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QRD #53 - Guitarist Interview Series V
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Musician Dad Interviews with:
Aaron Snow
Nyles Lannon
Philippe Petit
Ryan Sollee
Jim Baptizer
Jamie Barnes
Daniel Prendiville
Doug Burr
Alex Boniwell
Andrew Ratfink Wilson 
Charles Hoffman
Dave Sims
Dan Beckman
Scott Berrier
James Zahn
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Musician Dad Interview with Ryan Sollee
May 2012

Name: Ryan Sollee
Bands: The Builders & The Butchers
Websites: thebuildersandthebutchers.com

QRD – How old were you when you first realized you wanted to be a professional musician?

Ryan – I never really wanted to be a professional musician, just write songs. I did quit my job when I was 24 & moved to Portland, that’s when I wanted to take it a little more seriously.

QRD – What are a few highlights of your musical career?

Ryan – The first show The Builders & the Butchers played where more than 50 people showed up, any show that people are singing along.  Playing in Europe & having people know our songs.  Working with & playing with amazing people, musicians, & songwriters.

QRD – At what age did you decide you wanted to become a father?

Ryan – It wasn’t such a clear decision, but I think around the age of 30 when I got married I knew it was an eventuality.

QRD – What are some positive & negative impacts your family has had on your career?

Ryan – My baby is only 3 weeks old, but I am pretty much taking the next year off the road.  We’ve been touring heavy for 4 years, so a break isn’t necessarily negative.  I can’t write as much at home, but being off the road I can really concentrate on writing/recording instead of squeezing things in between tours.

QRD – What are some positive & negative impacts your career has had on your family?

Ryan – Touring is a challenge when you are married, so even though my wife is very supportive & has always been with me being on the road, it strains the relationship.  As far as our baby goes it is too soon to tell.  I think it will be good, I think also that I have to have different expectations as to what I can accomplish.

QRD – Have your children effected the music you make &/or listen to?

Ryan – It’s too soon to tell, but I think anything as major as having kids couldn’t help but change the way I process the world & in turn change the songs I write.

QRD – Have you had problems with the lack of steady money from a musical career providing the security you feel necessary in your household?

Ryan – I’ve been very lucky to have a steady job from home that I can work when I get home, things would be a lot more difficult if I didn’t.

QRD – Given the limitations having a family has on being a touring musician, would you have toured more earlier in life if you’d known?

Ryan – I think I got in just enough touring to feel that I didn’t need to earlier.  Also I’m really glad I started in my late 20s, I think you can really appreciate the road differently being slightly older.
QRD – Do you think being a father or a musician has a greater impact on your community?

Ryan – Only time will tell.  I do think I would like to get involved with one of the many musical projects in Portland aimed at kids.

QRD – Would you rather see your daughter eventually become a musician or parent?

Ryan – Do I have to choose?  Music is a real source of joy in my life.  So is my daughter, but for totally different reasons, you really can’t compare the two.

QRD – Both family & music seem like things that will take up as much of your time as you’re willing to put in.  How do you end up dividing your time?

Ryan – I really love being busy with music, so it will be a constant struggle; but I also love spending time being a dad, like other things in my life, giving up one good thing means more of the other, but she is the biggest priority.

QRD – What does your daughter think of your music?

Ryan – So far she cries when I sing to her.

QRD – Do you think you could ever do a musical project with your daughter?

Ryan – That would be a dream, I would love to, but I wouldn’t want to force something.
QRD – Any words of advice to young people?

Ryan – Get out in the garage, or down in the basement, & practice as much as your parents can stand.

QRD – 2015 update - any new insight from three more years of fatherhood?

Ryan – I would say that being a father has really made me appreciate still being able to play music & collaborate with amazing creative people.  I really look forward to shows & recording in a much different way these days.