So on a surprisingly pleasant day in Cardiff we got the opportunity to sit down with Ryan from For Today in his (not just his) incredible tour bus and chat all things about the band past and present:
How's tour going dude?
Awesome man, it's been four years since we have been over in this part of the world so it's been far too long but it's great to come back and play shows throughout Europe and still have people come out.
We started off in mainland Europe and moved through Germany and Switzerland and then the UK. We will finish it out with a little more Germany.
Have you been on a bus like this the whole time?
And how are you enjoying the UK?
The UK is always different for us because we haven't really been here many times, it's like being a new band again and it's a bit of a new challenge to go into an area where not as many people have heard of us. It's really cool to play though as it's so different from America. I mean there's a castle a block and a half down the round and that just doesn't happen in America, that does not exist. It's great to see all the things that we don't have and appreciate them. I walked round earlier and really enjoyed myself.
So the first time I heard you was from a viral video of a cat headbanging to your song 'Fearless'.
Yeah man I remember that one, I'm glad that stuff actually helps! I don't know who does this stuff but we like to pass it on. Someone recently made a mock of one of our songs that was an instructional video on how to bake a cake with the lyrics changed. Man, people have some crazy ideas.
So I have been jamming the latest album 'Wake' quite a lot. It seems a bit of a move away from previous material, how would you say it's different.
I would say part of it is because so much time has passed. I think when we started writing I was like 18 years old and now i'm almost 28 years old so as time goes on things naturally change. I think when you are in a band this long you have to remain true to what your band is. You find a way to integrate your newer tastes into your sound so I think it's like a natural progression over time with the addition of new elements that you try to make work with whats typical of your sound.
Have the writing processes changed in the last 10 years?
Pretty much every record has changed because life has changed along the way, We have moved further from each other so processes have to change and I don't think we have found the perfect method either. We are constantly looking for new ways to record.
Me and my brother go to eachothers houses when we can and will write independently when we are apart and send stuff back and forth and then get it to the others to pen out what we do and don't like. In a lot of ways we aren't actually performing the song as a whole in the studio together to begin with and you lose a bit of the natural feel of playing the song live but when that's not possible you have no choice. We live in a great age where you can do these things and not be in a room together. I think it worked out well for this record.
Would you say that you are the most comfortable in your career at this point?
Yeah I thnk so, you know we are at a place where we are totally content with where we are. You can get sucked into a rat race where you want more and more but we are just happy to be where we are at earning off playing music we love. I managed to put my wife through college, we got married etc. We aren't wealthy but we are hugely thankful to be paid to do what we love. We enjoy the moment man, we appreciate coming over the other side of the world and playing to keep people interested even if it is to less people.
Okay so Wikipedia tells me that you guys are a self-proclaimed Christian band, what made you guys think it was important to state that and involve it in your identity?
What you believe is so inseparable to who you are that it would be impossible to not include that in our identity. Whatever your belief is, is what you will talk about the most. It's inevitable for anyone that cares enough about something and for us our faith is our biggest belief and that bleeds into everything else. When we started out there were a lot of bands that tagged themselves as a Christian band but it was more of a label to sell music rather than a genuine belief. In a rebellious spirit we thought we were gonna do it and do it right. The Christian tag expands to the way our band treats people and how we conduct ourselves.
So Wikipedia also tells me that the name was chosen because it "sounded cool" and then the meaning developed after that...
The way you worded it was actually cooler than the way it is written on wikipedia. I looked at it and facepalmed a little bit. When we started the band it was a name that was already in place from earlier local bands days but we stepped into it and as we have grown we questioned ourselves on what it meant. So we sat down and thought well, you are not promised tomorrow and there are always people putting off what they should do today and waiting for tomorrow. It is important that we live as people in the moment as well as looking to the distance and what will come.
Fair play, you nailed that. So I also read (On wiki) that Mattie (Vocals) gave out his mobile number on social media to fans...
If you read about us a couple of years ago we were in a lot of controversy over our old guitar player. The extension of the cellphone number was because we weren't sure whether people understood that we still cared or whether we were spiteful or hateful people so we extended an olive branch to show we aren't afraid of anybody and we aren't intimidated by peoples differences and mostly that we do care.
Whether people hate us or love we are here for people, for fans, so for that reason Mattie just wanted to say "Look come and talk to me". He was on the phone for a long time man but he heard a lot of amazing stories from people. I think it was healing for a lot of people that may have been struggling to identify with us at the time.
That's brave man...
He was on the phone so much that he was getting missed calls. He unfortunately didn't get to chat to everyone but it was great. We felt more unified for it. We want to be a force that brings people together and is a healing process rather than a hurtful one.
What's next then man?
After this tour, we go home and have a couple of days off and then we have a tour with We Came As Romans and Memphis May Fire with Miss May I as well. That's going through the US pretty much from the East side to the West side. We have toured with them all before so it will be cool to have good friends together on a tour. It's one of those "Let's put a group of bands together that all their fans will like the other bands". Can we call it a Supertour?
They are doing a lot of food things too. I don't know exactly what that's about but I mean i'm gonna be around and if there is something to eat I'm gonna eat it.
What about new material?
We are always writing and doing other musical things. I have no idea when everything will come together but there is always development happening...
Thanks so much for having us dude!