Ritual Effect is an alternative rock/metal band from Ireland, active since 2017. Lucas Biela (LB) interviewed them for ISKC Radio Group.
1/ LB: With great vocal harmonies, crafty melodies and strong dynamics, your songs are a real breath of fresh air, and could appeal as much to the occasional listener as to the most demanding music lover. How do you manage to write so great songs?
C (Christopher Goggins, band’s bassist): Hey, thank you, first of all. That’s really kind of you to say. And yeah, we really do hope that we hit that niche for people, it’s something we’ve always noticed when we play showcase gigs, we’re always too heavy for rock venues, and the lightest band on the bill when we play metal venues! So we believe we sit somewhere in between, and in particular we feel like the new EP really shows our development – the songs feel more mature, more complex and more layered – still heavily riff-driven, but with a dynamic that we think will check all the boxes for the more “demanding” music lover as you put it. In terms of writing, we think that’s a result of a more democratic approach within the band now – coming to practice with a blank slate and allowing everyone the space to bring ideas to the table and see where we can take it. Often we can spend an entire jam just kicking around an idea and seeing what we can do with it, and more often than not we’ll find like a 5-second snippet from the recording of the jam that becomes the basis of a new song! It almost always starts with a riff, which sometimes gets heard differently by our drummer and all of a sudden it becomes something completely different to what was originally pictured, it’s really interesting to be a part of! Moe handles the lyrics, and those almost always come last.
2/ LB: You all are experienced musicians with a background in different bands. How did the idea of founding Ritual Effect come?
C: Well, the band sorta evolved from one incarnation to another – Moe and I first met when we were in the tribute band scene (Metallica for me, AIC and Pumpkins for Moe) and at the time he also played in an original band called Syllian Rayle, which was a delicious American Psycho reference that no-one ever understood. As time went by, I joined his AIC tribute band, then I joined Syllian Rayle, and several members later we got Paul in on drums and decided that we’d developed into something different, so it was time for a new name and a new direction. A lot of the original Syllian Rayle material is still in our catalogue, but we’ve stripped them down and rebuilt them to fit our sound.
3/ LB: Could you tell us a bit about your influences. I’m sure there are plenty of them as you all have various backgrounds, but maybe list only the ones that are the most relevant to your sound. I for one can see Alice In Chains as a major influence, though you really have your own signature.
C: Alice in Chains are a huge influence on us, so much so that I’m currently getting way out of my comfort zone and working on my vocal abilities to bring those vocal harmonies into our live show, it’s a work-in-progress but I’m getting there! In terms of other influences, I think you can definitely hear some Deftones influence in what we do, Smashing Pumpkins are a big favourite, and when it comes to my bass playing I always strive for the style of Timmy C from Rage Against The Machine, but with the tone and sound of Geddy Lee from Rush – that snarl in his tone and the way he attacks the strings even though he plays with his fingers is something I aspire to!
4/ LB: Are you the next Therapy? Asking because you come from Ireland (though not from the same «half»), and your songs are just as appealing as theirs.
C: I know this is gonna sound cheesy, but I don’t really want to consider us the next anyone really. I just want us to be the first Ritual Effect! Also, I’m glad you chose ”Therapy?” and not ”U2”!!
5/ LB: How do you compose music: several hands or one hand? What about songwriting?
C: I accidentally answered this in your earlier question, but as I mentioned, it always starts with a riff. Something that makes you pull that face that you make when you hear a riff that fucking stomps, you know? Once we find that magical moment, we loop it and play with it and try to let it take us where it wants to go.
6/ LB: You guys have a lot of self-mockery. We can indeed read the following description of the band on your Facebook page: «Risen from ashes of failed experiments, faulty drummers, incompatible bass players, overzealous guitarists and impossible egos. » Does this sense of humour help keep the band united, and does it make the share of ideas easier?
C: Absolutely, it’s crucial. I’ve played in bands that have just felt like working in a job that you don’t even like – where you basically just “tolerate” your colleagues, get the job done, pack your stuff and go home. Ritual Effect is not that way at all – we get along great, we can laugh at ourselves, and we can play a show that is just plain fun. Having spent a long time in a Metallica tribute band and all the chest-pounding and posturing that comes with it, it’s cool to be able to play a kick-ass show with my friends with a smile on my face and to watch the crowd getting into it with us!!
7/ LB: Both your debut album and the EP that followed are excellent (did I mention you have a gift for writing great songs). Are the media and audience as enthusiastic as I am?
C: Sadly, we felt like our timing was just a little bit off. The start of 2020 was full of promise, we’d signed with Split Screen Management, we had some gigs lined up in Europe with POD, we had the EP just about ready to go, we felt like things were really building nicely for us, and then the pandemic hit and it just sorta put everything on hold for us. Right now, it’s about trying to build that momentum again, but we’ve had our first few gigs since the restrictions started to lift, and if the audiences are anything to go by, then it definitely feels like we’re headed in the right direction!
8/ LB: Can we expect a new album this year?
C: The side-effect of the restrictions was that we’ve been able to get started on some more material, and I believe we actually have about another 10 or 12 tracks that are really taking shape. From a recording and mixing standpoint, I think we’ll probably continue releasing music in the EP format to keep it manageable as we are still completely self-funded at the moment!
9/ LB: Will we be able to see you soon on stage? Any festival where we could meet you?
C: This is one of those “watch this space” situations, we’ll update you all as soon as we have any news!
10/ LB: Please let us know if you want to add anything else?
That was an excellent list of questions, thank you 🙂
Band’s Facebook page: