The Ritualists……A Declunk Back And Forth Interview

NYC band The Ritualists have a new album out ‘Baroque and Bleeding’. The title track is the lead single. Get to know them a little in this interview then give the track a listen.

Hello The Ritualists……welcome to the Declunk universe. Please describe your surroundings so we can sit with you in our mind’s eye.
Our surroundings tend to be a studio space in DUMBO, with lots of vintage amplification, some psychedelic stage lighting and a few Persian rugs…

Please introduce the band, you know…..who does what? Who makes the best coffee? Etc.

I’m Christian, I sing, write tunes, play the bass and even a bit of drums.  I’m fascinated by mythology and Romanticism, but not music theory.   
Jeff Binder provides the keyboards and the sampling, and the assurance that everyone is playing in the same key, all the while modeling a plethora of boater and fedora style hats
Ignacio Lecumberri plays the bass and so critically, the studio. He engineered our new record.
David Andreana plays a mean guitar, sings backing vox & often provides rather hilarious “re-interpretations” of Ritualists classics, in styles ranging from Carl Perkins to Weird Al Yankovic.  
Eric Kuby, our drummer, is our newest member and is easily the most easy-going member of the bunch.  Eric’s excellent meter has enabled us to incorporate sequencing to our live sound.  

Where are you folks based and do you fancy living elsewhere? How long has the band been together and how did the name come about?

We are based mostly in Brooklyn.  The current lineup has been together for about 5 months.  Jeff and I have been working together the longest.  This new album is actually the recorded debut of Dave on guitar throughout and Iggy on bass for “Forbidden Love.’  Eric has marvelously taken over the live drum duties and will perform on the next record.  As far as other places to live, as a tourist, I can think of many places that seem wonderful, particularly London (for the music) and Athens (for the history).  But, I must admit we have quite a love-affair going with NYC.      

What music did you grow up listening to? Did family or friends have an early influence on introducing you to music?

At a very young age, my older sister exposed me to the classics, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Blondie and Queen.  As I sort of came into my own, and started to find my voice, I developed a fascination with the sounds of Duran Duran and the British New Wave movement.  

Tell us about your new album Baroque and Bleeding. Is there a theme running through it?

The new album was a great example of making lemonade.  The world was sadly in turmoil and on pause, and we were fortunate enough to have studio access (through our label Suite484) and the ability to express ourselves creatively.  The album has a few recurring themes, one that we seem to keep referring back to is a dissection of certain archetypes.  While I know the suffering or “bleeding” artist isn’t necessarily at the top of any Jungian list, I think it has relevance for many of us in our particular scene and of our particular ilk.  We’re on a mission to bring some danger and glamour back to Rock-n-Roll, and in doing so, we are going to face obstacles that cause us to struggle and in a sense, “bleed.”  

How do you go about writing the songs? Music first then lyrics? The other way round? Or a bit of both?
There is no set formula.  While I’ve always loved to sing, my introduction to music was through the drum set.  And I started out as a singing drummer.  So, some songs are first developed through a groove or beat concept.  However, the singing drummer thing wasn’t entirely to my liking, so I picked up the next most-rhythmic instrument I could think of, which was the bass.  So naturally, many songs originate with a bass riff or rhythm.  But, to be perfectly honest, the most creative space I’ve found is my own shower.  I’ve written countless vocal melodies, lyrics, even guitar/keyboard riffs and drum beats, while showering!  I’m not exactly sure why that is the case, but possibly, the combination of relaxation, along with no outside distractions really lends itself to the creative process.     

How would you describe your sound?
In reviewing the prior album, one journalist described us as Gothic Art Rock.  I’ll take it!  

What plans do you have for 2022? Tour? A trip to the UK? A Holiday in the sun?
Pandemic permitting, we have our sights set on the UK.  It is a dream of mine to perform for a British audience.  Much of my inspiration is very rooted in that region and I would be honored to perform this music in such a setting.  

If we were to come to your neck of the woods for a weekend, where would you take us? You are the Entertainments Committee!

New York, like most cities, I imagine, can be a dream or a nightmare, depending on your level of familiarity with the local customs/traditions.  If live music is your thing, a new spot has opened in Brooklyn called TV Eye.  We performed there recently and had a blast.  The sound system is top notch and they even have incredible food.  Berlin [a venue in Manhattan’s Lower East Side], where we are doing our album release on Dec. 3rd, has an excellent sound system and a cozy cool underground vibe.  If you’ve come to dance, we recommend The Beauty Bar, the bartenders and staff are the coolest AND friendliest in NYC.  The DJ’s, including Michael T & Twig the Wonderkid masterfully balance rock-n-roll dance floor classics with indie cool.  Also, the decor is all 1950’s hair salon glamour. 

Any bands/artists that you recommend we check out?

Newish bands we currently love include Toy, Wand and Temples.  Slightly older, but still new in our eyes and highly recommended are White Lies, The Horrors, and Uncle Acid.  And of course, the classics, but I don’t think I need to recommend David Bowie!  However, I can confidently recommend The Pretty Things, which are an incredible band from that Brit-Invasion era, and sadly, not many seem to know them.  If you haven’t heard them, check out their Parachute album.  It is a stone cold classic!  

Thanks very much for taking the time with Declunk. We look forward to catching you in action sometime soon.

You’re very welcome

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