Eye Empire have had a great run over the past few months. They’ve just wrapped up a tour with rock heavyweights Sevendust. Indian Drummer caught up with drummer Ryan Bennett this week. Here’s what the young gun from Oklahoma had to say
ID – You guys just wrapped up a tour with the mighty Sevendust, how was the experience like?
Ryan - It was a great experience! They are one of the best and most professional bands in the business. I grew up watching them, so needless to say I was very excited when I found out we we’re going to tour with them.
ID – What’s it like to watch Morgan Rose drumming from up close? Anything you picked up from hanging out with him or watching him?
Ryan - Other than my dad, watching Morgan was how I learned to play drums in the first place. I didn’t know how much I could learn going into it because of my history, but over the past couple weeks I think I’ve learned more than I have my entire drumming career. Lesson #1 – no matter if you’re deathly ill or having a bad day, always maintain confidence in yourself and you can never go wrong.
ID – How long was the Eye Empire set every night? Do you guys change the setlist every night?
Ryan - We kept the same set each night, added a couple songs for this run. We played 45 minutes. We try to keep a dynamic set.
ID – Going back a bit, how did you join the band?
Ryan - I happened to be talking to a mutual friend of ours about Eye Empire early on at Rocklahoma. Somehow we got back on the subject later and came to find out they were looking for a drummer. In short, B.C. and I have been involved with many of the same people over the years, and oddly enough Corey and I are related. We are both a part of the Lumbee tribe of North Carolina. There is a spiderweb of coincidences that brought us all together. Let’s just say this bands’ VH1 special would be an 8 part series!
ID – Was it a daunting task initially to learn the songs and jam with these guys who’ve had quite some success with previous projects like Submersed, Switched, Stereomud, etc?
Ryan - It was intimidating to step into the shoes of some of the baddest drummers in the business, and even more of a task to hold my own in a band full of some of the best musicians and songwriters around. Being 21 years old, I realize I have a lot of learning to do and progress to make but I’ve really impressed myself. Everyone in the band has been a huge inspiration over the years. I’m very thankful for the opportunity to allow me to step up to the plate and show the world what I have to offer.
ID – How does a song evolve within the Eye Empire camp?
Ryan - It’s a very natural evolution. Nobody likes to stick to some predetermined formula. Everyone plays what they feel, writes what’s on their mind at the time, and it allows everyone’s originality and personality shine through in every measure.
ID – You played with Texas Hippie Coalition previously, how different has the experience been with both the bands?
Ryan - Texas Hippie Coalition gave me an opportunity to get out on the road and experience the world. It wasn’t really my style unfortunately. Eye Empire lets me be me. I get to express myself. I get more of an opportunity to progress in my drumming as well as become a better person. I feel at home now.
ID – Going back to the start of it all, when did you begin drumming?
Ryan - My dad is a drummer, so I grew up around it. I started to seriously pursue drumming when I was 10 years old. It’s all I wanted to do ever since.
ID – Who are your major influences?
Ryan - Top 2 are Morgan Rose and Josh Freese. John Bonham, Ray Luzier, Shannon Larkin to name a few others. The list goes on!
ID – How has the entire process learning drums been? What was the biggest obstacle you’ve had to face and overcome over the years as a player?
Ryan - It always felt natural to me, coming from a background filled with music, I’m still learning every day. I think the biggest obstacle has always been having time to just play drums; everyone loves drums until it’s time to practice! You can turn a guitar down, you can’t turn down drums and cymbals…thankfully I’m moving to Atlanta this week, where our studio is located. You won’t be able to pry me away from my kit now!
ID – As a musician, how hard is it these days to make a decent living?
Ryan - Man…that’s a tough question! The music industry is a rough place right now. We all have to starve for our art at some time, but it’s the love for the music and fans that we play for. It’s a complicated process to get to the point where you can survive solely on music these days; it’s why everyone has to work hard. Only the strong survive!
ID – What in store for the fans in 2012?
Ryan - 2012 is the year of the Empire, I can’t really say much, but the fans will be happy to know that there are a lot of awesome and exciting things on the horizon.
ID – This is your space Ryan, feel free to say anything to your friends, family, fans, etc.
Ryan - Thank you to everyone for all of the support and for everyone spreading the word. This all has been a dream come true and I’m very proud to be apart of such an awesome group of people. I’m very excited to get back out on the road. I look forward to seeing everyone in 2012!
Thanks a lot for doing the interview Ryan. We wish Eye Empire the best. !!!