EMQ’s with A RITUAL SPIRIT
Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Edinburgh, Scotland based Heavy Rock band A Ritual Spirit. Huge thanks to vocalist/guitarist Oli for taking part.
What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
I’m Oli and I sing/play guitar in A Ritual Spirit. We formed back in late 2009 after a previous band split and jammed with several drummers until Dave stuck. After writing and self-recording our first demo during 2010 we started gigging in early 2011. Since then we’ve toured up and down the UK several times, released our debut album “Carnival Carnivorous” in 2013, subsequently got taken on by a management company/label which crumbled when the main band on the roster left, taking us a year or so to pick up the pieces… then a headline slot at Wildfire Festival 2017 and winning Metal2TheMasses Glasgow in 2018 spurred us on to where we are today…releasing new music and writing album number two under the watchful eye of Reaction Management.
How did you come up with your band name?
We spent hours throwing different names around but nothing seemed quite right, at one point we all wrote several words on different scraps of paper, threw them into a hat and picked two or three out at a time to see if that would conjure anything… it didn’t! One day out of the blue original guitarist Stevie suggested ‘Ritual Spirit’ and I just had to add the ‘A’ for the comedy value of abbreviating to ARS.
What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
We’re based in Edinburgh, Scotland. The scene here is thriving…Edinburgh and the surrounding area houses some fantastic rock and metal bands. We’re lucky to have several venues with dedicated in-house bookers/promoters who give grassroots artists a chance, if you’re well received at a few shows you’ll soon be offered a slot opening for a national or international touring band, instantly increasing your network and audience. Further afield in Glasgow, Perth, Dundee and up to Aberdeen and Inverness there’s some great bands, we share a roster with some of them at Reaction Management.
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)
We released “The Antidote” EP last November (2019) produced by Bryan Ramage of Ramage Inc. along with a video for lead single ‘Sacrifice’ – and recently during lockdown we’ve put together a self-made lyric video for next single ‘Broken/Disappear’ featuring live and behind the scenes footage from the past year and a half, which we’ll be releasing on June 26th.
Who have been your greatest influences?
Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles had a massive influence on me from a very young age, then I got into grunge in a big way during the 90’s…the Seattle bands from that time (and some of the ‘non-Seattle’ bands that joined the ride) all influenced me greatly, which I think is pretty evident if you listen to our music.
What first got you into music?
I grew up listening to music, I didn’t get into it… it got into me! By the age of 7 or 8 I knew I wanted to play guitar and be in a band.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
I’d love to work with Jerry Cantrell from Alice in Chains.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
Tough question, I’ve only experienced festivals in UK but I hear a lot of good things about some of the European festivals… playing Wacken or Rock Am would be pretty special. I’ve toured the UK and Ireland fairly extensively, but I’ve never played in mainland Europe so doing that at a festival is high on the priority list!
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
Ha! Not sure I should say this but at a show in Belfast years ago there was a female fan who had ‘I heart Oli’s c**K’ written on her arm. There were panties thrown on stage that night but I’ve no idea if they were hers or not. That was a pretty weird one.
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
Thank you for your support and we look forward to seeing you at a show whenever we’re allowed out to do that again.
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
That’s a hell of a tough question. Can I bring four or five back please? I never saw Nirvana so I’ll go with Kurt Cobain, just to hear that voice live once would be enough.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
I love being on tour, there’s nothing else like it. You’re in a new place almost every night playing back to back shows, seeing familiar faces and constantly meeting new folk. The bond between band members usually tightens on tour too so that pours into the on-stage chemistry.
Hate is a strong word but I very much dislike competition between bands, my view is that we’re all in it together and should promote and help each other out as much as possible, sadly that’s not how everyone sees things. There’s time and place for competition, we wouldn’t have played Bloodstock without winning Metal2TheMasses for example, but that’s a healthy rivalry within given boundaries, I’d never think of A Ritual Spirit as better or worse than any other band, just different.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
It’s almost a romantic ideal nowadays but I’d revert back to before file-sharing and streaming took over. The whole industry is different now and that’s OK, it has its benefits, but analogue recording, cut to vinyl and fans purchasing hundreds of thousands of physical copies would be my dream.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
Pinning these things down to one is difficult man, I need a top five at least for most of these questions! Tool – “Lateralus” if I have to choose.
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
Vinyl every time. I’ve a shelf full of records, some I’ve been listening to my whole life. All formats have their benefits or quirks and I struggle with the notion of ‘better’ but my personal preference is picking up a gate-fold twelve inch record sleeve with some great artwork on it, putting the disc on my turntable and turning the volume up, crackles and all!
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
My personal favourite is between London Astoria in 2008 or Download Festival 2009, honestly can’t decide between the two… in A Ritual Spirit it’s definitely Bloodstock 2018.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
Probably travelling the world teaching ESL and fishing.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
Jack Endino, Steve Albini and the three members of Them Crooked Vultures who would inevitably end up playing an impromptu set in the garage.
What’s next for the band?
Other than releasing the new video on June 26th we’re currently working on our second album which we’ll do everything we can to release in 2021, but these things take time so I’m not putting a strict timeframe on it.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
You can find us in all the usual places – Spotify, iTunes, Deezer, Amazon etc. Our main merch channel is Bandcamp, plus we have a website and several social media pages.
Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?
They go hard when stale so they’re a cake. Funnily enough up until very recently our van had a bumper sticker saying, ‘No Jaffa cakes left in this van overnight’!
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Yeah firstly thank you for supporting the band and taking the time to do this interview, it’s very much appreciated… and last but by no means least, I’d like to thank everyone who provided footage for the Broken/Disappear video, it really wouldn’t be the same video without them – the full list will be tagged on socials when we release on June 26th but for now I’ll shout out to all the bands who’s members make an appearance at some point – Darkness Divine, Multistorey Lover, Kilonova, Nocturne Wulf & Deadfire.
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