Photos by Meredith Truax
Dubbed “the alt-rock Frank Ocean” by Paper Magazine, Ryan Star is an alternative rock artist from Brooklyn, New York.
His music has appeared prominently in films such as P.S. I Love You and hit television shows like The Vampire Diaries, as well as the theme song to Lie To Me. Given his live-show prowess, he's been tapped to share the stage with many incredible artists, from Imagine Dragons to Bon Jovi to Maroon 5. His 2010 full-length major label debut,11:59, landed at #10 on Billboard's Rock Albums Chart and #4 on the Tastemakers Chart. In 2012 Ryan’s hit "Stay Awhile" charted Top 30 at Hot AC radio and quickly amassed over 2 million YouTube views.
A N G E L S + A N I M A LS showcases the best of Ryan Star’s signature style: honest, stream of consciousness matched with innovative production elements. Influenced by Frank Ocean, The National, James Blake and Bon Iver, the record is distinguished by its raw vocals and sophisticate, genre-blending production choices. Star’s goal was to make listening to A N G E L S + A N I M A LS akin to meeting him for the very first time -- "It's very autobiographical," he says, "I gave only the most raw, most honest version of myself on this record. It's primal in that sense. It starts with an apology and takes us on a man's journey to become his best self for the woman he lives for. We are all a bit angel and a bit animal, we do the best we can."
For A N G E L S + A N I M A LS, Ryan Star used his late grandfather’s piano to bring his inspirations to life. Sitting at his piano is where Ryan first began creating music; it's the cornerstone of his creative outlets and where he developed the songs that make up the album. When he was ready to record, Ryan enlisted in-demand dance remixer and producer IdoVsTheWorld to create depth and inject modern touches. Veteran producer Yaron Fuchs, famous for bringing out the rawness in Notorious B.I.G.s “Ready to Die” rounded out production team and the record was on it’s way.
Looking to submerge himself in an environment of creativity and musical stimulus, the three made a pilgrimage to the famed Clubhouse Studios in Rhinebeck, NY in October 2012. They arrived the day after The National, one of Ryan’s biggest inspirations, wrapped their album. Ryan’s song “Fuckin Up” really shows the band’s influence, featuring similar room sounds to those found on their album. Of his time at the Clubhouse, Ryan says, "This is the experience I've been dreaming about since I was 16; it felt like being a kid and jamming in your parents' basement all over again. We were immersed in this record 24/7 there. It was a month of magic.”
Ryan and his production team worked around the clock to ensure that A N G E L S + A N I M A LS captured the live-show kinetic and unpredictable energy his fans have become accustomed to. “This is the first time I have really been able to capture that live quality on my recordings,” says Ryan. He chose to cut everything analog in order to feature the crispest, clearest vocals and most true instrument sounds throughout the record.
"Impossible" Building from a staggering beat into an invasive and irresistible keyboard and vocal plea, the song is an intense and cinematic story of a relationship fraying at the seams. The song is an apologetic breakup song; it admits faults while asking for another chance.
“Bullet" A N G E L S + A N I M A LS' opening song blasts into even more powerful territory. Recorded live, in one take, with his entire band, this song represents truth for Ryan. "I told everyone the meaning and intention of the song and we did it in a single take," Ryan recalls. "You can hear the creaking of the broken guitar I used. It's the only song I've ever gone to tape so intimately with. There were tears coming out of my eyes at the end. Being in that room and recording the song was one of the most beautiful musical moments in my life. To me, that's art."
Management: Eric Wong - email@example.com
LIONS PHOTO BY GUY BRYANT AND AMY STURKEY www.gotchashots.com