miércoles, 25 de noviembre de 2009

Interview - RUINS

English text
Martín: Hi there! Your new album is out now. Let us know about the very beginning of RUINS and its evolution to this “Front the Final Foes”.

Alex: My name is Alex, I play guitar and do vocals. Our drummer Dave and I met one another in 96. We listened to music together a lot and by the turn of the millennia I would say that Ruins existed as an idea. But we were both doing other things at the time, actually working towards getting the band together and having some jams did not happen until sometime in 2002. So writing really begins properly then. We knew we were coming up with what would be described as a black metal band, and this is possibly our initial common ground. But we have no real parameters... we don’t want limitations or rules, I just know what I don’t like I suppose... I will experiment with what I do like. We hopefully keep things heavy and powerful whilst still describing a wide range of feelings and emotions. I think this is a good way to describe what we are after. I guess it should be noted that Dave is reasonably well-known for his drumming in the world of pretty highly technical death-metal also playing for the band Psycroptic, he also plays for Blood Duster, and has played for Aborted and the Amenta... the list goes on. For Dave and I to play the ‘Black Metal’ thing came because of our shared interest in that realm, not just the music, but the occult in general. Our demo was recorded 03 and released as an mcd titled “Atom and Time” in 04. We started recording our debut album “Spun Forth as Dark Nets” in 04 and it saw the light of day in 05. Through the next couple of years we were working on “Cauldron” which was finished recording in 07 but it did not see release until March 08 in Australia and some months later for the International release. Our most recent release “Front the Final Foes” was released this year. We have just recently begun the pre-production for the next album.

M: The new album sounds really gloomy and cold, yet brutal. Was it difficult to record this kind of music in the studio? How were the recording sessions?

A: If anything our songs seem to get simpler and more refined, but within this, attention to the smaller details makes these simple things even more complex than highly technical playing. What I mean by this is, when there is a lot of space... which gives this mood...well every little nuance in the beats, and the riffs becomes such a more significant variable, you have a lot more options, the simpler the parts are... it becomes more complex; to approach these feelings correctly can be more difficult to nail than a highly technical sequence... there are only so many ways the notes can fall when they fall at 260b.p.m. When it slows down and there is space in the mix things become complex in a different way. A lot of options open up with the feel. There is room for the grim and evil feeling to creep in haha! I guess I am just trying to bring out the different feelings… defining those different feelings more, a certain part, or riff, or whatever, brings with it a certain feeling, because it came from a certain feeling. To define these different feelings or attitudes inherent in the music we have attempted to pay careful attention to those differences… the song-writing should tie the feelings together, but the production should help articulate the different moods across different parts. In a way our music is about describing that shift; studying that shift... this is the basis of what we are about, therefore dynamics play a big part in the music, in tempo, rhythms, and melodies... the dynamics to describe the different moods. Always riffing begins with me and I will eventually feel that I have enough happening to present the idea to Dave... enough of an idea that I am already hearing a song. But it will usually always take a few different turns from this point than I initially envisage. I may have beats and structure in mind, but usually that all changes when Dave starts playing... because it evolves for the best. Mostly I would say I have a strong plan for tempos at least, but really the song is coming together between both Dave and I jamming. Dave’s brother Joe is the next significant character as our producer really... He is engineering, mixing and even mastering now. He is also second guitarist ‘live’… perfect! I think ‘Cauldron’ follows ‘Spun Forth’ as it should, and likewise our new stuff is a reaction to where ‘Cauldron’ leaves us. We are just a little further along our path. And yes I think we get better at what we are doing, or we more successfully achieve our aims each time. The partnership between me and Joe really happens on the whole production level through tracking and mixing, perhaps an equally significant relationship as the relationship Dave and I have in arranging the material, when it really comes down to the outcome of the album. I certainly can’t imagine working with anyone else at this point, nor can we imagine working anywhere different. ‘Front the Final Foes’ does feature bass player Kai Summers for the first time. He has been the only one play with us since beginning live shows. He and I worked on the lines together, but again he brings something different to it.

M: What themes inspire the songs? Is there a main concept behind “Front the Final Foes”?

A: There seems to be core themes that our band is immersed in always, not just this album specifically... i like to see the albums as a progression through the changing shape(s) of our view(s) that we experience in this band, the band which we use to help recapitulate and therefore fully explore our world(s) of sorcery. We use this band to try and make tangible to oursleves as much as anyone else our sorcery experiences, and at the same time it is part of the cycle of the sorcery itself, it is a warriors task... It is savage music, primal music, violent music, but sometimes soothing music. We cultivate a warriors perspective… sometimes this evolves into a sorcerers view, but primarily the way of warrior is fundamental. We are always in deaths vicinity. Front The Final Foes more specifically refers to the archetypal enemies all humans face, of course we talk about being our own enemy... to a degree the enemies are within, but this depends on your view of whether or not the consciousness resides entirely within or not... We like our lyrics to be able to be interpreted from various angles, they are cryptic but they have inherent meaning that can be personal or general depending on addressing as/from microcosm or macrocosm I suppose. Or by assessing with the will or the reason.

M: Is it difficult to find inspiration writing always about death, darkness, destruction and stuff like that?

A: It is cathartic, in a way of speaking it is about destruction, but in another view it is the opposite of this, it is to fortify…. Ruins music is to strengthen, to harden. Ruins is a bid for power, we attempt to rid ourselves of weakness, sometimes the music is quite uplifting… this is the warriors pleasure at smashing that self-pity that the more morose feelings bring… Death is my measure so that all things are in perspective. Death is my adviser. ONLY DEATH IS REAL! HAHA!


