Metal Mofos’ Isaac Sauers chatted with Righteous Vendetta vocalist Ryan Hayes about the band and their upcoming full length debut album, Cursed.
Metal Mofos: Hi Ryan, Tell me a little bit about Righteous Vendetta.
Ryan: We’ve been round about 8 years. Started in a little town in Wyoming. A town of about 5,000 people. We’ve been touring about the whole time in small areas doing the DIY thing until more recently when we signed a deal with Century Media. We’re getting ready to release our debut album, Cursed.
MM: When is the album due out?
Ryan: It’s due out March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day.
MM: So you’re in for a big party for the album release then?
Ryan: Yeah, hopefully the day will bring us good luck.
MM: How did the deal with Century Media come about?
Ryan: The owner and president of Century Media came and saw us play at SXSW a couple years ago and basically signed us that day.
MM: Wow, awesome. What’s been happening with the band in the time since then?
Ryan: We’ve been writing the new album. It’s taken us that long to do the new album.
MM: I’ve listened to your EP Defiance. What’s going to set the new album apart from that?
Ryan: We’ve been taking two years to write this album so it’s about as perfect as we can get it. The best writing we’ve done. Our producer is incredible. The production is way better. We’re better musicians and I’m a better singer. The natural growth of the band is so much better then when we wrote Defiance. It’s heavier too.
MM: You’ve got two songs on the album out right now, “War is Killing Us All” and “Weight of the World”. Could you tell me about the lyrics to those songs?
Ryan: “Weight of the World” is a song we wrote in the recording process. We were fighting back and forth with the label about what should be on the album and how we had no singles. The album wasn’t good because we didn’t have singles and we felt terrible about it. We wrote it with the drummer of Atreyu. The lyrics are about the pressure from the label and how the weight was just crushing us.
“War is Killing Us All” is more of a political song about wars in other countries and all the money that is being spent by the American government so the elite people can make more money and how wars are killing everyone except those that benefit from them.
MM: What else do we have coming up on the album? Do you have a favorite song?
Ryan: Definitely. My favorite is a song called “Doomed”. It’s by far the heaviest song on there. One of my favorite choruses I’ve written. It’s based on the video game Doom and super inspired by that. You can hear lyrical remnants from the video game and it’s a super brutal track.
MM: When you’re doing vocals what style do you prefer most? Singing or screaming?
Ryan: I enjoy both. Stylistically whatever the song calls for at the time is what I want it to be. I love melody and pop music so if there is a song where it requires good melody I will sing, but if the song wants me to be pissed off and scream I’ll do that too. I love both equally if they’re done in the right context.
MM: Who are some of your biggest influences as a vocalist?
Ryan: One of my favorite bands of all time is As I Lay Dying. I grew up listening to them. In Flames was a huge one for me. Killswitch Engage when Howard was in the band is a big influence on me.Those three bands are a huge influence on where I am vocally.
MM: What’s your opinion on the Tim Lambesis situation as it stands today?
Ryan: I’m bummed because As I Lay Dying is my favorite band of all time. We’ll never see the same band again. I think he’s an idiot. I’m glad he went to prison. I can’t believe he’s out, but he is. I’m looking forward to a new As I Lay Dying album I guess.
MM: You mentioned Killswitch Engage with Howard on vocals. A lot of people think differently and prefer Jesse. Can you tell me why you prefer Howard?
Ryan: To me it’s night and day man. In my opinion Howard is one of the greatest metal vocalists ever. He had so much emotion and soul in his voice. When he sang something you felt it. His melodies were amazing, delivery was amazing, screams were amazing, and everything about the way he sang inspired me all the time. That’s why I loved him. For me Jesse is fine. He’s good. He’s not Howard though.
MM: Ok, cool. Back to the new album. Can you tell me what is being depicted in the cover art?
Ryan: We called the album Cursed because through the entire process of writing the album and going through stuff with the album we thought we were cursed the whole time. There was this curse following us wherever we went where we couldn’t be who we were and make the music we wanted. The idea was that the girl on the cover was being followed. If you look closely there’s a figure peeking around the tree. Like this thing is following this girl and she can’t get away from it.
MM: It’s a cool album cover that’s for sure. As the vocalist do you write all the lyrics as well?
Ryan: For the most part. There’s a few lines someone else will write. If I write something then someone else comes in with something better then we will use that. I probably wrote about 97% of the lyrics.
MM: Do you have a recurring theme or something in life that’s a big influence on your song writing?
Ryan: As you grow as a person you change and have your highs and lows. This album was a low point. It’s honest, real, and dark. The recurring theme of this album is cursed. It’s dark and heavy. All the songs have a recurring them of spiritually and hope so as dark as the album gets those two themes are still there.
MM: You mentioned spiritually and hope. Do you consider Righteous Vendetta to be a Christian band?
Ryan: We’re not a Christian band by name per say. All of us in the band are Christian people, but we aren’t necessarily a Christian band because we don’t sing about Jesus. I’ve always been confused by the idea of a Christian band. Everything else isn’t separated. You don’t have lawyers and Christian lawyers. You just have lawyers. Why is there a Christian band and just bands? People make music. Their spiritually has nothing to do with music. Whether they portray it in the lyrics is different but the music is music.
MM: So the album is coming out the 17th. What’s next after the album released?
Ryan: We are currently on tour. We are waiting to see what else is going to happen.
MM: Well, thanks a lot for talking with me Ryan.
Ryan: Thanks for calling. I’m excited to see what you put together.
Go see Righteous Vendetta on tour now with Flaw!
Check out the track “Weight of the World” here:
Be sure to like Righteous Vendetta on Facebook and purchase Cursed March 17th!