ORIGIN GUITARIST PAUL RYAN: THE METALSUCKS INTERVIEW
MetalSucks recently had the opportunity to have a quick chat with Origin guitarist Paul Ryan on the set of the band’s shoot for their new video, “Finite.” Ryan had some interesting things to say about life on the road, the band’s new album, Antithesis (read Axl’s review here), and what lies ahead for these death metal masters. Above, watch the David Brodsky-directed video for “Finite;” after the jump, read the full transcript of our chat with Paul.
Can you tell us a little about the making of Antithesis – how it came together and all that good stuff?
Basically the album was… I was recording guitar parts sending out tabs, and vice versa, and basically planning out the material. It started out bare bones and then it would get more advanced as it went, and basically we were corresponding through e-mails and [demo] recordings. And we went to Gordon [Conrad at Relapse Records] and said we’d like to have an album out in the Spring of 2008, and then he kind of set of a time line. This band works better under pressure, we do better when there’s something on the line, so we kind of had a time table, a time frame, of when we needed it to be mastered, when the artwork would have to be done, when the music would have to be done.
So basically Gordon was like “Well you have to enter the studio in November,” so in September was the first time we actually jammed together and we had four days rehearsal, John [Longstreth, drums] came in, flew in, and we all got together in one room, and John learned six songs in four days, and then we had, like, twenty five, twenty six days of rehearsal ourself. Nobody in the band wants to be the weak link, nobody wants to be the guy that sucks, so it put a little bit of pressure on us more, as our ourselves and as a band. So then [John] came back and we had five days at the end of October to learn the remaining songs. And then we went into the studio, and while we were in the studio we did drums tracks first, and while we were doing scratch guitar James [Lee, vocals] was penning in the lyrics. He had patterns already formulated in his head and then he was penning in the lyrics. So John layed down his drum tracks in about four days, then we went to guitars, bass, vocals…
And even when all that stuff was finished, even at the last minute, the last day I was flying out I was like “God, I need one more day!” I don’t know if you’ve heard the song “The Aftermath” on our MySpace page, but with that song, I was like “You’ve GOTTA have lyrics over this one part!” So it was like we totally just changed the song like twenty minutes before we recorded it, we changed the organization of the lines of what [James] had already penned out, so that song came out killer, that [part of the song] is really vicious (laughs). ‘Cause we were all like “God, you GOTTA have lyrics on that part!” So James was like “FUCK! GOD DAMN IT!” I don’t know exactly what he said, but it was something in that demeanor.
So then for the mix-down, Jeremy [Turner, guitars] and Mike [Flores, bass] were there with [producer] Robert Rebeck who did an amazing job, and basically then it was sent to Scott Hull from Pig Destroyer, and he… I mean, everyone did extra, Robert was doing extra… when we went into the studio, we didn’t know how long the album was. The last album was short and we were trying to write songs with more than one verse and with different characteristics… there’s a nine and a half minute long song [“Antithesis”]. So we didn’t know how much studio time we’d need, and Robert was working extra and we were doing like sixteen hour days in the studio and all kinds of crazy stuff and then Scott Hull came in… and even mastering, the first master we were somewhat happy with and then he sent second master we were like “Eh,” and then he sent a third master and it was like “Yeah!” So everyone from the band to the engineer to the masterer put in extra effort.
So we’re very happy with it… it’s not perfect, but it’s real, it’s raw, it’s blistering, it’s got a lot of different angles that the band hasn’t used before.
Most of the band doesn’t live in the same geographical location… how do you guys all communicate during the writing process when you’re all so spread out?
Well, on my own, I just write, and then I send out a version, it’s just a demo version, and the song will advance by itself. And there’s stuff that I recorded that we didn’t use. And Jeremy and Mike would get together and record it and have that sent to me, and then… I mean, I have like two songs that I don’t know completely, that Jeremy and Mike wrote, whereas Mike and John know all the material, because Mike’s kind of like the middle man. So hopefully at some point when we’ve been touring long enough, we’ll be able to play every song on the new album. It’s just getting it to a point where we’re articulate enough that we can play it at the same speeds [as on the album].
And we’re gonna be touring [as support] and not headlining at first, so hopefully we’ll have more time to rehearse it.
You guys are gonna be doing some European festivals, right?
And is there another tour before that?
Yeah, I don’t know what the running order is, but it’s Origin, Dying Fetus, and Obituary [Unfortunately, this tour has since been cancelled – Ed.]. And then we’ll do a smaller headlining tour from May to June in Europe, and then there’s talk – after we finish shooting this video, we’re gonna discuss what we’re gonna do after Europe – and the plan is most likely to play some mid-west and west coast dates, see what develops. We wanna push this album as much as possible, and Relapse have invested a lot into this album, in the studio and with this video…
This is your first video shoot, right?
First actual video shoot. We have a kind of video for the song “Portal,” more low budget, but… Relapse has treated us great over all the years, so we’re definitely happy.
Yeah, basically… we were younger, there were egos, and out on the road people weren’t getting along, people got sick, people were sick of touring… but we had a lot of fun playing music together, and now we’re a little older, a little wiser, we each have less of an ego, and other people tried to fill those [vacant] slots but we felt most comfortable with one another. And the fact that the band works best with these guys and we’re all friends… like I said, you get in the van for awhile and, I don’t… we just weren’t getting along. Now everyone is trying to work towards a common goal.
And great things happened for us [during the time apart] – you know, Jeremy played in Cannibal Corpse… but it was like, the second guitar spot, we just couldn’t find another guy, I was doing both spots with an A/V box and playing both parts… so it was either gonna stay a four piece, or it was gonna be Jeremy. We just couldn’t find a bonding member… and even if we did, I think he would have been hazed a lot (laughs).
Cool. Any parting words?
Just looking forward to… I mean, this is awesome. The support of Relapse, just flying us out to all different parts of the country, is awesome. A lot of people ask us “How is Relapse?” and sometimes they have a different direction that the death metal kids don’t understand, but Relapse treats us, as a band, very well. A lot of kids are like “Why did Relapse change directions?” But they’ve made the label bigger and better, and because of the decisions they’ve made, they’ve got that much more money to support a death metal band like us. So it’s pretty awesome… I just wanna make sure Relapse gets props (laughs).
-AR & VN