M: Your style is close to bands such as SATYRICON or CELTIC FROST. What do you think about it? How do you describe your own music?

A: We have now had the privilege of touring with Satyricon in 06, Celtic Frost in 07, and Immortal in 08. We have always respected these bands and they have always been an influence, and I am a huge supporter of all these bands, and they are a significant feature in the overall picture of Ruins. But generally speaking we just do what we want to do; but this is more of a feeling what we want to feel from playing or hearing a song. We try to pay careful attention to the tradition, the roots of what it is we are a part of you could say. I am really into charting the evolution of ideas and so on, it has always been important for me in music to really check out how things have come about and who have been the pioneering artists so to speak across the whole spectrum, how have we gotten to where we are? But this is only a small part. A large part of me pays no mind to anything but future direction for my music. I am a huge fan of Celtic Frost, and they are a significant feature in the overall picture of Ruins, Bathory too. But the Celtic Frost thing has become much easier to identify since we were lucky enough to open for them when they came to Australia last year. What I mean by this is... people can only identify what they already know really.... there are much more obscure influences in Ruins music of course that hardly anyone would or could ever pick. But for example when we supported Satyricon, people can say oh Ruins sound like Satryicon. When we played with Immortal, people say oh they sound like Immortal. In analyzing anything by just comparing and contrasting you can only go with what you know I suppose. I attempt to gesture to the power that is there before ruins arrives; as did DarkThrone salute to Mayhem, Hellhammer/CelticFrost, Bathory. In many cases I think black metal stagnates where it does not embrace this depth... there are many bands that seemingly begin and end with the early 90’s Mayhem or Burzum, or DarkThrone, without really seeing where these bands fit in the whole scheme of things... I grew up with these bands and was always looking up to them for sure, but by this time I was playing guitar and trying to get bands happening... teenage years. The vintage of celtic, slayer, bathory, this was something I always felt less peer to... it is before me and it is what hooked me... what captured me and spawned me! I guess in essence I have always just tried to highlight the features of the music that I like. But all of this is just talk and reason, when it comes to the will, and the intent etc., well it is not anyone else’s story but ours.

M: Many extreme bands are making videos for its songs, are you planning to make a video for one of your songs?

A: I would definitely like to in the future, but as yet have not planned for it.

M: What can we expect about RUINS´ live on stage?

A: From Ruins I can only hope that the crowd experiences total inspired bliss, or sheer fucking terror! If they like Ruins then I hope to inspire the will, it will be inspiring, uplifting, empowering! If people don’t like what we do... they will for certain be very afraid of us and what view of the world we present, they should be absolutely terrified! Haha!

M: RUINS came from Tasmania. How big is the scene where you are, any bands you think we should check out?

A: There have been a lot of great bands over the years and there still is now. Like anything there is stuff I like and stuff I don’t like. It doesn’t matter really. Tasmania really does set us apart from others in more ways than geographically haha! I am thankful for this. There is a small scene here in Tasmania, with a small population the content is actually quite varied considering this. But as Tasmanians we are isolated in our development, and as a result I think Tasmania spawns quite unique things artistically. There are many great artists from Tasmania, I think we have the best known and most successful, progressive, pioneering couple of bands out of Australia at all... they are Striborg in Black metal, and Psycroptic in Death Metal. Besides Ruins, there is also a brilliant up and coming band called Thrall. Hopefully their debut is out soon. This is certainly one of my favourite things. Album should be available soon, not sure who through?

M: What is your opinion about music in our days with the internet and mp3 downloads?

A: I am not up with the trends and I can only amuse myself in trying to predict future trends. One thing I do find intriguing is really a comeback and then stabilizing of vinyl. I mean in the larger scheme, when cd first arrived ‘they’ were telling us that LP’s were gone... and they were nearly right for a while regarding pretty limited vinyl manufacture. But I would say, looking at it now that vinyl looks likely to outlast cd almost, not surprising that digital technology will upgrade itself, but really analogue is at perfection as is haha! I’m not actually a vinyl puritan, but I know why people are. There is a lot more to engage the listener with a record... not only real sound, larger artwork and pictures and words, but the engaging in playing a record, putting it on, turning it over at half time, you become much more involved in the music. People are getting shorter and shorter attention span basically... when I am not holding this against people I am honestly wondering why is this? Haha! Then again perhaps people are getting more and more efficient. Mp3 when related to cassette copying (like it was in my younger years), makes total sense to me as a listener and now an artist. But I think mp3, like a 2nd or 3rd generation cassette seriously weakens any production value that may be there in the first place for a piece of music. I like to hear music as it is intended. This is interesting, a true cult underground black metallist may be all about being lo-fi like any other indie-kid... they only like music that is recorded on 4-track totally analogue and released in 25 cassettes in Germany; but the thing is... this is still pure, no matter how raw and necro, it is still pure... make it an mp3 and suddenly it doesn’t sound as it was ‘meant’ to sound. So if it has an impact on a realm governed by deliberately raw, harsh, crude, lo-fi sounds.... then surely the impact on music that values clear, articulate and powerful production, or even in contrast, subtle, atmospheric sounds... surely mp3’s impact on this ‘well’ produced music is even more significant.

M: Thank you very much for your time. Here you have space to write what you want as farewell.

A: Cheers! Thanks for the interview.

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