Raw colours and unsettling hues: an interview with Jérémie Ruiz of Drawers

drawers bassist

Jérémie Ruiz

The new self-titled album from French band Drawers is an encounter dripping testosterone riff and rhythm, a dirt encrusted slab of sludge rock voracity which overwhelms the senses with a metal bred intensity and ferociousness. The band’s second album, it is a raw attention gripping adrenaline fuelled encounter with irresistibly barbed hooks and lingering grooves to feverishly hunger for. We did not need to be asked twice to take up the opportunity to find out more about the band and album with bassist Jérémie Ruiz, with whom we talk band history, sound evolution, live prospects and more…

Hello Jérémie and thanks for joining us at The Ringmaster Review

First up please tell us about the beginnings of Drawers and its members backgrounds.

Drawers started in a garage in 2006 with Olivier (drums) and Alex (guitars) and I (Jérémie / bass). Each of us already had a band and our goal was to play slow, loud and low-tuning metal. We were friends since college and we wanted to play together for a long time. It was supposed to be a side project for us, nothing serious, just playing together and write some heavy riffs.

Then our first singer and Laurent (guitar) joined the band and we started to play live and think about recording an EP.

What was the core thought and intention in the initial direction and presence of the band?

The idea to write spontaneous and heavy music is the main direction since the beginning but the band has grown and some parameters have changed. Drawers is now our main music project and we have to take some things more seriously. We rehearse more than before as we planned to tour and to write some new stuff, beside taking care of merchandizing or searching for a van to tour…

You have just released your excellent and dramatic self-titled second album, how has early receptions been?

Reviews are very good so far. We were very curious about how it would be reviewed because many things have changed since the previous record. We are now very satisfied and we hope this album will help us to tour a lot.

As mentioned it is self-titled and comes with a seeming shift in your sound or its intent, is this so and is the title suggesting the start of a newdrawers chapter for the band or are we reading too much into it?

I think this is more and evolution than a shift. I imagine it can be brutal from the outside and obviously many things have changed since our last recording (on the split with Hangman’s chair, the track Tears never come alone). But our influences did not change that much. We just tried to find a different colour and to use different side of these influences. We have not started to write new songs yet but I think the next ones will be more like Drawers than All Is One. Some elements will always be here, like guitar sound, some drums patterns or Niko’s voice but the next album could be totally different again. We’ll see…

Your first release, the This is Oil EP came out in 2008 to strong responses which were certainly increased with your debut album you just mentioned, All is One three years later. How do you see those releases in relation to what the new album unleashes?

In fact, when we started Drawers, the band was a side project and it was a really good way to play the music we like in a totally brain-free way : we played what we liked and we didn’t think about how it was good or not. That’s why the EP is a big melting-pot of a lot of different kinds of metal. And a lot of friends of us came to make a vocal featuring, despite there being only four tracks! Things became more serious after this EP and a few shows; then we started to write All Is One which is a lot more coherent as an album. After that, I think we can say that our new album Drawers is the result of the same will. We try to do one thing as good as we can, a compact album, right to the point, short and fast!

Right there in the inside of your creativity how do you see your sound has actually changed over the past five years?

Well, seriously our sound didn’t change at all. We use exactly the same gear as our beginning, and we didn’t add or remove a single thing of that! This sound is part of Drawers, we build the band on it so it would be strange to change it now.

Drawers the album, has a power and almost predatory breath which roars at the listener as if there in the room with its physical form. How did you achieve this intensity, was it just down to recording the album live in the studio?

We wrote some short songs, within a short and compact album. Recording live was the logical choice to make to keep this rough and tense atmosphere. This way we kept all the groove and anger from guitars and drum (only guitars and drum were recorded live). Then bass was recorded separately to have a clean, loud shape among all the instruments.

What inspired the shift to this ‘attack’ for the recording process?

We worked with Luc Ferré on the split’s recording (2012) and we wanted him on the new record. We like his way of working but we wanted to try something new especially on the drum. We were after something much more groovy and colored. So Luc asked our friend Amaury Sauvé if he wanted to participate as a “drum recording specialist”. We had known him for his live recording and we were seduced by this process. We are fully satisfied of this method and I think our next studio session will be live.

Is there a specific theme or connection between the songs upon the album and what inspires the lyrical aspect of the band predominantly?a2694686389_2

Lyric topics are very different from a song to another, no obvious links between tracks, except us and our experiences. Niko’s life remains the main inspiration for the lyrics.

