Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to sit down with Austin Ingerman, solo artist and lead guitarist for modern day hard rock band New Years Day. During our conversation, we chat about Austin‘s new solo project including the release of his singles “Everything Is Okay” and “Diesel Fuel“, his favorite bands as a child that have gone on to be some of his main influences for songwriting, what quarantine has been like for New Years Day, and more. Read the exclusive interview with Austin Ingerman below!
ST: Hello everybody! I’m Sydney Taylor and I am here with Austin Ingerman, lead guitarist of the band New Years Day and now a leading writer and creator of his very own solo project. Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me this afternoon, it’s so great to have you!
AI: Absolutely. Thanks for having me on.
ST: First off, as we all know this year has been a wild one to say the least. How have you been during these unforeseen circumstances and how have you done your best to stay positive and optimistic during these weird times?
AI: Yeah, they’re definitely weird times for sure. I’ve actually been busier than ever ironically though. During this time I’m kinda just taking a step back and it’s given me time to kind of work on things that I normally wouldn’t have the time to do when I’m on the road. Me and my drummer James, we’ve been writing and recording a lot of new music. We have an instrumental album coming out and we just released the first single off of it and we’re gonna kinda do a single once per month and then at the end we’re going to package it all together. Other than that, just writing a lot of music, working out and staying busy. I do think that the busier you are the more it takes your mind off of the things going on in the world.
ST: It seems that during all of this you’ve found a way to be as productive as ever. Like you said, you just released the most recent single which is titled, “Diesel Fuel” and you also released “Everything Is Okay” back in June. Has having a little bit of a break from the road, because I know you tour quite a bit with New Years Day, allowed you to focus on this project more than you normally would’ve been?
AI: For sure. Even on the road I always bring my laptop with me. I have Logic and we get in there, we’ll demo stuff out. Even when I’m on the road I’m always working on new riffs. I’ll be backstage warming up and I’ll have my laptop, but being at home just allows you to… when you’re on the road your mind kind of gets jumbled up with a thousand things and you’re focused on what you’re doing out there. But, when you’re home you can focus on new music a little bit more and hunker down, dial in to some more of that stuff.
ST: I’ve been following what you’re up to and I know you’ve mentioned a lot that you’re influences for this record and the songs that you’re writing now are much different than what you’ve being doing with New Years Day. You cite a lot of the time that your influences are The Beach Boys, Boston, etc. I’m always curious – how did you discover these bands? Was it something that you were introduced to by your parents? Was it something you discovered? What brought you into loving that music and wanting to express it in your own?
AI: Definitely my parents. We used to have one of those Beach Boys ‘Greatest Hits’ CD’s and I remember riding around and they would always have that on. I remember my dad showing me Boston at an early age and I was blown away by the songwriting and just how melodic the music is. Especially for those times, in the ’70s when you didn’t just have ProTools or whatever. Tom Scholtz is a mad scientist creating all of that stuff in his basement and coming up with his own amps, and sounds, and all of this crazy stuff. Super inspiring stuff back then. It was just something that I kind of latched onto early on. I like to combine… my influences will range from the hard rock and metal stuff all the way to stuff like The Beach Boys. It’s kind of a combination of all that stuff, really.
ST: As you said, Boston was doing all of that crazy stuff back before ProTools, all on analog and tape. Have you ever thought about experimenting with recording on tape? I know it’s not really the “norm”, but have you ever thought about maybe recording something ‘old school’ that way?
AI: Oh yeah. The studio that we actually track drums at a lot, it’s in Decatur, Alabama. It’s like an hour south of Nashville. We’ve been going there because I’ve been staying with my parents down here in Pensacola, Florida right now. He’s got an old tape machine in that studio and we’ve definitely kicked around the idea of, ‘Yeah, it’d be super cool to like record this on tape, but…’ It also has its pros and cons too if you’re doing the super crazy stuff where you need it to be accurate and you’re trying to get in there and edit stuff. It can be a lot harder on tape. That’s when it’s good to have things like Logic and ProTools if you want to get in there and do the finer edits. But yeah, we’ve definitely kicked that around.
ST: Yeah. It’s interesting to look back at all of these bands – I’m not sure if you’ve ever seen the documentary ‘Sound City’ – bands like Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumors’ and Tom Petty were all recorded on tape. Sometime it’s crazy to think about. I think that would be super cool if you guys ever ended up doing something like that just for fun.
AI: For sure.
ST: So, you’re working on the brand new instrumental record which I know is set for release in the fall. But, are you toying around with the idea of possibly doing a vocal record? I know the single “Everything Is Okay” has a lead vocal. Will that eventually find itself on a record?
AI: For sure. My drummer and I… we create all kinds of music together so we’re also super into… I’m a Les Paul / Marshall guy so I’m super into the old Guns ‘N Roses, AC/DC type stuff. That’s also a very big influence for me. We have a lot of straight ahead rock and roll songs that we do plan to put vocals on. We’re about halfway done with that album right now too, so that one will come out after the instrumental record. For the instrumentals, we just wanted to make something where we’re just throwing the kitchen sink out, just making it as crazy and progressive as we want it to give us something fun to listen back and just be like, ‘Yeah that was us, we did that.’ But yeah, we definitely want to do an album after that that’s a little bit more, you know, you can just put it on in the bar with your friends and you don’t have to concentrate too hard, it’s just straight ahead rock and roll. We do want to have some vocals on that stuff.
