Interviews: Ronin

On this new occasion, we have had the opportunity to interview the Heavy Metal/Hard Rock band, Ronin from the USA. Check out the interview and follow the band on their FACEBOOK PAGE.

1.Where did you get the idea for the band name, you planned it or came out just like that?

Feldmann of Ronin: At first, it came from necessity. As in we just needed a band name after weeks and weeks of throwing ideas around, we had to just choose a name. This need came from the fact that we were going to a show for a band that we were potentially going to open for, and at that time, we didn’t have our name. We didn’t want to look like a bunch of idiots at the show, because undoubtedly, we’d be asked, “so, what’s your band name?” or “what band are you in?”. We decided to hunker down and choose a name. We wanted something short and to the point; nothing over the top or too much of a cliché. Ronin, by the definition, kind of fit our overall sound as well; not adhering to anyone else’s criteria or idea of what we should play, I.E., not having a master. Our overall approach is to not being too genre/subgenre specific and cornering ourselves musically.

2. Why did you want to play this genre?

Feldmann of Ronin: That’s a good question because there are so many genres and genre-nuts out there, but we don’t really have a specific sub-genre to define us, we’re just all types of rock. Depends on our mood honestly. We tend to drift anywhere between rock and metal genres, but we’re not big fans of genre labels because we tend to weave in and out of them, so Hard Rock if we had to put a definitive genre. This is what we typically tell people when they ask what bands we might compare to sound-wise. We’re 2 parts Metallica, with a sampling of Queen-ish zest, a spritz of Volbeat, add in a healthy pinch of Alice in Chains with hints of Soundgarden and Foo Fighters, along with a side of Motorhead. Some sort of hybrid combination of those elements is where we land. We’re pretty much pure rock and roll.

3. Did you know each other before the band was formed?

Feldmann of Ronin: All 4 of us have known each other since grade school and started playing our instruments at different times throughout our lives. I’ve known Jack since 1st grade and we both met Vitale and Maas in 9th grade.

4. Each band member favorite band?

Feldmann of Ronin: Some of our favorites are Metallica, Rush, Muse, Avenged Sevenfold, Iron Maiden and Alice in Chains to name a few.

5. Who or what inspires you to write songs?

Feldmann of Ronin: All sorts of things, if you look on this album, one theme that someone might see is the idea of “coming to terms” with something. Whether it be from a decision you’ve made, something that happened to you in the past, something that’s currently happening to you now and really just learning to live with a reality, regardless of if it’s preferrable, convenient or desired. Facing truths and realities is something that’s very potent for songwriting, at least for me. Indoctrination, too, plays a role in some of the songs’ lyrics. Too wholeheartedly believing your own BS or someone else’s, being zoned in on an ideology with a rigidly narrow view, and then perhaps one day being confronted with a reality that is counter to what you’ve been led to believe for years; I just find that stuff fascinating and it makes for some great lyrical content. Alternately, sometimes I’ll hear an idea or phrase and it strikes me. I’ll jot it down quickly before I forget and then later on, I’ll take those notes out and flesh them into a song based on personal feelings or by researching the topic or phrase. I’ll do that with song titles a lot too; if I’m struggling to find a good title, I’ll go do some Google searches using keywords or themes from that particular song. I’ll use Spider and Fly as an example. The verse lyrics and most of the chorus lyrics were finalized and fleshed out prior to settling on the title when I stumbled upon an early 19th century poem by Mary Howitt titled “The Spider and the Fly”. After reading the poem, I saw some thematic similarities about luring someone or something into a trap of some kind and the title, Spider and Fly was born. The song isn’t necessarily about a spider and a fly, but more about playing a game of Spider and Fly; an act of seizing the object of your desire sort of thing, but it continues to elude you. That’s just one example of how a song came to me and some specific lyrics for a chorus. Sometimes I’m able to just sit down and right out a whole song without issue, other times it’s harder. I can sense when I start “trying” to write the song instead of it coming naturally. I believe that’s called the Yoda principle; “do or do not, there is no try.” So, when it feels like I’m “trying” too hard to make something work, it’s best to walk away and approach it again later on.

