“When you are your own writer, producer, engineer and musician, it definitely makes for a challenging recording but it was still fun and most importantly, I was proud of myself for doing everything on my own.” @inscapemusic
GETTING TO KNOW RYAN CONE INSCAPE
by Jacqueline Jax
Very simply, my personal definition of success is being happy with what you’ve done, regardless of whether or not other people like it.
My real start in music was…
influenced by my mother. When I was three-years-old she would put on Donna Summers records, Michael Jackson records and together we would just dance around the room. At age four I was bought my first Walkman and a tape of Nik Kershaw and that’s all I would do was walk around the house (or anywhere for that matter) with Walkman in hand. It was like an escape to a beautiful dream world where I could see the world through my ears and not my eyes. It just made everything so much better.
I’m a generation X child so when the “Grunge” scene hit the world and more specifically, Pearl Jam, I was 13, 14 and just had to start playing an instrument because of the influence and passion that band gave me. I always had an affinity for the drums so when me and my high-school friends wanted to start a band everybody was like, “I’ll play guitar, I’ll play bass, I’ll try singing.” For me, I was always a drummer at heart. Even before one lesson I was able to put beats together but for the next year I took drum lessons every week, started jamming often with my band and eventually started playing those “Battle of the Band” contests. Soon as a good drummer I was in hot demand from other bands, even from other schools; guys that were more serious about writing and performing and considering that was all I wanted to do, I joined another band as well. I just wanted to play my drums as much as I could and hopefully perform as much as I could.
My first gig ever was at The Concert Hall (which is now a TV studio) and the only reason I mention this is because I was one of the lucky ones to see Pearl Jam’s first Toronto show ever and that was at The Concert Hall. So when we played that “Battle of the Bands,” I just remember running around on that stage, touching every inch just so I could say to myself, I have been on the same stage as my idols. Just too bad I’ll never get to see Pearl Jam play for a crowd of 1800 again.
The song “Clouded Glasses,” …
originally named “Serving Someone Else’s…” off the Ion Ray demo is about two people finding each other by happenstance. It was a meeting in the work environment that blossomed into a beautiful friendship over many months. The funny thing about us meeting was literally the first thing I ever said to her (as a joke by the photocopy machine) was “fuck you.” She thought that was funny and a friendship started to grow from there. Over many months a natural progression of love started to form on both ends. It was a very passionate, fun, yet intense time. Sometimes it almost felt like an addiction, which is never good (unless your addiction is to music). It was like finally meeting your best friend, but that best friend also happens to be female, extremely attractive, you click on every level and just have the best time together, whether in or out of the sheets. The unfortunate side was, this woman was already caught up in a very complicated relationship that she couldn’t or didn’t want to get out of. I say “couldn’t or didn’t” because I never really knew the answer and still don’t to this day. Things started to change and more secrecy was involved, lying became involved, lack of trust became involved so that’s why I classify it as an intense love that existed but should have never been. It changed me. It made me become a less trusting, angry person for a time. https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/finally-some-good-single/id593582976
When I was writing the lyrics, so much was just flowing out of me. Before I knew it, I had like five pages of lyrics written, which would have made it like a 15 minute song, so I obviously really had to cut it down to the most powerful and poignant lyrics. The original version was written in my condo using some real guitar and piano, some MIDI, some electronic drums mixed in with MIDI drums. For a good month my condo was just filled with music equipment and wires running everywhere. When you are your own writer, producer, engineer and musician, it definitely makes for a challenging recording but it was still fun and most importantly, I was proud of myself for doing everything on my own. The ONLY thing that wasn’t me was the singing. We all have to know our strengths and weaknesses and singing is definitely not in my wheelhouse, so I hired vocalists.
I chose the name Inscape for a few reasons. Not only is it one of my favourite songs from a band called Stateless, from the UK but I also just loved the word and loved the meaning of the word; “The unique essence or inner nature of a person, place, thing or event, especially depicted in poetry or a work of art.” The album title “Finally Some Good” is two-fold: At that point in my life I was having a lot of bad luck; whether it be with that woman mentioned above, other women, money, friends, work.. When this EP happened, this producer found heard me and wanted to work with me, I thought to myself, “finally some good is happening in my life.” The other reason is more of a cocky reason. As I also meant it to mean that there is finally some good music out there; finally some music that I want to hear.
