Yellowcard singer Ryan Key and his brand-new roommate – bassist Pete Mosely – recently witnessed something they had never seen before: an honest-to-goodness blizzard.
It happened in New York a few weeks back, and while it certainly wasn’t the most epic of meteorological events (just one day of snow), it was enough to keep the Florida-spawned duo bundled up inside their apartment in Manhattan’s Soho district. Which isn’t really a bad thing, when you consider they moved to New York to begin writing the new Yellowcard record. So how many new tunes did they pen while Mother Nature unleashed her snowy fury?
“Um, let’s just say we really need to buckle down. Every day now it’s like, ‘Tomorrow we’ll start,’ ” Key laughed. “We needed a break so badly after 18 months of touring. Right now we’re going out all night. We’re like the words from our own song, we’ve been ‘Sleeping all day, staying up all night.’ But in the winter, in New York City, that’s what everybody does anyway.”
Actually, he’s joking… kind of. He’s started writing some “weird, obscure, not-too-mellow” tracks, and working with a stack of notebooks he compiled while Yellowcard were touring the world. He and Mosely just finished packing a studio, a drum kit, some guitar amps and cabinets and an upright piano into the apartment, so that laying down demos is a breeze. But mostly, he’s been enjoying the relative solitude that his NYC digs provide.
“It’s nice to be on my own. It’s nonstop on tour. I was only able to write for a couple of hours some nights,” he said. “This is good, because it will give me some time to get, like, 15-20 ideas that I can take out for the band. When we all get together and start working on the record is when we’ll all collaborate.”
But exactly when that total collaboration will happen remains up in the air. Key admits to never really listening to deadlines mandated by his label (“I’m like, ‘Do you want a good record or a rushed one?’ ” he said), so he’s in no real hurry. But guitarist Ben Harper flew out to New York on Tuesday, and violinist Sean Mackin is making the trek next week. So, in various permutations, Yellowcard have begun hammering out the songs that will comprise the follow-up to their platinum-plus major-label debut.
“Most of the Ocean Avenue songs, we wrote when we were 20, 21 years old. Now we’re like 25, 26, and we’re different people,” Key said. “So it will be different music. But we have to be careful, we have to try and write songs [in the style of the ones] we wrote before. We have to make a conscious effort not to think about the fact that we went from being a nothing band from Jacksonville, Florida, to having a bunch of hit singles in like one year.”
And speaking of Jacksonville, rumor is that there’s some kind of football game happening down there this weekend… the Super Bowl or something? And being a Jacksonville native (not to mention a big-time rock star), you’d think Key would have no problem snagging some tickets to the big game. But you’d be wrong.
“Man, we tried to get Super Bowl tickets through our label, but they couldn’t get us any,” Key said. “So my dad had to get me two tickets to the game. I’m going to take my best friend to the game for his birthday. We’re going to get really, really drunk, because we don’t give a sh- about either team.
“But when I get back to New York, I’m really going to buckle down.”