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dinsdag 10 juli 2007
Rise To Addiction Interview: Organic, Crunching Rock from the UK

Interview with Rise To Addiction members by Vera in June 2007

Listening to ‘A New Shade Of Black For The Soul’ of fast rising UK band Rise To Addiction is a positive, refreshing experience. This band with former Blaze members John Slater and Steve Wray as a guitar tandem keen as mustard mixed the intensity of the grunge era with chunky thrash-alike riffs and outstanding compositions. Enough reasons to send a bunch of questions their way and learn more about this seminal band. The interview is completed by Leigh Oates (Vocals), John Slater & Steve Wray (Guitars), Aynsley Dickinson (Drums)

You just got back from the ‘Simple Mind Condition’ tour with Trouble. I’m starving to hear all about this experience! How did you get on that tour? What about the contact with the Trouble guys?

JOHN - The Trouble tour was a fantastic experience. We’ve all toured before in previous bands but it was our first real adventure as Rise To Addiction. I believe Trouble were on the lookout for a support band who could really turn up the heat. They came across our album and really liked it. Our Bassist, Joel was already a huge fan so it didn’t take much to jump on board. It was a real honour.

And it was the first time you toured outside the UK. Which place(s) impressed you most?

JOHN - I’d played most of the venues before so I kind of knew which places I was going to enjoy. Z7 in Switzerland is always a fantastic venue. The people, the staff, everyone really. I think this was my 7th or 8th visit. Amsterdam and Paris was also very cool. Nowhere disappointed.

Rise To Addiction was founded by guitarists John Slater and Steve Wray after leaving Blaze’s band in 2004. What were the purposes, influences and intentions when forming Rise To Addiction?

JOHN - The communication was breaking down. It was just time to move on. Steve and I always wanted to continue working together so that’s basically how Rise To Addiction was born. We weren’t really influenced by any one band in particular when we started writing we just knew that we had full control and could do whatever we wanted so we did. We both like Heavy melodic rock songs and wanted to distance ourselves from the sped up Maiden-esque twin guitar thing which we’d been lumbered with. That’s never been what we’re about.

Can you tell a bit more about the differences and same things in style of playing guitar and influences/roots by John and Steve?

JOHN - Steve’s playing is amazingly fast and accurate which I continue to admire whereas my playing is more bluesy laid back. I can’t speak for Steve but when I started learning guitar my heroes were Iommi, Blackmore, Knopfler, Hendrix and even Hank Marvin. It took me quite a while to understand people like Satriani and Vai. I always appreciated the skill but not the necessity.

All the other members of Rise To Addiction come from a band called Ninedenine. What is the story behind this?

LEIGH - As Ninedenine, myself, Aynsley and Joel met John & Steve when both our respective bands (BLAZE & Ninedenine) played Bloodstock in 2003. We admired each other’s work and when John and Steve left BLAZE it just happened to coincide with Ninedenine losing their guitar player. It was time to form Rise To Addiction!

Ninedenine was successful to a point as an underground heavy stoner band in the UK but we needed a change and it was really cool to hear the things John and Steve were planning for Rise To Addiction, it was exactly the new direction the three of us wanted to take!

You first released a three track EP. Maybe you can tell us something about these tracks and the reactions of people on this beginning?

STEVE: ‘Falling As One’ was written when myself and John were still in Blaze, we knew that we wanted to start a new band and the direction it was going to take. ‘Falling As One’ was a perfect catalyst for driving us on.

‘Everlasting Wave’ and ‘God Unknown’ came about in a similar way and around the same time. I think the EP served as a good introduction to the band, we were fortunate that Andy Sneap still wanted to work with us and this doubtless helped people's interest in the EP. I think that some of the Blaze fans were a little confused by the direction initially. Personally I've always had a problem with the cheesier elements of metal and both John and I were adamant that this was going to be something a little fresher and groovier.

You were in the lucky position to have famous producer Andy Sneap since the beginning. How did you get in contact with him and how was it working with him?

STEVE: I consider Andy to be a good friend, John and I have known him and worked with him since 1999 when we started pre-production for the first Blaze record. We all hit it off instantly. Prior to this I was a big fan of his work and could tell he was going to be successful. I used to write for U.K magazine Powerplay and seemed to end up reviewing a lot of the albums he produced, bands like Vision of Disorder, Kill II This…

After the EP came out we played the Bloodstock festival here in the U.K. Andy came down and enjoyed the show, we hung out all day and got dangerously drunk, the next week Andy called me and asked when we wanted to start work on the album.

On your website we can read an extended studio report, but can you summarize the experience of recording this debut album for us?

STEVE: Recording this album was an absolute joy. Aside from working with Andy which is always an easy going experience, we were able to track the majority of Guitars and Vocals at our studio "The Cell". I bought a small pro tools rig to do this. This really meant we could work at our own pace in a relaxed environment and take time to experiment. For example we really pushed the backing vocals and tweaked melodies and Guitar parts as we went along which you can't really do when you are up against the studio clock. Once we had everything the way we wanted it we took it back to Andy who did a basic mix, we then all made notes and went back to Andy for the final mix.

Did you enter the studio with nearly finished tracks or did you even compose some things near the deadline?

