Interview with guitarist Steve Rice
Interview conducted by Luxi Lahtinen
Date online: May 4, 2014
US Metallers Kill Ritual, featuring former members of Imagika and Dark Angel, released their debut album, The Serpentine Ritual, Italy's Scarlet Records in 2012. The album was well received around the globe and gave Kill Ritual the kick-start needed to keep the wheels rolling for the band.
After the release of The Serpentine Ritual, the road started to get a bit bumpy for Kill Ritual. Half the line-up was changed and the band moved from Scarlet Records to Germany's Golden Core Records. After all the pieces were back together things took a positive turn for the band.
Now the wait is over for fans of Kill Ritual; the band's follow-up album, The Eyes of Medusa, was released on April 4th 2014, and guitarist Steve Rice was more than happy to talk about it with The Metal Crypt. Read on...
Luxi: First off, congrats on the new album, The Eyes of Medusa. You must feel pretty happy to have that available to the fans.
Steve: Yeah, it's nice to be moving forward with it and getting it out there for people to check out. It's always a lengthy process from the writing to the recording, etc. I enjoy moving on to the next CD, which we are already involved in recording at this moment.
Luxi: How would you say making this album was different from the experience you had when you were composing songs for the band's debut album The Serpentine Ritual? Was it any easier and somehow more relaxed, putting The Eyes of Medusa together?
Steve: It was little easier in some ways because it was all done at my home studio this time, except for some drums that were done early on in another studio. I can work on things extensively and get real finite with parts etc. because there are no time or money constraints of having to pay for a studio.
Luxi: Prior to the new album, you released a digital single, titled "Harder than Stone," on August 1st, 2013. Was the purpose of releasing this song to promote your follow-up album a bit, and basically letting people know that you are still out there and working hard for this band?
Steve: Yeah, we just wanted to keep the buzz and momentum going and we used it as a way to help promote the US tour we did.
Luxi: Why didn't you include "Harder than Stone" on The Eyes of Medusa? The song sounds killer.
Steve: Well, it was from the Serpentine sessions and actually was much different in the beginning and got a complete rewrite. We already had plenty of material for The Eyes of Medusa CD so we just let it stand on its own legs.
Luxi: In which areas do you feel the songs on The Eyes of Medusa are better than those on The Serpentine Ritual?
Steve: I think both are strong albums, but The Eyes... is a tad better because Josh and I had a little better understanding of each other's style and wrote stuff a bit more cohesively this time. There really are no filler tracks on this CD.
Luxi: Would you say there are defined roles within this band, for example, some of you take care of the lyric writing, some of you make sure your songs have enough sharp kick ass edge to them and so on?
Steve: Josh writes all the lyrics and I compose the music, for the most part. So it is just the two of us getting it all done. Danny sometimes helps with art and layouts for flyers, etc.
Luxi: Where did the name The Eyes of Medusa come from? Perhaps someone in the band studied the epic Greek poem, The Odyssey...
Steve: Well, the song of the same name was actually just called Medusa in the beginning, but we wanted it to sound a little more poetic and went with the longer title. Yeah, Josh and I are familiar with the epic story and it was a good visual for the CD cover, too.
Luxi: The Eyes of Medusa was mixed and mastered at Andy LaRocque's Sonic Train Studios. What made you to choose his studio for the mixing and mastering of the album? Did you consider mixing the album at any other studios?
Steve: I've been working with Andy since the Imagika days and this is like the fifth CD he's mixed for me so he has a good understanding of what I want. I have a pretty comfortable arrangement with him so I've never thought about using someone else. Plus his studio is really great and he's done a ton of records I enjoy.
Luxi: Do you have any plans to shoot a video for a song from The Eyes of Medusa? You did do one for "Old School Thrasher" from the debut album.
Steve: Yeah, maybe we will, but we'll need the label to pay for it and that remains to be seen if they'll take care of it.
Luxi: What about this new line-up that you have in Kill Ritual nowadays? Why did Roberto and Wayne leave the band?
