Check out the article this interview was done for over at https://hardbeat.co.uk/the-unsigned-bands-of-bloodstock
Explain a bit about the sound and story of A Ritual Spirit.
Oli – We were born from the ashes of a previous band, we were essentially session musicians playing the singer’s songs and it didn’t sit right with us so three of us left and formed A Ritual Spirit with the aim to write and play the songs that we wanted to. We’re sculpted by our influences and without really meaning to mixed elements of rock, metal, grunge and punk and ended up with our heavy-rock sound.
Dave – Its all Stevie and Oli’s fault… They started this… They made me join… They make me play the music… I just wanted to hang out and drink beer!
Steve – The band was actually the brainchild of mine and our first bass player Iain, we were return-ing home from a recording session with a band we were playing in at the time and thought it would have been great had we done that with another band, so it grew from there. We had been playing pop-punk kinda stuff and knew we wanted to play something that was more along our own musical interests. Oli later joined that band and I quickly asked him if he would be interested in doing some-thing else, after a couple of false starts we started writing and getting other people involved. After what seemed like an age I asked Dave, who I had played in another band with years ago, if he would help us out of what was quickly becoming a Spinal Tap-esque drummer search! Luckily for us he’s still ‘helping us out’ – the only thing we knew we wanted sound wise was music we enjoyed playing and believed in.
Martin – The story of A Ritual Spirit is still a relatively new story to me having joined in 2016. The guys have been together a while beforehand and I had known them quite well from the local scene, but wasn’t involved with their music. Now though, it’s been a blast the last two years – our sound is a bit different to most in the scene; usually we’re the light band on a heavy bill or the heavy band on a light bill. I think that comes from the musical influences we harbour – Oli and I lean towards hard rock and grunge; Stevie and Dave are proper metalheads!
What band at Bloodstock are you most excited to be playing alongside?
Steve – Suicidal Tendencies, Priest and Onslaught – to be mentioned even nearly next to those guys is such an honour for me as I grew up listening to them, going to see them and plastering my walls in posters of them, along of course with Queen Doro…but I looked at her posters very differently!
Dave – On the New Blood Stage – Drudge, Valafar and Obzidian. On the other Stages – Judas Priest, Suicidal Tendencies (I have a horrible feeling we’re gonna miss these guys though), Mr. Big, Gojira, Devil Driver, At The Gates, Onslaught and Dead Label. But these are just the bands that I already know and follow! I need to check out all the others as I’m sure there are a few gems in there still to be found.
Martin – To be honest, everyone on the new blood stage. This is our collective chance to introduce new rock and metal to a wider audience and I can’t wait for all the bands to bring their top game. Aside from that, it’s Devildriver for me. Never had the opportunity to see them live so I can’t wait!
Oli – There’s so many great bands playing, it’s difficult to name just one. It’s an honour and a privilege to be on a bill alongside all of them. We’re playing the Friday so it’s pretty exciting to be playing on the same day as the likes of Suicidal Tendencies and Judas Priest. I’ve seen Gojira on their last two UK tours too so if I had to whittle it down to one band it’d be them.
What does playing Bloodstock mean to you?
Steve – It’s amazing! To get the chance to play a premier festival is such a thrill and something we are all so proud of, the amount of love and support we’ve had from people wishing us well has been really overwhelming and has kicked it home that it’s something we have to respect and not take a second of it for granted, most bands don’t ever get the chance to play gigs like this so we will take the opportunity to rip it up!
Martin – It’s an honour to play such a prestigious metal event. We’ve played some smaller festivals before as a band and they’re great but this is the pinnacle. We’re obviously a long way from being a household name but to even be on the same bill as legends such as Judas Priest is amazing.
Oli – We’re ecstatic, it’s hands down the best thing that’s happened to this band. Stevie and myself are fortunate enough to have played a major UK festival in the past in our previous band and we headlined a stage at Wildfire Festival last summer so we know what to expect to a certain extent but having the opportunity to play at such a renowned festival is incredible.
Dave – Bloodstock is a major event in the Heavy Metal calendar, and we are really proud of our-selves for getting the opportunity to perform at it. We know other bands who have raved about the experience at previous Bloodstocks, and are pleased to be following in their footsteps. Also pleased to be catching up with friends that are not local to us these days, and hopefully make a load more new ones as well over the weekend.
Can you say a bit about how brilliant of an opportunity Metal 2 the Masses is?
Dave – Where do you start with this question!? Two sides to this question. From the fan side, it’s a great event showcasing a bunch of new up and coming bands all in one place. And if you are a regu-lar Bloodstock attendee, you can help get your favourite local band on the New Blood stage. From the band side, it’s a great event to bring bands together that may never cross paths under normal cir-cumstances. Looking forward to staying in touch with some of these guys, and hopefully we can share future gigs with them. Mini tours to each other’s home towns kinda thing. Playing the New Blood stage is great exposure to potential fans and the media. We’ve not even left Edinburgh and we’re already being talked about on various websites and chat forums.
Steve – It’s a fantastic competition, we never looked at it like a battle of the bands though, we made friends with lots of the bands we played with, supported the bands who were playing but also learned a lot from watching them, if we went in with the ‘in it to win it’ attitude I don’t think we would have gotten the most out of the experience and it would most certainly have put more pres-sure on ourselves.
Oli – It’s a truly sincere competition which nurtures and develops bands without moulding them or shaping their sound. We went out in the semi-finals in 2017 and thought we’d give it another shot this year, we’re so glad we did! We’re not the heaviest of bands out there so we weren’t sure how we’d stand up next to the other bands but even if we hadn’t won we’d be glad to have had the opportunity to play the heats and network with the other bands. We’ve come out of the competition not only victors but with new friends too.
Martin – It’s a fantastic competition that gives unsigned acts an opportunity to showcase themselves. I think it’s important however to use it as a networking opportunity too; we played it in 2017 as well and although we didn’t win that year, we made some good friends and contacts. We secured gigs from it. Relationships in the unsigned world are important and Metal 2 the Masses gives bands the opportunity to build them.