Q&A with Positrak’s Ryan Gilbert

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Positrak is a newly hatched rock and roll act from Bowling Green, the brainchild of Buffalo Rodeo drummer Ryan Gilbert. The band will play tonight at Rocky’s Bar in Bowling Green.

Check out a Q&A with Gilbert below. He dishes on how the The Ramones changed his life forever, embracing positivity and evolving as a musician.

Talk about influences you draw from for Positrak? How would you describe the band’s sound and live show? How many shows have y’all played at this point? 

The Ramones Mania tape changed my life. I would get a coffee from Spencer’s and listen to the tape and it would always cheer me up no matter what mood I was in. I would change the sad words to be happy ones and sing them really loud. A lot of my favorite bands sing depressing music like The Ramones or most of my favorite contemporary musicians, so I wanted to write music that was still sometimes mean sounding as far as the notes but was always positive. I couldn’t sing a sad song every night if I was lucky enough to sing these songs every night. Our sound is rock’n’roll. I know that’s kinda vague, but we are trying to highlight going as hard as we can with music and energy and doing whatever it takes to entertain. The main goal is to entertain. We are heavy sounding but try to also sound happy and thought-provoking. We mostly try to have the greatest times of our life while being lucky enough to have the chance to make others happy. I have thousands of influences, but in Positrak I think at times we sound like The Ramones, Sabbath or Nirvana at our best, but with simple songwriting. The show tomorrow will be our third.

Is Positrak just a side project to fill the creative gaps between Buffalo Rodeo’s endeavors? Or is that an unfair assessment? 

I’ve learned everything I know about music from two things: my family and Buffalo Rodeo. So they have everything to do with the music and aIso any aspect of my life. They taught me a lot. Buffalo Rodeo will always be a huge influence. They are my family and push me to grow as a musician and a person. They also push me to like different types of music that I have fallen in love with. If it wasn’t for my friends getting into certain types of music I wouldn’t given the music a second look. Because I knew my friends were into it I thought it was cool or it grew on me. That being said, Buffalo Rodeo has everything to do with Positrak. It’s what pushed me to do music in the first place. The music doesn’t play by the same rules though. I am a very elementary guitar player who writes simple songs, while still trying to create a hook. Buffalo Rodeo is much more skilled at their art. They support me in every way. They are my family just like my mom and dad and sister and girlfriend, Sam. Because of my friends in Buffalo Rodeo and my mom and dad I found out how much fun making music with friends can be. I’ll never not do that. Creating music on the drum set is different the writing it on guitar. On the drums I am trained to support the piece of music as best as possible. It’s like if you were a car painter. You don’t build the car you only paint it. I love it. With Positrak I build the car then have others paint it or trick it out as much as possible. In Buffalo Rodeo I’m lucky enough to play with extremely talented artists who I have learned a lot from and who push me to always be evolving as a musician and as a human–and for that I will never be tired of or ungrateful for.

What are you aiming for with this project? Positivity seems to be a key component. 

With this project I am working really, really hard to make others happy and to have the greatest time of my life also. Go as hard as I can to entertain as many people as I possibly can with the people I love. To have the greatest time of my life with my best friends. I wanna make everyone fell welcomed and have no stress, only have fun. Never force anything and have an amazing time.

How much material do you have for Positrak? Is there any material online? 

I’ve been writing songs for Positrak for about a year now which is hard to believe. I probably have 15 songs. Plus more that are not done. Me and Tyler Cook are working on a song to release about my girlfriend Sam. I can’t wait he’s an amazing dude. I have some material recorded on a Tascam recorder at home. I’m learning a lot about how to record and as soon as possible will put some funny demos out.

Who all is in the band? 

In the band I’ve got Ricky Ortiz. He’s been like family to me since middle school so we wanted to start a band together. We started writing songs together about a year ago and he learned bass as I learned guitar a little better. Zach Preston plays lead guitar and drums some. He’s the dude singer in Buffalo. Tonight Nate Davis is playing organ which I’m super hyped about. He stays super busy with Buffalo Rodeo creating art so he plays with us when he can. It’ll be his first show with us. David Hall play drums and will end the set in guitar tomorrow. He’s another friend from high school and someone I’m super excited to have in my life.

Talk about the bands that are playing with Positrak tonight at Rocky’s? 

Tonight Shy Boys are playing. They are one of those bands that I don’t think come along very often. Buffalo Rodeo got to play with them on tour and they blew us away. Super composed, confident, cool rock and roll. They make rock and roll roll look very easy which I think is so tight. Fullbloods are a super sick rock and roll band that has some psychedelic and R&B influences. I haven’t gotten to see them live yet so I’m really pumped.

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