The Ritualists is a New-York (USA) based combo and one of the latest signings on Out Of Line. “Painted People” is the band’s debut full length, which in a way sounds a bit atypical when you know the taste of the German label. The Ritualists claim to be inspired by various artists such as David Bowie, T. Rex, Velvet Underground, Suede, The Kinks, The Stooges, Pink Floyd, Roxy Music, Duran Duran ao. Their debut album became a kind of indie like pop-rock exposure revealing the talented singer and front man Christian Dryden. I got in touch with him to know a bit more about this new formation.
(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: How did you come to set up The Ritualists? What inspired you to find the band name and the sound?
Christian:I’ve been doing music my whole life. I wanted to find band members that shared my vision & concepts. I am lucky enough to have done so. I came up with the band name, partly inspired by a friend who commented to me after seeing a particularly good concert that ‘great rock shows were like a different type of church ceremony. Where like-minded people come together and celebrate something they believe in, love and take inspiration from.’ So, after thinking about this, it dawned on me that music for me was so sacred, the practicing of it, became a type of ritual, hence, The Ritualists!
Q: The sound is something interesting as it sounds as the offspring between different genres and diversified influences. Can you give us more details about the writing process, sound treatments and production?
Christian: You are correct about the different genres. I like to believe that we have created something somewhat unique in blending my love of glam, post punk & British music in general. I usually write the songs and present them to the band in various forms of completeness. They add the cherries & toppings to make it a fine cake for consumption. With the production, Jeff Binder & I co-produced with Kris Sampson on most tracks and David Sisko on two others, and we wanted something that didn’t conform to a lot of modern Rock standards. With the mix we tried to break away from the drum-heavy, dry stuff we were hearing and we opted for a variety of effects and dynamic bass/treble relationships in the mix that we believe enhanced the vibe of the songs.
Q: Tell us a bit more about your background as singer and the importance of the vocals, which definitely is one of the album’s main strengths and characteristics?
Christian: Thank you! I’ve been singing my whole life and with the vocals for these songs we definitely embraced some vocal gymnastics and pyrotechnics. However, the true focus for me has always been on the melody. The melody is my first priority. In my opinion, a song can have wonderful singing and incredible musicianship, but if there is no melody that grabs you, it is an exercise in futility.
Q: What kind of album did you want to accomplish with “Painted People”? were the other main focuses, eventually challenges and are there some aspects you aren’t totally satisfied with?
Christian: With the album, I wanted something with a defined focus, a recurrent vibe, but songs that also displayed some interesting diversity. For me, the challenge with recording anything is always getting the recorded versions of the song to sound like the ‘version’ I’m hearing inside my own head! This is often-times a near-impossible task! LOL. I would say the first song on the record that nearly accomplishes this Herculean feat is “Rattles.” So, if you want an idea of what is inside my head, reference “Rattles.”
Q: What do you try to express by the lyrical content and what’s the link with the title of the album and the artwork?
Christian: I love writing lyrics. In these particular songs, I contemplate love, war, death, mythology, Romance Poetry and the idea of belonging to something bigger than myself.
Q: You’re based in New York, which is often considered as a very inspiring and ‘arty’ town when it comes to music. How does that feel from the inside and what’s your perception about the European scene considering you’ve been singed to Out Of Line?
Christian: It certainly can be ‘arty.’ NYC has its moments and has been instrumental in shaping our musical growth/development. The freedom it allows and the struggling artists are such an inspiration.
As you can probably guess from listening to the record, I have quite a fondness for European music, particularly UK bands. I really can’t comment on the scene, per se, as I have had no experience of it. I do know that these rather tiny countries (in comparison to the USA), have produced a ridiculous number of genius musicians of which I am in awe!