Original Liner Notes to Atroefy:
Jordi thought that the two blank pages on the inside of the CD booklet proof I sent him looked a little too minimalist. I informed him that was my bio.
“That may be, Ryan. But you can’t just have two blank pages on your CD," he said.
“Fine," I pouted. “I’ll write something."
There came a point in my first few years in New York where I started to get very cynical about jazz. I was very unhappy about the musical situations I was in. After writing a series of compositions that I felt were “fitting-in" to a modern/New York sound, I realized that was not what I wanted to be doing at all. I did not want to write compositions that were stylistic and trendy just so I could hire a bunch of big jazz-star names to play on a record of mine. Then go on to sell thirty-one jazz records.
I wanted to go back to when I had to play music because if I didn’t, I was unhappy. I wanted to go back to being that suburban San Jose garage band teenager kicking over a mic stand during a screeching solo. So I went back… but this time, I brought chord changes.
Before my musicality and creativity began to wither away from disuse, I set out to write music that I liked. In the end, I knew I was only going to play with those that I enjoyed playing with. And of course, I wanted the good hang afterwards. The musicians on Atroefy are my friends. They also happen to be burning musicians. If I had an endless budget to record this album I would not have changed the cast or the studio. The only thing I might have changed is the duration we recorded it. Stretching out the process would have prolonged the fun. Alas, fiscal inadequacies always seem to be a factor in my life, and I can only hope to do my best with what I have. This record is the best I have to offer.
Divided Road was originally called “Blossom" but I got tired of people at my shows yelling, “Whoa!" like they were Joey Lawrence. I led off with Divided Road because I figured that you can’t go wrong leading a jazz record off with a song that has the melody played by the electric bass…
A Familiar Farewell was written in the beginning stages of my Atroefy idea. The song construction has been changed several times, but the odd metered groove and melody have changed very little. The phrase, A Familiar Farewell meant saying good-bye to someone I cared for, yet again.
Downers was written for a friend of mine after I found out he was taking medicine for depression. I later found out that I wrote the wrong kind of song because he was actually on uppers. But the tune stuck around anyways. I didn’t write another tune for him, because I realized that a song about depression is something he may not want advertised as being his.
Can’t Complane is an hommage to my Nirvana roots. It’s a mixed bag of On a Plain, the guitar-tuning from Heart-Shaped Box, and my insufferable air rage.
Republic was written lakeside on a Fourth of July weekend in a little town by the same name in Central Washington.
Poetry In Motian… Inspired by Paul Motian and Candlebox… Just kidding about the Paul Motian part.
Re: Creation is probably Atroefy’s anthem. It may, or may not have been the first song I wrote in my Atroefy mindset. Of course, if I say, “may, or may not" that doesn’t make for very good story telling. So, for the sake of drama let’s say, “Re: Creation is the first song I wrote for Atroefy. Everything else on this record was created in its image. Without Re: Creation I would still be lost in an abyss of sensitive, thought-provoking modern jazz trying to figure out who I really am as a person, and as a musician. Re: Creation was my beacon of hope in a world where I couldn’t find a voice." NO! It’s a song! Turn it up and stomp your foot!