When MTV News last spoke to Ryan Ross, he was in the process of finding a label to release Take a Vacation, the debut disc from his new band the Young Veins.
He was confident that the hunt for a label would be resolved in a matter of weeks and that, finally, the Veins would have something (a single, a video, a tour) to show for all their hard work. Unfortunately, things didn't quite work out that way.
When MTV News spoke to Ross and the Veins at South by Southwest, Vacation still hadn't been released, and their tour was only a few dates old. Yet, to a man — and there are five of them in the band these days — their confidence hadn't waned, and with good reason: After months of searching, they'd finally found a suitable home for their album, which will hit stores on June 8.
"It's coming out on a label called One Haven — it's pretty new. There's only, like, four artists on it now and Butch Walker is one of them," Ross told MTV News. "To be honest, the search for a label was really weird, because some of the labels that you wouldn't expect to care about stuff like radio formats were the ones that did care. They were like, 'Yeah, we love this record, but what are we going to play on the radio?' And I was like, 'You don't have bands on the radio.' "
And the question of format — just where does the Young Veins' crackling, retro-leaning rock fit in the context of today's exceedingly grim radio landscape? — is perhaps the most daunting challenge they face on their road to success. As Ross himself puts it, "I don't know if we fit in at all, actually.
"I don't think there are a lot of bands that sound the way we do, who play the same kind of rock we do," he smiled. "But I don't think there's anything wrong with that at all."
And in statements like that you catch a glimpse of Ross' swagger, the thing that polarizes most fans of his former band, Panic! at the Disco, and has earned him a certain, uh, reputation among those in the industry. It's very much alive in the Young Veins' music too. After all, Vacation gleefully — and some might say, stubbornly — flies in the face of most modern-rock axioms. It clocks in at just a hair under 30 minutes. The songs pop and hiss and are totally free of today's studio sheen. It was made on the fly, on the cheap and practically on the lam. It is very much a labor of love, made for (and by) a very select group of retro-rock fanatics. Ross said that was the most important aspect — he wanted to get his friends together in a house and just make a record they'd all love. He's not worried what Panic! fans — or the record-buying public, for that matter — will think of the tunes. All of that will take care of itself.
"The record's out in early June, and after that, who knows? Some of the kids don't seem to like it, and they don't get it, and that's fine, I understand," he said. "There's definitely a sense of 'us versus the world' with this band. We all sort of see it as we're all in this together. And we're all really happy about the music we're doing, so it's kind of worth it. I don't like to say, 'Hey, we're really good. Check this out.' If you like it, then you do. We're definitely working way harder than we ever have."
Are you excited to hear Ryan's new music? Do you think it will appeal to Panic! fans? Let us know in the comments!