2015 not only brought the release of RITUAL's debut self-titled release in October, but it also saw this relatively young band playing Riot Fest in Toronto with acts such as Weezer, Motorhead, Thrice, All Time Low and more, all on top of tour dates with Protest The Hero, Silverstein and '68. Needless to say, 2015 was a big year for this group, and 2016 only promises to bring more growth and hopefully even more great music. We had the chance to chat with vocalist Matt Ryan Tobin about the band's big year and their goals for 2016. Read the entire interview below and pick up RITUAL's self-titled debut release now!
Interview by Shannon Shumaker
2015 was a great year for RITUAL, with the release of your debut album, your recent tour dates with ‘68, playing Riot Fest in September and even more. What has been the highlight of your year?
I think for everyone the overall highlight was most definitely the release of the record. Just finally being able to present people with something we've spent so long creating and putting our heart and soul into.
You’ve mentioned before that you’ve toured with Josh Scogin of 68’ before with your old bands, so what was it like being able to get together again with your new projects?
It was nothing short of wonderful. I've been friends with Josh for a long time and admired him as an artist long before we became close friends. It’s pretty great to have this aspect of our lives come full circle and connect again. It was a nice sort of final goodbye and wrap up to a part of my life I really cherish and a salute to a new beginning.
How do you feel you’ve grown as artists over the past year?
Well, we're always growing. If we ever stop - then it’s time to close the book. We're still a relatively new band and so I think I could better answer this question a year from now, once the albums been out and done its run and we really start cracking down on the follow-up album. For right now we're trying to absorb everything and anything and definitely not limit ourselves as artists or people when approaching RITUAL or anything associated with it.
Your self-titled album came out last October. What did you want to be able to accomplish with this album, it being your debut release?
The only thing we wanted to accomplish was releasing the record. Having it publicly available for people to indulge in. There were many times where it seemed kind of hopeless or we were going to have to approach releasing it another way or for free or under any means necessary. We just wanted to share a large piece of ourselves with people and hopefully, somewhere in there a connection is made with someone listening on a deeper kind of level.
Having been in other bands before forming RITUAL, how do you feel your previous experiences have helped you with this project?
Oh Jesus. Too many ways to name. I do think however, that the most important thing you can learn - whether in a band, as an artist, as a human being is to treat everyone like they matter. Because they do. To acknowledge people - especially when they're supportive of what you do. It’s hard to please everyone and everybody has bad days - but first impressions can last forever. It’s important to remember that every day you effect someone’s life to some degree. Try to make it a positive effect.
Is there anything that you specifically did not want to do with this project? On the flip side, were there any goals you really wanted to accomplish when forming RITUAL?
I didn’t want Dead and Divine 2. I knew it would be an uphill battle to an extent being as you got the same dude song writing and singing in both bands – but I wanted to keep playing the music I love and the music I'm good at. Dead and Divine's demise was untimely and not even really a choice. It was spoiled fruit. I wanted none of that to spill over into RITUAL. It almost did and I’m forever grateful RITUAL has a clean slate. I wanted to write music I wanted to write. No formulas, no limits, no expectations to live up to (or at least I thought I'd had to).
What would you like listeners to be able to take away from your music or your live performances?
Just feel something.
What goals do you have for 2016? Is there anything you want to be able to accomplish in the new year?
We'd like to take RITUAL out of Canada and abroad. We just want to play music for people. That simple.