Monday, June 4, 2012
Ramming Speed bring full tilt metal to New London On June 7
Thursday, June 7, 2012
El 'n' Gee
86 Golden St
New London, CT
$10.00 / All Ages
w/ Phobia, Strong Intention, DxCx, InTheShit, Spitting Black, Throne Hunter, American't
Since 2005, Boston's Ramming Speed, have been bringing their crossover influenced, crust-tinged thrash to the masses, releasing one full length (2009's "Brainwreck"), a couple of EPs and a split with fellow brothers in arms, ANS, on the Tankcrimes label. A notorious horde of road dogs, the band has played almost anywhere and everywhere, not only in the United States, but in Europe also, where their set at the vaunted Obscene/Extreme Festival drew them raves from the European press. Since the band, with a line-up that features new members Blake Chuffskin on guitar and Ben Bagonen on bass, along with mainstays Peter Gallagher on vocals, Kallen Bliss on guitar and Jonah Livingston on drums, will be playing direct support to Phobia this Thursday at the El N Gee in New London, we decided to send Livingston a bunch of questions on a varying bunch of topics and below are his answers. Enjoy. And don't forget to check out the show.
Why the three year wait on the new album? What were the reasons for this?
We've always been more of a live band than a studio band. For the few years following our first LP (Brainwreck) we just toured, toured, toured as much as possible. It took a while before we really sat down at home and worked on songwriting, and even then we got distracted doing a 7” (Always Disgusted, Never Surprised) and the ANS split for Tankcrimes. Some bands write on the road but we've always needed to lock ourselves in the practice room to get shit done; thankfully it finally happened and the new songs are better then anything I could have hoped for.
How is the new record different from past recordings? How is it similar?
Since I've been sitting behind the drums for every demo, record, and show, I think it's easy for me to hear us hinting at influences early on that weren't fully explored until recently but, in terms of outside listeners, I think people are going to be blown away by the difference. The biggest thing is that the hints of grindcore, dbeat, and classic heavy metal guitar work from earlier releases are now pushed into the forefront. We used to be a thrash band with bits of this and that; now everything works together more completely. It's also worth nothing that Kurt Ballou engineered the record and pushed us unbelievably hard compared to all past studio experiences. The result is a HUGE sounding recording where you hear us playing at the height of our game. I really cannot wait until we have a release date figured out!
What do the new members of the band (Blake Chuffskin and Ben Banogen) bring to the band? Is this going to be your set line up going forward?
Blake plays with a mountain of confidence and wasn't remotely afraid to drop Ferrari-sized guitar swagger all over the new songs. His style is much different from our old second guitar player, but I think it's brought some freshness to the band having his punk informed heavy metal shred. I've known him for years and, as much as I really hate to make his ego any bigger, I've always been a fan of his bands. As a drummer it's been a pleasure having Ben join up. He's a newer face, but has been great at taking the wild guitar heroics and working with me to anchor them down to. Dude is familiar with all the crusty hardcore we try to metalize and is incredibly easy to get along with on the road. The two of them sweat buckets on stage and work hard in the studio, so I'm happy with how things came together.
What made you decide to work with Kurt Ballou? How did it go? What do you think he brought to the recording process (besides having Nate Newton guest on a song)?
Not to get weird, but it's not lost on me what a privilege it is to record with Kurt. He's been the dude at the helm for so many of my favorite records from the last decade and has an unparalleled knack for nailing heavy music. It seemed like a no-duh to try and get us in front of his ears and luckily my other band, Backstabbers Inc., did a short session with him a while back. This was the foot in the door which led him to give Ramming Speed a chance. The Nate thing actually happened separate of Kurt's involvement (at least, I think). We've been acquaintances for years and RS have played with Doomriders. When it came to finish up writing the vocal parts, there was a chorus that just seemed perfect for him. He seemed psyched to swing by the studio and lay down a quick bit of that Danzig/Melvins-style singing.
How would you say the band's sound has developed since its formation in 2005? Do you think the new members help refine the sound?
I think I already covered the progression of our sound over the years, but the changes we were forced to make over the last year were definitely what gave us a chance to really get wild on the new tunes. We used to argue for hours over riffs and parts, and at the time it seemed like that process is what led to music we would all enjoy. What ended up happening is that when we lost two members, the songwriting process became streamlined and the three of us that were left (Pete, Kallen, and I) were much more willing to give weirder things a chance. The new record has tons of really major-sounding guitar harmonies that might not have flown in the past, and Kallen even wrote a slow song (gasp!) which definitely wouldn't have passed with the old guard. It's also worth nothing that with only one “real” guitar player left in the band, Pete (our singer) ended up playing guitar at practice and writing about half the record. Ben and Blake showed up in time to toss in finishing touches and solos into the mix before recording, but most of the songwriting was done when we had no idea what our line up was.
Are you putting out the new record on TDB? When? And does it have a title you could share with us?
We've been talking to some of the bigger metal labels and things are still up in the air. I released our first couple records on TDB and, while we were able to sell a couple thousand copies doing it the DIY method, I think we're all excited about the idea of having an outside party to help with marketing, promotion, and distribution. The record is going to be called “Doomed to Destroy, Destined to Die”.
When you take to the stage this Thursday in New London, will you be playing any of the songs of the new album in your set?
We'll be playing 4 or 5 of the new songs and opening for Phobia is the perfect time to introduce them. In grind we crust!
What are the band's plans once the new album is released? Are we going to see a lot of touring as usual?
We've toured the shit out of our old records so right now is the calm before the storm while we play a few gigs here and there and talk to labels. Once the record comes out it'll absolutely be balls to the wall on the fucking road. We're dying to get back to Europe and it would be a dream to hit Asia, Australia, and all that. If anyone sees us out in the coming year make sure to give the merch guy psychedelics.
Thanks for talking to me about the band, see you on the highway!