Ryan Ross may be the singer of a new band on an indie label, but the 23-year-old is hardly a music industry neophyte. The leader of five-piece rock outfit the Young Veins still spends a lot of time fielding questions about his former band, Panic! at the Disco.
“I’ve talked a good amount about Panic!, but that’s because there hadn’t been much else going on with us until now,” says Ross, whose new group with Panic! guitarist Jon Walker will release its debut album, Take a Vacation!, June 8 on One Haven Music. “Hopefully once people hear the album and see us perform, those questions will sort of die down.”
As the main songwriter and guitarist of Las Vegas pop-rock act Panic!, Ross guided its debut album, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, to platinum sales in 2006. After follow-up Pretty. Odd. debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 in 2008 and the band wrapped up a world tour, Ross realized the group would never be the best outlet for his offbeat songwriting style.
“I just couldn’t keep on trying to please people. It was hindering my creative output, and I had to be honest with myself,” Ross says.
He and Walker amicably split from the band last July, then moved to California and began writing songs together. After recruiting bassist Andy Soukal, keyboardist Nick White and drummer Nick Murray, the Young Veins recorded last summer in Los Angeles with Pretty. Odd. producer Rob Mathes and Alex Greenwald of the band Phantom Planet.
The group was advised to hold off on releasing the album until after the fourth quarter, although Ross says the wait “gave me and Jon time to write a lot of new material.”
With songs like “Cape Town” and “Dangerous Blues” touching upon garage rock, psychedelia and Beach Boys-esque harmonies, Take a Vacation! revisits the exploratory yet accessible songwriting Ross tinkered with on Pretty. Odd. The Young Veins’ sound impressed One Haven founder/CEO Michael Caplan, and the band signed to the label last March.
Caplan believes the indie model works in the Young Veins’ favor.
“We can have a microscopic attention to detail that lets us reach out to Panic! fans while also appealing to a broader audience,” he says.
Lead single “Change” was made available on the band’s MySpace page, and leading up to the album release, One Haven will launch a radio campaign. Meanwhile, Panic! fans will be targeted with a preorder campaign on the website of that band, which still includes frontman Brendon Urie and drummer Spencer Smith.
After a performance at Bonnaroo, the Young Veins will embark on a lengthy summer U.S. tour alongside Rooney. As Ross gears up for the album release and tour, he says he’s found peace with his new creative freedom.
“I forgot that being in a band was this much fun.”