Jaret Reddick and Ryan Hamilton’s delightfully eclectic and unusual cocktail of indie and punk rock has come a long way since being called ‘Jared Reddick’s acoustic plaything’. With three albums and a slew of tours under their belt, People on Vacation are back in the UK touring in support of their latest offering, The Chronicles of Tim Powers. AMBY Caught up with Ryan Hamilton to talk about how this ‘baby’ band came to be, and is evolving from a side-project into a unique band poised for great things, check it out below!
AMBY: Hey Ryan, thanks for letting AMBY chat with you today!
PoV: That’s okay, it’ll be fun!
AMBY: You and Jaret (Reddick) come from two very musically different backgrounds, whose idea was it to combine the more chirpier indie sounds of your solo work and your then current band ‘Smile Smile’ with the Rawer, punkier sounds from Jaret’s band Bowling for Soup?
PoV: Really, we just wanted to write songs together, just to see how it would go because we became good friends and that particular musical combination but sort of happened because we just met in the middle, really, we didn’t try to make any particular blend of sound, we didn’t say ‘it’s gonna be half this and half that’ it was just us coming from our different backgrounds and meeting in the middle from our two separate worlds.
AMBY: So you had the songs penned, who pitched the idea ‘hey, let’s release a record, let’s make something of this’?
PoV: Jaret was the one who really took the lead saying like ‘okay, this is gonna be a real band, what do you think about the name ‘People on Vacation?’’ and we started writing and recording these songs together that were originally going to be for other people, but we just liked them so much we kept them for ourselves, but I would say him (Jaret) he really pushed for and wanted this to be what it is starting to become and, you know, if he hadn’t have done that, we’d still probably be trying to write songs for other people.
AMBY: Speaking of the name, would you mind telling us the meaning behind the name, ‘People on Vacation’?
PoV: Sure, we used to be a part of this songwriting game with a guy named Bob Schneider, Jason Mraz did it, there were like, ten or twenty of us at one point, the game was that you would basically get a line every week, and everyone in the game would record a song with that line in, and it was Jaret’s turn to decide what this week’s line would be, and he chose ‘People on Vacation’ so everyone in the group including me and like, fifteen other people by that point when wrote a song called ‘People on Vacation’. Then a while later he called me, ironically while on tour in the UK with Bob Schneider and he said ‘Hey, what do you think about that, as a band name, instead of just a song title?’ and I loved it, and it just came to be that this band ended up being a ‘vacation’ from our other two bands.
AMBY: So the name wasn’t intentional to fit with the ‘vacation’ theme of the name that you have two members from the USA and two from England?
PoV: It wasn’t on purpose, it just kinda happened that way, when we first started coming over here it was first just as part of the ‘Jaret and Erik (Chandler, Bowling for Soup)’ acoustic tour and it was like ‘A night with…’ with both of them, and he decided to bring me and Linus (Dotson) and make it more of a little bit of everything, and the response was so great we just kept coming back and it was like ‘Well, I guess we gotta find a band’ he already knew Rob (Lane, bass), and Rob suggested Mickey (Richards, drums) so I guess it’s a little bit of both, it just worked out and it was super easy because we were looking for a band anyway and it just kind of fell into place.
AMBY: Both you and Jaret have gone through fairly interesting means of promoting PoV and your music, you have ran PledgeMusic campaigns, and you often run shows on StageIt, why are you choosing to ‘go at it’ in such a prototypical way as opposed to simply ‘let’s go on tour’?
PoV: The music business has changed so much in the last six or seven years, you had to have a record label, you had to have a booking agent, and a load of other things, but now with platforms like the ones you mentioned, you don’t necessarily need all of those things anymore, but, there’s a learning curve, because it’s still new, so with Holiday Vacation (album) we started out with Kickstarter, we’ve since moved to Pledge and we’re still kind of trying to figure it out but the music business is just in a constant state of flux because of the internet and other platforms like those two you mentioned.
