Between embarking on their Schools Out For Summer 2018 Tour and finishing recording their 9th full length studio album Everyday Life, Everyday People, Slightly Stoopid has a lot going on in the next couple months. Sound-Fix was thrilled to see them for the first time outside of San Diego county at Summer Camp this past Memorial Day weekend! After their performance, we had the opportunity to sit down with Rymo and talk about what’s happening in the world of Slightly Stoopid.
Sound-Fix: I’m really excited to talk to you. I’m with Ryan “Rymo” Moran from Slightly Stoopid, how’re you doing Rymo?
Ryan “Rymo” Moran: I’m doing very well, how’re you?
SF: I’m doing very well, thanks for asking. I was really excited to see you guys at Summer Camp so I wanted to talk to you a little bit about that and get some insight as to how it developed, how you got on the lineup and how your experience was. To start, what did you think of the festival? I loved the Tom Petty and Grateful Dead covers. You also played a lot of your new originals, I think 5 in total?
Rymo: Yeah, we did a handful of new ones. Summer Camp, we’ve been friends with the guys from Umphrey’s [McGee] now for quite some time. We had the same agent for a couple of years so we became good friends with those guys. They’re absolutely amazing musicians and super nice people. So when Summer Camp started to happen they included us in that package. I think this was the 4th time we’ve done it, so the first year was roughly 2011 or 2012 and we’ve done it just about every other year since. We’re super happy to be involved, it’s really well put together and super organized. We always have a good time performing there for sure!
Slightly Stoopid “You Don’t Know How It Feels” (5/25/18) @ Summer Camp Music Festival 2018 – video by Aaron Hurd
SF: You guys played in a perfect spot, right after Umphrey’s [McGee] transitioning from the heavy metal into the reggae to conclude the night. Tell me about your new music that you played and what we should expect from the new album. I just listened to the song you released today and noticed it had some rap in there. I’m curious how some of these collaborations came about and what was influencing you when you wrote these songs.
Rymo: That song specifically is called “Higher Now” and it features Chali 2na from Jurassic 5 and Ozomatli. He’s been a friend of ours for years. We started working on the track and were talking about who we could have to collaborate on it and it made sense to have him. We had Charlie [Stewart] out with us last summer for a bunch of dates on the tour and we just became really good friends. We’ve always been fans of the work he’s done with Jurassic 5 and with Ozomatli before that so it was a natural progression to ask him to be involved with the record. So he came out and we did a couple days of recording at Sound City Studios. Looping Tom Petty into this, the day he actually passed away was the day we started recording that song at Sound City Studios which he used to work in quite a bit. He recorded Wildflowersand a couple other records in that facility in the valley of Los Angeles so it’s kind of interesting. We were sitting there loading in and our sound engineer came up and asked if we had heard the news. I was like “no I’ve been stuck in traffic for 2 hours” and he told us that Tom Petty just passed away. We were tripping out because he’s recorded in that studio tons of times and we were always fans of his music. So we decided to pay tribute to him at that festival and I think we’re going to end up playing that song quite a bit on the upcoming tour we have with Pepper and Stick Figure. Kind of an interesting way how things kind of came full circle. That track dropped today (June 1st) and it’s the 2nd song off the album. The whole album will be available on July 13th.
Slightly Stoopid “Higher Now (feat. Chali 2na)”
SF: As far as the new album goes everything we’ve heard so far keeps true to the Slightly Stoopid sound, but it incorporate new genres and artists. What were some of your big musical influences when you were recording the album? What music were you listening to that inspired you when the band was writing the music?
Rymo: We all listen to so much music, we’re all big fans of all music. I can honestly say that we’re all total music nerds. We listen to everything from jazz to old school hip-hop to new reggae to old reggae, ska, rocksteady, I mean you name it. We really do the best we can to emulate the music we enjoy. If we’re going a reggae direction on a song, we want to do it authentically. If we’re going punk rock on a song, we want to do that authentically. If we’re going more funk or rock or ska, we want to emulate those sounds the best we can, so we listen to a lot of stuff. I can’t speak for the other guys but I’m always listening to some old classics from Led Zepplin, Jackie Mittoo, The Skatalites, Rush, Fishbone, Bad Brains have been a huge influence, Dead Kennedys. It’s a pretty broad sound that we try to emulate. As far as the other guys, I can definitely say that everyone listens to a wide variety of music. We try to draw from that listening and create music that we like and we try to do it, like I said, the best we can to make it sound true and real and authentic.
