Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Highly Suspect’s Ryan Meyer Discusses New Album Dropping This Summer, His Love Of New Zealand And More

Highly Suspect is a rock band from Cape Cod, Massachusetts that formed in 2009. The band consists of twin brothers Rich (bass, backing vocals) and Ryan Meyer (drums, backing vocals), Johnny Stevens (guitar, lead vocals), and Matt Kofos (guitar, backing vocals) and Mark Schwartz (synthesizer).

The group originally started out as a cover band, performing at bars and touring with some small bands. In 2009, the band released their first of several EP’s, First Offense. Their first full self-titled album was released in 2011, containing fourteen tracks, some of which were new while others were previously released but re-recorded. 

Highly Suspect had their first big U.S. tour in 2015 with Deftones, Chevelle, Halestorm, Catfish and the Bottlemen, and Scott Weiland from Stone Temple Pilots. They then released their first studio album, Mister Asylum. The first single from the album, “Lydia”, peaked at number 4 on the US Mainstream Rock Songs chart and made it to number 24 on the US Alternative Songs chart.

Highly Suspect's Ryan Meyer Discusses New Album This Summer
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

The grammy-nominated band went on to release three more studio albums: The Boy Who Died Wolf (2016), MCID (2019), and The Midnight Demon Club (2022). Their musical style has remained fairly consistent over the years, with the album MCIDskewing the pattern and bringing in elements of electro-pop. Their sound has been described as alternative rock, grunge, and rock and roll. 

Highly Suspect is currently taking some needed time off before the release of their new album in June. Once the new album is out, the band will perform at festivals in the summer and do a large tour in the fall. The band has already been announced on the Louder Than Life and Aftershock Fall festival lineups.

We met up with drummer Ryan Meyer on ShipRocked and talked about his perfect day in Cape Cod, highlights of the 2023 festival season, and how New Zealand played a big role in the band’s success. 

You guys are all from Cape Cod, right?

The original three band members are from Cape Cod and I’m from Cape Cod. In the past couple of years, we’ve added Matt and Mark. Mark is from Massachusetts as well, outside of Boston and Matt’s from Florida. 

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

What would be your perfect day in Cape Cod?

There are some beaches you can drive on if you can get a permit for it. You can take whatever you want out there. I mean, you can just take a bucket full of ice and beer and do a clambake and lobsters. When you finish up with that, you get back on shore, and then there’s some spots that do dollar oysters, some parrot head stuff, some guy always playing Jimmy Buffett covers. 

You do that for a little while, and then you go home and you take a nap, and then you drink a Red Bull, and you go back out again and you see a really amazing band, ripping it up playing some covers and some originals.

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

What venues are the best to catch a show?

You know, it’s been a while since I’ve been out there. I think Sundancers is still alive and well. The Beachcomber. That’s a good one. Joe’s Beach Bar and Grill.

Is the band working on new music?

No, because we actually made a record over the summer that we’re going to be putting out in June. We actually have a lot of new music coming. We have a full-length album and we’re looking at releasing an extended album after a while. So, there will be ten songs, I think, and then another group of songs coming out after that. We recorded a lot. We’re gonna keep doing that because we’re gonna take some time off. 

We worked so hard last year. We did a lot of festivals, we did a lot of touring, and we spent our entire summer in the studio in between festivals. By the end of the year, we were pretty tired. So, we’re going to take some time off. In the meantime, we’re going to be doing a few writing trips here and there. 

Highly Suspect's Ryan Meyer Discusses New Album This Summer
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

What can people expect from your upcoming album?

We decided when we were going into making the new record, the only way that we were going to make it is if we went into the studio all together, all plugged in at the same time, and just made whatever the thumbprint of the band was at the time. We weren’t trying to go for things like what was trending, what was modern, who’s doing what, who do we follow.

When you guys write together, do you do it on the road or do you have to take time to sit down and do it?

We have to take time out. We’ve tried writing while on the road, but it happens more during soundcheck. There is one song that’s on the album, It’s called “Eighth of October.” That one was written in Bristol, England at soundcheck. The room we were in just had a sound to it that was really inspiring.

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Your brother is in the band. Any tips for traveling with family?

Not really, because everyone’s different. You know, a lot of families don’t get along or they do get along or they kind of get along. My brother and I are great. I honestly don’t know what I’d do without them. We’re pretty tight and we’ve always been really tight. 

What was the highlight of the 2023 festival season?

They were all amazing. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to detract from any of the festivals. Danny Wimmer festivals are also f*cking incredible. I want to put that on record. When you’re working every day for 365 days in a year, I only have the same mushy brain sack everyone else has. I can’t remember everything. 

We were the last band to play Blue Ridge before it got blown over. What happened was we played and literally, last note, ‘Thank you we’ve been Highly Suspect,’ lightning. Then the storm just hit like a left hook. I mean, the stage broke in half, the catering tent fell over. The festival was over.

Highly Suspect's Ryan Meyer Discusses New Album This Summer
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

You recently toured Australia and New Zealand. Some of the most beautiful places in the world. Any fun spots for tourists or places you’d tell people to visit?

New Zealand is a different world. That’s why some of our favorite movies were filmed there. It’s also our largest market. We play arenas in New Zealand. It’s always been big for us. From the first EP that we had, the Black OceanEP. Before we had a record deal, we got a management deal and they said, ‘Hey, guys, do you realize New Zealand is playing your music on the radio because their FM stations are different out there? They’re not predetermined by a program director, the DJs play what they like.’ 

That’s how they do it over there. I think it was like four out of the five rock stations that they have there were all playing most of our EP in heavy rotation. The first time we went over there, they rolled out the red carpet, and it’s always been a massive, massive place for us. It doesn’t suck because it’s a beautiful place and people are so friendly and they’re very, very welcoming and the food’s amazing. Ten out of ten, recommend going there. 

Highly Suspect's Ryan Meyer Discusses New Album This Summer
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

What’s 2024 have in store? 

Well there’s the new record. I’m sure there’s going to be a title release at some point. We do have a title for it, but I don’t want to disclose that. We’re looking at June, possibly. Then we’ll do festivals over the summer and we’ll do a big tour in the fall. 2025 will probably be flat out touring non-stop. You’ll see us everywhere.

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Amy Harris
Amy Harris is a writer and photographer who has been traveling for 20 years and flown over 2 million miles to visit over 80 countries on 6 continents. She is a freelance photographer for Invision by Associated Press, AP Images and Rex/Shutterstock. Her work can be seen in various publications and websites including: Rolling Stone, AP Images, National Geographic Books, Fodor’s Travel Guides, Forbes.com, Lonely Planet Travel Guides, JetStar magazine, and Delta Sky Magazine.

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