Ryan Traster returns to Mpls.

Jackie Renzetti

In high school, Ryan Traster traded his trumpet for a bass guitar and didn’t look back. 

Over past decade, the singer-songwriter has lived and played in New York, Portland, Los Angeles and Minneapolis. Aside from two EPs, Traster released his first full length in 2014, titled “Get Easy.” Since moving back to Minneapolis this spring, Traster has recorded a new album with his band, which they plan to release this fall.
 
The band is scheduling shows together throughout the summer, including an opening gig for the Futurebirds at 7th Street Entry Wednesday.
 
The band consists of Michael McGarthwaite, Peter Anderson, Nick Johnson, Suzy Henningsgard and Andy Holmaas. McGarthwaite, a University alumnus, first met Traster when they played in a punk band together in high school.
 
 “I always planned on coming back,” Traster said. “I love Minneapolis, and I wanted to play with the band more.” 
 
Prior to his solo career, Traster played with Small Towns Burn a Little Slower, an emo-rock band that gained attention in the early 2000s. Traster said that playing and touring with the band helped him learn the ropes of working as a musician. 
 
The troubadour said he constantly builds on song ideas throughout the course of the day. 
 
“A while ago I made a conscious effort to say, like, my life is going to be the art I make, and the art I make is going to be my life,” Traster said. 
 
In keeping with his melody-centric songs, Traster said he typically focuses on composing the music of a song before adding lyrics. 
 
“I write most of the lyrics I do in kind of a stream of consciousness way. Usually it’ll be like free prose, and then I’ll end up forming more of a narrative at the end of it,” Traster said. 
 
He said he recorded his album “Get Easy” in one week, following heavy preparation with the producer.  
 
“I think Ryan has a strong sense of focus, he’s very focused on that set of songs and that idea that surrounds that set of songs and the aesthetic and how he wants it to sound,” McGarthwaite said.
 
Instrumental versions of Traster’s songs have been featured on television shows such as “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” “The Real World” and “Bad Girls Club.” 
 
“I certainly don’t watch those shows, so to somehow be a part of that culture, that’s definitely a little bit strange,” Traster said. “[In one of the shows] people get into some sort of fight over something that happened in front of a swimming pool in Las Vegas while some deeply heartfelt piece of music I composed is playing in the background.” Traster said he plans for his upcoming gigs and his album to focus more on the band as a whole in comparison to his previous solo work. Over the years, he’s played with them during trips to Minneapolis. However, this will be the first time the band will play together in-person, 
long term.
 
“When Ryan got back, it just felt like a really good time to embrace the band aesthetic again,” McGarthwaite said. 
 
As opposed to previous albums for which band members exchanged recordings of their playing, the band live tracked their music for the upcoming album after a couple of loose rehearsals, McGarthwaite said. Traster will add vocals over the summer.
 
McGarthwaite said one of his favorite shows with the band was a recent gig after Traster’s return.
 
“It’s just one of the shows where everything felt really cohesive; the sound was good,” McGarthwaite said. “It’s great to have the whole band again.”