6. Where was your last gig?

Feldmann of Ronin: A hot and sweaty late July gig at RamsHead Pub in Holbrook NY. Nice dive bar atmosphere and we got to play for an hour which was great. Covid sucks though but luckily the place has indoor/outdoor accommodations so we could perform safely.

7. Where would you like to act?

Feldmann of Ronin: Anywhere that’ll take us in! We’re not against playing anywhere. We’ve just started so we can’t afford to be picky. Yes, would we love to play arenas and stadiums and massive festivals all over the world? Yes, of course, but we know ya gotta work your way up.

8. Whom would you like to feature with?

Feldmann of Ronin: It would be Metallica for sure, for me personally at least. Just to hear the roar of the crowd of probably tens/hundreds of thousands singing every single word and note of every single song they’d play in their set. To watch the masters at work alongside them. Can’t imagine how that must feel, but perhaps someday.

9. Whom not?

Feldmann of Ronin: We’re not against anything really if it makes sense and we’re into it. Can’t be forced though because it always feels so obvious when that happens, which is more often than it should.

10. Any of you has ever suffered from stage fright? Any tip for beginners on how to beat that?

Feldmann of Ronin: I think we all had some reservations at first, but Jack has been performing for years throughout grade school and in college, I also was in some performance groups too. So, we have had some experience prior to the band, but there is always a little something that makes you feel uneasy before a show starts, no matter the size of the venue/crowd/etc. and it’s just a thing of mind over matter. Positive affirmations and Johnny Walker help though too! Honestly though, it’s just a thing about not caring too much about what other people think and putting in the work to have the confidence in yourself up on stage so that there is no room for doubt and fright. If you’re good, you’re good and the rest will work itself out. There is always the chance that something could go wrong, but so what? You’ll live, most likely and get the chance to do it again.

11. What bands have inspired you the most?

Feldmann of Ronin: I’d say Metallica for sure is the most obvious from our sound. They’ve influenced me immensely from a very young age and they still do to this day. Hetfield is king in my book. Big part of my more aggressive vocal approach and playing style. Alice in Chains is also up there, I think. That sort of gritty, dirty rock sound mixed with the beautiful harmonies Layne Staley and Jerry Cantrell created; I think there are definite shades of those elements in our sound. I also have to say Avenged Sevenfold. Maybe not the most noticeable right away, but I know that I can recognize it for sure. In some of the different experimental type-sections we throw into songs, like the tonal shifts in Temptress and Down. Also, some of my vocal approaches at times are similar to that of M. Shadows; certain vowel sounds and expressions. Definitely one of my vocal/musical heroes.

12. What's the weirdest thing a fan has ever asked you for?

Feldmann of Ronin: A vinyl copy of our album. The trend in culture just baffles me and besides, it’s not nearly cost effective for us to print on vinyl and make it remotely affordable.

13. What do you think of your fans?

Feldmann of Ronin: The ones we met and built pre-covid we cherish and love, and the ones we have built online since then, we also love, but haven’t been able to capitalize on with live, in-person shows. We feel like we owe our fans, and potential fans the experience of Ronin, live and in-person. So, we’re grateful and plan on making your support worthwhile.

14. What do you think of our site?

Feldmann of Ronin: The site is pretty awesome actually. I like the simplistic and sleek design of it and the color schemes. Easy to navigate and tons of info on bands/albums etc. to keep people busy with cool new bands and releases. It wasn’t hard to find our band bio at all, so that’s a plus too!

15. Something to add?

Feldmann of Ronin: Just want to give a sincere thanks for giving me and our band the chance to chat and get the word out about our little rock band and our debut album. I’ll also add that you should all listen to our album! And turn it up LOUD! Cheers to you and yours! Here’s to many more years and successes for all of us! Much love and appreciation from the boys in Ronin! We are Ronin, and don’t you forget it!

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