RTB2 Session - July 2009


Session Date: July 14, 2009
Artist Hometown: Denton, TX
Links: MySpace, Twitter, Facebook
Recorded by: Michael Briggs

Ryan Thomas Becker and Grady Don Sandlin have been friends for over a decade. They are both members of various bands around the area, together and separately– The Slow Burners, The Boxcar Bandits, Delmore Pilcrow, The Hope Trust, Ryan Thomas Becker (solo), etc. But their enormous talent shines through the most in RTB2.

Sandlin is one of the finest drummers that Denton has to offer and Becker’s guitar, vocal and lyrical skills are jaw-dropping. The chemistry between them when they perform live is mesmerizing and impenetrable. It reveals the years that they’ve gotten to know one another and become a seamless duo. And their recordings beautifully capture the spirit of their performances.

The duo talks about In the Fleshed, revealing the recording process and their favorite songs from the EP. They also play “Letters to a Young Danny Kennedy”, from In the Fleshed, and “Broken Treeline”, one of their older tunes and a brand new song, “Wire to the Walls”.

Note: This is an older session and may not exactly follow the “3 Questions / 3 Songs” format.
Michael Briggs: So, you guys have a new EP coming out.
Ryan Thomas Becker: Yes!
MB: What’s the title of that? Can you talk a little bit about it?
RTB: It’s called “In the Fleshed”, and it’s a 4-song EP that we’ve been…it’s been in the works off and on for about a couple years now. And we started working on it around the time that we released The Both of It…we recorded The Both of It, I guess. It kind of spans back to when we first kind of started recording ourselves on some of Grady’s new computer equipment. I don’t know. It’s different, of course, from The Both of It as there’s a little bit more layers and experimentation rather than what The Both of It where it was just a live recording with just the two of us, even though it’s still just the two of us, but there’s overdubs and things like that, other percussions and instruments. Recorded mostly at home. One piano track that was done at the Echo Lab. All our friends, The Make Believers, were recording.
MB: Cool. Is there a favorite song of yours on the new record? One that stands out for you? That you’re most proud of?
Grady Don Sandlin: We really wanted to get “When Hammer Hits Stone” in there. That’s like become a staple of the live set and everything. But all of them, I think, are there for a reason. You know, for a 4-song EP, it’s not featuring one song and the rest are B-sides or anything like that. So I have a particular like for all of them. I think they’re great and they’re exciting and they’re fun to listen to. What about you?
RTB: I like “When Hammer Hits Stone”. I also like “Letters to a Young Danny Kennedy”. I like the arrangement we kind of came up with, a bit more…what I would think would be like us trying to be Basses-ish. Like, a little more rock ‘n roll, I guess. Rootsy sounding. I don’t know. Hammer’s good.
MB: Cool. So do you guys have any plans to do any touring or playing a bunch of shows to support the EP or anything like that?
RTB: Well we have EP release shows coming up this weekend, Friday at the Granada, opening up. Saturday at Hailey’s, playing with Oso Closo and Pendergrass. I don’t know. We’re just gonna kind of do what we’ve been doing, which is play a bunch of shows and try to promote with the word out there and try to get as much music to as many hands as possible.
RTB: Yeah, I was gonna ask. You guys kind of seem to play more shows than pretty much any band around. Is that kind of your idea behind that or the goal? To expose it to as many people as possible?
RTB and GDS: Yeah.
RTB: I think so.
MB: I don’t think there’s anyone who plays more shows than you guys. I don’t know.
GDS: Maybe not. But, I mean, as long as there’s people coming out to see us, then I guess we’ll just keep doing it. If we start to feel like it’s working against us, then we’ll slow down or something.
MB: You ever get burnt out by it?
GDS: No, not yet. It can be exhausting. It’s fun, it’s rewarding.
MB: You have any favorite venues to play across the Metroplex? Which ones?
GDS: Sure. In Dallas, I really like playing the Double Wide. I like playing City Tavern in Dallas, as well.
RTB: This house called the Annex House, kind of a collection of really nice people who live there and put on these house shows, I’ve come to like those, like that kind of crowd. They’re very supportive.
MB: Yeah, that’s a cool place.
GDS: We like playing the Chat Room in Fort Worth. I really like playing at Hailey’s. I think it’s a great venue, good sound system. You know, I feel comfortable there. We always have good shows at Dan’s, as well. I guess that’d be it in the Metroplex.
MB: So how long has RTB2 been around? How long have you been playing together?
GDS: Maybe three years? Maybe? I don’t know, maybe more now?
RTB: That it? [laughs]
MB: Anything else that you’d like to add or say? Anything on your mind?
RTB: [laughs]
GDS: I think what you’re doing here is really cool.
RTB: Yeah, definitely. Oh my gosh.
GDS: I really like Gutterth Productions, and apparently Gutterth recordings, too. I don’t know. I just think what you guys are doing is really cool. I’m glad to be a part of it.
MB: Thanks. Very glad to have you a part of it.
RTB: These podcasts in particular are very cool. I’m glad you’re kind of pushing through, you know, new stuff by people all around here and your collective.
MB: Yeah, cool. Well thanks. Appreciate that.
RTB: You’re welcome.
MB: So before this interview thing, we recorded a few songs. You wanna tell us what they were and a little about them maybe? What happened?
RTB: Let’s see. There’s one from the new EP called “Letters to a Young Danny Kennedy”. There’s an older one that we did called “Broken Treeline” that’s on The Both of It, and it’s on our first EP, Wishy Waltz. It’s been around for a while. And then there’s…I wouldn’t say it’s unreleased…it was released on a Fort Worth compilation called 100 Second Dash called “Wire to the Walls. Not the compilation, but the song that we played was called “Wire to the Walls”. It’s kind of been a favorite of ours lately. We’ve been opening a lot of the sets with it.
MB: Cool. Alright, well thanks again. We appreciate you guys coming. We’ll do the songs, good luck with your shows coming up and all that.
RTB: Thank you! Bye!