by Emma Loggins
The five-member OneRepublic was formed in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 2003. Tedder, who produced a couple of songs on the album, largely produced by Greg Wells (Deftones, Mika, Pink), boasts writing, producing and/or singing credits for Paul Oakenfold’s Grammy nominated A Lively Mind, Jennifer Lopez, Leona Lewis, Ashley Tisdale, Natasha Bedingfield, Baby Bash, 2Pac, Chris Cornell, Blake Lewis.
How did OneRepublic get started and what’s the story behind the name?
We were originally Republic, but our old management warned us that we might get sued over it, so we decided to change it. And it sounded cool and just made sense to us.
We thought maybe One Soul or One Original, and they we finally came to OneRepublic.
Was there an album that you heard growing up that really changed your life and convinced you that music was your future?
Wow, um… I would say Siamese Dream by Smashing Pumpkins, The Bends by Radiohead, and A Northern Soul by The Verb. Those would be the main ones.
Is there a song that you guys have written that you feel is the most personal or most powerful out of everything you all have done thus far?
‘Say (All I Need)’ would be it for me. I was going through relationship issues at the time, and it felt like Ryan was singing it to me when we were playing it. I have a beautiful girlfriend now though, and I couldn’t be happier.
Is there a piece of recording equipment that you view as the cornerstone of your sound?
I don’t know if I could pick just one piece of equipment, I will say that Ryan is amazing on the keyboard. He came up with the melody for ‘Say’ and we were just like man… we got to write something around this, let’s do this! And one night we just came and Brent started playing it and we wrote ‘Say’.
Ryan can come up with lyrics in 30 seconds, it’s amazing how he does thatâ€¦ mind blowing, but for me, I just play the drums. [Laughs] I just listen for sounds.
Is there a certain message you try to convey with your music?
A lot of people have confused us for writing love songs, or writing about preachy terms as in God. Most of the songs are based on faith and hope and positive outlook of life. ‘Apologize’ for instance is about picking yourself up and realizing that yeah, it is too late to apologize, and I’m not going back to you, or I’m not going to back to that part of my life.
It’s just about keeping it positive.
Now Timbaland is your executive producer on the album. Has he had any influence at all on your music?
He actually listened to what we had… we had a finish record already, and he heard some other demos that we had, and encouraged us to put them on the album. Other than the remix, he really didn’t do anything or touch anything. I know he wants to remix some more tracks and possibly put them on the radio and see how that reaction would be.
So many people ask what it’s like working with Tim, and some days we’re just like hey we’re not all about just Tim. Tim is a great guy, and we respect him tremendously, but there’s that one moment where we’re like hey we’re also a rock band. [Laughs]
Actually a couple months ago, we encountered some people that were surprised that we were a white band. [Laughs] We’re glad that people are accepting us despite what race, what religion, or what sex we are. We want people to love our music; we don’t want to be put into a genre like pop, hip-hop, or alternative. We want to be music for everyone.
Where there any certain bands or albums that influenced this album?
That’s a good one! I would have to say Magnet. Magnet was definitely an influence for Ryan and Zach. I listened to a lot of Jeff Buckley. Musically, we are so eclectic.
Elbow, Magnet, Aqua Lung, and Imogen Heap were all definitely vital parts of our musical influence with this album.
What’s something about you guys that your fans don’t know?
Most of us are married and/or have girlfriends except for one. We want to keep that clear! [Laughs] It keeps it easier. Everyone has that idea of a rock band… they sleep with a girl every town. We’re homebodies. [Laughs] We’re family men, we love our girlfriends and we love our families.
Now is there a certain balance you have to have while being gone on the road to make a relationship to work?
It’s definitely a lot of phone calls to the wives and the girlfriends. We talk to them on an hourly basis. Ryan and I are always on our phones keeping our girls happy. We love it.
What do you all do to pass the time when you are on tour? Any favorite activities you guys do or tv shows that you follow?
Actually we love play video games and we read a lot… as far as television shows I would say it would probably be CSI, The Office… a lot of The Office… [Laughs]
What’s next for you guys?
We’re focused on shooting the video for ‘Stop and Stare’ which is the second single. And from there, we’re going to be touring with Maroon 5 in March. We’re going to be busy in LA, but we’re excited.
Interview By: Emma Loggins