I had the great opportunity to chat with Ryan Hernandez, guitarist and "ambient sound maker" for Bay Area based Beta State . You can check out the interview, with questions based around the release of their new album "Friendship" below.
1) When and where was “Friendship” recorded? Approximately how long was the process?
The recording process was pretty much half and half. We first came out with the Friendship EP, which was about six songs. After that, we recorded at our friend Eric’s studio down in Los Angeles. For that, we kind of locked ourselves in [the studio]. There were a couple of times when we went to fix one or two things in there. All of the guitar, bass, vocals were recorded at Adrian’s (our drummer’s) house. And then came “Friendship”, the deluxe record, which was also half and half as well.
2) You guys have this very epic sounding, arena rock feel. I’ve always noticed that about your music. Where does that sound come from?
I think we all share the same influences. Adrian and I have always enjoyed that sound. For me at least, it comes from the nu-metal/grunge era. I’ve always loved that sound, that ambient, U2, kind of vibe. The sound also comes from anything from Christian music, to Jimmy Eat World, to other big bands. We all have our own things, but I think the one thing that we all agree on is that we love that soaring, epic, ambient sound. It’s funny, when we try to write a mellow song, it always ends up coming out big because that’s how we write.
3) In your opinion, how would you say that the music on “Friendship” is different in comparison to the music you guys have previously released?
It’s more mature. As bands grow, you develop your sound for a certain time period, aka this record. As you grow, you start to get more influences and more experiences. To me, it’s just a more mature record. The songs on “Stars” were written after Adrian and I’s old band. They were written write after that breakup, so we didn’t really get the chance to write an album as Beta State, if you will.
4) What would you say is a typical songwriting process for you guys?
That’s the thing that I really like about this band. We all do it. I write a lot of stuff, but I also have a project that I do for fun, just straight ambient stuff. But I’ll be writing something in my room, and someone will come in and go, “Oh what’s that?” Then it will end up becoming a song for Beta State. Sometimes we’ll be in the room practicing, and I’ll play a riff or something, and it will just go from there.
5) What made you guys decide to incorporate remixes onto the deluxe edition of “Friendship”?
Adrian was the one who brought it up, I think. Me, personally, being the more analog, old school, musician, I was like “I don’t know about this.” But then I heard them, and it sounded awesome. All of them (the producers) did a really great job.
6) You guys also released a really incredible video for the song “Start A Clean Slate” themed around Breaking Bad. Where did the inspiration to base it around that show come from?
That was all Adrian (laughs). He just woke up and then brought it to our attention. He said he had this idea for this video. He ended up writing a script and what not. We found this guy named Angelo; he did some friends’ of ours videos and we liked his work. We hit him up, and then it just got rolling from there. We started to throw different ideas in like “Oh what about this?” and “Oh what about the pizza scene?”. It was a pretty easy process actually. I think it was the easiest video process that I’ve ever been a part of.
7) What kind of message would you like fans to walk away with after listening to your music?
It’s not as bad as it seems. We try to give them this message of hope and positivity. But yet, there are ups and downs. Everyone’s going to take something different, but at the end of the day, we all have our problems. We all go through stuff. You’re not alone.
8) What are the future plans for Beta State?
We’re trying to get out and tour, travel, make more music and videos! It’s not like it used to be back in the day, where you play one show, and then a label signs you, and throws money at you. They don’t really go “Oh you’re gonna do this! And this! You’re gonna take over the world!” Times have definitely have changed, and it’s more of a DIY vibe.
You can keep up on all of the latest Beta State music and news at www.facebook.com/betastate. The band's new record "Friendship (Deluxe Edition) is available now.