We tried to make All Is One a kind of a concept album. Tracks were related to each other and a whole story was told along the lyrics.

Here, there is no such thing. We wanted this album to look like us, we wanted something simple and efficient. The lyrics are about our lives, about what we wanted to say.

How does the writing process work within the band?

We usually write songs together, live, during rehearsals. Sometimes someone comes with an idea or a riff and we build a song from this idea together, adding instruments, one at the time. Then we add the voice and modify the structure if needed. It is pretty simple but it can take weeks for us to write a single song.

For us the new album brings a distinctive presence and sound to you the band whereas previous releases maybe showed your influences more, is that how you see it now you can look back at the finished results?

Yes definitely, we tried to do something more personal. We know that our previous album is showing our influences, at least the ones of the time, and this is something we really wanted to fix. I don’t know if it worked for the new one, but for us it’s a lot more original than before… Only time will tell us if we’re right. Or maybe the next album!

What have been your biggest inspirations as a band and personally?

When we started we tried to make a kind of metal that almost no band in Europe played, even today. A kind of fat sludge southern metal like Crowbar, Eyehategod, and Down. In France there was a sludge band in Paris called Es La Guerilla, and it was the first band we tried to sound like. This band was and remains the only Sludge band in Europe… Well in France there is a lot more Stoner-like music, but not so much dirty fat Sludge…In fact there is nothing at all. Anyway, that’s why we wanted to play this music : nobody plays it here. Besides this, we listen to a lot of different music: old black metal, synth-kraut music, death metal, post-hardcore, almost everything in fact.

It is hard to settle on a favourite track upon the album, it changing with every listen, but Detour always leaves a major persuasion. Can you tell us about the track and its breeding?

We wrote this one in the middle of our writing process, I think it crystallized all we wanted to put in a song : heavy riffing, a bit of blast beat for the aggressiveness, a lot of low chords, and a catchy chorus. Rock music.

Is there anything in particular on the album, a song or just a moment, which gives you a bigger tingle of pleasure?

Mourning has something special for me. All the songs are about some important part of our lives but this one corresponds to a sad moment of Niko’s.  Recording this one was a tough moment for him and I got goose bumps every time I listen to it.

drawers2You are renowned for your live performances, the energy unleashed, and simply your hunger to play shows; we can assume 2014 will be a non-stop torrent of gigs in support of the album and beyond?

We wish it would be a non-stop torrent of gigs, but unfortunately it is not that simple to tour a lot yet. Our goal is to play a lot, especially outside France and we are still looking for contacts and gigs.

We will start with a French tour for the album’s release, then we will play in a few festivals and we may be touring again around September/October.

Any specific plans or prospective shows you can reveal here?

We start a tour in France tomorrow (3/16) for a few gigs, one in Paris with Corrosion Of Conformity. After that we’re going to play with Crowbar in Toulouse! We’re very excited about those gigs! We play as much as we can, and we’re always looking for shows.

Thanks again for sharing your time with us.

Thanks a lot to you Ringmaster!

Any thought you would like to leave us to consider?

Louder is better.

Read the review of Drawers @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/drawers-self-titled/

http://www.facebook.com/drawerskvlt

Pete Ringmaster

The Ringmaster Review 28/03/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

http://www.audioburger.com

Pyrrhon – The Mother Of Virtues

pic Caroline Harrison

pic Caroline Harrison

If an unstoppable pestilence sets its sights on our souls let us hope it comes in the same manner as The Mother Of Virtues, wrapped in corrosive beauty and seductive ugliness. The new album from US progressive death metallers Pyrrhon is a destructively bedlamic onslaught of deathly malevolence, tortuous psychedelia, psyche searing experimentation, and irrepressibly addictive.  It is not an easily accessible or comfortable experience, arguably the most painfully contagious and intrusively crippling of the past year but deep in such creative adventure and vicious intrigue that if it connects it is equally one of the most rewarding pestilential offerings too.

Brooklyn hailing Pyrrhon was formed in 2008 apparently after a chance meeting on a subway platform. Since that moment the quartet of vocalist Doug Moore, guitarist Dylan DiLella, bassist Erik Malave, and drummer Alex Cohen has been twisting and challenging sounds and senses. The band’s 2010 debut EP Fever Kingdoms was the first of their releases to receive wide and strong plaudits, the acclaim increasing when their first full-length album, An Excellent Servant But A Terrible Master, was released a year later via Selfmadegod Records. Intensifying their sounds and invention over the next couple years, Pyrrhon set about creating their new sonic torment The Mother Of Virtues. Tracked and mixed by Ryan Jones (Today is the Day, Mutilation Rites, Wetnurse) and mastered by Colin Marston (Gorguts, Krallice), repeating his work on the band’s previous releases, the Relapse Records released album consumes and suffocates the senses and reality with a rigorously diverse maelstrom of extreme metal, a torment to awaken nightmares and ignite impassioned slavery to its toxicity.