Steve: They didn't want to commit the time or money to touring or being in the band anymore. It was more of a hobby for them and the rest of us take it a little more seriously. So they needed to bail. It's all for the best anyway.
Luxi: What are drummer Gee Anzalone's best qualities and how does his personality fit in with the rest of band? Is he the type of guy who always tries to raise your spirits whenever the band is going through hard times?
Steve: Yeah, he's good guy and has a great style and is very motivated, which is cool. He gets along fine with us because we're fairly easy going when it comes to the band. Plus he's a good cook, like me, which makes it all the better!
Luxi: What's the biggest strength of the current Kill Ritual line-up that makes you such a strong force as a band?
Steve: Good songs, nothing more, nothing less. Plus we're pretty decent live.
Luxi: Why did you switch from Scarlet Records to Golden Core Records? Nothing too dramatic, I hope?
Steve: No, nothing dramatic. Scarlet really didn't do all that much for the debut so we decide to move on. Hopefully things go smoother with Golden Core and we get to release a 3 CD.
Luxi: How have things started with Golden Core Records? Do you feel like you are getting enough support from them and that they are doing their best to promote Kill Ritual?
Steve: Our management, Rock N Growl, made it happen and we'll see how things progress with the label and the promotions, etc. We hope they do their best and get it out there for the potential fans. I'm sure they'd like to sell some records and make a few dollars...
Luxi: How has the response been for the new opus, The Eyes of Medusa? Undoubtedly, it's been pretty overwhelming thus far, if I am not mistaken about this... ;o)
Steve: The reviews have been good to great and, for the most part, positive. Of course there's always a few that will hate it because they get a little upset when they hear a guy like Josh sing with a metal/thrash type of band, but whatever, we make the music for ourselves first and foremost and if someone digs it awesome and if not oh well.
Luxi: Have you had a record release party for The Eyes of Medusa? If so, what was it like?
Steve: No record release party. It's too hard to get the guys all in one place since the drummer is overseas and our bassist lives in Los Angeles while Josh and I are in the SF Bay Area.
Luxi: What do you have in store as far as playing live is concerned? Have any European festival organizers contacted you?
Steve: No, they haven't and they should if they have any smarts! HA! Most of the festivals these days are just adverts for Century Media and Nuclear Blast, etc. with all their rosters involved so it's very hard to even get looked at for any of this. We'll keep trying. But we are trying to get a Euro tour in the works for 2014 so we'll keep our fingers crossed.
Luxi: I'll cross mine, too! Obviously, you all have day jobs, families, etc. to take care of, so does that limit Kill Ritual in undertaking extensive tours?
Steve: We do and no, we can tour as much as needed as long as we aren't financially crippled by it. That's the only thing stopping it. It's not fun traveling thousands of miles to not get paid. That being said we're more than willing to tour.
Luxi: How well has Kill Ritual been accepted the local scene, the ones that own rock clubs and book Metal bands? Are you happy with that situation?
Steve: HA! We never play live in our own area here in The Bay. No one gives a shit about us so it's not worth the effort really. I don't really care to play around here anyways since I did it forever with my previous bands and it got us nothing in the long run. Well, besides a hang over HA!
Luxi: What do you hope to achieve in 2014 with Kill Ritual?
Steve: More fans, more tours, more music, more of everything really.
Luxi: Thank you for your time completing this interview for The Metal Crypt Steve and I want to wish you all the best with your future endeavors with Kill Ritual. To conclude this interview the right way, here's your chance to make the closing statement...
Thanx Luxi and The Metal Crypt and, on behalf of the band, we appreciate the effort in spreading the word on the band. We look forward to getting overseas this year and maybe a chance to play for all the people that dig our stuff!
www.youtube.com/watch?v=14e9R7JUHq0&feature=plcp NEW VIDEO!
|Other information about Kill Ritual on this site|
|Review: The Eyes of Medusa|
|Review: The Eyes of Medusa|
|Review: The Opaque and the Divine|
|Review: Thy Will Be Done|
|Interview with guitarist Steve Rice on August 30, 2012 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)|
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