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Getting To Know: Ritual

Ritual

Keen to more about your favourite up-and-coming bands? Sick of the same ol’ studio questions? From the albums they crank before they head out on stage to their must-have items when the tour van pulls into the service station, we quiz musicians about life on the road and how they came to love what they do. Up next: Ontario hardcore act Ritual. Born out of the ashes of frontman Matt Ryan Tobin’s former group Dead And Divine, Ritual’s debut self-titled album lands like a swift punch to the jaw; a raw and unforgiving release and another massive tick for Canadian music. Get to know more about the group’s brainchild Matt Ryan Tobin below.


I first discovered music when…
It more or less discovered me. That’s not to sound excessively cryptic, I just couldn’t pinpoint a time or place when. I know I was very young. Do people at some point first discover music? For me, it was just always there.

I realised being in a band was the best way to waste time when…
I was young. I don’t know if “wasting time” is what I would deem being in a band, I don’t think it ever felt like that, but it was what I aspired to do. Even when I was in a fifth grade band – I wanted us to try. I wanted us to be good. However good four 10 year olds could be. I knew it was what I wanted to do from the moment I held a guitar.

My first bands were…
Station, Anemic, and Birthmark. Nothing but kids in a basement. The band that left the basement was Dead And Divine. We had five albums released worldwide and toured the world for 10 years. It was all I knew for most of my early adult life; touring and making music. The final show of our farewell tour in Toronto, Canada is the most special moment to this day, of my life.

The first show I ever played was…
With Birthmark. The first actual real venue show was at a rundown club in Toronto called The Rockit. We had to pay to play/sell tickets. I was about 14 and we played to about a six people. It felt super prestigious at the time – like we had arrived somewhere. Not long after did the realisation set in that we had just bought into a scam that screws over young, naive kids. That tainted it.

The worst job I’ve ever had is…
Working as a dishwasher at an upscale Italian restaurant for two months. I worked 10-hour shifts till 3am most nights without a break and couldn’t listen to music in the back washer pit. I never left a shift without some burns and blisters from cast iron pans. I hated it. The owner was a drunk who often came into work late at night half in the bag and screamed insults at you. I later coaxed my friend into taking my job so I could quit [laughs]. Sorry, Colin.

My favourite band is…
The Smashing Pumpkins. The first time I ever truly felt something from music was a Smashing Pumpkins song. I was six or seven and purchased the “Disarm” single CD. My parents wouldn’t let me have the full album due to a song called “Silverfuck”. Wore that CD out in my discman that night. I must’ve listened to it 30 times or more before falling asleep with my headphones on. I remember that being the moment when a song actually choked me up and made my hair stand on end. Still does.

A band that should never have broken up are…
Scarlet. They were so ahead of their time. They were real innovators of the metal genre. People have listened to many a band not even knowing that that band might not even exist if not for Scarlet. Those dudes had awful luck, though – sad, really. Elliot is another band. Why? Listen to “Shallow Like Your Breath” off of their only album, False Cathedrals. That’s why.

One album I play before I hit the stage is…
For a long time it was Silverchair’s Neon Ballroom. I’d often do vocal warm-ups to “Emotion Sickness”. That album is my #3 of all time. Other than that, it’s usually some older Glassjaw or The Chariot that really puts me in that headspace. Glassjaw’s raw emotion off their first album is so real and pure – it’s easy to get caught up in the aggressiveness. I have toured with The Chariot numerous times and it just puts me in a whole other place of love and nostalgia.

I love being on stage because…
It’s home.

My favourite tour memory is…
There are too many to name. Ritual doesn’t have too many memories under our belt yet. We’re still making them. But in the past, being on tour with Norma Jean in Europe and staying up till the early morning hours in the bus just talking and hanging out and laughing. There were so many nights like that, where you look out the window at dark roads zipping by at night and look around the room and see everyone laughing and smiling, drinking and carrying on. It’s almost euphoric. It’s that moment where you go, “I’m meant to be here. Life is great”.

The worst thing about touring is…
The disconnect from family and friends back where you’re from. We have many ways to stay in contact these days via social media and whatnot, but there is a human disconnect. You do miss out on things. Funerals. Birthdays. Celebrations. Once-in-a-lifetime moments. That can really do you in.

My favourite servo/gas stop purchase is…
Peanut Butter M&Ms.

On the road I can’t live without…
A solid book or two. A good “Sleep” playlist is key for me too.

My favourite place in the world is…
My home. I’ve been all around the world; seen and been many places, people and things – but nothing beats my home. I love Ontario in general. I hate winter and I hate the cold but nothing is better than here. Germany, though. Germany is awesome. I haven’t been to Australia yet but I have a feeling I could love it really fast.

If I could, I would trade lives with…
No one on a permanent scale. I realise how introverted, arrogant and full of shit that may sound, but I really have no interest. If say, for a couple hours or something though, without coming off like a kiss-ass, I’d have to say Daniel Johns. Only during the recording of Neon Ballroom and only so I can walk around in his head and figure out how, at 18 years old, he wrote what he wrote and heard what he heard. It’s a masterpiece.

Ritual is out now through Halfcut/Shock.

Ritual

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