The Audition (Ryan O'Connor) - 06.03.06

Interviewed by
The Audition (Ryan O'Connor) - 06.03.06Author's Note:
theAudition is an up-and-coming band out of Chi-Town signed to Victory Records in 2004. Their Victory debut, Controversy Loves Company, which came out in September of last year, is supremely underrated. Upbeat and catchy, these guys could be the anchors of Victory in the next couple of years. Stylistically compared to Fall Out Boy or labelmates June, theAudition are characterized by fiery sing-alongs and strong yet lighter-themed lyricism than some of their contemporaries.

My interview is with Ryan O’Connor, drummer for the band; lead singer Danny Stevens showed up for the last part of the interview. I highly recommend giving theAudition a chance live; they’re energetic beyond anything you might have fathomed. They’ll be most likely coming to a venue near you some time this year.

Tony: What’s your name and what do you do in the band?
Ryan: I’m Ryan and I play drums in theAudition.

Tony: Can you give me a rundown of how theAudition got started and how it morphed into the current lineup?
Ryan: About a year and a half, two years ago, Joe and I were in a band with Bob from The Hush Sound. He used to be in theAudition. We signed to Victory, and we actually had an old singer back then. Bob wanted to do something different—he’s in The Hush, and those guys are great. We lost Bob and brought Danny in to actually play guitar at first. Time went on and we were writing new songs and playing shows and stuff, and Evo, our old singer, quit and is going back to school now. Danny used to sing in his old band in Detroit, where he lived, and we had him sing one of the new songs we were writing and it sounded the way we wanted it to sound. It sounded awesome, and it went from there. After we recorded the record, we were going to go on tour last summer and we needed another guitarist, and we’d known Tim from Chicago. He was a friend of ours and we called him up and it worked out. So here we are now.

Tony: How did you come up with the name of the band?
Ryan: We were sitting in my basement, back a long time ago when we had an old band name. We found out someone had the same name as us, so we were just sitting there trying to think of a cool name—because it’s so hard to come up with a cool band name, and someone said “theAudition.” And we said, that makes sense, because every time we play a show or our CD is basically an audition for people to enjoy our music or fall in love with the band or whatever. It kind of fit what we’re doing.

Tony: Where did the concept for Controversy Loves Company as well as the artwork come from?
Ryan: We didn’t really do the artwork. Seth did part of it—he did the disc. The title, during the time, we had a lot of lineup changes and controversy that was going on in the band and outside of the band. It just portrayed what was going on in our lives, so it just fit the CD well to name it that.

Tony: You guys have a video out for “You Made Us Conscious”? How did that come about, and how did it work out for you guys?
Ryan: I like the video. You know how you look back on it and think you could have did things differently. It’s about how we as a band don’t care who you are—you could be tall, fat, skinny, wear makeup—we don’t really care. The video makes fun of the “scene” that’s going on today. The pants, the [stereotypical] scenester, broken heart. It’s basically a joke; it wasn’t to be mean to anyone. We’re just saying we don’t care who you are as long as you enjoy our music; that’s all that matters.

Tony: How does it feel to have all your hard work come to fruition and get a release on Victory?
Ryan: We were sending demos out to a few different labels, and we sent one to Victory. After that, Tony [Brummel] sent me an e-mail saying he enjoyed what he heard on the demo. We went down and met with him and discussed where we wanted to be as a band, what we wanted to do, and stuff like that. Then we wrote some new songs and he came to my house, to where we practice, and watched us practice. He said, “You guys have got something.” He left the house that day saying, “We really want to work with you guys” and we ended up signing with Victory in November of 2004.

Tony: Who’s your favorite artist on Victory?
Ryan: I don’t know, dude. I’d have to say—this is really tough—but I’d have to say Spitalfield. Before our band was signed, we’d go see Spitalfield and Fall Out Boy and all these bands at the Knights of Columbus, where everyone sort of got their following. I just loved Spitalfield even before we were truly serious about the band. So Spitalfield’s my favorite band on Victory.

Tony: One of our users wants to know specifically what you guys think of Aiden.
Ryan: Aiden? Those are probably one of our best friends. They’re probably the best live band I’ve ever seen in my life. I love those guys.
Tony: They get a lot of shit, at least from our site.
Ryan: I don’t think they deserve it. Those guys are some of the nicest guys you’ll meet. They’ll talk to anyone and those guys really love what they’re doing and they’re really passionate about it. They’re really good guys.

