Interview: A Ritual Spirit talk about hard work and dedication

Edinburgh-based alternative rock outfit A Ritual Spirit have just released part one of a two part album, ‘Elements I’ is a pensive and refined collection of explosive songs! They toured the country and played several big festival stages, so it was about time we had a little chat with them and talk music, inspiration and dedication!

Who are you, what music do you make and who’s inspired you to start making music?

I’m Oli, I sing and play guitar in A Ritual Spirit. We play alternative rock music but I use that term loosely… we’ve recently been described as “Too metal for rock, too rock for grunge and too grunge for metal” – that’s pretty much the recipe for what we do!

As for inspirations – Led Zeppelin, Wishbone Ash and The Beatles were the first bands that really made me want to pick up a guitar and write songs, then the 90’s grunge scene had a massive effect on me.

Where are you based and how do you think that influences your music?

We’re based in Edinburgh, the scene here is pretty inclusive which is great, bands will generally help other bands out as much as possible wherever they can. Genre-wise the scene tends to lean more towards the heavier side of things so if anything that probably pushes us to make our songs a touch more heavy than they maybe naturally would be.

What are you hoping to achieve by releasing music?

Every person who enjoys our music and comes to our shows genuinely means the world to me, music’s a very subjective thing and if we can move people with our music then that’s most of our job done as far as I’m concerned. A few years back I had a lady say to me that one of the songs I wrote for our previous release ‘The Antidote’ EP really helped her get over the divorce she was going through and that really touched me to know that something I’d written had given emotional support to someone else at a time when they needed it most. Ultimately I’d love to make a living from writing and performing our music but that’s not exactly easy so right now I’d be happy if we could go and play to 300 people in every town and city in the UK, after that I’d be looking to make it 3000 people in every town and city in the world!

Could you highlight one or two of your favourite shows and why they were your favourite?

Bloodstock Festival 2018 is a huge highlight, we got there after winning Metal to the Masses Glasgow that year, we’d gone out in the semi-finals in 2017 and thought we’d give it another shot, truly didn’t expect to win but we went all the way and played the New Blood Stage which was an incredible experience all round.

Another one that sticks in my mind is the Primordial Radio Presents show that we played at Bannermans in Edinburgh back in January 2020 alongside Ramage Inc. and North Atlas which was pretty much packed to capacity and helped raise over £1000 for charity… we sold a lot of merch that night too which is always a bonus.

I know you said one or two but I’m gonna be a rebel and mention three! Last October (2021) we played our first hometown show post-lockdowns after a short headline tour of northern England… Feeling the energy in that room as the crowd bounced up and down to our tunes after 18 months of not being able to play was pretty special and certainly something none of us will forget in a hurry.

What shows and plans have you got coming up and how do you think you achieved this?

We’ve just release part one of a two part album ‘Elements I’ so we’ll be promoting that while we write and record the second half. We also have some pretty big shows coming up too, we’re actually playing three festivals in six days this summer – Red Crust Festival in Edinburgh, then Breaking Bands Festival in Bromsgrove four days later, followed by Forge Ahead Festival in South Wales the day after that… Not sure what state we’ll all be in by the end of it but it’s guaranteed to be a lot of fun.

I think we’ve achieved everything we have through hard work and dedication, especially since winning Metal to the Masses. Over the lockdowns I spent hours and hours working on the behind the scenes business aspect of the band and that’s really starting to show now that we’re (hopefully!) out the other side.

What is currently your favourite song and why?

‘Broken/Disappear’ from ‘The Antidote’ EP is probably my favourite song of ours… It’s one of the most personal songs I’ve ever written and it’s a shout out to all the people out there who suffer physically and/or mentally, basically saying you’re not alone and we’ll all get through this together.

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