ST: For the instrumental record, is there anybody that you are really influenced by in that realm? I know recent artists that have got into the instrumental world are artists like Nita Strauss, Angel Vivaldi of course. Is there anybody in the modern day that you are influenced by?
AI: Steve Vai. He’s not super modern but he’s still relevant obviously to this day. Steve Vai, Satriani, those are the really big ones that I know for anyone who does instrumentals, they’re in some way probably influenced by those guys. I remember seeing a Steve Vai show a few years ago, and you know, sometimes with virtuoso players you kind of expect it to just be more focused on the music, but Steve Vai was just so captivating with his actual show too and I just couldn’t believe how much of a performer he was alongside the amazing music that he has. That was definitely very inspiring, and I’m always checking out new [music], I know Petrucci just put out a new album with Mike Portnoy on drums. Andy James is actually one of my friends too, and he just put out his new album. I guess that’s the thing about quarantine too is everybody’s just putting out new stuff right now. It’s definitely cool.
ST: Yeah, it’s a lot of new music coming out right now and it’s great. As for live shows hopefully, if things go as planned and we can eventually get back out there, do you have plans to tour any of this new music or is it just going to be something that you release studio recordings of?
AI: I would love to tour on this new stuff, it’s just gonna be a matter of when. We’re all just waiting in the wings trying to figure out when all of that’s gonna happen. But, as soon as we can we definitely want to play some live shows for sure. That’ll definitely be a challenge for both of us to be able to pull some of that stuff off. We might play around with the idea of doing some live streaming stuff – stuff like that. But hopefully, we can get to the actual concerts pretty soon.
ST: Fingers crossed. Aside from your solo project, you’re of course still a huge part of New Years Day, and you guys have grown wildly popular throughout the last couple of years and have toured with groups such as In This Moment and Halestorm. Is there anything going on with New Years Day at the moment? Are you guys writing? What has quarantine looked like for you guys as a group?
AI: We’re actually all kind of spread out but we have a group chat, we’re always kind of talking to each other. Nikki and Ash are out in California right now, I’m down here in Florida. LP, our drummer, he’s actually in Florida as well – he’s in Jacksonville which is like four or five hours East from where I’m at. Frankie, our bass player, he’s over in D.C. So, we’re kind of all over the place but, we have been talking. We’ve been throwing around some riffs and writing some stuff. We’re just going to have to see what happens as far as the live stuff goes, but, we have been working on some new stuff. We’ve all been staying in contact.
ST: Have you guys thought about doing anything Zoom related? I know a lot of artists right now are playing to a click track via Zoom. Has an idea like that come up at all?
AI: I think we’ve talked about it a few times, even doing some acoustic stuff but I haven’t heard as far as if we’re going to end up doing that or not. We took 2018, 2019 – I think we were touring… I mean I don’t think I was home maybe a couple weeks out of those years. We hit it pretty hard, and I think a lot of the guys are kinda just – everyone’s taking some time off. We all took some time to relax and stuff, but I guess now it has been a few months so, I would love to do something like that for sure.
ST: I’ve heard that from a lot of people I’ve spoken to during the pandemic. Well, I’m super excited to hear what the rest of your solo material is going to sound like when the full instrumental record comes out in the fall. One last thing I like to do at the end of every interview. I ask five rapid fire questions I call the Metal From The Inside Five. Number one, if you weren’t working in the profession you’re currently in, so being the lead guitarist of New Years Day as well as a solo artist, what would you be doing?
AI: I like working out a lot. Recently I got into the P90X stuff. I’d probably do something that has something to do with being a personal trainer, or some kind of… fitness ‘something’ if I didn’t do music.
ST: What is something you wish everyone knew about you?
AI: That’s a good one. Probably just that I’m always going to be real and passionate with my music, and that whatever it may look like on the outside – because sometimes people get perceived images of rock and metal musicians – but, really I’m just a super regular, down-to-earth guy that just likes the outdoors and just hanging out with people and having a good time.
ST: If you were stranded on a desert island and you only had three records that you could take with you to listen to, what would they be?
AI: Well, I think if I was stranded on an island I’d probably need something that was kind of “feel-good.” I’m going to have to go with: Boston ‘Boston’, Bob Marley and The Wailers ‘Greatest Hits’, The Beach Boys ‘Greatest Hits.’
ST: What is one piece of advice that you would give to your younger self?
AI: To study the things you don’t think are as important when you first start. It’s just weird that… when you first start playing guitar you don’t think about all of the marketing, the business side of things, and social media. You don’t think that stuff is really a thing or that important. But, especially the way things are now, all that stuff is just as equally important as playing. Especially now more than ever. So I’d say, focusing on some of the things that you kind of don’t think about.
ST: If you could have one super-power, what would it be?
AI: Probably to go invisible, I think that would be pretty cool. Just to see if people are talking shit or whatever, I don’t know, [laughs]. But yeah, probably to be invisible. To just go around and live in people’s world – just be nosey all the time.
ST: Alright, well, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me this afternoon. I really appreciate it!
AI: Absolutely, it was fun!
Thank you so much for checking out this interview with Austin Ingerman solo artist and lead guitarist of the band New Year’s Day!