|Ryan Waste - Municipal Waste/Volture - Interview Exclusive|
|Written by Jim Rowland|
|Sunday, 25 March 2012 04:30|
Having become a fervent thrash fanatic back in '85, in more recent years I thought my thrashing days were firmly behind me, that was until I got a slap in the face from an album called 'The Art Of Partying' by Virginia's Municipal Waste back in 2007. This delicious fusion of classic old school thrash and hardcore punk completely rejuvenated my interest in the scene and opened the door to an array of great young bands keeping the thrash flag flying high. Consequently, I didn't have to think too long or hard about my reply when I was offered the chance to meet up with Municipal Waste's guitar hero Ryan Waste recently at London's Gibson guitar showrooms to hear all about the band's upcoming new album 'Fatal Feast', their immediate plans and influences, and even Ryan's rather fine sounding side project Volture.
Read on Uber Thrashers.
So Ryan, 'Fatal Feast' is the name of the next Municipal Waste album, coming out over here on April 12th- what can we expect from the album compared to the band's previous albums?
RW: I think it's faster than a lot of the other records, if that's possible! We don't really let up on this one. The cover concept is based in space too, so it's 'Fatal Feast - Waste In Space', so it's got a sub-title, and this is the first time ever we've had some outside contributors to our band too. This guy Steve Moore from the group Zombie, they sound more like horror movie soundtracks, he did a couple of intros - more John Carpenter-esque keyboard intros, which we've never had, so it seems like a movie soundtrack. Right off the bat you get the setting for it, and then it just hits back into relentless speed metal like we like to do. So it's a classic Waste sounding album and you can tell that we've put some time into this one because we had the year just to write and record - we've never taken time off just to do that, we've always been touring so much, so you can tell there's a lot of thought been put into it.
Something I was very pleased to read about was that you have a guest appearance by John Connelly from Nuclear Assault.
That's the other contributor I was going to mention. He's one of my favourite vocalists from one of my favourite thrash bands of all time, Nuclear Assault, and he was super-nice to lay down some vocals on the title track. It was about as easy as just asking him to do it - he said 'yeah, sure enough'. We've met him in the past and we've been friends with all the Nuclear Assault guys, Danny Lilker is a good friend, they're all cool guys and I wish they played more shows. We'd try to do a tour with them but I think John's a schoolteacher and he's pretty busy.
Were Nuclear Assault a big influence on Municipal Waste?
Definitely. In the beginning they were one of the bands I listened to as a kid. I like the way they blended their kind of thrash metal. It had cool, interesting vocals, I always loved his vocals, and you could tell there was some punk rock in there too, so they're the epitome of good thrash and they're also East coast like us too.
For me there's a clear influence in the album artwork too, for example if you look at their first album 'Gave Over'.
Yes, we were privileged enough to have Ed Repka do one of our covers - 'Hazardous Mutation'. Ed Repka did Megadeth stuff and tons of other stuff. Yeah the 'Gave Over' cover is one of my favourite record covers, it's just a classic. So yes early on with Municipal Waste you can see the similarities. Even the logo and stuff. I drew the Municipal Waste logo, so I stared at a lot of classic thrash albums like Sodom, Destruction, Kreator and Nuclear Assault to come up with the logo, but I didn't ever directly rip them off, I was inspired by them.
What about other influences aside from Nuclear Assault?
I'm a freak for old New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, I've got Tank and Savage badges on. I love the way that influenced thrash metal and I listen to more heavy metal than I listen to speed metal these days. That stuff influences me in more ways than just the Waste. There's also cool punk rock influences in Municipal Waste. Our singer and I grew up listening to hardcore punk as well, so I always say you have heavy metal on one side and punk rock on the other side and I put us right down the middle, and that creates thrash metal, that's the way I like to look at it.
You've moved labels from Earache To Nuclear Blast - what's the difference there?
