After playing three sold-out shows at Rod Laver Arena supporting Kings of Leon, Tyler Ramsey, the guitarist from Band of Horses, got a quick chance to chat to Tone Deaf about his third solo album, The Valley Wind. Recorded over six days in Nashville, Tennessee, the album showcases Ramsey’s delicate songwriting and unique guitar playing. His 2004 self-titled debut and 2008 effort A Long Dream About Swimming Across The Sea were warmly received by critics and fans alike, and The Valley Wind sees Ramsey continuing to develop as a musician.
So how have the shows with Kings of Leon been?
They’ve been great, the crowds have been fantastic and the shows have been really fun. It’s a forty-five minute set, you go to a lot of different places in that amount of time, and we’ve been trying to change it up from town to town and night to night, just make it interesting and fun.
What’s the lead up to playing such a large venue like?
The lead-up? A lot of pacing around for me [laughs], I think I probably walk about a mile before any given show.
Are Band of Horses used to playing stadium shows?
We don’t get to do arena shows normally, but we’ve gotten to do a few, supporting Pearl Jam and bands like that, so we’ve done our share of them. On our own at this point I don’t we’re gonna sell out Rod Laver for three nights, maybe some day! [laughs]
You recorded you new album, The Valley Wind in Nashville, Tennessee, at Alex the Great Studio. Was there a particular reason you chose to do it there?
Yeah, I’d been to that studio before with a friend of mine who has a band called The Hiders, he called me and asked me to play on his new record, and I went over and played and it was just such a cool experience. It’s small, kinda like being in a house almost. I just remembered that feeling and thought it would be a good spot to go to for this record, ‘cause I was bringing a couple of friends along and that was gonna be it. We went back in January and stayed about six days and pretty much got the whole record done.
It was snowing at the time wasn’t it? Is that a bit unusual for that far south?
Yeah, I mean, it does snow there, but it’s not super common. It was just perfect though, because we didn’t really want to leave the studio anyway, and then in that part of the country when it snows most people don’t know how to drive in it, they don’t even know how to deal with it, and things just kinda shut down, so to have that feeling going on, that you’re not missing anything outside the studio, it just gave it a nice quiet feeling around Nashville.
How has the process of making a record changed for you since you first two albums?
I think it’s going to continue changing. It seemed like this time we were more relaxed. The last time I was in the studio for a lot longer. I don’t think I overdid the record but I think I might’ve thought a little bit too much about certain parts.
[This time] we decided right from the start that we were just gonna do it and keep it true to the songs, and keep the performances and ideas fresh, in a way. The people I had come along were Bill Reynolds who was producing and playing some bass, and Seth Kaufman, who’s got a band called Floating Action, he’s a good friend of mine, and he came along to play guitar and drums and whatever else, ‘cause he’s a multi-instrumentalist and a super talented guy.
We really didn’t prepare anything. I intentionally didn’t give Seth any of the music beforehand or talk about what we were gonna try and do, and usually the idea that came first was the idea that felt right and ended up sticking. I don’t know what I’ll do next time, maybe I’ll spend two years trying to record, and add a symphony, I don’t know [laughs].
Is there much of a crossover between your solo records and Band of Horses?
Well, I try to just continue to write, and just hope that I’m writing good songs. If it’s one that we want to do as Band of Horses then that’s fantastic, or if it ends up hanging out and going on my next solo record that’s great too. I find now that it’s better for me to just do what I do and present it to them, you know, something I would just write for myself, and then we can shape it into something the band would do. Yeah, always trying to write is the main thing.
Where are Band of Horses off too after Australia?
We get to go home, and then I think we’ve got a few shows in December, and then a decent sized break. A little downtime will be good. Holidays at home, I’m looking forward to it.
– Shaun Thatcher
The Valley Wind is out now through Fat Possum/Shock.