Interview With Civil Ruin
Band Photo: Civil Ruin (?)
Friday evening (June 3), I got the chance to interview the guys from an unsigned local Vancouver band called Civil Ruin. This is how it went down:
darkstar: You guys want to introduce yourselves?
Paul: I’m Paul and I play drums.
Chris: I’m Chris and I sing.
Rick: Rick Struve, bass guitar.
Kyle: Kyle Wagner, guitar.
darkstar: How did you guys meet each other?
Paul: Me and Kyle have been playing for 5 years or so. We met Rick when he was in God Awakens. Then Rick’s band broke up so we grabbed Rick. We met Chris on a fluke. That’s pretty much it.
darkstar: What do you mean “on a fluke”?
Paul: We sent out a mass e-mail to everyone. For some reason, it went to Chris. He picked it up and he called us.
Rick: It’s been working out really good.
Paul: He’s all right.
Kyle: It was love at first sight.
Rick: Laura was our old singer back when we were called Goredred. That was the previous name of the band. There was a bit of personality conflict and kind of a musical direction conflict. So we had a less-than-amicable parting of the ways. Not sure what she’s doing now, not really interested. Chris is our new singer and he’s been great.
darkstar: How would you describe your music to people who don’t know?
Kyle: Taint bustin’ heavy metal!
darkstar: And what does that mean?
Kyle: It means whatever the hell you want it to mean.
darkstar: What kind of metal do you play?
Rick: So much. A lot of different influences. Chris is really influenced by a lot of stuff. We’re into Swedish heavy metal a lot, kind of the neo-thrash, I guess you can call it. Bands like Lamb of God, Shadows Fall, the Haunted.
darkstar: How long have you guys been playing music?
Rick: I’ve been playing in bands since I was, like, 17-18. I won’t tell you how old I am now but I’ve been playing in bands for a long time. These guys [Kyle and Paul] have been playing together for about 5 years. I’m not sure how long Chris has been playing.
Chris: It’s about 4-5 years.
darkstar: How old are the rest of you?
Paul: He’s a young one.
darkstar: Can you tell us a bit more about the EP, "God I Fucking Love Surrey"?
Rick: Well, a lot of that music was recorded while our old singer was still in the band. It’s not a very good recording. We kinda paid a guy like 500 bucks and we got kinda 500 bucks worth of recording so it’s not really the best. It’s like a couple of our songs, or rather, a few songs that we still actually play. But we’re more excited about the music we’re writing now. And that’s currently what we’re doing. We’re rehearsing the hell out of all the songs that we’ve written to do an upcoming full-length album.
darkstar: And when will that come out?
Rick: I’m guessing Christmas. Christmas, I think, would be a good idea.
darkstar: Do you have a title for that yet?
Rick: Possibly "Wake Up Screaming," which is the name of one of our newer songs. We kinda thought it would make a good title.
darkstar: What are your lyrics generally about?
Chris: They don’t usually follow the same theme. It’s just whatever’s kinda going through my head when I write a song. For me, the lyric-writing process is I record the song, jam, listen to it over and over again, do vocal patterns and whatever comes into my head is what I write about. There’s generally not a theme but a lot of stuff is about one of my ex-girlfriends. So, there you go.
Rick: It’s a never-ending mystery for that. You can always write about ex-girlfriends or ex-boyfriends.
darkstar: You guys have some pretty heavy songs on your MySpace page and then you have the acoustic track “Reversion.”
Kyle: The acoustic song was written by our buddy John. He hauls gear for us and we have been friends with him for a long time. He plays guitar so he wrote that for us. We owed it to him.
darkstar: How did you come up with the name Civil Ruin?
Rick: Kyle came up with the name, I came up with the idea for an album cover. I won’t explain what it was. It kind of touched on the basic wreckage of society and how things are constantly going downhill. But at the same time, it’s was a very calm sort of thing. And Kyle basically thought about the idea that I had. I just kind of painted him a visual picture. He just came up with the name a couple of days later and it just kinda stuck. The more we thought about it, the more we liked it. So we kept it.
