Ritual Order are a newer North Texas band that combines elements of deathrock, gothic rock, older dark purist punk (think Chron Gen or Legal Weapon), and postpunk in a galvanizing, guitar-driven, gloomy maelstrom of glorious, shadowy noise. It’s exciting to interview them here on Grave City.
Ritual Order’s roots-y deathrock sound harkens back to Iron Mask-era Christian Death and Rozz’s other more rootsy deathrock project, Daucus Karota, but they also remind of more recent offerings by bands like Portland’s Deathcharge: Ritual Order singer Waymire coincidentally sounds a bit like like Deathcharge‘s Adam Nauseam. To date, the doomy 4 piece have only a cassette demo as well as a few songs posted on Bandcamp. But their song catalog is growing.
To date, the band have played only two shows — but they were two important shows: The first was with the fabulously talented Elix-R and out of state modern postpunk masters Pleasure Leftists, at the now sadly defunct Rubber Gloves in Denton. The second was at a Wardance event with Soft Kill, Underpass, and Aztec Death at the Double Wide. The band employ a dark punk attack that prefers a heavier and more power chord-driven approach, like the earliest material by bands like Screaming Dead and The Dark. They’re a band to watch out for in the North Texas area.
First, to get some basics out of the way, when did Ritual Order start, who all is in the band, and what instruments do they play?
Keaton: I guess Ritual Order really started to coalesce around February 2016. The band consists of Waymire (guitar/vocals), myself (drums), Carroll (bass) and Avery (guitar).
What bands were some of you guys in before deciding to form Ritual Order?
Keaton: So Waymire, Carrol, and I played in a punk band called Smear which was really the predecessor of Ritual Order. And Avery has had this solo thing for a minute now called WVRD.
Where did you get the name “Ritual Order” from, who chose it, and what is it supposed to represent with regards to the band’s sound?
Keaton: Waymire and I spent a few days joggling words together, and something about the word “ritual” was just very consistent and we eventually matched it with the right word (“order”) and it just really stuck there on out — hahaha.
When you formed Ritual Order, what was the musical direction you all wanted to go compared with members’ previous bands? Was there a certain sound or atmosphere you were wanting to create with this music, and what is it?
Keaton: Right before we left for this last Smear tour before we broke up, Waymire and I were just hangin’ in the shed (our practice space sanctuary) and we were just doing what we always do and decided to just jam some darker punk stuff as opposed to what we were doing with Smear, which was really just slimy USHC noise punk. It was really refreshing. As far as atmosphere goes I think it’s safe to say that all of us individually had a rather difficult past year personally, so naturally we just turned the lights out, maybe had a light bulb on in the corner, and just jammed pre-Ritual Order riffs. Overall we were just trying to achieve something darker than what we’ve normally done in the past.
I know I told you all I could hear some echoes of the bands Deathcharge and the earlier stuff by Rozz Williams’ Shadow Project when I listened to you guys, but what bands do you feel have had an influence on Ritual Order’s sound, and what are some of the bands that you all personally like a lot, as individual band members, that you feel have fed into the creative process, or have influenced, this band’s approach?
Keaton: This is always a hard one for us, because in most cases when I listen to something that really influences me, the byproduct comes out sounding a lot different. Sisters of Mercy, Rudimentary Peni, Christian Death, and The Spits were some of my influences when molding the band’s sound. Honestly, the Sisters’ Floodland and Rudimentary Peni’s 1983 Death Church specifically fed a lot into the whole general writing process, for me at least.
There are three songs on the Ritual Order demo that’s up on Bandcamp. How many songs total are in Ritual Order’s catalog right now, and are you working on others? When can listeners expect a physical demo or EP or other sort of release? What are the plans there?
Keaton: We have that demo and one new song we play live, and that’s about it. We definitely have like 3 other unfinished new songs, though. We’re gonna record a new 7” sometime in early 2017.
Now for a question I try to ask everyone I interview: If you were stuck on a desert island, and somehow could play records or listen to music magically, even in lieu of non-existent electricity, etc., but could only bring 5 LPs with you to listen to for the rest of your life, what 5 LPs would those be, and why?
Keaton: Oh man this question stresses me out.
Waymire: Husker Du – New Day Rising / JAMC – Honeys Dead / Sisters of Mercy – Floodland / Dinosaur Jr – Green Mind / Cold Cave – Cherish the Light Years
Keaton: Sisters – Floodland / Depeche Mode – Violator / Discharge – Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing / The Kids – Self Titled / Asylum Party – Picture One
Carroll: Earth Wind and Fire – All n All / Dwight Yoakam – Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc,. Etc. / Destruction Unit – Deep Trip / Dawn of Humans – Slurping at The Cosmos Spine / Sugar – Copper Blue
Avery: Grouper – Cover the Windows and The Walls / True Widow – Self Titled / Funerary Call – Nightside Emanations / Gold – No Image / Ryan Adams – Self Titled
Keaton: I think the best explanation is that these records have just been the most consistent things sonically to all of us individually in recent and past years, and the older records are just what changed the game for us when we discovered them at a younger age.
What are the themes prevalent in Ritual Order’s lyrics? Are there any political stances in the songs? If so, what are those about? And if not, what are some of the common motifs one might read in the lyrics, and does that fit into any overall philosophy of the band?
Austin: The lyrics are really motivated by living in a place that was very influenced by religion. Just being on the outside of everyone’s beliefs and questioning all of it.
I saw you all play with Soft Kill and Underpass and was surprised to learn that that was ya’ll’s second show. As of this interview, how many shows have Ritual Order played and what are some of the shows you all have coming up?
Keaton: We’ve played one more show since then with JJ Doll from NYC and our friends in Clear Acid. As of now, we’re playing with RAKTA and Slimy Member August 3rd, Psychic Killers and Aztec Death August 27th, DIAT and Vacant Life September 15th.
Where can folks go on the web (or otherwise) to keep track of what all is going on with Ritual Order?
Thanks, guys – great show on July 8th and I’m sure the Rakta show will also be a blast. If there’s anything else you’d like to plug or give a shout out to, now’s the chance!
Keaton: The Rakta show is gonna be killer, shout out to you for being responsible for that! And shout out to all of our friends in North Texas doing stuff whether it’s starting bands, booking shows, making zines or just participating in any way.
RITUAL ORDER have a Bandcamp page here: https://ritualorder.bandcamp.com/
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