As I've read on the promo CD, the band was formed in 2000, and in 2003 you recorded some songs to release a promo to send it to same labels. After that, some of the songs finished on compilations. Then, in 2004, you recorded what would become "Spun forth as dark nets", which finally was released by Neurotic Records. I'd like to know, how and why did this project start? Is it a full time band or just a project for you two(as I know David plays in some other bands, like Psycroptic and The Amenta)? And why did you choose "Ruins" as monicker?
Dave and I have known one another for such a long time, I always thought that we might get a band happening eventually, we had performed together in different circumstances before with different projects, but this vision has come together over a long period of planning. For the name I always wanted something to the point and sharp, probably a single word… the sort of word that will be uttered constantly regardless of referring to our band. Now it always makes me smile anytime someone says the word RUINS, or RUINed, or RUINing. This music comes from the RUINS of my mind. It is made of my experiences, the RUINS of my life. And on the other hand, out of the creation, the construction… there is of course the destructive intent…. The ghastly and haunting, meditative place that we try to touch with our music that should indeed RUIN everything!
Let's speak a bit about the style of the band. As i said on my review of the CD, I feel a really strong Immortal influence on your songs, although there are some Death Metal touches too. Am I right with this influence or you think it's not so obvious? How would you define your music? Which are the biggest influences of the band, as well from music as from other sources? Which is the feeling you want to transmit with your music?
Immortal have been special for me over the years, particularly the first few albums; and not surprisingly certain patterns emerge in our music that are perhaps familiar. There is so much in the music of Ruins however that is personal, (this is my reason, to exercise my emotions, feelings, and visions, my experience), and coupling this with hugely varying musical inspiration, I think we clearly do our own thing. But yes I adhere to the archetypes where necessary. There is value in the music’s progress, it is good to be unique, but there must be a strong base also. There are many Norwegian Black Metal influences in Ruins, but amongst so much else, this is simply part of what has shaped my style.
The primary motivation for me to write music at all absolutely comes from my states within, these are of course influenced by external factors, but really my music is coming to me when no one else’s music will do… if this makes any sense. I am detached from others and their expressions. This is how I can summon the clarity to formulate my own work, with great distance between me and all else, in meditative states. I have tried to begin to explain the myriad of ingredients in my musical diet, but never manage to get far with it. Let me say Ruins works from such fundamentals as anything from Slayer to Slint, Suffocation to Satyricon, and just so much more than I can say. There is a lot in there, but I will also say that this is not some contrived bunch of cross-over rubbish, this is our thing, its basis in spirit is something that it shares with what is real black metal.Beyond this I avoid categorization as much as possible.
Regarding the feelings we transmit, I have my meanings and people may directly relate, or it may be cryptic enough that people continually read their own meaning… this is fine, we hope to stir your personal demons, your own turmoil and terror, your truth, this is the only truth. The themes I concern myself with are primarily those of life and death and the transience. The dimensional construct, different spheres, different layers thereof… Ideas of magic and curses in which we are entangled, luck and/or fate (wyrd), the wheel turning as cyclical interdependence, or the wheel that is perhaps pushed along… ‘Spun Forth as Dark Nets’ I think works to hint at such ideas as these…My main inspirations are primarily altered states of reality. Dreams with lucidity or otherwise, out of body experiences, basically just experiences of different layers of the dimensional construct. There is much that is to encapsulate terror, the grimness, shivers, it comes from some dark places. Although there is the constant recognition of impending doom, we do attempt to inspire the will power in instances, we play savage music and feel pride in this, in some cases the lyrics would assert this, but the duality is of course this place of sheer terror which words can only hint at. What lurks here can and will Ruin everything, and we touch this with the music.
I can say "Spun forth as dark nets" can be considered an important extreme metal album for 2005. And I think it's production has a part of importance, as the album sounds really brutal, as well as powerfull and clear. Where was it recorded? I've seen on the promo that it was mastered by Tue Madsen, why did you choose him? Which of his previous works made you take this decision?
The drums were recorded at Red Planet with Stew Long, but all else was handled amongst ourselves, we recorded where we rehearse with Joe Haley taking care of the technical. We were all pretty well in on the mixing process but by Joe’s hand. It was as good as such experiences can be, when we have these moments of finality. I am very pleased with our results, and more than pleased by the relative freedom when compared to previous recording and studio experiences.
Regarding Tue, it was just that our options here in Australia were limited and expensive, when compared with the expertise in metal styles of music available to us internationally. All else to do with the albums manufacture was to be happening in Europe, the label Neurotic is based in The Netherlands and basically took care of it all. It just made sense in comparison to any other options, Tue was the obvious choice of what options we may have had. He was directed via Neurotic to a degree, but to be honest we were very pleased with our mix before it was even mastered, so we simply chose Tue out of a couple of options and waited to see what would happen. We thought out of what options were available that he could do a good job of it, and he has done in my opinion.
