The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus’ Ron Winter Standing Up for Beliefs on ‘The Emergency’ EP
The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus are back with a new EP titled The Emergency today (Aug. 28) that feels very timely. The veteran crew has already seen their song "Brace Yourself" adopted as a tribute for frontline workers, while their newly released video for "Is This the Real World?" speaks to the current woes of disinformation in today's world.
We had a chance to speak with singer Ron Winter ahead of the EP release and he shared how his own family members have been on the frontlines during the pandemic, discussed revisiting the past for inspiration in the present and commented on the band's incredible success through streaming services. Check out the chat in full below:
“Brace Yourself” has been embraced as a song saluting frontline workers. I know you have relatives in your family who are frontline workers. What stories have your brother and grandmother shared with you from their experiences dealing with these pandemic times?
Yes, my family has done their part and did not hesitate when called upon. When we dropped the lyric video for "Brace Yourself" it was still early in the Covid-19 saga. There was a large contingency of anti-mask/social distancing conspiracy theorists spreading information that could actually kill people, so we made this video to encourage people to listen to the science and the facts.
I believe that’s why the frontliners from around the world embraced the message. Can you imagine anything more depressing than dealing with people sick, afraid and dying all day to come home and see that garbage online? I believe the song gave them some encouragement to keep going to work, to keep fighting the good fight.
“Is This the Real World?” is the band’s latest song & video. While social media has been great for many things in this world, the last year especially has seen an influx of misinformation out there. What are you own experiences with really having to look beyond the surface to discover the truth and how does that play into the idea behind this song?
There is war being fought in the open but behind Internet doors, digitally altered images and documents are fueling entire movements based on lies and misinformation. We see it, we hope you see it and we encourage caution and discretion with literally everything you read or see in the digital realm. We filmed a video about all of this, can’t wait for you to see it! Do your homework and verify the information sources. There’s a lot of complete insanity so "Don’t Buy Into It!"
Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, "Is This the Real World?"
Sometimes one of the best things a band can do is take a step back and look at their history. What about the early era of the Hell or Highwater EP and Don’t You Fake It album played into the vibe you wanted for these songs?
That was my first time stepping into the role of producer (Hell or High Water EP) back in 2010. Like our debut album, the lyrics were a bit more controversial and even explicit at times. No holding back is how we pay homage to that history here in 2020. That’s the tie that binds our messages past and present together, the lyrics.
We know we may lose a few fans with this release who thought one way or the other, because there won’t be many questions after they listen to these songs about where I stand on the following issues:
- Discrimination of LGBTQIA+ by people who claim to serve Jesus.
- Politicians using power and corruption to control elections and personal freedoms.
- Navigation and personal thoughts of the quarantine/social distancing lifestyle, and the emotional effects of social media during this experience both good and bad.
- Building a wall to keep people out of a country we stole from someone else, and racial equality for all Americans.
- Telling the truth even though it may cost you everything.
- Encouragement and inclusion with Love and Hope for all. Not just Americans, but every person in the world.
Many of your younger fans in the mid-2000s are now of the age where they are the writers, the critics in the industry as well as the buying public. In recent years, we saw the era just before yours show a renewed interest in the nu metal and pop-punk eras of the late ‘90s / early 2000s. Have you started to see a resurgence of bands from your era start to take hold a bit over the last year or two? Does it feel like the interest is coming back around again?
We’ve been in the underground for the last 10 years so it’s been relatively consistent. That’s why indie bands survive. However, I think My Chemical Romance reuniting — specifically — has sparked a definite resurgence of our particular scene. It’s amazing how one band can do that, and I love it because we need leaders.
And yes, we are feeling it. We’ve grown across the board this year in every way: Our social media numbers are up, our streaming numbers are up, our Youtube views are up… So it feels like we are definitely catching a rising tide.
Many of your songs do such a great job painting a picture. I read elsewhere where you were influenced some by country music growing up and adapted a bit of that songwriting style into your own. I wanted to give you a chance to discuss three of the songwriters that have influenced you personally or continue to pull you in with their approach to songwriting and perhaps what bits you’ve picked up from them.
Garth Brooks man, lol. "Standing Outside the Fire" blew me away. It wasn’t just country music though. Billy Corgan taught me what rock music would become on "Bullet with Butterfly Wings." That song still kills. Fat Mike took me all the way there with "The Decline," I doubt anyone will ever top that song in my opinion. The first Thirty Seconds to Mars album (I’m part of Echelon for life) was an anthem for me, and inspired a lot of early Jumpsuit as well.
While discussing a bit of reflecting, what does it mean to you to see the recent passing of 1.3 billion audio streams? Streaming really wasn’t a thing when you first started, but your fans have certainly found you via this way of sharing music.
It was definitely not a thing yet, but we saw it coming. We welcomed it with open arms and so have our fans. If you truly just want your message to be heard, if that’s really your goal and sole purpose for doing this, how can you not encourage and promote these streaming platforms? They have been a HUGE boost for us! The curators – Alison Hagendorf at Spotify, Suzy Cole and Steve Uknuis at Apple, and Crystal Rindner-Lowe at Pandora, just to name a few – have been incredibly important for us. We will be forever grateful for their early and continued support.
The pandemic has forced us all to change how we connect. Obviously you’d love to be out playing live shows, but how has the Facebook Live sessions you’ve been doing played into your creative side as an artist?
It has, I’ve really enjoyed connecting with our fans. That’s what inspired me to write “Please, Unfriend Me." It was the interactions and reassurance from my fans that I’m not going crazy and I’m not the only one having these feelings. I don’t think that song would exist without this exact circumstance (it was written and recorded in quarantine).
There is a lot money being made with virtual ticketing, but I’ve been doing it for FREE since March consistently because our fans are hurting. I mainly just want to keep encouraging people to take care of themselves mentally and physically, I play songs because they ask me to. (laughs) I just don’t have the heart to charge for something like that, my Facebook streams are really just about letting them know somebody out there cares about them. It’s also just me with gear I’ve had for years in my studio bedroom, so it’s not complicated and highly produced, compared to what other artists are doing.
When we can safely get together again as a full band with lights and a stage — we will do a virtual ticket/concert and go all out! Underoath just showed every band out there how to do it right, so we have a great example to follow if we go that route eventually. But, as it stands we are staying apart and safe because we love each other and we don’t want to risk our health or more specifically anyone we may inadvertently get sick in the process.
Is there anything you’ve picked up from this period of change that you’ll take with you once the pandemic passes?
I’m super healthy all of a sudden, not just sanitizing and cleaning but what I eat. People keep saying I look too skinny and that I’m on drugs (I’m five years sober so I get a laugh out of that every time!) but I’m just eating real, whole food.
My wife Angela (also an amazing artist DEFOE - please check out her new video and subscribe! ) is a killer cook and I stopped eating fast food completely. That’s insane for me, being on the road you become accustom to eating on the go constantly and it was affecting my health more than I realized. I’ve made a commitment to only have it once a week when we get through all of this. I have not had an In and Out burger since March, it’s going to be an event of epic proportions when I finally get my hands on one of those bad boys.
Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, "Brace Yourself"
Thanks to Red Jumpsuit Apparatus' Ron Winter for the interview. 'The Emergency' EP arrives everywhere today. You can pick it up here. And be sure to stay up to date with the band via their website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts.
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