Wrath and Ruin recently threw a record release party/show at the Riot Room in mid-September. Now, the band's preparing to present its long-awaited release to its hometown of Lawrence. We recently asked Dean Edington (vocals) and Jason Khomsi (drums) how the KC release went, what the band’s got planned for the Lawrence release, and when Ruin’s new material will be recorded.
The Pitch: I assume you guys are excited the debut album is ready. Do you think the Lawrence crowd will respond to the material differently than the KC crowd did?
Dean Edington: We are excited. It’s the hometown release show so it’s likely to be more friends and family coming out. Lawrence has been with us all of the way down the road for this one, so it will be very gratifying to finally show everyone what we made of this thing.
Jason Khomsi: As far as Lawrence goes, I think everyone in the band is really excited about playing for our friends and enjoy having the opportunity to perform for people that maybe have not had the chance to see us. I’m not sure if I speak for everyone in the band on this one, but Lawrence for me honestly brings up conflicting feelings. My brother and I in particular were born in Lawrence, grew up here, and grew up listening to lots of heavy, unusual, and original bands that were either from here or KC, or would play here when Lawrence had more of a music scene. Thus we were almost conditioned to like bands that were quasi in-between genres. So we have a certain pride about being from Lawrence, which is why we not only specifically included in our album that we created, recorded, and are from Lawrence, but made sure that every person that worked on the album, whether it was for the recording, mixing, mastering, or for the creation of the artwork, was from Lawrence. But gradually over the years, and in particular over the last decade, Lawrence has changed due to the common mass exodus and/or migration-in of students, and due to longtime residents leaving. As a result, and in my opinion, now it is rare for people who go out in Lawrence to even want to see heavy music. Instead, Lawrence tends to support indie bands, folk, Americana, or singer-songwriter type songwriting. Thus, the bands that do well here tend to be doing well because first, they are talented, but also because there is something familiar, meaning that they specifically sound like they are from an easily identifiable genre, sound like another popular band/artist closely, or tend to culturally and /or image wise match well with their audience’s values, culture, worldview, or lifestyle. This is a point that I have not heard many people talk about.
How did the release at the Riot Room go? Was the response good?
DE: The KC show was a blast, I had a really great time and personally really felt good about the performance, although I did bust out my rear windshield when loading out, not the best nightcap for a good evening. Overall, though, there were a lot of new faces and we didn’t clear the bar out so it couldn’t have been too bad, plus lurking at Riot is always interesting. Hahaha.
JK: While the show was a heavy show, all the bands that played were interestingly different from each other despite being under the umbrella of metal music. I like that! The show was interesting, too, because it seemed that the audience at the show was made up of people who tend to like different genres of music. So I saw musicians and fans that like metal, some that like more heavy-rock type influences, others that like more ambient/noise music, and general fans just there to see a show. There were a lot of people there for us at the Riot Room and everybody seemed to like it and stayed. That’s always a good sign. We got a lot of very positive feedback from everybody. We are humble and generally don’t take anything for granted, so we are very thankful of and get excited about anyone who likes our band.
How did you guys settle on the album's title?
DE: Well, we went back and forth on ideas and concepts for the album title for months and finally whittled it down to being best described by the word ‘oblivion’. Turns out that the band’s very first song was called Mouth of Oblivion and we all really felt that it best summed up the musical and lyrical themes of the album…and also a great way to wrap up the band’s past as we move forward.
JK: Well, if I remember correctly, we had a band meeting and asked each member what the songs, the band, or how the songs are when we play them live, mean to each of us. Then we each proposed several album title ideas based on that, and narrowed it down to three or four. Mouth of Oblivion seemed the best fit. We really liked that it sounded dark, and it seemed like it could work as a metaphor for several different ideas about society, personal experiences, or imagery ideas that everyone felt or had in mind.
How did you decide on the other bands on the bill for the Lawrence release?
DE: Well, initially, we had a show planned for both KC and Lawrence on the same weekend but due to some injuries and member changes with the other bands on the original bill, we decided to reschedule. Jacki (Becker, from Eleven) asked if we’d be interested in opening for Skeletonwitch the same day so we decided to do this one instead.
I know this album was just completed, but are you guys any closer to recording some of your new material on the next album? Do you think this one will be recorded quicker?
DE: We are actually sitting on four or five new songs that are already really close to being done. We’re playing a new song on Saturday at the Jackpot and then possibly a few more at Hammerween in Kansas City at the end of the month. That’s just what we’re sitting on now, I know James (Sizelove, guitar) has a stash of ideas and we were just tossing around the idea of doing an EP while working on the new record as well. We all learned so much this last time around that there is no way we couldn’t be better at the process this time out.
JK: We have about three other songs that are very close to being done, and we also have so many riffs, drum parts, or conceptual ideas for new material. So far the writing process is going very well, we seem to have lots of creative ideas and we definitely have something to say. So that’s all been positive for us thus far. The trick for us over the next several months will be to skillfully navigate between our musical aspirations and our busy personal lives. We have two members in master’s programs, two other very lucky members that are about to be fathers, and another that is also married and has a very busy work schedule due to just accepting a managerial position. I think we’ll be fine because we are anticipating how we plan to change our writing process to allow the band to continually move forward toward our goal of creating another album and an EP soundtrack/soundscape release. We already have talked to everyone that was involved with creating Mouth of Oblivion, and everyone has conveyed that they are excited and proud enough of this release to try and do it again. So, that’s a good sign! Generally, we have gone through many of the grueling, problem solving, and discovery process with this album all ready. So the next release should be a faster process since we can just add to what we have learned instead of trying to invent, redefine, or discover how to get the kind of tone or mix that we want.
Skeletonwitch, Wrath and Ruin, and the Cast Pattern will perform at the Jackpot, Saturday, October 8. Show 9 p.m. $10. 18-plus.