For me this album signifies faith in myself, that I could write some good music. It signifies a very dark time in my life and fortunately, yet unfortunately I feel the best melodies come from a state of sadness. With as much pain as I went through and the sadness that I felt, channeling that into something positive, gave me some comfort. I wanted to do my best to be less cryptic with my lyrics but at the same time not giving everything away so that way it still remains personal to me, but the listener will understand what I was going through and will be able to relate to a lot, if not all of what I wrote. I think that’s what makes it unique. You have one guy doing everything, one guy trying to express himself in the best way possible; nobody telling him what to write or feel. It’s just straight up, honest music and lyrics. In each of the three songs, every person who hears it should be able to say to themselves, “I totally understand what he’s saying there, or I’ve been through similar situations and this really puts it in perspective for me.” It’s a personal yet shared EP. What I would personally love to accomplish with this EP is for people to listen to it, relate to it, fall in love with the melodies, share it with friends and ultimately hope it becomes one of those sleeper type albums where nobody had every heard the music or Inscape and then one day, boom! It’s being played on radio, my video’s are getting tons of hits, people write to me telling me they can appreciate what I’ve done and understand it. Ultimately it’s music, so I want each listener to have their own personal connection with and take away something personal to them.
I live in Toronto. Being in a city with a population of about 7 million, everyday of the week you can find a place where shows are being played. Whether it’s jazz, rock, dance; you name it, there’s a place to go listen to it. Queen Street is probably the most popular street with the most bars that house indie artists. There’s The Horseshoe Tavern. Lee’s Palace, The Piston, Massey Hall (best venue ever, in my opinion). The Boat, Cameron House, The Mod Club, to name a few. I like to take an hour each week and surf the net or iTunes for new music but unrelated to music, I enjoy seeing my family and friends, especially my niece and nephew. Movies. Going out for dinner. Good old barbecues. Grabbing the iPod and going for a nice walk, dating, sometimes…I guess the older you get, the more chill you become but for me it’s all about the company; the location is secondary as long as you have good company. Oh, and I have been skydiving, but that was more of a bucket list thing and a thrill and half!
My favorite artists are…
Pearl Jam and Matthew Good. Pearl Jam influences me for their intensity, having complete control over their careers. Being activists and very generous with their money, which they never brag about or really talk about. They are just an amazing band who puts on the greatest live show in my opinion and are guys that made it big the right way; under their own terms and by just working hard and touring and touring and building a huge fan base. It doesn’t hurt either that they have the best singer in the world.
Matthew Good influences me melodically, lyrically, vocally as well, somebody who writes and produces all his own music, is an activist as well and just coincidentally, is another artist who has complete control over his own career. As well, if he thinks a songs of his should be 8 minutes long, because he has lots to say or lots of music to share in those 8 minuets, he’s not afraid to do that, regardless of public opinion. In this business and especially being from Canada, that is a hard feat to accomplish. I have met Matthew Good once, but was very quick, got his autograph and literally the last thing on my list would be to meet Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam to thank him/them for all they’ve done for me. Without them, I don’t think “Finally Some Good” would ever exist.
The Music Industry…
I think the music industry is at the worst state it’s ever been in. Music to me these days seems more like Hollywood then music. Now it’s just all about marketability and money rather than good music. It’s about a bunch of guys who have talent, that sit in a room and write music and then just pass it off to the artist they feel will suit it best and make the most money. There are a ton of Indie artists I love out there that deserve notoriety, but because of their genre of music, they will never be heard by the masses and that’s such a shame because there is such good music out there, if you’re prepared to hunt it down. The music business really is just a
BUSINESS these days. So few artists are in for the craft. They just want the money, notoriety, the awards, party with other celebrities which is why I just want to be a song-writer; behind the scenes and anonymous.
