I wanted to introduce you to a band I discovered through
bandcamp when they released their first song. This band is pretty special to me, as I follow them since their early songs. I had the chance to see them and met them a couple of times, in Germany (at CMAR and MTS).
As we often do before the show we decided to publish a small interview before their Paris show.
Hi Ryloth. First of all, thank you for taking the time to answer this small interview. As far as I know, the band's name comes from the name of a Star Wars planet. Your T-shirt artwork is related to Dune (with a Fremen on it). I was asking myself, why did you choose this thematic for the band ? To dream and to forget the harsh reality we live all the time ? I was wondering, do you think that the world is going to an end because of the ecological problem and the outer space may be the only outcome for the human race to survive ? Is that a reason why Ryloth is always referring to such ideas (space, sci-fi) ? Or is it just for fun ? Speaking of that do you have any sci-fi books recommendations or books that had some kind of influence on Ryloth ?
Phil: I basically like sci-fi and the opportunities that come along with the genre, when it comes not only to lyrics but also to music (syntheziser, samples) and last but not least artwork.
Daniel: Sci-Fi interests me, insofar as it isn't considered canon in academia or maybe in general. Despite this ignorance (although this might've changed today), sci-fi developed with an interest in the humanities and natural sciences and its approach to these sciences had to develop in a manner, that's different to the actual shape in academia.
But I'm also interested in what other people think of sci-fi, thats why the book I'd recommend might go in a different direction, than the one I depicted. I really enjoyed reading Ursula K. Le Guin's "The Dispossessed" and Octavia E. Butler's "Parable of the Sower".
Will: While I think it's totally legit to flee into imaginary worlds with the help of books or movies/series every once in a while, this was not the intent with choosing that name or this "theme" for the the band. As Daniel and Phil both said, the fascination lies somewhere else. Thats why i want to add Anne Leckie's "Radch Empire Trilogy" in which she sets a space opera in in a world where people are not distinguished by gender, the default pronoun is "she" and main character used to be a sentient space ship.
As for the doomsday theory: I strongly believe that the world isn't ending due to ecological problems in the near (or even not so near) future and that we will have colonies in space (which are as of now literally sci-fi) at the same time and not because the planet has become uninhabitable. Capitalism is able to exist (and probably thrive) on the ruins of environment/civilisation as we know it as it doesnt need vast green fields, healthy forests or clean natural waters.
Vicky: I, for my part, just joined the band, but my art interest are looking towards feminism and the "cyborg women" as proposed by Donna Harraway in her "Cyborg Manifesto". Ive been referred to that book a few years ago by a teacher and the theory of hybrid human (women/queer people having to change their nature in order to fit to this made-for-men world) really spoke to me and inspired me to think about how do we, as women/queer people, have to adapt to survive. And of course, who speaks of cyborgs also has to (re)think the relation with technologies and future human kind.
I remember discovering the band through Bandcamp. The first time I listened to Archipelago I instantly believed that this sound was pretty different, with a mix of different styles that was never done before (for me). I'm particularly speaking of the way you use the double kick, the way you mix Screamo and some (post ?) Black metal. To my opinion you belong to a Screamo scene that is emerging and try to change the codes and the styles by incorporating new elements ... I'll call it Blackened Screamo (I'm thinking of Niboowin for instance). First of all, do you agree with this analysis ? Second, what were the influences for the band style ; do you listen to both Screamo and Black metal, if so can you give us some examples of bands that have influenced Ryloth ?
Phil: We're all quite different when it comes to our own preferences in music. Surely, there's some middle ground and this might be where we meet when putting together our songs, but I'd say that the spectrum of what we are listening to is pretty wide-ranged and we don't want to limit ourselves.
Daniel: What Phil said, for sure. To put it in abstract terms, I think it's rarely a good thing for music to become self-referential. Not so much as in having a most diverse "musical language" (we, as one band, won't be able to cover that), but as in bringing sounds to places, where they might not be as present. I don't know if our music achieves that, but it certainly is a goal for me these days.
Will: I think the term "blackened" is so over-used these days. Maybe its the new "post" prefix :D
Two bands that influence me a lot are Battle Of Wolf 359 and Titan (CAN) but whenever I really try to write something that goes vaguely into either direction, I fail miserably and the outcome is some riff that fits with Ryloth, especially with Daniel approaching it in a totally different way, than I imagined he would do. So, I guess, I keep listening to them.
I had the chance to see you play live twice. First time at Miss the Stars fest, second time at Cry me a river fest, both in 2019. We had the chance to listen to "new" songs live (I mean songs that were unrecorded at that time). Do you plan to release an "album" soon ? Or have some new songs released for the tour ? I know that you add Vicky as the main "singer" of the band, did it change a lot of things for the band. Did you change the lyrics or did you change some parts to fit with her "style" ?
Phil: I never wanted to do both in Ryloth (drums and vocals), but despite trying a few times, we never found someone for that position and so we went along with it, sharing the vocals between three of us. So I'm super happy we found someone that allows me to focus exclusively on drums.
Daniel: I think, we are in an "orientation phase" at the moment. That means, that only in the future it'll become apparent, how our style will have been changed. That's a lame, but maybe the most sci-fi answer ever. With another person working in the band, things will be different. I'm excited about our work together and curious about what might change. But maybe Vicky can answer the last part of your question best.
