INTERVIEW: Ryan Hamilton of People On Vacation

Connor Hamilton

This week I was given the fantastic opportunity to interview Ryan Hamilton. Hamilton first appeared on the indie rock scene in 2006 with former duo Smile Smile, whose debut album gained nominations for two independent music awards – Best Folk Song (Sad Song) and Best USA Artist, although you may know him better as 50% of indie rock duo People on Vacation alongside Jaret Reddick of Bowling For Soup.

After a hugely successful UK tour with People on Vacation this year, Ryan set to work on his first solo album titled Hell of a Day. Ahead of the August 25th release, he took the time to talk to us about the future of People On Vacation, the development of his solo career, tours, comic books and superheroes, all with a refreshingly down-to-earth attitude.

If you’re a fan of depressing tunes that make you want to mope around your house, walk away now, as this looks set to be the perfect accompaniment to a relaxed afternoon with your friends this summer.

I’ve written enough sad bastard songs in my career. I’m ready to make people smile.

Hello Ryan, how are you?
Never been better. Thanks for asking.

People on Vacation started as a side project – is that likely to continue or are there bigger plans?
Right now, Jaret is back in BFS Land and I’m thoroughly enjoying this shiny new solo career. I would love for POV to continue, but who knows. Right now we’re far too busy with other projects. But I really do love being in People On Vacation. It’s such a fun band to be in. It’d be a blast to make another album and tour again.

The video for Don’t Ask The Question features you taking a very long walk. What was going through your mind during the shoot?
I was mostly thinking about how delicious a beer would be, because it was HOT AS HELL and I was wearing a suit. Haha.

The latest album is titled The Chronicles of Tim Powers and features a retro comic style superhero. Are you a comic book fanatic yourself?
I don’t know if I’m a “fanatic”, but I seriously love the art side of comics. Those dudes crank out mini artistic masterpieces at an unbelievable rate. I mean, you could take pretty much any comic book cover, blow it up, frame it, and have an amazing piece of art.

People on Vacation have aurally pleasured many a UK crowd this year, are we likely to see a return any time soon?
We have A LOT of fun touring the UK. Maybe too much. Haha. Not sure when we’ll be back. Jaret is coming back to the UK for another BFS tour and I’m headed back to support this solo album. Like I said, I’d love to do another POV tour. Just not sure when it’ll happen.

We’re loving the feelgood teaser track Karaoke With No Crowd from your upcoming solo album Hell of a Day. What was your inspiration for the album?
Thanks so much! Really, I just wanted to write quality songs that were enjoyable to listen to. I’ve written enough sad bastard songs in my career. I’m ready to make people smile. I really wanted a “California sunshine”… “road trip with the windows down” sort of vibe on this album. So, I went and recorded it in California. Haha.

What are you favourite tracks from the album and why?
I’d have to say Be Kind, Rewind because it has my favorite combo of melancholy lyrics, but ultimately a hopeful, happy sound and message… and the Take It On the Run cover because it’s one of the greatest songs of all time (REO Speedwagon) and I’m super proud of the spin we put on it.

Do you have any plans to tour as a solo artist?
Yep! Already in the works. UK House Party Tour starts in about a month. Then back home for an East Coast trip. Then back to the UK early next year for my first full band, solo tour!

Who would win in a karaoke battle between Superman and Wonder Woman?
I’m gonna say Wonder Woman. Just because I had a HUGE crush on Lynda Carter when I was younger… and I would freak out if I got to see her karaoke in her Wonder Woman outfit.

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