isn’t the amount of money the band makes or the number of albums it sells.
"The biggest one for me is that we’ve been able to stick together all these years," he said. "We’ve been through some very high highs and low lows.
"We started off as high school buddies in Santa Cruz," DeMars remembered. "It’s such a small town and we have this tight niche of friends. We’ve been able to take this organic thing we created and push it through all the messed-up things in this world."
DeMars joined the band in 1999, during his senior year in high school.
"The guys were a little older than me and I met up with them when their bassist moved to go to college," he said. "I can’t believe that I’ve been doing this for 15 years and it’s still working. I mean, we’ve seen tons of band breaking up or getting new members along the way, and we’re still here and it’s working out."
DeMars was drawn to the bass because he grew up listening to bass-heavy funk and brass.
"My parents are from Oakland in the Bay Area and raised me on a lot of funk like Tower of Power and that kind of stuff," he said. "My big influences, though, was a lot of Sublime and a lot of reggae like Steel Pulse, Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff."
DeMars’ musicality meshes well with his bandmates, although they have different influences.
"We have a cool and weird dynamic with The Expendables because we play a lot of different styles and blended it with this reggae-rock," he said. "Our guitar players love rock and metal and we all influence each other with the different styles we listen to, so it’s all from everywhere.
"I believe musicians are a product of their surroundings," DeMars said. "They soak everything in and regurgitate out in their own way. So the band they’re in becomes more than a sum of its parts."
Although "Sand in the Sky" was just released, The Expendables are already planning the next project.
"When you’re a band, you have to think about the next few years and what you want to do," DeMars said. "Our short-term goal is to support this album, but when we get a little break, we are all looking forward to getting back to our studio to write.
"We want to release as much music as possible," he said. "There was a time in our career when we weren’t writing much, and we want to make up for that with this second breath in our career."
The Expendables will bring the Winter Blackout Tour to Park City Live, 427 Main St., on Tuesday, Feb. 3. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $20 to $35 and are available by visiting http://www.parkcitylive.net . For more information about The Expendables and the new album, visit http://www.sandinthesky.com or http://www.theexpendables.net .
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