Risen from the ashes of failed experiments, faulty drummers, incompatible bass players, overzealous guitarists and impossible egos.
IT’S TIME FOR A NEW RITUAL
Dublin band RITUAL EFFECT fuses aspects of grunge and metal together with catchy riffs, fast paced songs, driving choruses and high energy shows. Since the band’s inception in late 2017, they have have written a massive amount of songs, clocked up a hefty amount of gigs, and have released a full-length debut album.
The band have appeared in venues all over Ireland and have become regulars on the roster in Ireland’s premier rock bar, Fibber Magee‘s. They have been invited back everywhere that they have played, receiving enthusiastic feedback from far and wide. Their first assault on the live scene at the King Kong club in Dublin raised a full house of eyebrows, and crowd enthusiasm and interaction is peaking further with every show.
Each band member has previously written and recorded with different ensembles around the country but none could resist the call to join this new family. Each of the members has their own style and very different qualities which have been intricately wound into RITUAL EFFECT
Paul is one of the greatest drummers in Dublin’s live scene. He brings jazz, rock and metal elements to the table, resulting in heavy, pulsating, odd-metered madness performed with the highest precision.
Christopher is a very dedicated and highly skilled bass player, who adds a penetrating tone to the mix and seeks crowd participation at every opportunity.
Front man, Moe, is charismatic with a touch of crazy. He performs with a fit of passion at every show, often finding himself buried in the crowd multiple times per night.
RITUAL EFFECT are professional to work with, fun to hang out with and awesome to witness.
2019 saw the band enter the studio for their first serious project: their debut album, “Fossils”. This 15 track album is a heavy, melodic nod to their past and sets the pace for a high speed, full-on sonic assault on the future.
With their song bank close to full storage, a follow up mini-album is currently under construction and will hit the shelves in mid 2022.
There is no limit to what this band is capable of in the rehearsal room, on stage or on tape.
COME JOIN THE RITUAL AND EMBRACE THE EFFECT!
As always, a huge *Thank You* to the band for their time, openness and availability!
All Access Pass – For newer fans, let’s meet everyone in Ritual Effect.
Ritual Effect – Moe – Guitar & Vocals, Christopher – Bass and Paul – Drums
AAP – What are some technical details regarding your latest EP, “Too Late to Turn Back”?
Moe: The EP was recorded by the most excellent Michael Richards at Trackmix Recording Studio in Dublin. We spent a serious amount of time choosing the right guitar amps for this EP. In the end we went mostly with a Marshall JCM 800. It sounds amazing, but it’s extremely unforgiving from a playing perspective so every track had to be nice and tight! I floated between a few guitars for the rhythm tracks, the main lead guitar was my treasured Billy Corgan signature Strat.
Christopher: We ended up using a Fender P-Bass on this one, which was a significant change in tone from the Fossils album where I played a Fernandes Gravity 5-string – I think there’s a lot more clarity in my tone this time round. We also used my favourite new toy at the time, which was the Tech 21 SansAmp YYZ pedal – the Geddy Lee signature pedal which added a little bit of snarl where I needed it. I’ve since upgraded to the SansAmp DI2112 for my live tone now which has given me the exact sound I’ve been craving for a long time!
AAP – Do you have a personal favorite track off the EP? And why?
Paul: “Brand New” would be my favourite track. I just love the slow tempo and it’s one of the first tracks on the album I remember working on. Usually our material feels quite “busy” so when we first started writing it, it was a welcome change to try to slow things down.
Moe: “Ex Crux”. It’s quite different to any tune we have written before. I think we reached the perfect blend of mellow and heavy with this track, and all of our influences are shining through nicely on it. I put a very “Bill and Ted” sounding solo over this one, and there’s a dual solo playing behind the last chorus too. I set myself a nice challenge with that, trying to leave enough space for the vocals while still getting some nice guitar work in.