Vicky: We are releasing an album soon, but due to lack of time and and experience (this is my first band ever) it was recorded only with the core members. But we did rearrange lyrics for live shows, since I "inherited" all of Phil's parts and some of the others on top. Luckily, since this is my first time, i get to find/adapt my style with the best mates and all their patience towarda the facts that i never did music before. For me it was indeed, a big life change, new challenges and experiences, but i feel like it went pretty smoothly and the band seems pretty fine with letting me explore.
The only lyrics I had the chance to read are Archipelago lyrics, which seems to be very ... poetic, to be honest I have difficulties to get the meaning of it. Can you tell me more about these lyrics. Will all the songs have these
kinds of lyrics or do you also write about the "real" world, for instance political stuff ... or anything else.
Will: As i am the one who wrote that very lyrics, i want to start by emphasizing that its absolutely about the real world and politics: in fact, i wanted to describe my thoughts, feelings, fears that i had at the time seeing right-wing parties gaining momentum and strength all over Europe, especially in Germany where we now have the situation that a defacto neo-nazi party (AFD) is in the parliament and in some regions of the country even about to become the biggest party which puts them in a position to be either a very strong opposition or maybe being part of the provincial government rather sooner than later. As we can see more and more, there are so called conservative politicians of various parties that have no problem what so ever to form a coalition.
Among other more subtle references as Brecht and Arndt for example, i used George R.R. Martin's "The Song Of Ice And Fire"-setting as there are also a lot of schemes going on behind the scenes to hint towards all the near-unbelievable connections the state has to not only non-violent and moderate right-wing forces but apparently also to hardcore-militant neonazi cells for example the NSU (National Socialist Underground) who killed at least 9 migrants and a police officer, dozens of attempted murders, three bombings and several robberies over the course of almost a decade maybe with partial knowledge and even maybe help (read about Andreas Temme) of the Federal Bureau for the Protection of the Constitution.
The last months made it even more evident - I'm referring to Gruppe Freital, "Hannibal", "Nordkreuz" and Franco A., the murder of CDU-politician Walter Lübcke and the increasing number of assaults that found its temporary peak in the assassination of 10 people in Hanau a few days ago - that there's a climate where its not only understandable to feel of being alone and helpless as expressed in "Archipelago" but also that there is an urgent need to speak/stand up against it at any given time and place. Fascists and (neo-)nazis are not threatening "foreigners" or people "who look different" as the media often suggests with their language of ostracism, but in the end everyone who is not in line with their misanthropic agenda.
Vicky: As the new singer, i started writing some lyrics that mix both real world and political issues, but since i like that blurry meaning as written previously, words will be played with to make it feel like a connection between politics and sci-fi, and of course with feminist and narrative discourse.
As far as I know, you are close and involved in the DIY scene. I wanted to have your opinion about the rise of social media (facebook, instagram), and music streaming "applications" (bandcamp, spotify). Do you think it changed the "scene" ? I mean ... I feel a lack of sincerity when using those ... things and see it more like a threat than something good for the music and the scene we love. It changed a lot the way the gigs are going on, people always using their smartphone, to film or take photos and sometimes forgetting the most important thing ... listening to the music. Do you think the rising of these new technologies changed a lot of things during shows ? I remember going to a bar in Germany saying not to use phones and to enjoy the good time with friends, this kind of "advice" or "behavior" do not exist in France at all and I have the feeling the German people have a different opinion about this than the rest of the countries I have every visited, am I right ?
Phil: We're having very different opinions about social media, some of us barely use it, some do it on a daily basis.
I think that everyone "can" profit from it as in gettting connected and for example finding help within a community as a small hardcore band to get an album released, shows organized, etc, or even on a individual level finding like-minded people.
However, its both a blessing and a curse.
Vicky: Since im a French Canadian, i cannot talk for how German people see the arise of social media, but i feel like its a necessary change. Social media is still real life, and of course the lack of authenticity might be an issue, but thats why the users need to keep DIY values and transpose it into the digital world. Because in fact, internet and social media are powered by the users, using it and developping their "réseau" of contacts. I like social media, i like empowering movement coming from it and since it's made to be a digital copy of human social interactions, i think the DIY scene should find ways to reappropriate and adapt it to the values we have. Its accessible, it gives a way to discover bands and interact with them, breaking the boundaries and frontiers that countries are imposing to us, and i think its an amazing thing to democratize music and make the scene survive. Internet will never rob a live experience, a human contact, but it can surely enhance human organization when well used. Maybe the only thing i would like to add, combine with social media, is to support bands by being present in the community when possible, like offering places to sleep, little bit of food, go to their shows, take some pictures if that motivates you (but always with consent ;)) and care for each other, either online or offline.
Thank you for answering this small interview. I hope you will have a good time in Paris. You can add anything else as a last word. Thank you
Thank you for having us and listen to the following bands: Dianacrawls, Sur L'eau, Shalashaska, Second Guessing, Lets Start With A Forest Level, Amitié, Teryky, Old Pride, Marée Noire, No God Only Teeth, Massa Nera, Weareonfire, Closer, Dispassionate, Malatesta, R. Josef, Karloff, Still and To Languish. Shoutout to all our friends we didn't mention, we put together this list of "smaller" bands (as ourselves) and in some cases new bands on purpose instead of naming the ones that are already getting well-deserved attention.