LATEST PAPER
46° Good Evening
46° Good Evening
Entertainment

Milk Carton Kids' Joey Ryan talks expanding the band

The indie folk band will perform at Brooklyn Steel this week with a few new members on stage.

Joey Ryan, left, and Kenneth Pattengale of

 Joey Ryan, left, and Kenneth Pattengale of The Milk Carton Kids will perform at Brooklyn Steel on Tuesday.  Photo Credit: Getty Images for Americana Music/Erika Goldring

The Milk Carton Kids are growing up... musically speaking. On their latest album, “All the Things That I Did and All the Things That I Didn’t Do,” the band expanded their sound, eschewing their duo format that served them for more than seven years into a more traditional multi-piece band. And frontman Joey Ryan couldn’t be happier with the results.

“We were kind of boxed into a tighter range as a duo,” Ryan said of he and bandmate Kenneth Pattengale. “But [now] we can push the limits more when we have a bigger band. It’s exciting for us. We’re still figuring it out ourselves.”

We recently had a chance to chat with Ryan before the tour makes a stop at Brooklyn Steel.

What can fans who’ve seen you perform expect with this new expanded lineup?

For fans that have seen us before it’s probably going to be a different vibe. Obviously, it’s a bigger sound and some of the songs that they’ve been listening to for years in a very specific way will sound different.

Are you guys nervous by taking this new approach?

Yeah, I mean in some ways it’s nerve-racking and in some ways it’s very reassuring to have a lot of really excellent musicians on stage with us, you know? There were hundreds of shows that we did just the two of us and no matter how comfortable and confident we got out there, there were still a lot of butterflies because we were just so exposed.

The switch came because of the new record. Why now? Why this record?

We got bored. We felt like we risked doing the same things over and over if we went back for another round of just the two of us. We always felt if we exhausted the limits of that [format] that we would open it up to other things. So after seven years, three studio albums and a live album later, we knew it was time.

You guys were asked to host the Americana Awards recently. How was the experience of going from guest to host?

It was just the honor of a lifetime to be asked to stand at the center of that circus and play ringleader.

Some musicians find awards shows to be too self-serving. What’s your take?

I think I may have tweeted something snarky the day we were nominated for “Emerging Artist of the Year” [in 2013] and I regret it to this day. The best piece of wisdom I ever got was [from] T Bone Burnett. He [told me] how it’s rare to receive any kind of affirmation in this world, so when your peers decide to give it to you, accept it gracefully.

Is the tweet still available on your timeline?

Yeah. I leave it as a monument of what not to do.

The Milk Carton Kids will perform at Brooklyn Steel at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, 319 Frost St., Williamsburg, bowerypresents.com, $30

Entertainment photos & videos