Falling Reverse are polarising, to say the least. On the one hand, you have an enclave or people who bash and insult the band to know end for both their sound and the enigmatic actions and persona of frontman Ronnie Radke. On the other end, there are those who religiously devote themselves to the group, defending their music as well as any misgivings that may occur within the member’s personal lives. But we ain’t here to discuss that shit. We’re to talk about drummer Ryan Seaman, who I got the immense pleasure of speaking to just hours before his birthday. Speaking excitedly and warmly, Ryan and I talked about not only his approach and gear as a drummer but also their tour down under next month.
So whereabouts in the world are you now, Ryan, and what are you doing besides all of these interviews today?
I’m getting ready to go and get terribly smashed for my birthday. It’s tomorrow and right now It’s almost seven o’clock but at midnight I’ll turn into either a pumpkin or a passed out guy! [Laughs]
Oh awesome, happy birthday for tomorrow!
Thank you, man!
So one of the first things I really want to dive into is, of course, your drumming. I’ve always really appreciated what you’ve been doing in Falling In Reverse, whether it’s your grooves or your tones.
Oh, thank you!
No worries. So my first question is, what’s your approach to drumming? When you sit down to work on a song, do you sit back and watch everyone else and see where you can fit in or do you try and lay the foundation for everyone else to go over you?
It kind of varies. But with the way we as a band work, Ronnie will put out a blueprint of writing and then it’s kind of all of our jobs to make what he’s thinking better. It usually all starts with the melodies and then I’ll feel from there. I don’t just play drums, I also play bass and guitar. As far as the songwriting process goes for me, it usually goes melody, then the lyrics come after that and then for drums it really is one of the most important if not the most important parts. Without even realising it, the drummer is the leader of the band in the sense that is the drummer is guiding everyone through the gates of hell so to speak whether in the studio or live. With my drumming, I always try and accommodate what the vocals are doing, what the guitars are doing and really you and work off them.
I think someone in an interview once said to me that the wrong placed snare hit can kill and entire song.
[Laughs] That’s so true! You know for us, we’ve had the same producer behind all of our records and I’ve learned a lot in the last ten years of working with him. That’s Elvis Prescott. He’s producer all of our records and all of Ronnie’s records and one of my old band’s records and that’s how Ronnie and I became friends actually. He’s taught us a lot about songwriting and everything but it really is Ronnie who starts everything.
Are you ever hoping or maybe thinking of a day when it becomes a lot more collaborative between every member? Where one of you could bring in a blueprint and go off that?
It’s funny you say this actually, I was watching an interview with Dave Grohl the other day and he was talking about his contributions to Nirvana. And he said the joke of: “How does a drummer get fired? Just say, ‘Hey guys, I wrote a song!'” [Laughs] But in all seriousness I think that Ronnie is so incredibly talented and he is such a star that I don’t want to mess with what he’s got going. I feel like the most successful bands, are the ones with a guy in the driver seat. They are there to help guide this ship, this giant vehicle. Though in saying that, I feel like if any of us wanted to create something other than Falling In Reverse than nine of us would get punished. I very much want to keep it to Ronnie’s vision. We’ve collaborated on things in the past but I feel like you don’t want to have to have too many cooks in the kitchen. Think about the biggest icons. When you think of Paramore you think of Hayley and the same with Ozzy and Axel. That’s the kind of place where we want to go. As I said, I think the best bands have some kind of visionary leader within them.
That’s a very interesting way to look at all that. Getting down to specifics, I noticed that you have two separate kick drums live. I always like seeing that because it looks so good and huge but, and this is not having a dig at you in any way, are you using them both live, or is it more of showmanship thing? Because I’ve noticed one of them isn’t miked up…
[Laughs] I feel so lame saying this because I could totally do both, but the problem is that live there’s a lot of…I’m just thinking of how to best explain this. If you’re trying to tune two kick drums to sound like one, it doesn’t really work. Our band is about being super tight and our band is about presentation. But there’s a not a lot of people who notice that and I’m grateful you did, but we really wanna look larger than life. If I’m playing two kick drums it doesn’t really sound like. I’m doing a lot of crazy stuff with my feet so live a lot of it just wouldn’t work.
Well, it wasn’t something I really did notice until I was talking with Tino from Of Mice & Men a few weeks ago. And he told me all about how he uses two separate kicks because he likes being able to feel and resonate with each drum on each leg. He says there’s a sort of realness to it. So is it something you’ve tried at the very least or experimented with a lot?
