Interview with Ryuko

Interview with Ryuko
By: Alun Jones

“Grandpa, what’s a gig?”

“Well son, a gig was what we used to call a band playing live music, in front of an audience.”

“What, people watching musicians play their instruments? Crazy!”

“I know it seems like a strange idea to you youngsters, but it used to be a fantastic experience. Actually being able to gather with friends and strangers to enjoy hearing music. It was another world.”

That’s what the situation seems like right now: no gigs, no gatherings for entertainment – the old days sometimes feel like a lifetime ago. At least it seemed a whole different world back in February 2020, before the pandemic, when I caught up with Chester based band Ryuko at Pentre Fest.

The three piece – comprising The Bobfather (guitars/vocals), Captain Andy (bass) and MattMan (drums) were something of an anomaly at the metal-centric Pentre Fest.  Not that Ryuko don’t rock out, but their brand of punky, alternative rock was a little different from the other bands on show. I found their style of honest, yet far from pretentious rock’n’roll refreshing and it added a vital tone to the proceedings.

Post gig, I caught up with the band to pose some questions and contemplate the meaning of life.

Alun: First off, the cliched yet crucial discussion on influences:

Bob: It’s weird, ‘cos we’ve got influences from all over. If you listen to one of our sets, it has stages: it starts off punky, then it goes alternative rock. Then it goes a little metal/grungy, then back to punk at the end.

Matt: Drop D then back to punk! I’m a huge fan of Motorhead and Metallica, the list goes on, so me being the drummer, I was always doing these thrash beats. To go from that to stepping into this, this was more fun to me. I really enjoy myself when I’m behind the kit with these guys.

Bob: When I write the songs, I listen to quite a broad variety of music, so I think that becomes apparent in my songs. I don’t like to write the same song twice. As far as when I started out, I would say when I was a teenager, I first started listening to Nirvana, Carter USM. I also drew influences from a lot of electro – The Prodigy and stuff like that – so sometimes I’d try and work out how to play dance songs on a guitar. And then that would give me the influence to write more interesting songs. I like to try and fuse a bunch of different genres together, make it more interesting.

Andy: I listen to a lot of Neil Young; I think he’s a very diverse artist. He’s done folk, he’s also done electric stuff.

Alun: How do you promote yourselves?

Matt: I’m more into social media than these guys are. We’re promoting ourselves on Facebook, we’re gonna make a new YouTube account. That’s kind of going up and down at the moment…

Bob: We don’t know how to work it!

Alun: Where does the name Ryuko come from?

Bob: I’m really into anime and all things Japanese, Japanese music…At the time I was watching an anime called Kill la Kill. The main character is called Ryuko Matoi and I just thought it was a really cool name. Some really fun facts: Ryuko is one of the least popular names in Japan. It basically means “rebirth”, start over. So, I thought, we’re starting again, it’s a really cool name.

Andy: Well, it’s not a cool name in Japan, is it?

Bob: It’s cool to me! I think it’s cool!

Andy: I do wish we’d chosen a name that’s easier to spell and pronounce.

Bob: People can never say it.

Alun: Your cover of the Madness classic ‘Baggy Trousers’ tonight was a surprising choice, but great!

Matt: We decided to spruce that up to make it ours. The original is completely different to how I play it, I add extra little bits just to make it more funky.

Alun: Do you feel you’ve got the right band dynamic between the three of you?

Bob: We’re pretty good as we are. More people add more complications cos you’ve got to think – are they free; do they drive, are they going to be available…

Matt: I’ve got a son, he’s 9, we discuss upcoming gigs before we agree to it. If I’ve got my son and he comes along with us, if he’s allowed in the venue we play – he’s got his little ear defenders, he just sits in the corner and watches us or plays his game.

Bob: I’ve got three jobs…

Alun: Sounds like a positive environment to work in.

All: It’s got to be positive, if it’s not it just doesn’t work. If no-one’s happy, nothing gets done.

Alun: So, what’s next? What are your plans?

Bob: World domination!  One step at a time…

Andy: We’ve been working on re-doing our EP, we’ve been recording on and off. Recording, playing as many gigs as we can.

And there you have it: an enjoyable chat with the gentlemen of Ryuko. Make sure you check them out live, as and when we can return to the experience of live music. If grungy, punky alt rock with some metallic crunch is your thing, then Ryuko will be just the antidote you need in these dreary times.

With apologies to Ryuko, who have waited months for this interview to see the light of day.