Christopher: “LHW” is a big favourite of mine because of the live reaction that it’s been getting for us. I think any time you do a fully instrumental track in a weird time signature you could run the risk of alienating some of the audience, but this song just stomps so hard that it never fails to get the crowd bouncing for us. For me, “LHW” represents something totally new for us even though it’s actually a song that we’d been sitting on for a long time waiting for the right drummer to come along and bring it to life – huge props to Paul for that!!
AAP – How did the collaboration with Siobhan Feeney and Eadaoin Curtin come about? (any other collaborations that we should mention or people to credit, please, feel free to add or we can make a question around that)
Moe: These are both family connections. Siobhan is my cousin. She has introduced me to a lot of awesome music over the years, and she is responsible for the photo on the EP cover. I’m not going to go into detail here as I think everyone needs to decide for themselves what’s in the picture, but it captures a very fun time my life, and the image itself represents the EP title very well.
Eadaoin is my wife and has been the band photographer from day 1. Her work is awesome, you can check it out all over our socials and at www.firechildphotography.com. We had a lot of fun messing with the photo and turning into artwork. Eadaoin also created the artwork for our last album. There are subtle nods to it in this new art if you look closely.
AAP – You all have been part of several bands with quite the live experience before you became Ritual Effect. But how did the musical journey start for you?
Christopher – I actually started off as an aspiring drummer, and weirdly, even though I’m right handed, the kit that I first learned on was set up left-handed and I didn’t know any better so I sat down and learned on it that way. To this day, I still can’t play drums on a right-handed setup! When I was 15 my mother insisted that I learn guitar as a distraction because she was worried that I was far too consumed by my upcoming Junior Certificate exams and I needed to have something else to focus on or I’d have had a breakdown from the stress that I was putting myself under! And then when I was 21 I went to see Audioslave play in Paris and as I stood there watching Timmy C playing bass 10 feet away from me, I decided that he was just about the coolest motherfucker I’d ever seen and that I wanted to give bass a try. I was a decent drummer, a very average guitar player, but I quickly learned that bass combined the things that I was good at on both instruments. The rest is history!
Moe: I picked up a violin very early and went down the classical route until one day I discovered the Smashing Pumpkins and went on a deep dive through their catalog and from there, into a guitar shop. Thankfully all the music theory I had learned wasn’t wasted, it helped me transition over to guitar quickly. I was also lucky enough to be picked out of the crowd to play on stage with Green Day shortly after taking up guitar. I have been chasing that buzz ever since!
Paul. My musical journey started when I was very young. My dad was always playing old rock/prog./blues and pretty much everything else on the spectrum. It wasn’t until I was about 8 years old and heard of the band Rush that I wanted to actually play an instrument. Luckily enough my parents, although reluctant, let me start attending classes for drums and later on, music theory.
AAP – What do you consider cliché in the music business?
Moe: Refusing to go on stage unless you get enough brown M&Ms in your rider
Christopher: Using questionable methods to subdue a shopkeeper, his son, and a bloody great big bengal tiger.
AAP – What is the Irish rock – metal scene like from the inside? (Both as a fan and an artist)
Moe: It’s a very healthy scene, but you really have to know where to look if you are new to the place. There are tonnes of amazing bands all over the country, and we are all very supportive of one another. The genre isn’t supported on the national radio stations at all (very few local bands get radio support over here), but the rock bars are always full every weekend (when there isn’t a pandemic happening!), and there is always a great band to see. There are quite a few metal festivals to attend throughout the year also. I think, overall, there is a bigger metal scene than a rock scene. With a lot of the gigs we play, we tend to find ourselves being either the heaviest band in a mellow lineup or the lightest band in a heavy lineup.
AAP – Personally I don’t believe in pigeonholing a band’s art. Do you think that genre tags are somewhat helpful or rather a limitation?
Christopher: I think they can be useful as a starting point, especially when no-one knows who you are. The first question will always be “what kind of band are you?” or “who do you sound like?” and when you respond with the cliched answer of “oh we’re totally our own thing, we don’t sound like anyone else…” (which is bullshit 99% of the time anyway!) all you’re really doing is reducing the chances of them ever checking you out in the first place. As far as I’m concerned, genres are there as a simple jumping-off point for potential new listeners. Not everything that we do would sit firmly within the “grunge” genre, but I would still describe us as first and foremost a grunge band, with the hope that it gets someone to play our music. After that, it’s up to them if they choose to continue.