SF: You mentioned a little bit about your upcoming tour, Schools Out For Summer 2018 Tour, can you tell me how you’re preparing for that? I know you’ll probably be playing a lot of new songs.
Rymo: We had Summer Camp this past weekend, we had a couple shows before and after. We just did a little mini run this past weekend. These last couple days since we’ve been home from Summer Camp we did 3 super long rehearsals. We got in a large 500-person theatre that was empty, and set up our whole sound system, set up all the instruments and really played 4 or 5 hours a day. We were going over old songs, new songs, really trying to broaden our repertoire so that we can include some new material, include some old material that we hadn’t played for a while and still include some of our staples that we play almost every night. That way we can keep the setlist fresh and keep the music rotating so it doesn’t get stale. We rehearse quite a bit, even when we’re off the road it’s like everybody is practicing a bunch and we’re also recording. We’re always doing something together whether it be music or just hanging out catching up and having a beer. There’s always some sort of ‘what’s next’ and the mentality is always forward thinking. Deciding if we’re going to record, if we’re going to rehearse, what new songs we should include in the setlist, what songs should we take a break from for a while and cycle out and cycle in again later. So we do that every time we go out for tour. We always have at least a week or more of rehearsals where we really go through everything and figure out our approach for the summer. We just did that these last three days and this week we’ve got another day to rehearse. Technically our first day of the tour is on Tuesday (June, 5th) and the first show is next Thursday (June, 7th). So we’ve had plenty of time to prepare and work on some new material, and we’ll have a couple guests with us out on the road. So once the record drops we’ll definitely be including more of the new material. We’ll probably play 6 tunes a night from the new record and weave that in with all really old and newer stuff so we’ll mix it all up.
SF: Speaking of what’s next for Slightly Stoopid, you just announced your Closer to the Sun destination festival coming up at the end of the year. For somebody who has never been, can you tell me what the experience and the music?
Rymo: Aw man, it’s all time. I think this is our 5th year and this is probably one of the lineups we’re most proud of. We’ve had a great lineup year in and year out with a lot of friends we’ve toured, but this coming year we’re doing 3 sets. We’ve got UB40 coming down, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Thievery Corporation, Stick Figure, Pepper, Alborosie who we feature on the new record, G. Love and Special Sauce, he’s featured on the new record as well. Then we have The Expendables, Hirie, and The Movement so a ton of really great bands. The all-inclusive thing is really great. You get to the resort, there’s tons of swimming pools and there’s open bar and there’s open catering and food, the rooms are nice. It’s really a fun getaway, it’s almost like a music festival but it’s much more intimate. You’re down there with a bunch of fans and everybody is hanging out together. We’re all in the same space and having drinks so we get to know our fans in a way that we really enjoy. In the show environment, there’s a lot of go-go-go and not a lot of time to relax but when we get down to Mexico, you’re on the beach and there’s a ton of great music all the time. So for us, we enjoy performing but then we also enjoy watching all the other bands, having drinks with fans, and going for a swim at the beach. There’s a million things to do that’s fun for everybody and it’s a real great time.
SF: Speaking of great times, I wanted to wrap things up talking about Summer Camp. Were there any special moments that really stood to you?
Rymo: I really liked playing that stage (Moonshine Stage), we played that one a couple times and we’ve played the other stage which is across the field (Sunshine Stage) and I really liked that stage quite a bit, it has a cool little feel. We saw our friends SOJA there so we got to hang out with them a bit during the day and watch their show which was cool. It’s such a well put together event that everybody there is having a great time. Security is laid back, the people working the stages are enjoying themselves. It’s just a good positive place. There are other festivals where people are a little tighter, a little more high-strung so Summer Camp is all about staying relaxed and everybody is just enjoying themselves and having fun.
SF: Absolutely, and I couldn’t agree more about that stage (Moonshine Stage) too, it definitely my favorite one there how it’s nestled in the trees.
Rymo: Right, it’s got a great feel.
SF: I appreciate your time Rymo, and we’ll be seeing you down at the Waterfront in San Diego at the end of June!
Rymo: Oh yeah, that’s coming up quick. Good to talk to you, we’ll see you down at the show in San Diego!