From its first breath the album is savaging and twisting ears and imagination inside out, opening track The Oracle of Nassau cursing with 12 Jacket (Gatefold - Two Pocket) [GD30OB2-N]sonic rabidity and an annihilatory ravishment. Rhythms and riffs converge in a torrential tsunami of spite and eager decay, strangling senses as guitars and vocals unleash their scourge upon the wounds. The track spews enterprise and vitriol with every searing note and poisonous syllable, creating the perfect threat and welcome into the belly of the beast.

The following White Flag opens on probing beats soon joined by a stalking bass riff. Instant intimidation within a cavernous ambience engulfs the imagination, its scenery caustically painted and expanded by the initial graze of guitar which soon evolves into a bestial predation. The track prowls with a doom bred lilt and noise sculpted breath, constantly lashing ears with acidic ventures and ferocious intensity. It is a thoroughly compelling and merciless proposition, a black hearted contagion of jazz spawned rhythmic bombardment courted by animalistic riffs and synapse stripping ingenuity from the guitars, all governed by the guttural spewing of Moore.  It is primal and quite bewitching, especially the stretch of melodic elegance which whispers for a brief moment at the eye of the storm.

Sleeper Agent accelerates the hunger of the rabid appetite in place by its appearance, the delirious mania of guitars and rhythms frisking then violating everything from ears inwards. Searching deep, as with all tracks, there is an order and sensibility to the unleashed viscerally driven plague, but you sure have to dig deep and with determined energy to unveil the additionally potent intent. The track is outstanding, preying on the disorientation and suffering already expelled previously with relish, as does next up Balkanized. The first single from the album firstly lays down a few seconds of cyber coaxing which is then thrust aside by a roving throaty bassline and an anarchic squall of flesh scything guitars and groaning vocals. More violent than its predecessor but employing a similarly ‘lighter’ weave of erosive invention, the track lurches and leans heavily on the senses with sounds which combine like a pack of voracious predators.

Both Eternity in a Breath and Implant Fever spiral deeper into the depths of mind and emotions, the first an invasive merger of serpentine ambiences and rapacious rhythmic enticement which casts its own growing vindictive spoils over the listener the further into its dark festering depths you go. Its successor is not as dirty as the previous song but certainly is not a light of hope and hope either, the encounter lyrically and musically a warning and warring menace. The pair turns the cerebral battleground darker with their own individual hues of inventiveness and voracity whilst Invisible Injury churns up their landscapes with its own specific institutional mayhem.

The album is completed by the exhaustive brilliance of The Parasite in Winter, a track which is lighter on the touch but heavier in the animosity with a sonic design that is mouth-wateringly infectious and barbarically controlling, and the closing epically severe soundscape of the title track. Over ten minutes of noise dementia and rancorous exploration which is all quite ingenious and thrilling, the track alone tells you all you need to know about the brilliance and nastiness of Pyrrhon.

The Mother Of Virtues will undoubtedly only be for a certain psyche or should that be masochist but if band and release find favour in your artistic aberrations and according to the press release if you have a taste for the likes of Gorguts, Ulcerate, Cryptopsy, Portal, and Deathspell Omega, then you just might be listening to an album of the year front runner.

https://www.facebook.com/pyrrhonband

http://pyrrhonband.bandcamp.com/album/the-mother-of-virtues

9/10

RingMaster 28/03/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

http://www.audioburger.com

 

Jackson Firebird – Cock Rockin’

Jackson Firebird 3 - Credit Cybele Malinowski

Credit Cybele Malinowski

With no demands and intentions other than to rock its balls from start to finish, Cock Rockin’ the debut album from Australian rockers Jackson Firebird, is one of those slabs of straight forward honest rock ‘n’ roll which you always have a hunger for before realising. Consisting of ten passion rifling slices of blues bred rock, the album is a riotous party come brawl with something for every type of rock fan. It is a flavoursome morsel for anybody with a taste of the Kings Of Leon to The Black Keys, Led Zeppelin to Eagles Of Death Metal, Seasick Steve to Rage Against The Machine. The Victoria hailing band and their album has already seduced the homeland and now with its worldwide release via Napalm Records, Jackson Firebird is about to enflame the rest of us.

