You know that you’ve heard it. Topping
the charts and all over the radio in recent months there was that
mournful voice crooning: “It’s too late to apologize… It’s too late…”
The funny thing is, this grand rock ballad
came off of the new CD by dance/hip hop impresario Timbaland (Justin
Timberlake, Aaliyah). However, while Tim added his own mix,
the tune is all OneRepublic.
band turned out to be the first band signed to Timbaland’s new label
Mosley Music Group, which is distributed by mega-label Interscope. Then
Timbaland did a remix of their single “Apologize” for his own disk as a way to
introduce the band before their recently released debut disk Dreaming Out Loud.
“It’s funny, because Tim and [lead
singer] Ryan [Tedder] used to work together years ago,” explains band
drummer Eddie Fisher. “Ryan was doing stuff with Bubba Sparxxx and
other producers. Things I guess didn’t work out and Ryan was forced to
go his separate way for the moment. It was all on good terms. They
didn’t have any hard feelings for each other. So, that was kind of
“Apologize” doesn’t sound like the kind of stuff
that Timbaland – who had made his name on dance jams like “Get UR Freak
On,” “Sexyback” and “Promiscuous” would pick to feature.
However, the band
knows that things aren’t always what they appear.
“Tim… it’s funny, he’s not into hip
hop. He loves alternative rock people, you know? I don’t even care for
some of the music that he likes.” Fisher laughs.
“I mean, I like it, but it’s not something that I would put as a musical
influence. To be honest, I can’t even think of one artist off the top
of my head right now. He’s pretty eclectic. He’s pretty artistic
musically. He loves hip hop but he loves alternative rock. He loves
classical. He wouldn’t even be opposed to do something with Carrie
OneRepublic is made up of
singer/pianist Tedder, guitarist Zach Filkins, keyboardist Drew Brown,
bassist/cellist Brent Kutzle and drummer Fisher. The band was
originally started by Tedder and Filkins, who were friends in their
native Colorado Springs. When they moved to LA to pursue music they
hooked up with the rest of the band.
“It was almost four years ago,” Fisher
says. “The previous bass player had asked me to try out for what was at
the time called Republic. I’m like, yeah, totally. He sent me some
music – which was ‘Apologize’ and a couple of other songs that actually
didn’t make the record. I tried out. And… here I am. They enjoyed what
I had to give to them.”
of a low-key memory for his entrée to a band that is on top of the
charts, but this laissez-faire
attitude to getting the job is not so out of character with his music
background. Fisher was a local Cali guy who had almost just stumbled
into music. He never learned as a small child, never grew up expecting
to be a rock star. It all came later for him.
“Back in high school, my brother had a
set of drums in his room. I used to always sit in there and fiddle
around with it. I was like, man, this is so fun. And he’s like ‘Dude,
you picked it up so fast. You should take lessons.’ I’m like, nah… I
don’t want to take lessons, because I don’t know if I want to do this.
So, after high school, I moved away from my
father and moved in with my mother down in Orange County. I had
some neighbor friends who both were drummers. They were brothers. I
was, dude, let’s go play drums! I just grew into it and
finally got my own drum set for like $250.00. It was a piece of junk,
but man, I played the crap out of that,” Fisher laughs.
Even after hooking
up with OneRepublic, it took a while for
Fisher's beating on that kit to get widespread notice. In fact, the breakout single
“Apologize” has been recorded for a few years now. The group had
previously been signed to Columbia Records and recorded a CD which ended
up never getting a release. On the aborted
project were many of the songs which would
end up forming the band’s current release – including the mega-smash hit
single. That sound you hear coming from the Sony building is some
Columbia execs kicking themselves.
“Columbia just kind of brushed us
off,” Fisher acknowledges. “We had a
complete album. We were done. We had eleven songs. They said –
basically in a nutshell – that they weren’t going to put it out. It was
going to be shelved. They decided to drop us, which – I’ve got to
be honest, thinking about it now
– I’m so happy they did. Interscope
came and picked us up. Tim picked us up. We had some new songs in
mind. Tim was 100% like, ‘Right on. Let’s try it. Let’s do it.’ So
we took some songs off the old Columbia album and added four or five new
ones. ‘Say’ being a new one. ‘All Fall Down.’ ‘Come Home.’ ‘Won’t
Stop.’ Those are all new fresh ones.”
Timbaland did come to the rescue
– however, he wasn’t alone. Actually, before Tim even considered taking
the band on, they became a sensation on MySpace, where they had posted
some of the songs that had been recorded. The spreading buzz not only
eventually led the band back onto a new label, but also kept the guys
from pulling the plug.
