Last Giant's debut album "Heavy Habitat" was seen fit by a collaboration efforts from a Heise solo project, that would form to make Last Giant, and release that debut album. That said, the band would put together a group of touring musicians, to bring that album on the road and to life. During which time, they would play shows and tour, as time went on, the band would gather together to write and record for a follow-up album titled "Memory Of The World", a collection of tracks, that is truly electrifying. The man behind it all, simply named Ryan, discusses this new album, and plans ahead.
1. What role do you play in the band?
Ryan: My name is Ryan. I am the singer/ songwriter/ guitarist/ multi-instrumentalist/ producer for Last Giant.
2. Last Giant is your namesake, but why is that? Does the name represent a meaning or is it just a name?
Ryan: It is somewhat tongue and cheek. I am a huge 70’s rock fan- Led Zeppelin, Cheap Trick, Thin Lizzy. The name relates to the idea that we are the last of the breed, it made us chuckle. That and hopefully we are the last band with the word giant in it, thus Last Giant. Double meaning, whoa!
3. What has influenced your sound and style?
Ryan: As I mentioned I am a huge 70’s rock guy. Thin Lizzy, Led Zeppelin, Cheap Trick, ELO, Yes, Black Sabbath. I love the entire era really, even the AM radio bands, soul, funk and R+B. It was the best time of music the world has seen in my opinion. We also grew up in the 90’s so we can’t help but to have a bit of the indie rock vibe as well. I just love heavy riffs and grooves with big melodies.
4.What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
Ryan: I write about anything I find inspiring. It always starts with the music so I look for the feel of a song and what words might help express and compliment the vibe, kind of like writing to a movie and capturing scenes. Most of Memory of the World is written about the current state of being human in the 21st century. We have all these technological advances that will eventually lead to human evolution yet we are destroying the planet and each other at the same time. We have all the tools and knowledge necessary to take leaps in improving the planet and human life yet we are still stuck in the grips of greed, poverty, war, racial divide and ignorance. We are at a point of no return, evolution, revolution or extinction. The whole album isn’t that heavy however, I am not that serious about myself. I like to write satirical lyrics and poke fun, like on “The Comedian” or I enjoy writing in short story form like my attempt at film noir in “Blood on the Road”.
5. Do you write your own songs? (Discuss the songwriting process in detail.)
Ryan: Yes. I have been writing songs for a longtime. It has always been the most natural part of my life, just part of me. I will get ideas through playing, in dreams, environmental noises and sounds. I will write on guitar mostly but write on Piano or start with a vocal melody sometimes. I usually have most of the song worked out as far as structure goes on one instrument then I start demoing/ layering. That’s where things can take on new directions and focus or they just work and feel right with the original instrument layout. You get a sense that a song is finished but you never really know.
6. How do you describe your music to people?
Ryan: Big guitars, Big drums, Big Melodies. Rock and Roll
7. What image do you think your music conveys?
Ryan: Rock and Roll, energy, emotion and melody. Good Times
8. You will soon be releasing your new album, can you tell me a little bit about it?
Ryan: We started recording the first couple tracks for the album in Jan 2016 and were also busy touring at the same time. We were only able to go into the studio every other month throughout the entire year due to touring and personal schedules. We lost our then bass player Adam Schultz in May of 2016 so Palmer Cloud came on, who is an old friend and bandmate of mine. It was so great to have him in the fold and he renewed the passion to make the album. Once he was in we buckled down and just kept creating and writing, it was very exciting. We recorded with our longtime partner/ producer Larry Crane (Tape Op, Elliott Smith) and Paul Malinowski (Shiner) mixed the album, which was exciting for all of us. We are all really happy how it turned out.
9. What is the concept behind the album and how did the idea come about?
Ryan: Most of ‘Memory of the World’ lyrically is my take on the current state of the human condition and the state of the planet. The surge in Police brutality has been troubling as well. Police in Boise, ID gunned down one of my best friends years ago. The officer was never charged and it was pushed under the rug. It's the reason I moved from Boise and it really messed my head up for sometime. Reading about the death of Philando Castille and witnessing the video really hit home, that is what the song St. Paul is about. Don’t think I am all doom and gloom though. I love writing funny lyrics too (funny to me at least!) which is prevalent in songs like ‘The Comedian’ and ‘Coverz’. A great record should move like a life: ups, downs, light and dark, love and hate. That’s what I am always shooting for.
10. What is your favorite song on the record and why?
Ryan: If I have to pick a favorite, I will say ‘Living in Photographs’, at least at the moment. That song came to me clear as day in a dream. When I woke up, I picked up my guitar and the entire song was there. Every section and melody was intact. I enjoy when that happens. It makes me feel connected to the universe somehow.
11. What can fans expect from the new Last Giant album?
Ryan: Our best effort and what I feel is the best album so far. They can expect a lot of guitar riffs, huge drums and melody. Honest, badass, rock n roll
12. What was the writing and recording process like for the album?
Ryan: We were touring and in the studio throughout 2016 so I would demo songs whenever possible and the band would learn them and we would re-demo and change arrangements if needed. We were sending them to Larry (co-producer) for any additional notes or changes, which there were little to none on the album from the bands original vision. We went into the studio knowing exactly what we wanted and knocked them out, wasting no time. Everything was done within one or two takes including vocals and all overdubs.
13. Why do you think people should check out your new album once released?
Ryan: I think people may be ready for something new, granted in somewhat old clothes. With all of the laptop music out there I think people might be ready to hear something genuine and human. Rock has taken on many forms and changes, it has gotten bad when people just try and mimic something that’s selling and not being true to their own vision if they have one. You can fool people some of the time but you can’t fool them all of the time. There is something undeniable about people playing actual instruments in a room and when it clicks it takes on a magical form and I think people recognize that. I think people will want to check that out, check us out.
14. How would you say you differ from other bands and artists on the scene?
Ryan: We really don’t sound like anyone else. You can hear our influences, sure but we still have our own vibe and wave we ride. You can’t lump us into one genre besides ‘Rock’. We can play with metal bands, rock bands, indie bands, folk bands, electronic bands and it never seems odd. We float in our own space. Sometimes that can be very challenging as well but in the long run I could never copy anything or fake it. That’s not me. I want to paint the world with my own colors.
15. What do you want to achieve as a band?
Ryan: Of course the ultimate goal has always been to support ourselves solely with music. That doesn’t mean we want to be rich we just want to be comfortable and live and breath music. We also want to tour the world.
16. What does next year hold for Last Giant?
Ryan: We plan on a lot of touring, or at least as much as we can possibly do. We want to be in front of new people, find new fans and turn them on. Go out and slay to be exact.
17. Describe Last Giant in three words.
Ryan: Epic, Heavy, Honest.