It’s definitely something I could explore more but that’s what makes drummers so unique, we don’t have to have the same ideals or beliefs. I respect Tino as a player a lot, but I think their stuff is a lot different to ours. Their music now is a lot more mid-tempo but with one of our songs you never know what you’re gonna get.
Very good point. Speaking of drums, I noticed you use Truth Custom drums. I’ve heard good and not so good things about them so can you dive into why you think they’re the right company for you?
So here’s the deal: If you’re talking about drums then you can talk about individuality. If I went with a company like DW then I’d be just one drummer in a sea of great drummers with them. But if I went with a smaller company then I’m the one getting all the attention. Does that make sense?
If I wanted to try doing a specific kind of kit that I want to have a specific sound and I want it made out of maple shells and I want the wrap to be beautiful, I don’t feel like a larger company would give me that sort of love. I also like the underdog. I like coming up with a company. That’s how you make a company successful. DW got to where they are because of their players and I want that same thing to happen with a smaller company. Anytime you’re endorsed, it’s a team effort. The great thing about Truth is that Geoff [Barrios, co-owner of Truth] is my friend. I can call him up and we can talk about anything from drums and music and what not. He’s got a family so I don’t want to waste his time with that stuff but just knowing he’s a phone call away and that he cares about our band and our music is something to be said. They have drums all over the world and are still kind of an underdog. They have been a reputable drum company for almost twenty years.
The other interesting thing about your kit I noticed is your Remo Black X snare. What’s the story behind getting that beautiful beast?
Well, I’ve been a Remo snare user all my life, even before I was endorsed by them three years ago. It’s actually so funny you ask this because whilst on Warped Tour this summer, the guy who pointed me in the direction of the Remo Black X was my friend Cyprus Bolooki from New Found Glory. I came up on stage and I didn’t even know what was happening, I was just there to play the set and we were all ready but I look down and see this black snare head. So I turn around there’s Cyprus watching me. He was like, “I want you to try this head!” I started playing and was just blown away and said, “this is the live snare for me.” There’s a big difference between the live stage and the studio so I don’t know what a Black X would sound like under an SM-57 or whatever but for Warped Tour it was amazing. It was louder and better than everyone else’s snare drum. I remember Josh, my drum tech, telling me that all the other techs were coming up to him and asking, “What’s your secret with the snare?” It just sounded so good on top of a Truth metal drum.
That’s actually fantastic! I love that story. So we better chat a little bit about this Australian tour you’ve got coming up. Now I don’t know if you knew this but Live Nation is currently promoting you guys as something along the lines of: “One of the most talked about, controversial, groundbreaking and adored, rock bands of the century”.
It was something like that, or “the modern age”. I think they’re talking about the 2000’s and what not.
It’s funny, man. I don’t think it adds pressure or anything but it’s amazing. For me, I just wanna keep playing music. That’s so amazing to hear. When you’re in it, you kind of lose sight of how big the band is and what not. I didn’t realise the band was as big as other people thought it was. I just sort of realised one day that I can’t go to In ’N’ Out burger or the movie theatre or post-office without someone recognising me or saying something to be [about the band]. It’s kind of crazy where we’re at that point where Live Nation, the touring company that’s done the biggest shows in the world, is saying that and it’s an honour. But at the same time, I feel like Ronnie’s been the star the entire time and only just now are people starting to really find out about the rest of the band in a way. It’s really rewarding as a musician to have something start from nothing and grow to become the biggest thing in your life ever.
One of the last things I wanted to touch on before I let you go celebrate is the concept of Under 18 shows in Australia. I know a lot of bands out there who come to Australia are blown away by the separation we have and how it highlights the fact that this might be someone’s first ever gig. That stands out to a lot of bands.
Oh definitely! You know, coming back to Australia we are just all so pumped. The first time we’d ever been in your country was a year and a half ago on our first and last Soundwave [Laughs]. So that was super exciting and now we’re all in anticipation of what’s to come. We did some of the sidewave shows and they were fairly big and so we’re coming back and keen to see how bigger it might be!
Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Ryan, for taking the time to talk today. I really appreciate it, dude!
No worries! And thanks for having me as well.
I’ll let you get back to your life and I wish you all the best for your birthday tomorrow!
Thanks, Matty! Take care.
Falling In Reverse is touring Australia next month through Live Nation. Tour dates are below and all the info you could ever imagine is available here. Suss it out, fam.