Q&A with Ryan Kelly of Seafair

Seafair is not your typical band – it’s easy to tell that much just by listening to one song on their debut full-length, The Querenciawhich drops on May 26th. With a beautiful string section accompanying the already powerful rock band, this album is sure to set this Cleveland sextet apart from the pack. We had the chance to chat with drummer Ryan Kelly about the band’s journey to The Querencia and their huge plans for the rest of 2015 (hint: it involves a 30-piece orchestra). Check out the full interview and the band’s video for “Inferno” below, and be sure to pick up The Querencia on May 26th!

Interview by Shannon Shumaker

Can you tell us a little bit about Seafair for any readers who may not be familiar? 

We’re a six-piece alternative rock band with classical overtones from Cleveland, Ohio!

How did you guys come to start writing music together?

Chayla and Josh were starting a band together and were looking for a drummer when they found Ryan. Ryan then brought in a former bandmate, Tara. Tara then brought in a fellow classical musician, Andrea. Finally, Mike responded to a Craigslist ad to round out the band!

I feel like it is impossible to put you guys into one specific genre. There are hints of punk influences, obviously the classical sound, and some poppy-ness too, so what are you guys mostly influenced by? What makes you want to write music? 

Everything. Life, basically. We just enjoy writing music together. We are much like a family now, and when you get to write music with people you love, it becomes easy and enjoyable. Most of the time, haha.

You are just releasing your full-length, The Querencia – can you tell us a little bit about the album? What did you want to accomplish musically with this release?

Its our first full length. We basically just wanted to get our sound out there for people to hear.  There arent many rock bands that have a string section! We worked really hard on the album, and traveled to Denver to record it. Its a very personal album for some of us, and we are so thrilled with how it came out.

How do you feel you’ve grown as a group with The Querencia?

We are a completely different band from when we started. We understand each other much more now, and our sound and songwriting reflects that.

What would you like listeners to be able to take away from the album?

Feelings. Whatever feelings that a song gives them. We want people to interpret our music and words in their own way.

Do you have a favorite song on the album, or maybe one that really describes Seafair as a band?

Theyre all different, and they all hold different meanings for each of us.  Having a favorite song is like having a favorite child, you just don’t have one.

What do you think is the most challenging thing about not fitting that “typical” mold that most bands with two guitarists, a bassist, drummer and vocalist fit? Is it even challenging at all, or do you feel that it is actually helpful?

We get the “oh theyre a folk band” stigma a lot because we have strings in our band. We are quite the opposite. We are a rock band with a string section. It can be challenging when people categorize us without actually listening.

Seafair is unsigned (which I think is insane, by the way, haha) so what has been your biggest challenge as an unsigned band trying to get your name out there?

HA! I wish I knew.  We are doing everything we can to get our name out there. We tour, we play frequently, we sell out local shows, we promote the hell out of ourselves, we are constantly writing and recording, we are submitting for everything.  So, who knows! But, that person that is going to take that chance on us is out there, and they’ll find us.
On the flip side, what is the most rewarding thing about being an unsigned band?

Being home with our family and friends. I have kids, we all have significant others and pets, and its tough to be away. Luckily though, every single person that is a part of this extended family supports us and believes in us. So, that is the most rewarding… signed or unsigned.

With The Querencia out soon, what are your plans for the rest of 2015 looking like? Whats next for Seafair?

We are putting our biggest show together, where we will be playing with a 30 piece orchestra in August at the House of Blues Cleveland.  Its already a giant process, but we are beyond excited for it. Not many “new, up-and-coming” bands can put on a show with a 30 piece orchestra. We can!! After that more writing, touring and recording. Hopefully by that point, someone will have found us!

Thanks for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Aug. 7th. House of Blues Cleveland. Seafair’s coming out party. Not to be missed. Thank you!!

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