INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
Twelve months ago, vocalist/bassist Jim Styring, guitarist William Ward, and drummer Gaz Wilde, got together to form a three-piece by the name of The Ego Ritual.
In May this year, the Lincoln trio unveiled their debut single, entitled ‘Chakra Maraca’, which showcased a clean-cut, positively vibrant slice of psychedelia, with the inclusion of elements of progressive rock.
With that track getting an overwhelmingly positive response, most notably from the underground music press, the band will be releasing a self-titled debut EP early in the new year, and Jim was ready to chat to me about this, and more.
How did the band form?
I had known William, our guitarist, for years, back to when we had been in several musical projects together, but we had gone our separate ways, and subsequently lost touch.
Fast forward to 12 months ago, and there’s a knock on the door. I answer, and William’s stood there with a guitar, asking if I wanted to write some new songs, and I had been toying with the idea of putting a new band together, so William’s arrival came at a perfect time.
I knew Gaz, our drummer, as the owner of a studio where I had previously recorded. We sent him a couple of tracks, and he was interested in doing something with us.
He’s a great drummer, he knows just what a song needs, and more importantly, what it doesn’t. He wasn’t afraid to step outside the box, and his comfort zone, and push himself.
It all came together pretty fast, so I guess stars aligned.
How did the name The Ego Ritual come about?
Finding a suitable name can be tough, as any band will tell you. The Ego Ritual just came to me, and the same thing happens with lyrics, as it’s often when I’m not consciously thinking about them, they arrive, and it was later I realised that The Ego Ritual made perfect sense.
What would you say was your approach to songwriting?
Most of the songs come from a guitar idea from William. He’ll send a bunch of ideas over, and I’ll write to the ones that grab my attention and speak to me. He has so many great ideas, I’m sometimes spoilt for choice.
We’re certainly not short of material. If you’re lucky, songs write themselves. These tracks felt almost fully formed very early on in the process, again, like they’d come to us from somewhere else.
We just went with them, wherever they wanted to go, and we weren’t mindful of the classic three and a half minute limit, if a song took six minutes to say what it had to say, then six minutes it was. There were, and are, no rules.
What inspires the band, lyrically and musically?
I have said this many times, but it’s far more important what the listener thinks, than what the writer had in mind. I’m quite guarded over specific lyrical meanings, you can read into them whatever you want.
‘Chakra Maraca’ can mean a hundred different things to a hundred different people. No one’s right, no one’s wrong. I know what it meant as I wrote it, but it’s all interpretation. It’s music to tap your foot to, or to dig deeper and have a look.
Our songs are like those 3D pictures you stare at. You spend some time with them, and a whole new world will then present itself.
In May, you brought out a single, entitled ‘Chakra Maraca’, which was very well-received by much of the underground music press. How was the reaction for you all personally?
Our first recording, our first single, had to make a statement. We wanted to announce our arrival. It hints at what’s to come. The reaction has been very positive, so we’re looking forward to people hearing the EP.
And speaking of the band’s self-titled debut EP, coming out on January 18, how has the recording process been for that?
It’s gone great. As I previously mentioned, Gaz is also the studio owner and engineer, and he has done a superb job, above and beyond the call of duty. We haven’t rushed things, we’ve allowed them to develop at their own pace, and we’re very happy with how it’s sounding.
And what can be expected of the release?
People who understand ‘Chakra Maraca’ and “get” it, will be drawn to the other songs. There’s certainly a thread running through them, not just in sound and influence, but feel, it’s almost a spiritual thing.
Music finds you, you don’t find it. If it’s for you, you will be drawn to it. If people like what we’re doing, then great. If people don’t like what we’re doing, then that’s okay, too.
We’re here for the people that connect with us and join the dots. There are subtle ways to hypnotise people.
How is the experience, for the band, performing live?
I will let you know, when we have done it. We made a decision early on to concentrate on the recordings, before performing the songs live. I see many bands eager to hit the road, without having the songs. We’ve built the foundation first.
EP aside, what have you all got planned for the early part of 2019?
We were lucky enough to be asked to play the annual, Fruits de Mer Records, ‘The 17th Dream of Dr. Sardonicus’ Festival, next August, on the strength of ‘Chakra Maraca’.
We’re very much looking forward to that, as we’ll be in great company, and in previous years, it has sold out.
We also plan on writing more songs, and releasing a further EP, at some point early next year.
And finally, what is the band’s long-term aim?
To continue to write and record. You can set unrealistic goals and set yourself up for disappointment, but as long as the ideas keep coming, and we feel we have something to say creatively, we’re happy.
‘CHAKRA MARACA’, THE DEBUT SINGLE FROM THE EGO RITUAL, IS AVAILABLE NOW, AND THE BAND’S SELF-TITLED FIRST EP WILL BE RELEASED ON JANUARY 18, VIA KOOL KAT MUSIK.
FURTHER INFO ON THE EGO RITUAL CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES: