US post hardcore heroes The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus start their Australian tonight. This time they are armed with their recent album The Awakening, their first studio album in four years. No doubt fans can expect to hear tracks from the The Awakening and the band will also delve into their extensive bag of hits. Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles spoke to lead singer and keyboardist Ronnie Winter about their tour.
Great news that your Australian tour is about to start?
Yeah, we did the ten year anniversary thing which is something that has become common and that was a really good time, even the tour before that was killer and we have a new record out that is doing really well. We made a commitment a long time ago to keep Australia a priority to us and we’re holding to it.
Is Australia proving to be one of your favourite places to tour?
It is, I never thought anyone would care about us and there’s still plenty of countries that don’t know us and there’s plenty of countries that some people think who are really huge have zero traction. It is really great for us because you guys speak English which means we can communicate.
Is it also exciting when you break in to a new territory as well?
Yeah definitely, we have seen all the different angles as we have been around a long time. The hardest thing is if you’re trying to talk to a fan and if you don’t speak the same language and you’re trying to tell you something important with the conviction in their eyes and their hand movements you have no idea what they are saying, you pretty much have to smile and nod your head.
No Adelaide or Perth this time, is that purely time constraints?
It is, thanks to platforms such as Spotify and other avenues we use to collect data it seemed to be very easily traceable that were having the highest plays of the new record. We know the old records are very well received and the new record is a concept record so not everyone is going to get it. I think you have to be in to the whole concept record thing in general so we do know where the traction is. We were going to wait a year and we were going to tour some other territories that we missed this time, however, going off the stats this is am earlier than planned run because it was doing so well in these territories, so we’re just paying attention.
With four years between albums do you feel that pressure building?
Lucky for us we’re old, we’re not twenty two year old kids any more so we don’t really worry about momentum. We have been in the band long enough where that’s not necessary for us and that’s a really cool place to be. Do bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers really need momentum when releasing a new record? Everyone loves them because they are awesome and everything they have done is awesome. That has always been our goal, we’re not trying to keep up with the young kids and there are a lot of bands better than us out there but we are the best at being Red Jump Suit Apparatus. That probably sounds goofy but that’s what we are, we are really good at what we do and that’s it. My wife who also co-produced the record had a baby and he now is two years old and I wanted to be around those first couple of years. I didn’t want to miss all those big moments, I got to do that and still be in a band. I think we made the right choice.
How will you juggle fatherhood with the commitments of being in a band?
We’re just a weird band, we have been independent for eight years now and were with a label for four. During that time we had three number one and since we left we have had seven so that’s a relatively short part of our career. After we left I took over as manager so I run the whole business side of things, so I just balance life and work as best as I can. I think I do a pretty good job out of that, I do a lot of weird things that a lot of other bands do to enable us have a lot more home time. I call myself a part-time rocker and a full time Dad. That’s how I see things and that’s what is totally amazing being totally family owned and operated, like I said I manage the band and run the label as you will but don’t really claim the label even though we are our own label. My brother manages the social media and the websites as well as playing guitar in the band. We just do things our own way and we keep family first because we realise that is important. We have been really popular and not popular at all and now we have had a number one for twelve weeks and so we have been there and know what to expect. It is nice to be back on top.
That must be a huge buzz having a number one for twelve weeks, almost seems to be unheard of these days?
I think it has a lot to do with people that have stuck with us over the years. We have really cool friends that we call fans as that’s what people tell us to call them. We share a lot of experiences and anyone who has followed the band knows it has not been a bed of roses. We had a lot of success, a lot of misses and having success again, we just want to be that career band that is consistent and is able to put quality records as well as putting on a good live show. We are just rock guys, a simple rock band and we’re stoked that someway we figured out and had a chance at this whole thing. It still blows my mind honestly.
Do you think sometimes luck comes in to it having the right song at the right time which connects with people?
I think it’s luck, it’s god, it’s rolling the dice, good vibes and all that wrapped in to one. It is something that no one can claim control over we just try hard not to screw it up.
Interview by Rob Lyon
Catch Red Jumpsuit Apparatus on the following dates, tickets from Destroy All Lines