We give a lot of credit
to our MySpace family,” Fisher says. “[After] the Columbia deal, we
were thinking about packing it up. Going our separate ways and doing
our own musical things. MySpace kept us together. The amount of
responses, friends, emails and comments that we got was so
overwhelming that we felt obliged to continue. It actually opened up
our eyes to understand what our music was doing to people. What it was
actually doing to us too. We love playing our music. We get chills.
Recording the album and hearing it… you listen to it and we’re all
going, ‘Whoa, man…’”
the meantime, beyond his work with OneRepublic, Tedder has also made
himself quite a reputation as a songwriter and producer – working with
the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Paul Oakenfeld and Hilary Duff. However,
Fisher says that the band doesn’t worry that he’ll move on to
toil away behind the
scenes – nor do they envy the new songs for his outside work.
“He’s got a different way of writing
when it’s just himself,” Fisher says. “It’s more poppy. It’s more dance-y. He just finished working
with Blake Lewis. It’s kind of like; you compare us to Blake Lewis?
That’s how he writes. He writes definitely different. He’s more
professional when he writes for other people.”
So how is it when
Tedder writes with the
band? After working by himself, is it a culture shock being
a part of collaboration? Or does everyone just go their own way and
put together songs on their own?
“Well, Ryan wrote ‘Apologize’ four
years ago, but most of the time we all come together and write,” Fisher
explains. “It is a family. We are all family – brothers. We respect
each other musically. So we go, ‘Oh, that’s cool. Let’s try it.’ Or
we’ll be blunt enough to say, ‘What are you thinking about?’” He
Now, years after many of the
songs were written, months after “Apologize” became a smash; finally
that album has been released. Dreaming Out Loud
hit the music stores and download sites in late 2007 and has been an
“I tell you, we’ve been spending so
many years,” Fisher says, “with Columbia, having a complete album,
going back, changing songs and rerecording. Actually finally
having an album out is such a relief. [We were] kind of at
that breaking point. If can just get past this point in our musical
career… that would be great for us. Then the album came out and it just
keeps skyrocketing. We’re like, ‘Wow!’”
Fisher laughs. “It’s actually
hard for us to keep up, to be honest. There are so many people that
want to talk to us and hear us play live and countries – you know, we’re
number one in Australia, Germany, the UK….”
The second single is “Stop and
Stare,” and it is already picking up airplay.
That tune was the band’s choice,
though they tried to keep their ear to the ground to see what others
wanted to hear from the band next.
This has led to a bit of a
conflict as to what song will be getting out there.
“We [tell the label], ‘This
is the song that we want,’” Fisher says. “We also pay attention to the
plays on our MySpace page. And [suddenly] ‘Say [All I Need]’ is blowing
up on iTunes. It’s just ridiculous. We’re going… should we put ‘Say’
out [instead]? But we’ve already serviced ‘Stop and Stare.’ We’re
excited about ‘Stop and Stare.’ [It’s] doing really well.”
Too many potential singles is a problem
which most bands would love to have, though, so it is all good.
Dreaming Out Loud is full of beautiful,
moody, atmospheric tunes which could be gracing radios and Grey’s
Anatomy episodes for months to come.
There is a melancholy beauty to the
lyrics as well as the supple music. For
example, it seems like on the new CD, when
the songs turn to relationships like “Say (All I Need),” “All We Are,”
“Mercy” and “Apologize” the relationships seem to be in trouble or
“There is a saying that broken hearts
write the best love songs,” Fisher laughs. “Although these aren’t
technically love songs, these are pretty much finding hope out of
unhappiness. We want to be able to touch those people with our
experiences – musically and just our general life experiences.”
So which tunes does Fisher particularly
“‘Mercy’ is my favorite,” Fisher
admits. “Why? It’s just so epic and huge, you know? And me being the
drummer, of course, it’s like my, ‘Hey, watch me…’ I like that one. I
like them all though. I’m a feel kind of a drummer. So, if I can feel
it, I love to play it. If it makes my head move, then I’m happy.”
Now that his band has broken out – is
life in the limelight all that
OneRepublic had imagined it might be?
“It was definitely a milestone in my
life,” Fisher says, enthusiastically. “I’ve worked so hard and the rest
of the guys have worked so hard. [We’ve] sacrificed so much. To
finally hear our song on So You Think You Can Dance, see it played live and hear it on
the radio – it’s so surreal and so humbling. It’s the break that
everybody dreams of. We can’t be thankful enough, to be honest.”
HERE TO SEE WHAT ONEREPUBLIC HAD TO SAY TO US IN 2012!