The band consists of guitarist/vocalist Brendan Harvey and drummer/vocalist Dale Hudak; the two meeting when Harvey and the band he was in, was in Adelaide to record some demos minus their drummer. The band ended up calling up Hudak who learned the songs in the car on the way to the studio. The pair continued to play together, jamming out the back of a family owned bakery. It was 2006 though when Jackson Firebird was officially born, new songs and gigs soon thrusting the band’s sound and increasing reputation across local venues, Adelaide, and subsequently the east coast. The duo went on to share stages with the likes of You Am I, King Cannons, the Snowdroppers, Little Birdy, and the Fumes before settling down to record their first release, a five-track EP. Jump forward and as mentioned earlier Cock Rockin’ has already been uncaged and recruited the fullest acclaim and new passions down under with its release in 2012, and now is the time for the rest of us to stomp with its insatiable bait.

The two pronged stripped down attack immediately hits the spot and appetite with the opening title track, its raw energy and full-on 524_JacksonFirebird_CMYKmischievous passion of the song reminds of another duo, The Black Frame Spectacle from Canada, though sound wise they are more rockabilly seeded. The song rampages with riffs and rhythms flailing in the hungry energy, from the very first second never relinquishing its feverish persuasion until the last heated note, even in the incendiary slow blues prowl midway. The vocals are as vibrant and slightly grizzled as the sound, a nice causticity stalking their surface fitting in perfectly with the fire bred hues of blues guitar in solo and rampant riffery.

The impressive start is potently backed by both She Said and Rock Solid, the first moving in on a virulent roll of drum enticement soon smothered in the acidic flames of guitar, that blues twang again enticing appetite and emotions over the unrelenting rhythmic incitement. As in all the songs simplicity rides the passions as eagerly as the more involved craft of Harvey’s solos; that repetitive bait especially tempting across the second song as it leads into its greedily agreeable climax. Its successor opens on a recognisable groove, and it is fair to say that there is plenty on Cock Rockin’ that is familiar as well as original but nothing comes in any shade other than that unique to Jackson Firebird. The track simmers and strolls with melodic lips kissing the senses and a sonic fingering stroking all the naughty bits of satisfaction, their potency matched by the almost Graham Parker like vocals and a constant southern bred entanglement.

Quan Dang forces it’s might through the ears next, an instant RATM inspired attack breeding vocals and the opening groove before entwining itself with a bolder hard/glam rock swagger. It is, like so many on the album, an irresistible encounter which has feet and voice willing cohorts to its infectious revelry, just as the following Red Light and the irrepressible Little Missy. The first of this pair restrains its intensity a little more than others though darkens its shadows for a thicker encounter with choppy riffs and meandering melodic scorches. There is certain sultriness to the song too, a salacious element matching the title as it raises the temperature before the second song opens up a sinewed temptation of rock ‘n’ roll bruising which is as much Chuck Berry like as it is Black Crowes suggesting.

Can Roll bares its swagger and heart next, rhythms a magnetic incitement welcoming in imagination and the rich sonic enterprise of Harvey, both he and Hudak laying out anthemic bait which takes no prisoners or accepts no for an answer. Its virulence is not quite matched by Goin Out West, at first at least, it’s opening country rock walk with a bluesy climate a simple engagement initially but something which suddenly explodes into an unbridled stomp of forcibly kicking beats and entrancing sonic tendrils of suasion. The track brews its toxin along the way so by its departure thoughts and passions are infected for a long term ardour.

The album finishes with an equally potent flourish, Sweet Eloise a song soaked in blues venom and rhythmic enslavement whilst offering another Zack de la Rocha like vocal tempting, and the raw Red Hair Honey which simply sears and ignites ears and passions like a wanton temptress. It is a scintillating end to a wholly thrilling introduction to one of Australia’s previously best kept secrets. That secrecy is no longer now as Jackson Firebird struts across the globe with, as their album says, its Cock Rockin’.

http://www.jacksonfirebird.com/

9/10

RingMaster 28/03/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

http://www.audioburger.com

Alaya –Thrones

Alaya2

Now that US progressive metallers Alaya have unveiled their debut album we can confirm that the feisty buzz and acclaim for the Chicago trio is more than just for their powerful sound and presence. Thrones is a formidable adventure of technical prowess and passionate endeavour funnelled into a ferociously compelling and imaginative experience. Anticipation for the band’s debut has been as eager and fiery as the sounds it offers and it is easy to say that no one will be disappointed by the encounter just awe inspired.

