Exclusive! One Republic speaks with Indulge before their maiden show in India tomorrow evening
Just a few hours are left before the much-anticipated maiden show of One Republic tomorrow at NSCI Dome, Mumbai. The band comprising Ryan Tedder, Zach Filkins, Drew Brown, Brent Kutzle and Eddie Fisher arrived in India at around 3 pm yesterday. Their eager fans have been following their activities on Instagram and it seems like the Counting Stars hitmakers are equally excited to perform in India. A quick recce of the band’s Instagram account shows that they have started exploring Mumbai and are having a splendid time! The American pop sensation is currently on a two-week Asia tour where they will be performing in India, Singapore, South Korea, China and Malaysia. They will be performing at NSCI Dome, Worli but before that, Indulge caught up with the lead vocalist of the band, Ryan Tedder.
One Republic has beautiful lyrics. Some of the songs, such as Counting Stars, Secrets, have memorable lines. Tell us, how’s the process of writing like?
I start a lot of the song ideas or myself and Brent (bassist and cellist Brent Kutzle), then we present them to the band. We record everywhere we tour, we will likely write and record in India while we are here.
The origins of the band go as long back as 1996, with Ryan and Zach Filkins, the two of you coming together in 2002 to form the band. From then to your fourth studio album, to the present tour, a lot has happened. How have you guys managed to stay together as a band which is remarkable? What does it take for a band to stay together for so many years?
We’ve grown together over the years, and have had so many experiences as a band that not many have – or can relate to. That bond has been a large part of our friendship both personally and professionally.
What were the lowest and the highest points that you guys have seen as a band?
A defining moment was performing Counting Stars for one of the first times ever in Tel Aviv. We’d never seen such a strong reaction to such a new song before. That was really special. We have such dedicated fans that have been supportive since the very beginning – they are an everyday reminder of why we do what we do, and to keep making music!
From Timbaland to Kygo, One Republic has always given the fans so many interesting collaborations. What are some of the collaborations that your fans must watch out for in the coming year?
We are in the process of working on our fifth album. We don't have the dates yet but we are planning for later this year. Lots of new songs are coming first. A lot of the forthcoming stuff will be way more organic sounding, like, more of a ‘five people in a room’ sound than we’ve been able to really attach ourselves to in a while. I think we’re ready to push that in front of us, to try to get people to care about organic-sounding honest music again. The sound of the new album is different than anything we've done yet it is the most OneRepublic sounding thing we've done in ages. There will be some collaborations for sure, starting with Logic.
Now coming to your stage performances, does One Republic have any rituals before they go up on Stage? Going on tour, means a whole lot of crazy travelling, staying up for hours and staying away from family? How do you guys cope with it?
There are no crazy rituals pre-stage we do as a band, but we individually prepare for the set in different ways. FaceTime and Skype help us keep in touch with family while on the road, and they do come out on tour from time to time.
How has making music changed over the years – from your first studio album Dreaming Out Loud to your latest singles Rich Love and Lift Me Up?
The process can vary. If we did the same thing over and over again, we would get bored with the process. That would feel kind of stale. Some songs are creative collaborations, but some are very organic. We started as a 100% live band with no programming, but as times have changed so have we, we love electronic music and new technology so we use it where it makes sense in our music and I also collaborate a lot with electronic artists from Swedish House Mafia to Kygo and Alesso. We’ve definitely taken huge strides to improve our visuals. DJ culture over the last five years has really impacted bands and touring artists that aren’t DJs. Everyone has gotten so addicted to the production. I think a lot of music (not just pop music –across many genres) has started to sound very programmed, and that works for some artists. For us, we are still a band who tours live very heavily. Having live instrumentation in our songs is important so fans are hearing what they anticipated at a live show.
Who are some of the contemporaries that you guys love listening to and their music makes it to your playlist?
We have a pretty eclectic range of preferred music among the whole band – a mix of indie, alternative, as well as pop. Maggie Rogers and Nightly are a couple of examples.
One Republic has such a huge fan base in India ever since Apologize was released back in 2006. Also, you guys have said that you have wanted to come to India for the longest time. What took you so long to visit India?
We are psyched! We have never had a chance to explore until now. We’ve actually been pushing our booking agents to find us a show in India for a long long time, rather years. I’ve personally wanted to go to India since I was a kid as I’m fascinated by it!
After your performance in Dome on April 21st would you be taking out time to explore the country further?
We will be in Mumbai for 3 days total, I wish it was 3 times as long. After Mumbai, we head to Singapore. I plan to come back with my family to India and do a train holiday around the country. Nepal and The Himalayas is something I wish to see.
Any special plans, line-up or collaborations for your performance in India?
I’ve been researching for a couple weeks on places to eat and coffee shops and neighbourhoods to visit. I’ve gotten to be friends with Diplo recently so I’ve been asking him advice on places to visit in Mumbai. I plan on visiting for coffee and food and some of the more obvious tourist destinations. I will also check out some art and music while we are there. Interestingly, I’ve also hired a tour guide for the second day. We will be documenting the whole experience as well! I know of AR Rahman, I actually did a song with him a number of years ago. I am aware of Bollywood. Priyanka Chopra is the only Indian actor I've met though.
Ryan, you are a prolific writer. You have worked on Beyonce's Halo with her. Hailee Steinfeld's Most Girls was also co-written by you. Tell us how it is to write for some of the biggest pop stars in the music world when you are a musician and singer yourself? How do you manage to make music for female pop stars? How do you incorporate the kind of sensitivity in your music that so many women around the world can relate to?
We focus less specifically on the sound and more on the sentiment of the lyrics and feeling of the music. We try to connect human to human in each song... as if we were sitting at dinner together talking about real life issues.
You have been quite open about your battles with crippling anxiety. How did you fight the odds and get back to the writing board, composing music again?
I learned that if everyone else has talent, the only thing that matters is how much time you actually put in. The work wins.
One Republic will perform on Saturday,21st April 2018 at NSCI Dome, Mumbai. Event brought to the country by Opium Events and powered by Nokia. Gates open at 5 pm onwards and opening act is by ONEmpire and closing acts are DJs Zenith and Axonn. Tickets can be bought on Kyazoonga and BookMyShow.