Moe: Yeah I agree with Christopher. It’s like walking into a video store (remember them?), or, more recently, launching Netflix. If nothing was categorized, you wouldn’t know where to start, and likely end up watching a bunch of shitty movies and wasting a lot of your time and money in an endless loop of unhappy endings. Ritual Effect could sit in the drama, comedy or horror section, but at least you’d find us eventually! Know what I mean? 🙂
AAP – How would you describe yourselves on stage and off stage?
Christopher: I consider myself pretty calm and mellow, and on-stage I don’t think that changes too much. I like to be pretty stable when I’m on stage, sort of a solid foundation to let the others do their thing! I used to play in a Metallica tribute band where I’d try to channel my inner Jason Newsted and play “angry” a lot, but more recently I’ve found I play a lot better when I play happy, so I’m focusing a lot on that!
Moe: I am a completely different person on and off stage. I’m pretty introverted in “real life”, but something happens to me when we play gigs, to best describe it, a switch gets flicked. I want to be in every part of the venue all at once, which I try my best to achieve. I engage with a crowd in a way I could never do in a regular 1 to 1 conversation. I love playing gigs!
AAP – Is there room for egos in a band?
Christopher: I think “ego” usually comes with a negative connotation, and so in that sense, no. There’s no room for that sort of “diva” complex. But ego can also be self-assuredness and confidence, and I think without some of that, without the self awareness of “hey, this song I wrote is pretty fucking good, it’s actually worthy of bringing to the table for the guys to hear”, you’re never going to get anywhere to begin with!
Moe: Without egos I think a band would be pretty boring. It’s getting the right balance of egos – that’s what’s important. I’ve been in plenty of bands with an overly big head or two and it’s always been a recipe for self destruction. We are very confident that we have a good thing going with Ritual Effect and that shines through in our jams and gigs. This only improves the buzz within the band. We’re awesome in fairness!
AAP – How much freedom is there style wise? Are there any influences you would never incorporate?
Christopher: I think early on in the band’s journey we leaned more into aggressive, metal styles. There was a lot more heavy riffage, fast triplets etc, which over time got stripped back and allowed the songs more room to breathe. I think this has worked really well for us, and while I’d never say never, I think I prefer the road we’ve taken than the more metal-influenced path we tried early on. And as for full orchestration – absolutely yes. Metallica’s S&M album is amazing, and what Rush did with the Clockwork Angels String Ensemble was outstanding, I’d love a chance to do something like that!
Moe: I would definitely lean towards full orchestration. I have never been a huge fan of the heavier end of the metal spectrum, melody is more my thing. I put a string arrangement together for the closing track on “Fossils”. I really enjoyed that and would definitely like to do a lot more of that in the future – without sacrificing the grungy side of our sound.
Paul. Luckily enough there aren’t really any limitations to what we can add and subtract from our music. I’ve played with multiple musicians that can get very “stuck in their ways” with the sound and personally, I think that can cause stagnation very quickly. As a band, we’ve even discussed potentially bringing other sounds to the table somehow and having that openness is quite refreshing.
AAP – Is there a rehearsal routine?
Moe: We always start rehearsals with an improvised jam which we record. They are so much fun. Nobody usually has anything prepared, we just throw random ideas into the space and build on them. Most of our songs start out as something cool we recorded in the jam room. If there’s a gig coming up, we like working on “live versions” of stuff and blending songs into each other. We don’t tend to rehearse to the point where we get bored of songs, and, thankfully, none of us use the rehearsal time to practice our own parts, that’s done in our own time – if I can give any piece of advice to any band out there, that would be it – come to rehearsal with your parts learned. It’s the cornerstone of any nutritious rehearsal!
AAP – What still keeps you going? How do you get motivated?