Again, although I don't have the lyrics of your songs, I feel an Immortal vibe in the titles, as they seam to speak about cold and dark matters. Can you explain us a bit which are the themes you speak about on them? Which are your favourite kind of
As I have said already, I have my meanings and people may directly relate this exactly, or it may be cryptic enough that people continually read their own meaning… The themes I concern myself with are primarily those of life and death and the transience. The dimensional construct, different spheres, different layers thereof… Ideas of magic and curses in which we are entangled, luck and/or fate (wyrd), the wheel turning as cyclical interdependence, or the wheel that is perhaps pushed along… ‘Spun Forth as Dark Nets’ I think works to hint at such ideas as these…
Lyrically, some songs are basically summaries of my studies, some are much more personal accounts of some circumstance or other, be they mine or someone else relayed through me. I deal with out of body experiences and dreams, time travel, curses, magic, life and death. The relationship between the life of the physical self, and those experiences of spirits or oneness.
The cover of "Spun forth as dark nets" was designed by Lorenzo Mariani, the same guy who did the last Darkthrone's album
cover. Why did you choose him? Did you told him an idea or he did it on his own's? What does it simbolize?
I had seen ‘Sardonic Wrath’ and was very impressed, I also new of his work with Aborym and so on. I checked out his website and we ended up in contact via email. Basically I just had a very loose idea for an image of this organic fortress, like a castle of stone, forest, and earth, or a gateway….some sort of construction; and that which looks constructed is obscured or consumed by the nature of the surrounds; the fortress becomes an organism and perhaps has died or begun to decay. I don’t know that I even gave him much direction at all initially, just some of our music to listen to, and get a vision from that. Lorenzo has captured a fine vision of the music of Ruins, a dialectic or duality to ponder… to couple the name Ruins with this image. We are very pleased with the work he has done for us.
Being a band with only two members seems quite complicate to make live shows. Have you already thought about it? Are you going to make any presentation of this CD? How will you manage it? Where would you like to play and with which bands?
We are rehearsing with two others to comprise our live formation, and we should be ready to tour as soon as possible. But we will just have to see what falls for now, we will tour soon… where and with who? I don’t know, no plans, but something, somewhere soon.
What about the future of the band? As the songs on this CD date from 2004, have you started doing new stuff? Will it continue in the same vein of will there be any changes? Will the band stay with the same members? As I know Psycroptic was signed by Neurotic Records too, I imagine you'll stay on this label for some time, am I wrong? What do you think about your label mates?
We are currently working on new stuff, besides rehearsing the live line-up. For purposes of writing and recording we remain the two-piece, Dave and I… this works best for us. Our music is a little further evolved, same path just a little further along. But yes the band remains the same… and Neurotic is just fine, so long as we manage to keep it together and get things happening, we hope they will continue to release our work.
Apart of playing in an extreme metal band, what do you do with your lives? How often do you rehearse with the band?
We do not play together often enough, but I guess this keeps me keen. Dave would play everyday regardless, one thing or another… he knows me aswell as anyone, I am a little complicated. Still I am always working on something; most creative things are happening for me when I am seemingly inactive, just consumed by my mind… it all comes out in the end. Dave and I both work regular jobs too, I work as a cook.
I know some great bands from Australia, like Psycroptic, of course, Blood Duster, Alchemist, Destroyer 666 or Abominator.
Which other bands can you recommend us from today's australian scene? Have you got any other projects apart of Ruins? Is Australia a good place to play in an extreme metal band for live shows and all the stuff?
There are a handful of bands that are really doing great things I think, obviously heaps of rubbish too. People probably know of old stuff like Sadistik Exekution, or Bestial Warlust, and now Destroyer 666; as far as black metal goes the better known bands like Astriaal and Nazxul. I think Abyssic Hate is pretty legendary. Also we have our connections to bands like Arkheth and Carbon and the Furor. Not particularly black metal bands… Amenta and Portal, Portal are by far one of my favourite bands ever. I really wouldn’t know… these are only bands I have ever had much contact with. Also from Tasmania there is the haunting and terrifying Striborg. We are pretty isolated here in Tasmania; and capital cities in Australia are so far apart in comparison to touring Europe or the United States, it is not really a problem but yes to tour Australia requires a great deal of travel for how many stops we are talking about. It is what it is, and we wouldn’t want it to change much, but these are the circumstances here in comparison to Europe or US.
Are there any albums that surprised you this last times? What do you think about today's extreme metal scene? In my opinion we have again a lot of really good bands that are releasing excellent stuff. Is there anything you don't like about it?
I don’t know what to tell you? I like a bunch of bands that exist now in this time, too many to list really… so that is pretty good. I have found stuff in the last few years that really for me is just as important to me now as any of my musical influences have been since birth; but to find these I have waded through a lot of shit don’t worry. I cannot be bothered to have some sort of senile jaded rip on all the current things I am unimpressed with, once again more than you could imagine and where would I start? And it really would only serve to mention some drivel that does not warrant a mention. My favourite things lately… Leviathan/Lurker of Chalice/Twilight, Craft, Portal, still so much more… and always playing the masters, always the classics.
Ok, the questions end here. I hope I'll have the pleasure to listen to a new album of Ruins in not too many time. Thanks
for answering. Last words are yours...
We hope to Ruin you just as soon as we can.
Gia Thanatos is a webzine dedicated to music for the apocalyptic times. No matter the scene or genre it comes from, and mainly chosen according to its author's taste.