Meet THE RED JUMPSUIT APPARATUS - The Awakening (INTERVIEW)
Ronnie Winter Randy Winter Joey Westwood Josh Burke John Espy
At the precipice of the early 2000's pop-punk/emo rock explosion, you almost couldn't go anywhere without hearing at least one tune by THE RED JUMPSUIT APPARATUS. Their songs were all over commercial radio, the band was hitting up main stages on giant festivals and tours while anywhere you went everyone, including your mom knew the words to Facedown and Your Guardian Angel.
Even after the huge success of 2006's Face Down, the band continued dishing out massive hits like "You Better Pray" via their 2009 LP Lonely Road.
Now, fellow punk rock padres, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus are back with a new album THE AWAKENING which was released in April and co-produced by Ronnie and his wife Angela Defoe via their production company A+R Productions. Ronnie’s brother and bandmate Randy Winter engineered the LP. Their latest single "ON BECOMING WILLING" has generated over 20K views on YouTube while nesting top the Christian Rock Billboard charts for nearly the last month surpassing the likes of Thrice and Twenty One Pilots.
THE RED JUMPSUIT APPARATUS - ON BECOMING WILLING
I recently had the opportunity to chat with lead singer/frontman Ronnie Winter of THE RED JUMPSUIT APPARATUS, as we discuss the band's writing process, influences, future, and more
TPPD: How does this new album "The Awakening" differ from previous albums?
RONNIE: This is a concept album, my first attempt at writing one so that makes this album very unique for our catalogue.
TPPD: So, "The Awakening" was co-produced by you and your wife Angela as well as engineered by your brother & fellow bandmate Randy.
- What was the experience like with such a well close-knit family working together?
RONNIE: The experience was great, Randy and I have been working together on production for years so that was nothing new. Adding Angela(film composer/producer from Los Angeles) really helped us take it to a new level sonically.
We are very happy with the fidelity of the album.
TPPD: What were your influences on this new record?
RONNIE: I have always drawn influence from my real life. All my songs are about me or someone I know in some way or shape.
TPPD: First of all. Congratulations on "On Becoming Willing" being #1 on the Christian Billboard charts for 4 weeks now.
- What is that like?
RONNIE: It feels amazing, we just trust in God. It’s easy to say but so hard to do. We trust him and he does the work.
TPPD: What is your latest single "On Becoming Willing" about?
RONNIE: In my experience most of us have to learn the hard way. By that I mean we tend to box ourselves into emotional and physical corners then we finally ask for help once we have no other options. This song is about that exact moment of realization.
TPPD: You guys recently finished up The Awakening Tour with Rivals.
- How was that?
-Favorite Tour Memories?
RONNIE: Yes our US The Awakening Tour is almost over. We actually have one more week left coming up in Florida this October. Then The Awakening World Tour begins. Favorite memory for me so far was Josh realizing he didn’t have an Apple dongle on a 20 hour drive...
TPPD: Must-Have Items on tour with you? Must-Have in-studio (while recording) items with you?
RONNIE: I tend to keep it light. Basics include iPhone/iPad or laptop with chargers and Nintendo Switch. Clothing for a week, tooth brush and deodorant. I also carry my own mobile interface and wireless mic unit so I can set up on the go.
As for the studio it’s in my house lol, so I have everything you can imagine there.
THE RED JUMPSUIT APPARATUS - FACE DOWN
TPPD: Onto a more serious topic. RJA has openly discussed issues from domestic abuse (Face Down) to adolescent bullying (You Better Pray music video). Are there any topics/issues that were tackled on this new record?
RONNIE: Many, you have to listen to the whole album in order to really get it the right way. There is no cliff notes version. Dig deep, open your heart and listen.
TPPD: You guys did a few stops on the last cross-country Vans Warped Tour.
- How was that?
- Favorite Warped Tour memories?
RONNIE: Jacksonville was canceled due to lighting so I’ll never forget that for sure. Atlanta was the only show we played but it was really something. Warped was a huge part of our history so the feelings were all over the place. Mostly gratitude to Kevin Lyman for allowing us to play one last time.
TPPD: At the height of Face Down's success RJA performed at my hometown college's stadium California University of Pennsylvania. (It's like a 2 minute drive from my house.) Do you guys remember that show? Any memory from that?
RONNIE: I do remember that show because of the name being so specific. I bought a hoodie, from the school shop. I also remember (which is often the case), the biggest song of the night and/or best reaction was actually for “Your Guardian Angel”.
TPPD: And lastly. What does the rest of 2018 and (dare I say) beginning of 2019 look like for TRJA?
RONNIE: We will continue to push the new album. The message is the priority. That means touring and more content like lyric videos and an eventual actual music video. It’s only been out 5 months, we are just getting started.
THE RED JUMPSUIT APPARATUS album The Awakening is OUT NOW!
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