Moe: For me it’s like a drug at this stage. I can’t be without music or the band. Every rehearsal is an absolute pleasure with these guys, and every gig we play is an incredible buzz.
Paul. This band is by far the easiest and most pleasurable group to play with. It’s never an effort to sit down and jam out a track or two. I would agree with Moe’s statement as well. Regardless of being able to play in a band or not though, music is a drug in its own right.
AAP – Do you think success would change you?
Christopher: It’s very hard to say. I think if it had come when I was younger, absolutely, I mean when you look at the track record of child stars and younger musicians down the years you can’t help but be aware of the pitfalls. Whereas if it happened now, I’d like to think that I’d be a bit more grounded and not let it go to my head too much. I’d still drink a lot of whiskey, I just think it would be more of the top-shelf stuff!
Moe: I’d probably act a lot more like I do on stage in real life. That would be amazing!
Paul: I think I’d just get up to as much mad stuff in my downtime as possible, especially with some extra money at hand!
AAP – You said that you usually hone down a song a lot before you feel that it is ready to be put on an album. How do you know when a song is done?
Moe: When you know, you know. There’s nothing else to it. The bomb goes off in the room and you just know its time for this tune to be immortalized. Until that happens, there’s usually a feeling that “something could be better here” which hovers around a part of a song indefinitely, until, usually by chance, a chord or a fill comes out of nowhere and ties it all together nicely.
AAP – How often does overdubbing come to play?
Moe: Very often. I’m to blame for the vast majority of overdubs on our tunes. I spend a lot of time throwing ideas down during the demo phase of a song, and unless an overdub is taking away from the energy or emotion of a song, I don’t see the point in not including it. I think we reached the software tracking limit during the recording of Fossils. One of my proudest moments!
AAP – What would your ideal video be like? (any favourite videos) – or any details on current plan to release a video
Moe: I’m yet to land on a great idea for a music video. Until now we have used gig footage for music videos. I think the 90s were the golden era for music videos. I love all the videos that Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris have done with various bands. I would really like to work with them.
AAP – Are you nervous before a show?
Christopher: Always, although I invented the word “anxcited” a few years ago to describe the weird mix of anxious and excited that I get before every gig. I think I’d actually be worried if a time ever came where I wasn’t nervous before playing! I like to feed off that energy.
Moe: Still as nervous before every gig as I was before my very first gig. I can’t shake it. I would love to get rid of the nerves, but sure maybe that would bring a different energy to our shows, who knows? Didn’t actually see what answer Christopher gave before writing this, ah look, we’re the same!
Paul. I honestly never feel too nervous before any shows. I know we know our music and we know it well. We never have any issues on stage and even if there is a hiccup or two, it sometimes goes unnoticed anyway. Plus you get a laugh from it!
AAP – How are band duties shared? Is there a leader in Ritual Effect or is it a full democracy band?
Christopher: It’s definitely become more of a democracy with this incarnation of the band. For a while, and I hope Moe doesn’t mind me saying this, but it was definitely Moe’s band. But to be honest, I put a lot of that on myself, because when I joined the band I’d only really played in cover bands before that and so I was brand new to the idea of songwriting, composing original music and so on. So in some ways it HAD to be Moe’s band because he was the one with all the experience on that side. However, as time has gone by, he’s been super supportive and encouraging in my development, I’ve become a lot more open to sharing my ideas. And then when Paul joined us it really has become a full democracy.
Moe: Definitely a full democracy. There are no loose ends or weak links in this band. Everyone’s input is critical. And we’re all very nice guys, so that makes things very easy.
AAP – What are some changes/compromises that you’re unwilling to make?
Christopher: I will never, ever use a pick to play. Also, no one needs a 6-string bass.
Moe: I won’t start a gig without being sure everyone is happy with the soundcheck – unfortunately that isn’t something I can enforce so I don’t always get my way with that one. I won’t finish a studio session until the song sounds exactly as we intended.I won’t continue this band without the existing members. So hopefully nobody spontaneously combusts any time soon.
AAP – What was the biggest challenge and also best experience so far?