Tony: Ten tracks made it onto Controversy Loves Company; how many did you demo and is there anything you’d like to go back and change knowing what you do almost a year after recording the CD?
Ryan: We started with thirteen or fourteen songs. We had some acoustic songs and then some other songs we had written. We actually recorded them—but one of the songs we didn’t have time to finish. We just weren’t feeling it; our heart was more in the ten songs on the CD, so we just kind of skipped over them and spent more time on the songs we thought were better.

Tony: You guys have a song featured on NCAA MVP Baseball 06.
Ryan: I like that game a lot, dude.
Tony: That was going to be my next question, if you guys had played it.
Ryan: Oh yeah. The first day it came out, I went out and bought it. I wanted to see it because I was so excited. Growing up playing Playstation every day with my dad and being able to bring him the CD [from the game] and being able to play it and shit. I always beat my girlfriend in that game.
Tony: How did you guys get hooked up with that?
Ryan: Victory actually hooked us up. On the game, there are like 10 Victory bands—Aiden, Silverstein, Hawthorne Heights—and we luckily got to be when you pop it in, the opening track. It’s really cool.

Tony: Will you guys ever perform a song off All In Your Head?
Ryan: Will we? I saw there were a lot of questions about that. At Danny’s first show, we actually performed one of the songs on it. Have you eve heard it?
Tony: No, I haven’t.
Ryan: I don’t know. If kids really wanted us to, we’re doing this for them, but I don’t really like the songs on that CD to be honest with you. There are parts that the memories are cool from when Bob was in the band. But I’m not really sure yet. We’ll have to wait and see.

Tony: I know with the band members out, it’s most likely a legal nightmare, but there aren’t any thoughts to re-release that on Victory, are there?
Ryan: Legally, it probably wouldn’t make sense. I don’t know if I want kids to hear it; I’m kind of scared to let people hear it.

Tony: What do you think of Bob’s success in The Hush Sound and are you guys still friends?
Ryan: Bob and I are still really good friends. We actually played a show with them at Penn State about a month and a half ago that was really cool. I hadn’t seen him in a while—we only talked over the phone. We hung out, and I’m really excited. He showed me their record, and it’s really awesome. I’m excited for those guys; a lot of good things are going to happen to them and we’re still friends. Everything’s cool and I’m sure they’re going to do really well and kids will enjoy the record.

Tony: When will you guys start working on your next album, and how will the songs compare to this one?
Ryan: We’re not really sure when we’re going to into the studio. We’ve been working on a lot of new music. I think we have like ten ideas—not full songs. It’s going to be a little bit different because every band needs to change after their first or second record. I’m not really sure how it’s going to compare. It’s still going to be upbeat, you know? Music that makes you happy. You can’t really tell the future, and it’s too soon to tell where it’s going to go. I don’t know dude, I’m not sure.

Tony: Besides Chicago, what city do you like playing the most?
Ryan: Every show, when I look out and see people singing the words—every show makes me feel the same way. Extremely happy—I just want to smile or start laughing because we never thought we’d get signed, let alone have people buy our CD and actually come to the show and sing it. I love being on tour and having kids come to the shows because it really means a lot to us.

Tony: On the same note, what do you love most about touring, and likewise, what do you miss most?
Ryan: I like touring because you get to meet everyone and kids get to come to the shows and have a good time. I miss my house and relaxing. On tour you never get time to chill out. You’re always driving or having to do some errand or something stupid. I miss my mom’s cooking, sleeping in my own bed. I miss home right now, actually. You’re making me sad, dawg. [laughs] I’m just joking.

Tony: Do you bring anything with you to remind you of home?
Ryan: No, not really. I don’t really bring that many clothes. I have my mom pack for me before every tour, and she throws a bunch of stuff in a bag. These aren’t even my shorts. I found this shirt on the floor of the van. This hat is our merch girl’s. And these shoes, our old singer gave them to me, so I’m not really wearing anything besides my underwear that is mine.
Tony: Well, it’s good that the underwear is yours.
Ryan: Yeah, that’d be weird. [laughs] I don’t know, they fit.
Tony: We’ll go with it. [laughing]

Tony: How does it feel when you’re not necessarily headlining, but you have all those people there to support you?
Ryan: Just to have people there is amazing, whether we’re headlining or not. It’s cool. It’s a tough question, though.

Tony: You’re heading to the UK at some point?
Ryan: We’re actually—after this tour we’re going to the UK for about a week. We’re playing the Download Festival. It’s one of the biggest festivals in the UK, and then we’re playing some small shows and doing some stuff for Kerrang. We’re going over in September with Aiden, Bayside, and The Sleeping for the Victory Records UK tour. We’re really excited; we’ve never been overseas, so it’s going to be awesome.
Tony: What do you guys expect as far as the crowds.
Ryan: I have no idea. Aiden said they love it there. They love going there, and I’m sure it’s going to be great. They’re doing really well over there; kids will be there, so it’s going to be awesome.

