Tuesday, May 7, 2019

A Ripple Conversation With Mr Bison!

When I was a kid, growing up in a house with Cat Stevens, Neil Diamond, and Simon and Garfunkel, the first time I ever heard Kiss's "Detroit Rock City," it was a moment of musical epiphany. It was just so vicious, aggressive and mean. It changed the way I listened to music. I've had a few minor epiphany's since then, when you come across a band that just brings something new and revolutionary to your ears. What have been your musical epiphany moments?

As a teenager we started listening to music poking on the vinyls and cds from our fathers, brothers and uncles.  We have different ages, and this means that our first listenings are different: Matteo B. went from "Trash metal” like Pantera, Metallica and Sepultura, to post rock like Fugazi and Shellac to dark like Joy Division and The Cure, to progressive like King Crimson and Genesis.  When he found "Blues For The Red Sun" by Kyuss he was amazed by the sound, so low, so "lo-fi" and he loved to hear this sound combined with blues and heavy metal riffs.  His first "musical epiphany” was with the song “50 Million Years Trip”.  The Outro is Awesome!!!  Another “Musical Epiphany” was “Ranging River Of Fear” by Captain Beyond.  Unfortunately he found out about this band just few years ago.  He loved their writing, the perfect mix between “Progressive, Rock Blues and Psych Music”.  Matteo D. listens to a lot of different stuff, he started with classic rock like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, and Pink Floyd to then move to the progressive rock to then move on to postrock/postmetal (ISIS, Mogwai, Russian Circle, Tool), jazz (I consider Miles Davis a genius. I admire how he was constantly looking for something new), black music (Afrobeat, Soul, Funk, RnB).  Also Matteo S. started with classic rock to then arrive at bands like Tool, A Perfect Circle, Puscifer, NIN, and one of his favourite singers, Jeff Buckley.

Talk to us about the song-writing process for you. What comes first, the idea? A riff? The lyrics? How does it all fall into place?

Usually driving in the car Matteo B is reminded of some guitar’s riff.  He sings it and he records the vocal track with his phone.  Then when he is in the studio he listens to the voice recordings and turns them into guitar riffs…subsequently the vocal arrangement, the ideas during the rehearsal that are created by everyone transports together to the song’s writing.

Who has influenced you the most?

Captain Beyond , Pink Floyd, The Doors, Kyuss, Fu Manchu, Tool, Clutch, Led Zeppelin

Where do you look for continuing inspiration? New ideas, new motivation?

Obviously listening to a lot of music, searching for the less famous 70’s Bands, from progressive to psychedelic music, and certainly intrigued even by all the new releases.

We're all a product of our environment. Tell us about the band's hometown and how that reflects in the music?

The band was born in Tuscany in three small villages not too far away, surrounded by hills, by the sea, and nothing else.  Few spaces, few opportunities, but a great desire to listen to music and to play!  We started playing, organizing secret shows and concerts for local bands, creating an alternative rock music scene.  We identified ourselves in the Desert Scene, when Mario Lalli organized the Generator Party.  For us the frame of local nature, the trees, the wind, and the noise of the waves have always been inspirations to play and write music.

Where'd the band name come from?

I’ve never been a video games addict but when I was child I spent a lot of time playing in the bar in front of my parents house at “Street Fighter II”.  The band’s name comes from my best video game’s character.

You have one chance, what movie are you going to write the soundtrack for?

Isn’t easy.  We (especially Matteo S and Matteo D) watch a lot of movies.  Thriller, comedy, horror, paranormal...could be great to write the soundtrack for Easy Rider.

You now write for a music publication (The Ripple Effect?). You're going to write a 1,000 word essay on one song. Which would it be and why?

We're happy about the final result of the new songs for this new release.  It's a good continuum of our last album “Holy Oak”.  Probably our favourite song off this new release is “The Stranger”, a song that alternates very dilated, ambient moments, with more direct moments with drum and guitar rides, a powerful voice, monolithic riffs and a psychedelic outro with a sitar solo.  The lyrics of the song deal with a face to face with yourself, with the most instinctive part of you that leads you to do things that you will regret but that actually reveal what you really are or what you would like.  An introspective journey in which we tried to recreate a perfect soundtrack.

Come on, share with us a couple of your great, Spinal Tap, rock and roll moments?

We've got lots of anecdotes to share with you...one was a real nightmare.  During a night trip we were hit by a real snowstorm, without having snow chains or tires.  It took us 6 hours to do 60 km, and we were really afraid.  The second one is being trapped in the tram tracks in the center of Leipzig after a show...too much beers hahahahah.

Tell us about playing live and the live experience for you and for your fans?

We love to play live.  For us it's an essential moment, a sacred rite, something that repays us for all the work behind the band, especially when we have great feedback from the fans.  We think that the fans feel our energy during the live show and they appreciate this very much.

What makes a great song?

This is a difficult question.  There is no magic formula, also because people's tastes are different.  Surely a three-minute song can be more "usable" than a nine-minute song.  The fact remains that for example we don't think about what people might like, but think about what we like instead!

Tell us about the first song you ever wrote?

The first song was born 9 years ago.  Matteo D. and Matteo S. were not present, because they joined the band 4 years ago.  Anyway, Matteo B. arrived in the rehearsal room with a riff and at the end of the rehearsal session, the first song was finished!

What piece of your music are particularly proud of?

Honestly we are proud of the path taken with our latest album "Holy Oak".  It is a synthesis of what we have been up to this point.  Our roots, and what is our evolution, represented also by the tracks of the split and the new material.  We have some favourite tunes from that album, but probably we consider the single “Holy Oak” (the song, not the album) a really good song where powerful riffs mix with psych moments.

Who today, writes great songs? Who just kicks your ass? Why?

Among the bands we value the most are undoubtedly the Motorpsycho, Sacri Monti, Earthless, All them Witches, and Ecstatic Vision!  All these bands, even if in a different way, manage to offer many nuances to the listener!  As for the first question we believe that songs like "Cloudwalker", "The Tower" and "Entropy" and "The Crucible" have an enormous thickness, especially in terms of composition. 

Vinyl, CD, or digital? What's your format of choice?

Vinyl, most of the bands that influence us have printed on vinyl, which is why for us it takes on a unique charm.  Not to mention the fact that the most iconic artworks were created for this format.  It is a real collector's item.  We’re glad that vinyl has returned to being so much appreciated.

Whiskey or beer?  And defend your choice

Beer of course!  Like an old Italian movie said, “Bevi birra che ti da carica”.  That means: drink beer that make you stronger!  And so it is for us!

We, at the Ripple Effect, are constantly looking for new music. What's your home town, and when we get there, what's the best record store to lose ourselves in?

Our hometown is Cecina, a city located by the sea in the province of Livorno in Tuscany.  Without any doubt the best place to look for and find new music is the “Slow Record”!  The owner is a real expert and a dear friend of ours.

What's next for the band?

We are already working hard on the new album that will be ready next year.  At the same time we will continue to play live, touring Europe and beyond!

Any final comments or thoughts you'd like to share with our readers, the waveriders?

If you love the music, please support the bands, we need you!!  Go see concerts, buy vinyls, cds and support the label that believes in the power of the music!  And thank you so much to Ripple Music for giving us the great opportunity to join the family!

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