Christopher: For me, the biggest challenge was during the long period where we had no drummer. It was a tough time with virtually no gigs, we could only play at the very occasional acoustic gig nights, or have a drummer stand in for us which never really allowed us to perform to our full capacity. And as for band practice at the time – it was so tough to keep up the motivation when it was simply Moe and I jamming along to pre-recorded drum tracks. But I’m glad that we stuck it out. The “Ritual” paid off.
Best experience for me was the recording sessions for the new EP – we knew that we had a solid set of tracks, but going into the studio had been stressful in past incarnations of the band and so it was hard to know how it would go with this lineup. But the way that we all went about our jobs with professionalism and got the tracks laid down as quickly and as well as we did definitely showed us that we’ve got the right people with the right attitude and the right work ethic. It was a really reassuring experience for me.
Moe: Biggest challenge was definitely finishing the last album. We had started it with a different drummer and different engineer and when things didn’t work out with them we almost threw in the towel and quit the band altogether. We had put so much into getting the songs to where they were, it would have been the worst thing we could have done to abandon all of it. Thankfully, we persisted and got to the end and I am extremely proud of the result.
Best experience for me – this will sound pretty simple – we were mid-song at a gig a while back when Paul’s kick pedal fell apart. Instinct immediately kicked in across the 3 of us and we went into this amazing improvised jam which facilitated getting the pedal back together, and then straight back into the song as if nothing had happened. It really hit me at that moment what a great connection we have musically and how we can just bounce off one another as one cohesive unit.
Paul. Biggest challenge would probably have been not being able to practice because of lockdowns and getting no gigs. At first it’s ok but after a while, it’s difficult to stay motivated especially as a drummer. There was only so much practice I could do alone before I really longed to play live or at least with other musicians again.
Best experience for me was going in to record “Too Late to Turn Back”. I’d never been in the studio with the lads before and I wasn’t really sure how we were going to go about it. We knew the material inside out so that wasn’t an issue but I was glad to see how well we all worked well together, when it came to the aspect of not playing and listening out for that perfect sound.
AAP – Kept thinking of one of your answers that your drummer is generally late, considering his precise “job description” within the band. Can each of you describe yourselves with a good and a bad feature?
Christopher: Good – I think I’m pretty reliable both as a bandmate and as a musician. I think the guys always know that if they want to hot-dog a bit that I’ll be there to hold things together while they do that. Bad – I’m fully aware of the fact that I’m the least accomplished musician in the band, the guys are both (in my opinion) virtuoso musicians, and I still have a lot to learn to be at their level. And I’m fine with that. I might not be the greatest bass player in the world, but I’m the best bass player for this band, and I’m 100% comfortable with that!I
Moe: Good – I will always be doing my absolute best to push this band in the right direction and to help the guys bring their absolute best to the stage. Bad – I dwell on fuck-ups for way too long. No gig will ever be perfect and unfortunately, some of the imperfections haunt me for a lot longer than they should. Nobody should have post gig nightmares about that one weird guy in the crowd who threw you that dirty look after you fucked up that one small part of that one song. Argh!
Paul. Good- I would consider myself a fairly creative drummer and that always works well with the lads, especially as we progress with our music. Being a heavy hitter has never come in handier as well! Bad- As the question states, I’m nearly always 5 minutes late, sorry boys! Other than that, I find I work a lot better in person and would be more enthusiastic in person about our music/music in general. This, I feel holds, some aspects back when we’re trying to figure out what would be a good idea for a song part or video or even setlist.
AAP – Time for the last question, the Random Question. What would you like to have invented and what would you uninvent?
Christopher: The Suck-Cut. It sucks, and it cuts. And I’d uninvent auto-tune if I could.
Moe: I wish I had invented the Kemper Profiler. A genius piece of gear! I would without hesitation uninvent peanut butter. Manky shite.
AAP – Thank you for taking the time to do this, it was really nice meeting you. In case there is anything else you would like to cover and a message for your fans, please do so!
Moe: Thanks so much. Really enjoyable questions!