Myopic - May 2014

Myopic Session
Violitionist Sessions

Session Date: April 15, 2014
Posting Date: May 19, 2014
Artist Hometown: Dallas, TX
Links:, Facebook, Simulacra Records
Recorded by: Michael Briggs @ Civil

We Were Here
Six of One
ONE: You’ve played live and recorded with several different artists, including St Vincent, Sarah Jaffe, Doug Burr, Pleasant Grove and The Baptist Generals. How have these experiences/collaborations influenced Myopic? Is there a specific goal you are trying to reach writing a ‘solo’ record with different sets of musicians that you can’t reach with these other groups?
Jeff Ryan: Well, I think everyone we collaborate with in some form or fashion can have an influence on us in one way or another and I have been very lucky to write, record and play with some amazing artists that, whether they know it or not have helped me sculpt my writing in some form or fashion. It really started though with Pleasant Grove probably 7 or 8 years ago when I would jump in during a rehearsal or recording and come up with some very simple linear melodies that would complement a song in some way or another and that got me thinking of elaborating on that concept of just building around simple melodies with piano or rhodes and utilizing bells, drums and guitars to build out these ideas. This project has just been something that’s been a part of me for a long time and I’ve had these melodies and ideas in my head and now just taking the time to puzzle piece them together to make something hopefully interesting. I’m not really that worried about fitting into any specific genre or anything, I just really enjoy the process from beginning to end of building on, again some pretty simple patterns and then trying to do something unique w/ them with whatever equipment I have within my reach.
Brent Frishman: You’ve sighted influences like Aphex Twin, Kraftwerk, Orbital and even New Order as being influences on your more ambient approach to electronic music. What other groups or musicians would you site as influences, directly or indirectly?
JR: There’s too much out there really, because now we have access to everything, I get overwhelmed with the amount of music that absolutely floors me at least on a monthly / weekly basis, but a definite direct influence ? I don’t know, i’ve been into Boards of Canada and Sparklehorse for a long time, but I guess just anyone who uses patterns and builds on them with bells, drums, analog keyboards and samples and then shapes them in the mixing process to something that would either respect the instruments in their natural state or completely disassemble them and tear them apart to where they are indistinguishable because I’ve always been a huge fan of that approach, you know melding the organic and the electronic to where you can feel what’s going on but it’s slightly out of reach as well.
TWO: You’ve been part of the DFW music scene for quite a while. What’s your personal take on how it’s changed for the better/worse? How does the art&music scene in parts of north Texas compare to other cities you have played?
JR: Yeah, I mean it’s definitely changed from when I started playing in the 90’s and in my opinion that’s a good thing. I’ve always championed the Denton/Dallas/Fort Worth musical landscape to people I meet wherever I go b/c I think it’s something to be proud of you know? I’ve always been super excited to tell people about our great artists like Centro-Matic, BedHead, The New Year, Lift To Experience, St. Vincent, Midlake. But yeah, you know i think back in the 90’s or even early 2000’s there seemed to be this overall incessant drive to “make it” whatever that means and it seemed a lot of bands kinda came and went during that period, and that’s fine, it’s just nothing I’ve ever really been that concerned about. So now, because the industry has changed so much it seems like the bands that have consistently put out great records and new ones that have popped up are continuing to do so for the pure act of that’s what they were meant to do, not for any other reason but this need to make beautiful music, which i find refreshing and inspiring.I’m really excited about what’s happening in this area, b/c even just a few years ago we didn’t have anything like the Aurora Light Festival where you’ve got thousands of people walking around downtown and all this amazing experimental/electronic music and light installations and films being shown all over the place is an example of art and music really coming together and doing something interesting. So, playing in different cities around the US or Europe or wherever I used to really want what they had in my own city, and I think we’re really catching up and definitely making strides in that area where the DDFW area is really embracing and realizing how important it is to support artists, like the Aurora Light Fest, Patio Sessions and all the festivals that have been popping up in all three cities, Denton, Dallas and Fort Worth thanks to some really smart people is exciting.
BF: How did the band/project get involved with Todd and Simulacra Records?
JR: Well, it’s mainly down to my friend Peter Schmidt who was a friend of Todd’s and knew his band Crushed Stars was looking for a drummer. He put me in touch with Todd and a few months later he had sent me all the tracks for his third release under that moniker to write some drum parts and melodies and a few weeks after that we were tracking with my buddy Stuart Sikes. Eventually, that all evolved into recording now several records with Crushed Stars and also collaborating with him on Myopic tracks as well. We realized we had a lot in common not only with electronic music but that using his label Simulacra we had total control of everything. It’s a very DIY aesthetic which I love and has some great artists including his own electronic project called Sonogram.
THREE: You released “We Were Here” last year. Are there any plans to tour in support of the album? What’s next for Myopic?
JR: You know, up until recently I never really considered this project to be a fully functioning band to be honest, it was really just me as a bedroom project and I would call on friends like Mike Rudnicki(Baboon), Ean Parsons(BoomBoomBox), Tony Homillosa(Pleasant Grove), Sean French(Theater Fire, Eyes Wings and Many Other Things) and Shane Culp(Mission Giant) and also now Jay Allen(Crushed Stars) to help out play but now it’s really taken on a life of it’s own and I couldn’t be happier. I was completely blown away to have it played on BBC6 Radio this past year a number of times and have been communicating with some promoters over there, so we shall see what will happen for this next release. I’ve started to write for the next record and have been trying to approach everything differently than before, maybe it’s because I’ve been working with the guys pretty consistently for the past year or so but these ideas that I’m working on now are pretty different than the last two albums, so I’m really curious as to where it’ll go.
– Email interview by Brent Frishman.