Yellow Pills began as a solo project by Ryan Miera that has slowly but surely formed into a 4 piece band. The genre is pretty wide-ranging. Ryan has done 99% of the instrumentation that's on the albums and the upcoming albums are with Ryan, Ben Rosales, Matt Riggen and Chris Ditton. Yellow Pills is an offshoot of Miera's project The Limbos who are well known around Chicago but in recent years his side hustle Yellow Pills has been getting lots of buzz. So we sat down to ask Ryan about the project:
How did the band form and what does the band name mean?
I formed the band with different musicians that I knew throughout the years of living and performing in Chicago. I surprisingly started getting offers for shows after the first two albums came out and knew I could not pull off doing these shows by myself so I started gathering together friends and we started learning songs that I'd already recorded on the first 4 albums. The band's name doesn't really mean much other than it was a name that I settled on liking.
Previous musical projects? How'd you first get into music?
Previous projects were playing drums in The Microwaves, Don't Shoot Noah, The Beastnicks, Off the Radar, Beat Drun Juel then forming and fronting The Limbos. I first got into music as a little kid
when my parents had on the oldies radio station constantly. In high school, I started a swing band with my friend when swing was popular for, like, 9 months. Which was admittedly very bizarre. It makes as
much sense as Doo Wop having a revival today. Nothing against Doo Wop at all. I love it! It just seems very bizarre when looking back.
First concert that you ever went to?
The Coasters. They were obviously very old. It was at the local mall & as a kid, I was astounded. I thought "Wow! They're doing a show at the MALL! How cool! How does somebody get to do a show at THE MALL" It wasn't until I got older that I realized how sad it was to be a group as fantastic as The Coasters and be doing a show at the mall in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
What's your writing process like?
I wish it was more interesting but ultimately, I just get ideas in my head then record them. I either record them as demos or record it in doses until I get the final product then teach it to the actual band. I definitely read a lot of books so I'd imagine those have SOMETHING to do with inspiration. I know I'm definitely not limited to any type of genre. So I think as a result, our sound comes out pretty all over the place.
What other artists or songs inspire your music?
Miles Davis is certainly somebody I listen to a LOT. His sound is really really comforting. I'm a nervous flyer and I have some Miles Davis downloaded to my phone because he really calms me. I can't remember exactly who said it but there's a great film about him where they interviewed somebody and they said "You could listen to Kind of Blue a hundred times and it always has something new to say." I teared up because that's the best way to describe that album. I definitely have always had a strong love of instrumental surf music and found a strong love for Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet ever since I was a kid. They really nailed how to have a surf sound but NOT be a surf band per se.
What's the live experience like and your philosophy on playing live? Do you think the music live should be identical to the recorded version or should it be it's own thing?
You know, we still have yet to play live. That's presently what we're working on. We finally have the set list together. Now is the time to just start booking shows now that the band isn't just myself. I like to keep a sense of humor when playing live and not take myself too seriously. In my last band, I was the lead singer and I frankly got really tired of that and have found a pretty strong liking for our sound being mostly instrumental so I'd imagine there likely won't be a ton of speaking when we do in fact start doing some live stuff.
I used to think that the music should be close to what's recorded and still believe that to some degree. Only because in my own experience, I'm either really impressed or really disappointed when I hear a live version of something I like and it's different. Ultimately, I think the artist should just do what they think sounds best and is the most enjoyable.
Has the band toured? What has the touring experience been, best shows?worst shows?
We have not yet toured. I tour a lot for my current job. I play piano and design/control sound for a theater so I'm ironically too busy touring for work. We'll certainly tour when the time is right though.
What's up next for the band?
Live shows! The Yellow Pills albums that are out there are albums that I'm really proud of. Likely, the most I've been proud of. So I'd love to get our sound known to folks who haven't heard it yet. When people hear the albums and like it, I frankly am not surprised as conceited as that might sound. There's nothing that I'm embarrassed by and if folks don't like it, I really don't trust what they do like because it's probably dog shit.