Check the band out here:

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Alun Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

EMQ’s with VACCINE7

EMQ’s with VACCINE7

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with West Midlands, UK based Alternative Rock band Vaccine7. Huge thanks to drummer Tony Chambers 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?

Hi, I’m Tone Chambers and I am the drummer for Vaccine7. The band formed in 2019. I knew of Phil (Guitar) for many years and his work with ‘Pieces of Beth’. I was in a band with Leanne (Bass) some 23 years ago. Myself and Marie (vocalist) were looking to start a heavy band and we got in touch with them to arrange a rehearsal. Things got going very quickly.

How did you come up with your band name?

Sometimes, when starting a new band, just deciding on a name can be deadly (ha!). We did the usual pooling of names and slicing words together, but it was Phil who put Vaccine7 forward and it just seemed to stand out. Little did we know that a few months later, COVID-19 would take hold of the world and the name would have more relevance to the present day.

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

We are proud to be from the Black Country/Birmingham. We are lucky to have a rich DNA of Heavy Rock, with Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Judas Priest all cutting their teeth on these very grounds.

What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)

We have just released our debut single ‘Silence’. We have also put out a stripped back version that will be appearing on ‘Vaccine7 – Unplugged Sessions’, which we hope to bring out in the future when we can get back to it.

Who have been your greatest influences?

We all have a fondness for the 90’s alternative scene, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, TOOL and The Prodigy.

What first got you into music?

My dad was a huge Queen fan, a band I still idolize today. He had ‘Greatest Hits 1’ on cassette tape and I wore it out! So, Queen was the gateway to a whole bunch of bands that got me doing this.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

Right now, it would be my band mates Vaccine7. We haven’t rehearsed since January. Technology does allow us to send ideas and recordings to each other, but I cannot wait to get back to making music together. Luckily, we recorded 4 songs before lockdown and our friend and producer Alejandro Padilla is working his way through them.

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

I think Glastonbury is probably the one most people recognise, and it would be a great honour to play on the Pyramid Stage.

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

So far nothing unusual! Generally, if someone streams or buys our music, or leaves a good review it makes it all worthwhile.

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

I guess, once the gig circuit is up and running again, come see us live. During lockdown we have been working on lighting arrangements and intro sequences. So, we promise a kick ass show!

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

Without a shadow of a doubt, Freddie Mercury! I would love to hear what great music he had left in him when he died. To see him live would just be heaven. For my 40th Birthday Marie, who I live with, got me a trip to Montreux in Switzerland to visit the Queen Studio and Freddie Mercury statue in Geneva. I have no words to describe that experience; it was a very special gift I will never forget.

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

How long have you got? The bad bits are of course the set up and break down. Being the drummer there is a fair bit of lugging equipment around. Plus, I use sample pads that all have to be set up and fed into the P.A. so it’s quite a long set up. Now for the good bits! Once all that is set up, counting in the first song and playing these tunes with great musicians soon blows the cobwebs away. I really enjoy recording too, and writing new material.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

Right now, just to be able to get out again playing. We’ve been quite productive during lockdown, so we are making the most of the situation.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

I think Pearl Jam’s “Ten” has to be my favourite album. It really is a masterpiece of hard rock. The drumming on that album is just amazing.

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

For the full experience I would say Vinyl. Marie and I have quite a collection. The sound and sheer amount of artwork on offer is magical.

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

We played over Christmas as the Brewhouse in Dudley. The sound was great, and the crowd were up for it so that one stands out.

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

I’m not really sure. From a very young age, music has been the path of my life. It’s had its highs and lows but has come to my aid on many occasions.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

My band of course! Haven’t seen them all together for two months now. Alex, our producer would get the spare seat and we could hatch our plan of what we want to do next.

What’s next for the band?

We have 3 more singles recorded and we will be releasing them throughout the summer. We’ve started our ‘Unplugged Sessions’, which are stripped back versions of our songs. During lockdown we have written lots of new material, so when we can, we will be back in the studio to get an album finished.

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

All of the major digital platforms; Bandcamp, Spotify, iTunes, Youtube etc. Plus, social media – our handles for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are all @vaccineseven

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

It’s a cake! I think the clue is in the name. I curse the person who decided to shape it like a biscuit and start this debate in the first place.

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Thank you for your interest in Vaccine7 and I urge anyone eager to get to a live show to come and check us out, once all of this madness is over of course.
Thanks
Tone

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.