PPJ: First tell us your name and what you do in the band.
Ryan Braunstein: Ryan Braunstein, I do the singing and the majority of the crowd pleasing, I like to think! As put by everyone else my job is to be the....pretty boy of the band.
PPJ: Your Myspace says that you're from both Philadelphia and Frederick. So who is from where, and how did you meet?
Ryan: Well, the band and label are centralized in Philly, but Myles, Brian, and I are from Frederick - we went to high school together. Myles and I actually didn't talk at all until Brian introduced us. Alex is from Towson in the Baltimore area and last but not least Brandon hails from good ol' north Jersey. Myles, Brandon, and Alex go to Drexel together in Philly and Brian and I live in Frederick, Maryland. Basically, Brian got me talking to Myles, who in turn brought us all together.
PPJ: Where did the name Better Without You come from?
Ryan: Oh, the funny story behind the name....I'm afraid that's a secret that I will have to take to the grave with me. I will say that it came to Myles while we were snacking on some Pat's cheesesteaks. I will say most people will speculate that it's all about a long lost girl...and I will also say that those people would be very very wrong!
PPJ: How did you get in with Criminal Records?
Ryan: Myles and Brandon started Criminal Records and when they heard some of my garage band demos they snatched me up and signed me on.
PPJ: What went into writing and recording your EP?
Ryan: The majority of the writing typically just happens. I have a tendency to get in with girls that like to play games and generally that makes me a shut in on certain days. Usually I'll start humming a tune or writing lyrics that tell the story of the situation and for some reason as crappy as the situation is....the songs are usually happy sound. Weird, right?
PPJ: What was the best thing about recording? The worst?
Ryan: The best thing about recording has been hearing all the songs and ideas we've had coming to life and seeing the reaction of the people around me and especially that people who don't even know me. The worst? Well, typically you spend a lot of time alone working in the studio, it can get depressing after the first few days once it slips into routine. In the end though it's all worth it.
PPJ: It looks like you guys have been writing a lot of new songs lately. Can you tell us what they're like?
Ryan: Ah yes, well as I said before, most of my songs tell stories of what's happened to me if I end up doing the majority of the lyrical writing. The best of the new songs has to be "Little Miss Stalker," as I'm told. Brian and I actually just put the finishing touches on a new one I wrote about a recent situation with a girl I really like, called "Got Your Girl." Now that song is so badass, I just hope it doesn't make me come off as a douche when really I'm just trying to put a fun spin on a situation that made me feel terrible.
PPJ: Are you planning any big tours soon, or are you just sticking to recording?
Ryan: I know our primary focus right now is getting the full length album finished, but we're trying to book a lot of shows around here to kill the studio blues. Trust me, any chance I have to get on stage we'll be there. It's what I got into this for, to spread the music.
PPJ: What do you hope to do with Better Without You in the future?
Ryan: I really hope to get to a point where I can make the band my lifestyle and keep on doing what I love - playing, writing, and spreading the music.
PPJ: Finally, tell us three bands you think we should be listening to.
Ryan: Fall Out Boy is a huge favorite of mine right now. Other then them I would say Farewell and Four Year Strong!