It is fair to say that Thrones took longer than some to unveil its intensive persuasion though that was nothing to do with accessibility issues just the richness of depth and invention waiting to be discovered. It is a dramatic and demanding listen with its never ending twists and persistent evolution and unashamedly rewarding every step of the way. There are times where arguably the landscape of melodic fire and unrestrained technical ingenuity suffocates the chance of memorable moments within some songs preventing them being as strong a lingering temptation as they deserve but in their hands senses and emotions are invigorated playthings for a thoroughly riveting proposition.

Consisting of vocalist/guitarist Evan Graham Dunn, bassist/vocalist Michael Brandt Rinkenberger, and drummer David Jacob Robison, Thrones_CoverAlaya has forged a formidable reputation which has caught the imagination of fans and musicians alike as well as the media. Offered comparisons to the likes of Periphery, Muse, and Protest The Hero, the band has still forged its own distinct identity which bursts from Thrones like a corona ejection. Over two years in the making, the Basick Records released album is a soulful and soul filling tempest of melodic beauty, intrusively confrontational technical rhythms, and exploratory incisive grooves all under deeply evocative atmospheres and similarly sculpted lyrical narratives. It is easy to see why Alaya have been smothered in strong plaudits and easy to join the queue.

The expansive adventure of the album begins with Inside, its initial coaxing of sharp grooves and punchy rhythms a restrained yet eager pull which once stepping aside for a gentle caress bursts forward again with sinews flexing and colours blazing. The vocals of Dunn ably assisted by the tones of Rinkenberger throughout are as immediately impressive as the sounds, his delivery adding spice to the tale and texture to the already shifting scenery. The track twists and veers down unpredictable and intensively investigated avenues, rhythms a constant heavy provocateur and guitars a designer of the most enthralling incitements.

The impressive start is taken to another level by the following White Noise, its first acidic strike relaxing into a seducing enticement of melodic crooning veined by a rhythmic virulence, both courting the continuing to impress vocals. It is a relatively gentle absorption of the imagination but one which infuses an intimidating threat to its mesmeric landscape. Forceful and restrained, open and intriguingly deceptive, the track continues to reveal extra corners to its imposing beauty and appetising shadows which fascinate and envelop.

Both Sleep and Screaming Still tighten the hold of the album, the first with its emotive breath and drama clad rhythmic framing around an expressively engaging melodic painting and the second with its simply virulently gripping enterprise. A definite Muse like lilt casts its spice to the thrilling and tantalising technical waltz of the song, flavoursome bait which accentuates every muscle and creative hue of the exciting endeavour. Its intensive suasion is matched by the more melancholic Poor Gloria, an emotive hug which whilst filling the ears on a slow canter has a flame to its passion and expression reinforcing the diversity of songwriting and sound. It does not quite light the fires within as other songs but still leaves a greedy appetite and hunger concentrated on Alaya and album.

Haunted Pt. I is a delightful brief instrumental which is as emotive as it is elegant, lighting up the imagination ready for the outstanding Grace to rummage through shadows. Thrones seems to take on a darker intensive intent at this point, the track bringing a more rapacious snarl to its riffs and antagonistic punch to its rhythmic manipulations. The vocals also gain a slight growl to their expression whilst around them the song resonates across the senses with angular strikes of guitar and jagged spears of beats aligned to similarly predacious bass surges. It is an exceptional track, one which does linger long after the curtains close as does the next up Day of the Dead, its opening swarm of sonics an instant scar for thoughts to hang on to before a celestial melody cast grace falls over the ears. The song soon explores its provocative beauty in strong emotive detail before the title track launches another contagion soaked exploration of sound, textures, and thoughts.

The pair of Paths and Entropy keep the engrossing nature of the album in full flight even if neither quite steal the same rich responses as other tracks. Both ensure the album continues to hold the tightest grip on body and mind though with their fluid transformations and irresistible technical craft, which allows the closing two parts of Haunted to exploit and send the imagination off to explore and draw its own premises.

Thrones is a scintillating encounter from a band making existing claims about them pale against the reality. As mentioned there are maybe too many tracks which drift in the memory away from their captivating embraces to push the album into the terms of a classic debut but it is certainly an immensely powerful and stunningly inventive one declaring Alaya as one of the most exciting emerging forces around.

http://www.facebook.com/AlayaOfficial

8.5/10

RingMaster 28/03/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

http://www.audioburger.com