JOHN - We had recorded rough demos of everything prior to moving into the studio so most of the songs were completed well before. Having the advantage of working in our studio as well as Andy’s was a real bonus as it enabled us to experiment more with vocals and guitars.

Are the songs a product of rehearsals or does someone write everything and the others just execute?

JOHN - Pretty much every idea has input from everyone within the band at some stage whether it’s suggesting a different arrangement or introducing a new riff or melody. Some of the songs are a product of a jam often around a guitar riff or one of us e-mails everyone a recording of an idea in progress.

Who wrote the lyrics and what are the lyrical themes on the album?

LEIGH - I wrote all the lyrics for the album bar three songs (‘Falling As One’, ‘Everlasting Wave’ and ‘To A God Unknown’) these were already written when I joined. As far as the lyrics go, I like to touch on real issues that listeners can identify with, everything from relationships, to war, to family, to just having a great night out!

I like the idea that people can interpret my lyrics and come up with their own meanings. It always blows me away when people talk to me about the lyrics and have a completely different take on the meaning of the song.

When listening to your album I got a nostalgic feeling, longing to the nineties with many grunge bands. Can the eminent grunge boom be seen personal heydays and an influence?

LEIGH - The grunge era was a really important era in my life, really opening up my ears to some great bands that were pushing the boundaries of music after the ‘safe’ period of the late 80’s. Some of my favourite vocalists emerged in this era so I take it as a real compliment that you can hear an element of this time in our music!

AYNSLEY - I'll second that. I think for me the late eighties rock/metal scene had just got so bad with the over population of cock rock & poseur bands that something needed to happen. Thankfully grunge came along & put more focus on the music & less on the image. Some of my favourite music came out of this wave for sure!

Another name popping up in me was the Bay Area thrash and Metallica. Do you agree?

AYNSLEY - Again, another important period & genre for me personally. In this day & age, there's not many rock/metal not influenced by Metallica.

BTW when I read your favourite albums it is exactly the albums I bought during the nineties like COC, Soundgarden, Warrior Soul, Mother Love Bone, Metallica…

LEIGH - All great bands with great albums! Wow Mother Love Bone ‘Holy Roller’, what a song!

AYNSLEY - I'm with ya there! ‘Apple’ is a great album! ‘Crown Of Thorns’ is one of my faves!

How did you get in contact with Mike Garson and what was his role in ‘Fessonia’ (beautiful track!!!)

JOHN - I’ve been a huge fan of David Bowie for over 10 years and was therefore aware of Mike Garson’s contributions to his work. When we started work on ‘Fessonia’ I suggested how a piano intro could really add another dimension to the album. I used Mike’s work as an example. I then thought, why have not the guy himself. I eventually managed to get in contact with him and I discussed the kind of thing we were looking for. He loved the tracks we had already recorded at that point and was more than happy to contribute. I played him the outro to ‘Fessonia’ suggesting where to begin and described how I would like the ending building up into ‘The Hive’. The rest he composed himself which blew us all away! It was definitely more than we could have hoped for.

In August you will be playing the Bloodstock open air festival in the UK again. Must be exciting, for you have good memories on your first appearance there, isn’t it?

LEIGH - We played the indoor festival in 2005, first band on the main stage and it was great! The fans really got into it and we had a blast! It’s a great honour to be asked back and we can’t wait to ‘deliver the goods’ again this year!

What else can we expect from gigs or touring?

AYNSLEY - We've got a couple of festivals lined up over the Summer. We're also writing our second album during this period. We aim to do a UK tour around September/October & hopefully come back over to Europe for a brace of dates after that.

Trouble was a huge name to get on the road with. Any plans or dreams for another stunning tour as opening act?

AYNSLEY - There's a couple of bands we're interested in supporting for sure.....we're leaving that in the capable hands of our booking agent! A dream band to support for me would be a reformed Soundgarden. Like that would happen...haha!

In the past you got pretty much airplay on the radio, do you have any plans to shoot a videoclip for promotion on TV?

JOHN - Yes we do have plans to produce a video. These things take a lot of organising and prior to the tour we had very little time to organise this so postponed it till the tour was over. This is something we are currently working on.

Looking for a label resulted in inking a deal with Belgian label Mausoleum. How did this work out and came into being?

LEIGH – Mausoleum were one of a number of labels that wanted to sign the band so it was a case of looking at every offer and seeing which suited the band best. After speaking to Alfie at Mausoleum it was obvious that he was really committed to the band and had a proven track record and resources available. Mausoleum is a well known player in the rock/metal market and that swung our decision. So far we’ve been really happy with our relationship with the label so fingers crossed!

What are your plans for the near future?

AYNSLEY - Write album number two! Also get plenty of gigs under our belt to support our current one.

And to round off, guys, what kind of people should buy ‘A New Shade Of Black For The Soul’?

LEIGH - I think the album blurs the lines between all these distinct categories in rock/metal and cuts across lots of genres. With that in mind I think anyone into rock/metal could find things that would really excite them on this album.

Thanks for your answers and time. I wish you a great time and success with the record!

LEIGH - Thanks Vera for the interest and support in our band! You Rock!

Geplaatst door Jany op dinsdag 10 juli 2007 - 16:05:37
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