Tony: This is a question I know absolutely nothing about, but someone wanted me to ask it. Can you explain The Judition?
Ryan: [laughing] We were on tour in January with this band, June—good friends of ours. We called it the traveling, touring frat because we partied a lot on that tour. We’re really good friends, so you just put the words together. June—theAudition—the Judition Frat. If you go on Myspace, you can probably find something about it. I guess there’s the Juditia, which is the girls. It’s pretty cool, man. So that’s it.

Tony: What Chicago band would you like to have your back in a street fight?
Ryan: I’d have to say October Fall. Pat’s crazy, and all those guys are sweet. It’d be fun to beat someone up with them, I guess. [laughing]

Tony: What advice would you give to up and coming bands?
Ryan: I’d say you’re going to get discouraged along the way. Time get hard sometimes, but if you really believe in each other and your band, you can make things happen. It’s a lot of hard work, but if you put your mind to it, anything can happen. If it happened for us, it can happen for you.

Tony: What are your favorite CDs of 2005 or 2006?
Ryan: I don’t remember when CDs come out.
Tony: What are you listening to lately then?
Ryan: Lately I’ve been listening to John Mayer—the second CD—Heavier Things. This sounds really funny, but I like this song by Madonna, it’s called “Hung Up.” I love the new Taking Back Sunday CD, too. I’m really picky about music, but I really like the new Taking Back Sunday. That CD is awesome. That’s probably one of my favorite CDs this year. I almost want to say this new CD is better than the first CD.

Tony: What are your upcoming touring plans after this?
Ryan: We’re going out with 30 Seconds to Mars in June and then we start Warped Tour in July. Then I think we’re going to do a headlining tour in August and then in September we’re going to the UK. In October—I can’t say anything yet, because I’m not positive yet. But it’s going to be pretty sweet.

Tony: How did theAudition make it onto this tour?
Ryan: It’s awesome. The Emanuel guys are probably some of the nicest guys we’ve met on tour. They’ve been on tour forever, and everyone knows them as cool dudes. Being direct support, they heard we’re cool and they liked the CD, so that’s how it worked. It’s cool being direct support. Because you’re not opening—I like to play back a little.
Tony: How long have you guys been playing?
Ryan: We actually have the longest set on the tour. Emanuel’s drummer had to go home, so Chris from Lorene Drive is playing drums for them, but he only knows six or seven songs, and we play eight songs. Our set’s normally twenty-five minutes long, so it’s weird playing for forty minutes. Our CD’s only like thirty minutes.

Tony: What question are you most tired of answering in interviews?
Ryan: How we got started or how we came up with our name and stuff like that. I don’t mind answering stuff about the CD because it’s new, and stuff like that. What’s your favorite color, and questions like that. You going to ask me a weird one?

Tony: Yeah, if you could be a flavor of ice cream, what would you be and why?
Danii (my friend who was there for the interview): He’s cookie dough.
Ryan: Why?
Danii: I don’t know; I’m just saying he’s cookie dough. I’m sure that everyone likes you.
Ryan: Yeah, I’m cookie dough because everyone likes me. [laughs]

Tony: What’s the biggest misconception about the band, if any?
Ryan: I think that we’re too young of a band, honestly. Not enough people know us yet. Our CD will be out for a year in September, but not enough kids know us to have an idea who we are yet. Maybe in a few months people will start talking shit and we can answer it.
Tony: Then you know you’ve made it.
Ryan: Exactly. True, man.

Danny, vocalist for the band, showed up and was sitting in the back seat of the van for this question.
Tony: Who do you like in both the NBA and NHL playoffs?
Ryan: I wish the Bulls were still in it. NHL did you say? I don’t give a shit.
Danny: That’s a question for me, man.
Ryan: No one likes the NHL.
Danny: Fuck you. Fuck you, man!
Ryan: No one likes the NHL.
Danny: I do.
Ryan: Except for Danny, but that doesn’t matter.
Danny: Ouch. Harsh, man.
Tony: So who do you like in the NHL playoffs?
Danny: The Red Wings, but they fucking suck, dude. I’m so pissed about that.
Ryan: I just hope that Miami kicks the shit out of Detroit because of Danny.
In case you didn’t catch it earlier in the interview, Danny is from Detroit.

