Ruins and sharing old school influences

Ruins are a black metal band from Hobart, Tasmania. They blend an ominous dark-death metal dynamic amidst their powerful, menacing and melancholic, yet eerily seductive black metal style; with a venomous, and summoning vocal presence. Ruins just released their third album so time for a conversation with Alex Pope.

Oi mates how you doing? I hope you had a nice holiday so far. Ruins just recently released follow up to "Cauldron" "Front The Final Foes". What has been the reaction to the CD so far?
It has been available in Australia since June 09, we toured nationally to promote the release at that time and it seemed to be received reasonably well. I trust the comments of only a few people really, most people I honestly couldn’t care less if they are into it or not. Some allies are into the older stuff more than the new; and others vice versa. Those who know me best I think understand where I am at with my progression, and the evolution of the band.

Debemur Morti is pretty basically a new label have the band had any offer from other labels before signing with them?
We were originally with Dutch label Neurotic who released our debut "Spun Forth As Dark Nets". Neurotic was distributed in Australia by Stomp. Stomp is an Australian label whom we have a positive relationship with. When "Cauldron" was ready we were expecting that Neurotic would release, however they basically failed as a label and caused some problems during this time  Stomp actually did us a favour and manufactured on our behalf at that point, that was March 2008, we got "Cauldron" available here, just in time for that tour with Immortal. Following this it took us some time to decide what to do with the release from there; but I am proud of the work Debemur Morti has done for us now. They approached us and expressed interest in doing whatever we might want to do; so to be honest that just seems like the best option to me... These guys have good distribution and a good selection of bands... I think this is a strong label, only on the rise! I am proud to share views, and to be embraced as a primary concern.

When I first heard the CD some of it reminde of Immortal and Destroyer 666. Were these bands were an influence on Ruins during the band formative years?
Destroyer... really only to a point. I actually watched them play last night here in Hobart Tasmania. It was the first time I had seen them play since very late in 1999 up in Brisbane. So a fair while between drinks. They are a good band, and I would say that they are an inspiration in a way... I am glad to see them have some good achievements with what they are doing... but they are not so much a direct musical influence, it is more that we would share similar old school influences I think,like the Celtic Frost and Bathory etc.; and most modern bands we like would be similar, like Watain etc...
My favourite Destroyer songs are the ones that sound most like Bathory... you also mention Immortal, well they are a pretty ultimate example of taking Bathory to the place I like best. "Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism" and "Pure Holocaust" do just exactly this... then "Battles In The North" is their truly pioneering, groundbreaking, artistically heightened piece of genius, that is of course very unique.

This being a full time band how dave manage to juggle two bands at the same time?
Yes Dave is busy with Psycroptic, and also occasionally Blood Duster, not so busy with Amenta these days though he is working on a new band with Erik from Amenta, I am maybe in on this too? I have played in many bands of various styles over the years, I have more recently done some guest vocals for Amenta, Thrall, and Beyond Terror Beyond Grace. For Dave and I to play the ‘Black Metal’ thing came because of our shared interest in that realm, not just the music, but the occult in general. Regarding our time management, it just seems to sort itself out really.

Also his brother Joe also of Psycroptic was also involved in the recording process too?
The partnership between me and Joe really happens on the whole production level through tracking and mixing, perhaps an equally significant relationship as the relationship Dave and I have in arranging the material, when it really comes down to the outcome of the album. I certainly can’t imagine working with anyone else at this point, nor can we imagine working anywhere different. "Front The Final Foes" does feature bass player Kai Summers for the first time. He has been the only one play with us since beginning live shows. He and I worked on the lines together, but again he brings something different to it.

What's the band's touring line up when the band go on the road?
I play guitar and do vocals, Dave drums; Joe plays second guitar live, Kai is our current live bass player also.

Have the band seen any reviews of album from the US press and what their response been so far?
I don’t really dig for reviews but if I see them I certainly check them out. It has no real impact on what I do, but I appreciate sometimes to hear what people have to say about our work.

Name some of your favorite tracks on the and why they are your personal favorites?
I really don’t know what to say specifically except that I am very pleased as I have been with all of our albums so far, with the flow of songs... the sequence, the structures belong in this sequence. I see the songs in their own right, I also see them as they relate to one another within the scheme of the album, and how the album sits within the scheme of the other albums, it is this evolving bigger picture, So I have no favourite song, I am pleased with the album as a whole, and particularly the way the songs flow together, as individual songs I am pleased with them all, if I wasn’t then they would not be out there for you to hear. Haha!

Is there any other bands from Tasmania that's worth checking out?
Tasmania really does set us apart from others in more ways than geographically haha! I am thankful for this. There is a small scene here in Tasmania, with a small population the content is actually quite varied considering this. But as Tasmanians we are isolated in our development, and as a result I think Tasmania spawns quite unique things artistically. There are many great artists from Tasmania, I think we have the best known and most successful, progressive, pioneering couple of bands out of Australia at all... they are Striborg in Black metal, and Psycroptic in Death Metal. Besides Ruins, there is also a brilliant up and coming band called Thrall. Hopefully their debut is out soon. This is certainly one of my favourite things. Album should be available soon, not sure who through?

Have you met local hero Chopper? I seen the movie I thought it was a good movie but also a funny one too.
I have never spoken to him but have seen him about a few times. Probably the most relevant Chopper story for you goes something like this... My friends band Blood Duster were opening for Slayer in Melbourne, Australia, this was in 07. Apparently Kerry King wanted to meet Chopper, so it was organized that he would be there. He got talking to someone backstage where he was informed of the poor treatment of the local support bands by Slayers crew, and the lousy support-band paycheck of course, and supposedly when he did meet Kerry King he let him know that he might want to pay the Australian bands properly... not quite stand-over style, but not joking either... hahahahahaha!

What are the bands plans for 2010? Is the band planning to come to the US for some shows?
I feel that "Front The Final Foes" completes a cycle somewhat, which renews itself therefore... the work that we will undertake next is basically full circle and almost like beginning again, our themes have come full circle, consequently we are working with some very old material at the moment that has been around since the very beginning, with this we revivify the idea of the band. We are in no rush to get this finished or released, it has really only just begun its process. I do not wish to speculate on any release date, it will not be finished until it is our finest work yet.
We hope to get over for some shows within the coming years!

Well I like to wish you a killer 2010 is there anything else you like to add?
Thanks for the support.
Interviewer: Paul Lewis
Feb 17, 2010

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