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Published: 2009/08/26
by Fady Khalil

Ryan Montbleau Sets His Pace

Fast forward 2009, Montbleau, now 32, tours throughout the country, making his living solely off his music, and refining the art of grassroots success as a completely independent artist – an experience as rewarding as it is challenging. As he’s found, “If you’re doing it grassroots, it’s still an industry, and it’s even more of a business, because you have to be on top of it that much more.” And though he could conceivably see the right music deal with the right people coming along, he’s just not willing to wait around till then.

“I always thought it was just ridiculous,” he says. “I have friends in the industry that go the other route, they need the tour support, they need the label, they need all this. When people go completely that route, there’s inevitably all this hurry up and wait. They’re waiting for a year for their album to get recorded, another year for it to come out, and then it doesn’t come out, or whatever. This idea of waiting, and not going out there and doing it was never even close to an option. We go out there, and build it one room at a time.”

It’s precisely that mindset that has led Montbleau to utilize an innovative system of fan donations in order to finance his upcoming album. For every donation, Ryan offers a live solo acoustic album, Stages: Volume II, which features many of his fan favorites recorded throughout a five-night run of shows in March of 2009. Every bit of the proceeds go directly into recording the next band album, which as he states, musically will have “a new approach,” and will be “more about what we take out from the tracks, then what we add in,” refining parts to avoid an over-produced sound. What’s more he recently initiated a series of auctions for solo-acoustic house concerts, with the proceeds directed to the cause.

Coming off their last release, the successful Patience on Friday, it’s little wonder that donations have already been streaming in, with eager anticipation of what the band has in store. Ryan hesitates to guess at a possible release date, but suggests a hopeful one around the spring of 2010, though many issues remain to be worked out. And with the band holed up in a rented house outside of Boston, penning the content of that new album, they’re equally focused on refining the production process and possibly using an outside producer for the first time ever in their recordings. But it’s an even greater change that may prove of interest to fans.

“It took me a long time to get over a previous relationship,” Ryan says. To cope with the grief, he wrote music, filling his songs with personal missives of love, and more acutely, loss. But that was then.

“Now, I’ve been in a relationship for a year and a half, and things are going ok with the band, and everything seems to be on the up and up.” He goes on to talk about his current project, “I’ve just been trying to look inward more, and just say, ‘Hey, everything’s ok.’ I don’t know, I can’t say for sure, but hopefully, not that we wouldn’t have hope before, but there could be some happier, more hopeful themes. We’ll see.”

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