It already seems like family. Nuclear Blast seem to really care about their bands, they're into their bands' music, they're fans of the music and they want to let that creativity breathe. They've pretty much given us all the freedom we want. They're into ideas about packaging and they want to make good product for us. They're letting us put a poster in the LP and they're letting us do other vinyl releases on smaller labels, which is pretty unheard of for a label. We're doing a split with our friends Toxic Holocaust, it's gonna be called the Toxic Waste split and that's on a different label. We recorded the songs when we did the full length 'Fatal Feast'. It's something that Earache wouldn't let us do - not to say anything bad about them, but it seems like Nuclear Blast is open to other ideas, as well as having a real strong foothold in the metal scene. They seem to really have their act together. So far so good!
What's your favourite Municipal Waste album so far?
Usually bands can't say what their favourite album is, but I can easily say that 'Hazardous Mutation' is still my favourite. I think we play the most of those songs live still; our set still probably has more songs from that album. It was a pivotal album for us because it was the new line-up, which is the current line-up now, I guess seven or eight years ago now. When we signed to Earache I felt like we were coming from a DIY scene where we booked our own shows. Earache then was like us signing to a major label. Even though it's an independent label, it felt like a big turning point for us, and a lot of people questioned that - "Oh, you're selling out" - our fans from the old basement days when we played dirty basements and houses and stuff. We signed to a big label so we had a lot to prove that we were still the same band, so it was bringing together the old and the new and I still think it's the best record for me, the one that I'm still most proud of.
It was the one after that when I got into the band.
'Art Of Partying'? A lot of people came in on 'Art Of Partying'. I think that might have been our 'breakthrough' record into more people discovering us. We had done 'Hazardous' and people were waiting for it! Of course I love that record too. The concept kind of got old, all the partying and stuff - party this, party that - that did get old, but the songs are still there. I still dig those songs.
When can UK fans expect to see Municipal Waste live?
This summer. I can't say what festivals we're on, because we're still working all that out but probably July or August at the latest we're gonna be back over here. Mostly festivals but hopefully some smaller clubs too.
I wanted to ask you about your other band Volture?
Please do, because we're coming over here in April and playing The Unicorn in London on April 21st. I told you I'm a big fan of the NWOBHM, so that's the band that sounds like all the bands I love. People have compared us to old Judas Priest - our singer's got really high register vocals - I play bass in that band, we've got some good lead guitar players, and we've been compared to a lot of NWOBHM stuff and a lot of European late 70's/early 80's stuff. The stuff that I listen to, this is the band that sounds like that. I grew up listening to heavy metal and I've always wanted to do this type of band so it's definitely like a labour of love for me. In the States I don't think people grasp traditional heavy metal like they would in the 80's, it's not in style so much but I love it and I'm trying to spread it as much as possible!
Over here right now it's pretty much the complete opposite
Yeah, why do you think we're coming over here? I've been waiting to get this band over here. We've been together since 2008 and we have a six song EP on Heavy Artillery records called 'Shocking It's Prey', and we'll have a new seven inch out. We have a video for the song on the seven inch called 'Rule Breaker' which you can find on You Tube. I don't even call it a side project, It's what I love doing. I would regard the two bands equally.
Is the Unicorn gig part of a European tour for Volture?
We're touring around the 'Keep It True' Festival in Germany.
Why do you think young kids now are going back to the NWOBHM sound?
It's just the best music! I think with the Internet, people can find all those bands now. I'm a record collector and the records are like two or three hundred dollars to buy. You can download them now, so you can have all the songs and access it, so the Internet played a big part in young kids finding out about it. Hopefully people's tastes are turning around. I really hope in the States people catch on, because I think what people think metal is isn't metal to me. It's a lot of down tuned super-produced chugga shit. I like the speed and melody and the raw classic guitar tone and stuff. It's my favourite form of music and it grabs from the best elements of heavier blues stuff and punk's mixed in there too - the aggression, tempo and production for sure.
I'd like to thank Ryan for taking the time to talk to me on behalf of Uber Rock. He's a really friendly, down to earth guy who's totally committed to his Metal and we had a great chat. Thanks also to Chris Dean at Duff Press for arranging the whole thing.
Municipal Waste's new album 'The Fatal Feast - Waste In Space' is out in the UK on April 13th on Nuclear Blast.
Volture tour Europe in April, including four UK dates.
Photo Kudos Jordon Josepher (Municipal Waste portrait)