In Session: Ryan Leddick
TROY – Blending acoustic tones, synthesizers, and a belting tenor voice that demands attention, Ryan Leddick, with his single “State of Mind,” due for release on May 12th, has created a unique sound. Focusing on the duality of art and music and their symbiotic relationship, Leddick delved face-first into an intriguing concept and came through to the other side. With plans to include the song in future projects, one thing’s for certain: whatever Leddick creates next is sure to be interesting.
I had a chance to sit down with Ryan about the single, upcoming shows, and future plans. What follows is our conversation.
Lucas Garrett: Ryan, I hear you have new music coming out on May 12th. Thanks for sitting down today with us to talk about it!
Ryan Leddick: Yes! Thank you, Lucas.
LG: Tell us a bit about the new music.
RL: This new song, “State of Mind,” along with a lot of these new songs, are from deep in the pandemic. I was able to record them with my good friend, Carl Blackwood. He’s featured prominently in this song; he plays guitar, synth, percussion, and some kit parts. I wrote this song thinking about geometric patterns.
I don’t know if you’re familiar with the Fresh Prince of Bel-air and all of those geometric patterns. I wrote these songs thinking about those patterns and how music sort of balances out with art. And, with how each balance the other out. Whatever the art is that is going on is very influential and pokes at what the music is and what’s being created at the moment. I was trying to add some 80s and 90s synth patterns alongside my acoustic guitar to add some of the disjointed-ness. That’s where the idea sprung from and that’s where I got the idea for the album artwork.
LG: It’s a really interesting idea because a lot of us say that music is another way of art, or art form. But, honestly, until now, I hadn’t really thought about it like how you’re describing. I think it’s a very intriguing concept.
RL: Yeah, and with this song in particular, it lends itself really easily because it’s about a state of mind. I’m not trying to tell people to do psychedelics or any of that sort of thing. Hahaha. But, if you think about our state of mind sometimes, we all go on these tangents of mind-dreaming. Like, if we’re in a conversation and start to tunnel in. This song was my tunnel one day, and I thought, “What if we could take geometric shapes and make them into sound? What would it sound like?” The only thing that came to mind were synth sounds.
I always think about word-painting and music-painting. Going to school for music, you see a lot of that in classical music. If someone’s crying, the music notes on a page look like tears.
RL: It’s a very interesting concept.
LG: Maybe the reason you thought of that sound for synthesizers is because if you look at a rhombus, anything like that, it kind of looks like a saw-tooth wave.
RL: I can see that.
LG: When I think of that, I think of all these wacky synthesizer sounds…
RL: Hahaha. Yeah. Pink Floyd does a ton of cool stuff. But, I didn’t even use that many sounds. I think I used five? One of them was on Carl’s guitar. We just played that nice little touch at the end.
LG: You have this new single coming out on May 12th, but what do you plan to do after its release?
RL: Right now, I’ve been booking my tail off. I’ve really been trying my hardest to make sure I can get out there and promote and play. Right now, I have – I’m currently adding dates… I’m always looking at places to perform at. To get to your point, I have about 40 dates on my calendar at the moment.
RL: On Wednesday, May 11th, I’ll be at Juniors on Madison Avenue in Albany, and on Saturday, May 14th, I’ll be at Albany Distilling Co.
LG: You’re bebopping all over the place!
RL: Yeah! So, I have a really good mix of local shows to keep people abreast of what I’m actually doing and shows that are outside of the 518. This weekend I was in Burlington, Vermont, and that was fun. It’s always good to get out and explore.
LG: You’re primarily a songwriter and an acoustic performer, correct?
RL: I would say that, yeah. I’ve been sprinkling in some electric guitar, now and then. I’ve been building myself some synth sounds so I can play around with them on stage, but I’m primarily an acoustic player.
LG: How is it performing these songs out when there’s more instrumentation than the acoustic? Do you find it’s an adjustment?
RL: That’s a good question. I wrote these songs acoustically. You are correct in the way that one would play them acoustically versus the studio version. When I perform them, I’m performing them in their original setting, so I’m performing them with the stripped-down version of me and the acoustic guitar. With this song in particular, there’s no looper pedal; I’m performing it as I wrote it.
LG: I was talking to someone and they said a mark of a good song is the ability to perform it and get the idea of the song across no matter if you’re with a full-band or just you and a guitar. That’s the making of a great song.
RL: I agree! Take “Landslide,” by Fleetwood Mac. I’ve heard the Dixie Chicks play it, and hard-rock bands play it. Or “The Sound of Silence,” by Simon and Garfunkel. The hard-rock band that covered it…
RL: Yeah! It’s one of my favorite covers! But, I never thought I’d ever hear “Sound of Silence” done in a way that made it totally different. It stands this test of time; it doesn’t matter who sings it.
LG: Is there anything else you’d like to talk about, Ryan, that we may not have covered?
RL: The one thing I will add is the song, and a couple of other ones, will be part of a larger project. It probably won’t be in the same format or same sort of instrumentation. But, this is hopefully going to be part of a larger work. Maybe the end of this year or early next year. It’s still trying to find its bearings…
LG: I get what you mean.
RL: I wanted to try this synth-fusion that I’ve always been curious about and I think this was the time.
LG: Thanks for your time, man!
RL: No problem! Thank you, Lucas.
LG: Have a good day.
RL: You too. Cheers!