Tony: Do you have anything else you’d like to add; anything you’d like to say to your fans on Absolutepunk?
Ryan: I don’t know if we even have fans on Absolutepunk. I bet everyone just talks shit about us. [laughing] It’s the biggest shit-talking website ever. It’s still great though.
Danny: The thing about Absolutepunk is that it’s honestly a good information website, though. I check it every day to see what’s up with our friends in bands that I can’t talk to. But the reply section just sucks sometimes. People who bring up all these asinine things about bands that doesn’t even matter.
Ryan: When we weren’t signed, I’d be e-mailing all the time with fake names and shit, trying to get a post about our new songs. Then when we got our first post, I was so stoked. I was on my computer and was like, “Fuck yeah!” and then in the replies, it was like, “This band sucks” and it was like, “fuck these motherfuckers.” You’re going to type that out, right? Fuck these motherfuckers? [laughing] But I like the site a lot. The kids that post about us is cool, even if you have something bad to say—it’s cool. Speak your mind, it’s a free country, although it still sucks though. The site’s awesome, and I really appreciate the interview. Tony’s the man.
Tony: Anything else you want to say?
Ryan: Nah.
Tony: Thank you very much.
Ryan: Thanks, bro.
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 40
12:43 PM on 06/03/06
Not this year
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bjam12's Avatar
Nice interview. Looking forward to seeing them on Warped this year.
12:45 PM on 06/03/06
Regular Member
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truestar1015's Avatar
Great interview! I got their cd a few weeks back and I can't stop listening to it.
12:46 PM on 06/03/06
True Punk Fan
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YourMusicSucks's Avatar
I liked this interview. I'm gonna give the cd another chance.
12:48 PM on 06/03/06
mike l
el cielo es azul
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mike l's Avatar
this band sucks...

j/k can't wait to see them with HIPV in 2 weeks <3
01:05 PM on 06/03/06
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Chriz2z's Avatar
Great interview Tony.

I was hooked on this CD around Christmas time. I still listen to it about one a week.
01:09 PM on 06/03/06
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ilovebsb's Avatar
i saw these dudes with spitalfield at the drifters in nashua n.h. it was a good time :)
01:10 PM on 06/03/06
wonka wonka wonka
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indie_ira's Avatar
where were the questions about the whole FOB dance, dance ordeal???

still a nice read.

i love this band.
01:14 PM on 06/03/06
part-time punk
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backstagebethy's Avatar
Nice interview, they are one of my favorite bands to see live.
01:16 PM on 06/03/06
Tony Pascarella
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Tony Pascarella's Avatar
Originally Posted by indie_ira
where were the questions about the whole FOB dance, dance ordeal???
still a nice read.
i love this band.
I didn't want to address that until someone asked. Ryan asked that I turn the tape recorder off on the condition that he'd tell me the whole story. Based on what he told me, it's best that I don't include anything about that in my interview because all it will serve to do is create animosity between a handful of people. Things he said would get misinterpreted (they already have in some cases), and drama just really isn't all that cool :)

Sorry to those who were looking for an answer on this. I apologize.
01:16 PM on 06/03/06
Hockey consumes my life
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No Avatar Selected
Nice interview.

Very good CD.
01:22 PM on 06/03/06
wonka wonka wonka
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indie_ira's Avatar
Originally Posted by Tony Pascarella
I didn't want to address that until someone asked. Ryan asked that I turn the tape recorder off on the condition that he'd tell me the whole story. Based on what he told me, it's best that I don't include anything about that in my interview because all it will serve to do is create animosity between a handful of people. Things he said would get misinterpreted (they already have in some cases), and drama just really isn't all that cool :)

Sorry to those who were looking for an answer on this. I apologize.

ahhhhhh. its totally cool.

well, at least you know the whole story now.
01:30 PM on 06/03/06
Blake Solomon
We're no saviors.
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Blake Solomon's Avatar
nice interview. i was absolutely addicted to the "consciencse" song. i never gave the other stuff a listen though, i mihgt have to do taht. I like "happy, upbeat" music. ha.
01:35 PM on 06/03/06
Tear the scene down, start over.
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brokenwings's Avatar
that victory tour should also come over to a few more european countries... i`d like to see bayside and theaudition... anyway cool interview... i`ll probably pick up the cd some time soon
02:13 PM on 06/03/06
Pass the Bud
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preppyak's Avatar
Originally Posted by kg00d
Nice interview.

Very good CD.

agreed...I'm going to pimp them in the Pop Forum right now

Originally Posted by utman8
nice interview. i was absolutely addicted to the "consciencse" song. i never gave the other stuff a listen though, i mihgt have to do taht. I like "happy, upbeat" music. ha.
I don't know about "happy", but their music is pretty solid overall. If you like "You've made us Conscious", you'd like the whole cd

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