AMBY: Whether we like it or not, it’s affecting the industry more and more each day, what is your opinion on music piracy?
PoV: Well, I’m actually a big believer in (because I used to work on a record label, and I hated it) wanting as many people to hear my record as I can, bands don’t make any money from record sales, especially if you’re on a record label, they take any money that they make from your record sales and just put it right back into the record so you’re constantly owing the record label money, that’s how it works. Maybe it’s because I’m a product of living in that world, but I want as many people to have the music as possible and to be completely honest, I don’t care how they get it.
AMBY and PoV: [laughs]
AMBY: Vinyl records, they had a downfall, but now they’re back, your latest record ‘The Chronicles of Tim Powers’ was not a vinyl release, but you are a known fan of vinyl, was there a particular reason for that?
PoV: We did talk about it, it was a conscious decision, but vinyl, even though there’s a little bit of a resurgence, is very expensive to make, and looking at the big picture, this band is still a baby band, so it was more of a business decision, it would have been awesome to have it on vinyl, but we’re still figuring out what this band is gonna be and make the best financial decisions going forward.
AMBY: Before the tour started you played some US dates without your British counterparts, who is an official member, just you and Jaret, or everyone?
PoV: Technically this is just Jaret and I, but we do consider Mickey and Rob here in the UK as our band, if you look at other bands, Tegan and Sara for example, legally, that band is just them, but when they tour they will have a live band with them, but technically it’s just them. We do consider the Four of us (Ryan, Jaret Mickey and Rob) to be the band People on Vacation, but, it was Jaret and I’s baby, that’s just how it goes sometimes.
AMBY: Of all of your shows (Smile Smile, solo or PoV) what is your favourite gig you have ever played?
PoV: Oh man, some of these UK trips have been some pretty special nights and Manchester for sure, it’s always just insane there, but I really don’t know, my former band played for 5,000 people in New York at the height of what that band was, but… That’s a tough one, if I had to pick one I’ll have to say the first acoustic tour over here (with Jaret and Erik) because it was my first ever trip to the UK, the Manchester date of that tour.
AMBY: Have you ever considered a career change/expansion? Maybe trying acting or voiceover work?
PoV: People on Vacation as a unit was only planned up until this tour, to see like ‘okay let’s see if this is really worth diving into and really pushing’ and it’s become evident that it is worth sticking with, Jaret already does voice acting stuff, but for me it’s really just all about the music, I’m happy to get to do it, no acting for me! [laughs]
AMBY: You mentioned that PoV was only planned up until this point, when will the decision been made, if not already, whether to continue?
PoV: The decision ultimately will be made when we get back, but, if you take the information we have, we have three shows left on this tour and it’s already become very clear that we want to come back, we want to keep doing this, it’s become more of a real band and less of a side project, but we’re gonna have to come up with a gameplan when we get home, Bowling for Soup has got stuff going on, I just finished a record on my own, so it’s gonna be a busy, crazy couple of years, but yeah, this isn’t the end by a long shot [laughs].
AMBY: Smile Smile, your former band, broke up the year before last —
AMBY: Officially, it’s done, dead – is there a chance of a reunion, ever?
PoV: No, never ever ever will that ever happen, she and my bandmate and I don’t even speak, like, we do not like each other, but we didn’t really like each other when we were in the band.
AMBY: That’s what The Eagles said though.
PoV: [laughs] Yeah, but unfortunately for me, that band was never as big as The Eagles, you know. If we were, though! Then maybe, you know? But it’s officially done for good.
AMBY: A while ago you mentioned that a new Smile Smile album would be out in 2037, any updates there?
PoV: [laughs] Yeah, I was a pretty mean person back then and I was in a bad place, and an interviewer asked if we had a new album coming out after we had already broken up and I said ‘Yeah, in 2037!’ and I made him write it down.
Thank you People on Vacation, for giving us your answers!