Inscape, also know as Ryan Cone was born in Toronto, Ontario in 1977. Ryan has had a love affair with music since the tender of age of three when his mother would put on Donna Summers records and he would dance around the room. At four years old he received his first Walkman and a cassette tape of Nik Kershaw; that was a match made in heaven. When asked what he was listening to as a kid, the answer was surprising. “Before I reached double digits I would listen to anything from Michael Jackson, to Howard Jones to George Michaels to House music. Then once I got a little older I started listening to Duran Duran, Depeche Mode and even some Hip Hop like Maestro Fresh Wes, RUN DMC, 2 in a Room and Eazy E, if you can believe that.” Then in 1992 at the age of 14, Ryan had a life changing moment in music when this little up and coming band from Seattle started to emerge, called Pearl Jam with their album “Ten.” “Ten became an addiction” said Ryan. “I had never heard anything so amazing, so unique, I had never heard a voice that literally gave me chills, it was so beautiful, intense, different and poetic. Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam literally changed my life.” “It was from that point on that I started taking drum lessons and had to join a band just so I could get up on stage and perform my most favourite songs.” And that’s exactly what he did; starting a band with high school buddy’s called “Greenbush,” which was the name of the street Ryan lived on as a teenager. Ryan would join quite a few bands in high school but none of them were as serious about it as he was. Although his passion for music and drums never faded, in fact it just grew and grew to the point where influences started coming from all over the place. Many years later Ryan would join an indie band called Sonic. “We released a CD in 2002 and toured Canada for a couple years to promote it, playing both our own stuff and covers,” which he admits he hated doing. “There was a small buzz around the band but the timing never seemed right. It came to a point where I wanted to write my own music and I was started not to like playing drums anymore because I’d only play cover songs on them; once in a while we’d throw in an original song but it was 90 percent covers. I figured if I’m starting to not enjoy the one thing I love most, it’s time to get out and re-evaluate.” And that’s what Ryan did. “I tell you, the first time I played my drums again in my basement, just for fun, just as a hobby and just because I loved it, was the most fun I’d ever had getting behind my kit.” Music and drumming remained a hobby for Ryan for a few years, “I realized I wasn’t getting enough fulfillment anymore, the state of modern music in my opinion was just at a boring, stand-still, lazy, uneventful, generic state and the first decade of the millennium didn’t generate anything mind blowing. I wanted to start writing the songs I wanted to hear, whether commercial or not so I started to take guitar and piano lessons, eventually built a little home studio and towards the end of 2009 started recording.” “In 2010 my demo was complete. What I call the “Ion Ray demo.” Now it was up to me to get it out there.” For the next year Ryan would do whatever he could to get his music into the right hands. With a lot of hard work and the right people in his corner, Ryan was able to get his demo in the hands of world prominent producer, John Capek. Credited for writing songs such as, “Rhythm of My Heart” by Rod Stewart. “Take Me Home” by Joe Cocker, Diana Ross’ “Pieces of Ice,” plus countless others. “John believed that I had written something unique, relevant and different than anything currently in the mainstream, so we started working together immediately and the product of us working together was the Inscape, Finally Some Good – EP.” “It was such a pleasure and a humbling experience working with John and his team in Nashville, which consisted of John Capek Producer and Keys, Gary Gold on Drums and Engineer (Christina Aguilera, Lil Wayne, Smokey Robinson, Joss Stone, Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Hudson, plus countless others). Bruce Dees on guitars (James Brown, Ronnie Milsap). Steve Mackie on Bass (Pulp, American Idol, Cavemen) and Kira Small on vocals for “I, The Wasted.” Some of the nicest, most professional, down-to-Earth people I could ever hope to work with.
“Clouded Glasses,” the melodies are amazing and at times almost gut wrenching, what inspired that song, musically and lyrically? “Well, let’s just say it was about an intense love that existed but should have never been.” “ We don’t control who we fall in love with and I fell in love with the wrong person, or at least the wrong timing and the product of all that pent up angst, disappointment, anger, frustration and sadness was the inspiration for “Clouded Glasses.” Although Ryan admits his love for Pearl Jam’s music has faltered over the years, he picked up a new favourite in the early 90’s, an artist by the name of Matthew Good or the “Matthew Good (Band). He/they was/were the perfect marriage of beautiful melodies, energetic rock, angelic vocals, masterful arrangements and poignant lyrics.” Who else influenced your musical tastes? “Such a hard question, too many to list. It’s easy to tell when watching Ryan speak of music just how passionate he is about it. “I believe my passion for music has allowed me to have passion for so many other things in life.” “No matter what’s going on in life, whether you’re married, single, big family, small family, no family, music is the one thing that is always there and that will never disappoint. A song I heard for the first time 10 years ago, when I listen to it today is still just as beautiful as it was back then.” Ryan describes his sound (Although he really hates to classify it) as Alternative in its literal meaning. “Is really is alternative to anything you will currently hear in the mainstream.” “I just focused on writing killer melodies & hooks and then built everything else around that. Inscape’ music is for every mood. “Clouded Glasses” is a masterful mix of melody, rock, beautiful lyrics and superb vocals. “I should point out that I am not a singer and therefore hired a wonderful singer by the name of Matt Humphrey’s to help out.” “His voice was the perfect blend of uniqueness, power, passion, intensity and complemented my music incredibly!” “I was so happy that I could use somebody who’s not in the mainstream, yet sounds like he should, could be and hopefully will be soon enough,” laughs Ryan. “I, The Wasted” marries a nice, grooving beat, beautiful melodies and the type of song
you can relax with, dance too, be intimate with, basically a song for any mood.” Ryan is a man who is definitely in touch with his emotions and enjoys sharing the intimate details of his life with fans through his music. It is so refreshing to finally hear something unique; a fusion of music that has yet to be tampered with. I highly recommend purchasing this EP. It’s available online through iTunes and BandCampfor only $2.97 for three songs. The artist is Inscape, the CD is called “Finally Some Good.”