Kyle: It was either that or Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem.
Rick: If you’re not familiar with that, it’s the name of the band in The Muppet Show. Unfortunately, that was already taken.
darkstar: Isn’t that like in that Weezer video?
Rick: I’m not sure.
darkstar: They had the Muppets in one of their videos.
Rick: No, they did that Happy Days video. But I don’t think I’ve seen one with the Muppet Show in it.
Chris: There’s Muppets in one of their videos.
Rick: Oh is there? I’m not a huge Weezer fan.
Kyle: I love Weezer. Weezer’s my biggest influence. “Hash Pipe” was the heaviest song I’ve ever heard in my life. It changed my life more than “The Number of the Beast.”
darkstar: What about “The Sweater Song”?
Kyle: Too whiny for me. It wasn’t hardcore enough.
darkstar: If you could tour with any band, who would you tour with?
Rick: For me, probably Meshuggah. For me.
Paul: Probably Meshuggah. But it would be awesome to do a tour with Misery Signals, the Canadian boys.
Rick: Actually, I think they’re not.
Kyle: What? They’re from Edmonton.
Rick: Oh really?
Rick: Oh sorry. Excuse me. I’m new.
Kyle: Well, I’ve always wanted to tour with Pantera but that’s not going to happen anymore. Probably like the Haunted, Shadows Fall, Meshuggah. Anyone heavy. Anyone who kicks you right in the fucking taint.
darkstar: Who are your favourite metal bands?
Rick: Oh gosh. I think we have a whole list of them.
darkstar: What about Canadian?
Rick: Canadian metal bands?
Paul: Strapping Young Lad.
Kyle: Cryptopsy, man!
Chris: Yeah, Cryptopsy. They’re awesome. And The End.
darkstar: What do you think of Simple Plan?
Rick: I try not to think about Simple Plan.
Kyle: Simple Plan? So whiny.
Rick: Don’t even get me started on Good Charlotte. Every time one of their videos comes on TV, I just want to whip my TV out the front window. I hate that whole punk thing. It’s not even punk. DOA, that was punk.
darkstar: What about the Black Halos?
Rick: The Black Halos? I knew the singer of that band when he was called Bill Mosh. He totally sold out.
darkstar: What’s his name again now?
Rick: Bill Hopeless. He used to be called Bill Mosh and he used to sing for a thrash band called Debauchery.
Kyle: What? He used to be in a thrash band?
Rick: Oh yeah.
Rick: Yeah, exactly. Of course, he doesn’t like to talk about that now. I think he spread his ass real wide for that Sub Pop album deal. But don’t quote me.
darkstar: How did you know him?
Rick: Just a band that I was in played gigs with Debauchery back. I always ran into him at parties and shit.
darkstar: Do you have any favourite non-metal artists?
Rick: Lots of them. I’ve been listening to the Beastie Boys tons lately. They’ve always been a favourite of mine. Alanis Morissette, I’m a big fan of. Enya, when I’m in the right mood. I’ve kind of got a soft spot for Yanni. Like, big orchestral shit is really cool to me. I went to the concert so shut up. I listen to a lot more stuff than just metal although I love heavy metal.
Kyle: I’ve been a metalhead since I was 10 years old.
Chris: I listen to everything, like the Mars Volta, Dredg. A bit of everything.
darkstar: Do you guys have other jobs?
Kyle: I’m unemployed right now so if you know anyone who’s looking for someone to work.
Paul: You always have to have one unemployed member in the band. It was me for the longest time.
Rick: I just have a warehouse job.
Chris: I do construction.
Paul: I do warehouse work too.
darkstar: What are your plans for Civil Ruin’s future?
Rick: To basically write music that makes us happy. And if anyone else digs it, cool. Metal bands who think they’re going to make a million dollars is fooling themselves. You got to do it for the love of the tunes.
For more information on Civil Ruin, visit www.myspace.com/civilruin.
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