by Chandler Christopher

January 21st, 2022

Ryan Gebhardt is a 26-year-old multi-instrumentalist artist based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Originally from Long Island, New York, Ryan attended university as an economics major at Brandeis University in Boston. Beginning with piano lessons at age six, Ryan has been playing and composing music nearly his entire life. He started communally playing in high school with whoever was down to play and eventually started his first band, The Humble Cheaters. They are still active today, as it is “a very relaxed project with a bunch of old friends from Long Island.”  The band has humbly amassed over 20,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, releasing the most recent of their four LPs, Alert The Crew, in August of 2021. 

Following the first two albums by The Humble Cheaters, Ryan made a move to Minneapolis, where he planned to begin his first solo endeavor as Stanley. Ryan released his debut, self-titled EP through Forged Artifacts in 2017. Shortly after this, Ryan made a quick move back to Boston in 2018, where he linked up with his friends Ben Astrachan (Astrachan) and Austin Koenigstein (Smushie) to play bass in Berta Bigtoe. During this time, he also worked on singles for Stanley, such as standouts With Any Luck and Blue Capsule. Stanley’s sophomore release, Afternoon Stanley, came in early 2020 on Nashville-based label, Acrophase Records. 

With the pandemic in full-swing come mid-2020, Ryan became compelled to begin a new solo venture, which was to be inked under his own name, Ryan Gebhardt. He decided to use the opportunity to pursue a more folk-oriented project. Shortly after this, Monday Love, the debut EP was released. The title track was featured as the song of the day on Minnesota Public Radio’s The Current in January of 2021. Ryan then hunkered down to hone in on his debut LP, I’d Like To Meet Your Ghosts, which was independently released yesterday– January 20th, 2022.

The record was mixed by Adam Thein and features Eric Slick of Dr. Dog on the drums of all 9 tracks, along with two features from Chicago-based V.V. Lightbody.  Ryan told me that 90 percent of this record was inspired by the purchase of his Cordoba nylon guitar, with the remaining 10 percent being inspired by folk-legends like Townes Van Zandt and Leonard Cohen. I can attempt to describe the sound of the record as Jack Johnson with a sort of bedroom pop filter, but you’ll have to listen to really know. I’m a huge fan of the album and I strongly encourage anyone reading this to check it out here.

Excitingly, Happen Twice will be doing a very small-run cassette release of the record which can be found soon in our cassette shop! 

Amongst many other projects and bands, Ryan Gebhardt is a true, hard-working, and talented creative at heart with a clear and strong desire to improve and enjoy his craft day-in and day-out. To learn more about Ryan Gebhardt, check out our Q&A below and find his socials/music here!


Q:  Why did you make the move to Minneapolis in 2017? How’d you link up with Forged Artifacts for your first project as Stanley?

Ryan:  I had known that I was going to be moving to Minneapolis because my partner was from Minneapolis. I was pitching the self-titled, debut Stanley album and that’s when I came across Forged Artifacts

Q:  Stanley‘s sophomore release, Afternoon Stanley, came in early 2020 on Acrophase Records. How did that project come about?

Ryan:  The original connections came from the Berta folks. They connected me with Dan from Acrophase Records and we talked about getting vinyl pressed and just went from there. So, during my time playing bass with Berta Bigtoe, when I moved back to Boston, I worked on some singles like With Any Luck, Love You For It, and Blue Capsule, so I was occasionally working on Stanley. I flew to Minneapolis for the holidays and recorded the second album at Future Condo Studios in early 2019. 

Q:  Then you also re-linked with The Humble Cheaters and released your third LP seemingly out of nowhere. How’d that record come about?

Ryan: It was the week of March 16th, 2020. We had planned to record it for months and everything was shutting down because of the pandemic. It was last-second timing, we essentially quarantined in this cabin in upstate New York. We worked on this Tascam 424 4-track cassette recorder and put out the third record by The Humble Cheaters. It was kind of surreal because we went up the mountain and everything was open and then on our way down a week later, things were completely closed. We didn’t leave the mountain during the recording. 

Q:  This also coincided with the release of Pen Pals by Astroheart. Tell me about this one…

Ryan:  Ben Astrachan and I worked together in my apartment in Cambridge during 2019. We worked on the Tascam 424 once again to record everything. 

Q:  So, now we arrive at your solo-endeavor, Ryan Gebhardt. What inspired you to go a more folk-oriented route?

Ryan:  I’ve always been a big fan of Leonard Cohen and Townes Van Zandt and those types of lyric-centric artists. I wanted to have more of a lyrical focus for a change, kind of more simplified chord structures to really bring attention to lyrics. I’ve found that you can be a little more expressive with vocals and lyrics with this type of music. This also coincided with the fact that I bought a Cordoba nylon guitar. I wrote most of the songs on this guitar, it inspired about 90% of the record.

Q:  Tell me about your collaboration with Eric Slick of Dr. Dog. How’d that relationship form?

Ryan:  I think I saw a story on Instagram about him playing on a track of OHMME’s. Then he posted a story at the beginning of Covid being like, “hit me up to play on your tracks.”  I hit him up because I’m a huge Dr. Dog fan and he was down to work with me. The first song we worked on together was Blue Capsule by Stanley and he absolutely killed it. That got me really productive and inspired because he was down to more tracks and after the Monday Love EP, I wrote the first track off my new record (I’d Like To Meet Your Ghosts), called The Remedy. I sent that over to him and told him that I had this more expansive idea for him to play on a number of the tracks on the album. 

Q:  I saw you got some pretty sweet vinyl for ‘I’d Like To Meet Your Ghosts’. Where’d you get that done?

Ryan:  Yes, I already received them. I worked with this small-run record press called Solid Merch and we did something called “eco pressing”. It’s a process where it’s reused, scrap vinyl and you get random colors. It turned out super cool. 

Q:  How have you been able to keep your creative drive with all of the music you work on?

Ryan: I am very much into the philosophy, Jeff Tweedy talks about it a lot in his recent book as have many others, that creativity is a muscle you can exercise. If I just force myself to finish things and, even if I don’t like the product, I still finished something and made it happen and it definitely helps my creativity.

Check out some of Ryan Gebhardt's tunes and support artists by following him on his socials linked below! :)