Matt Dasher: First off, how did you get the guitar tone on “Antithesis?” Like what amps or guitar tunings did you use?
Paul Ryan: A Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier with a Mesa cabinet and an audio deck at 4050 and we just experimented with tones for about an hour trying different microphones and that’s what we felt was best for the recording.
Matt: On Entity I noticed that there’s a lot more hooks and less shredding. Was that a conscious attempt to be catchier or was that just evolving as a songwriter?
Paul: I feel that first of all, there were different members on “Antithesis” and on “Entity” and there’s a different dynamic for how the band works and plays. Since a couple of the guys are gone the band’s ideology changed as far as what we wanted to do music-wise. Besides, creating the same album over and over is kind of like riding the same roller coaster. If it just goes fast it’s what listeners expect. So we tried to do something with new twists and turns in it and dynamics are good because we can play as fast as we want and get a golf clap and the end or we can play with dynamics and create new moods that people will actually react to.
Matt: What was it like to record without a full-time vocalist?
Paul: We didn’t know that was going to happen until three weeks before we entered the studio. We had a different guy we were working with and he decided that it wasn’t in his best interest to be in the band. We kind of scrambled and bonked heads and decided that it would be best if we just did it ourselves. That way we’re not throwing somebody into the loop and putting the pressure on us. I have a newfound respect for people who do all the vocals or lyrics. It was different. It was difficult. It was something that I had to think about while being in the studio since the lyrics weren’t written yet. The lyrics were being written while we were tracking. When I was writing lyrics, Mike was recording and when Mike was writing lyrics, I was recording. I’m happy with the results given the amount of time that I had to do the vocals and vocal patterns to make it sound like Origin.
Matt: I like how you’re a death metal band but not all of your lyrics are about gory violence. Where do you find lyrical inspiration?
Paul: I wanted to create something that might affect people. We’re not a goregrind band or a porngrind band or a blasphemous band. I just kind of find something that’s just kind thought provoking where the listener can interpret their own opinion on. A lot of the things are just personal experiences and a personal interpretation of what I feel is creative songwriting. I don’t have a distinct answer for where I find inspiration. I guess it’s trying to think outside the box and not doing what everyone else is doing.
Matt: Who were your early guitar influences?
Paul: Definitely Slayer, Yngwie Malmsteen. I like Carcass, Bolt Thrower Decide , Suffocation. Any of those over the top extreme bands. I wasn’t into Yngwie’s vocal stuff but as far as guitar players go, I thought his speed and proficiency was awesome. I like the speed of Slayer and the darker side of it. And I like Cryptic Slaughter, Napalm Death, DRI, and just the sheer insanity of it. That’s what influenced me as a creator.
Matt: What’s the metal scene like in Kansas? I don’t see too many bands come out of Wichita and Kansas City.
Paul: There’s a pretty good scene there. There’s Unmerciful, there’s a band call Discrete, Erasmus, Troglodyte, and there’s other bands. Those are more of the death metal bands. There’s a pretty solid scene of bands that are good that aren’t well known but we have a strong local support there. I can’t complain about it. We have a following there. Most of the bands who tour with us are actually surprised at how good the scene is.
Matt: What’s it like being on a larger label?
Paul: I don’t see much difference between Relapse and Nuclear Blast. Nuclear Blast is based in Europe so they have a very strong presence in Europe. We haven’t been there since the album came out. We’re definitely seeing a lot of hype and good press about the album and I can’t complain about that. It also looks like Relapse have changed direction and they’re not so focused on death metal bands anymore.
Matt: I have to say that your last two albums are much more polished in terms of production. Was that an artistic choice or did you just have a bigger budget?
Paul: It was definitely a bigger budget. Plus we had more studio time which means better performances and better time for finding tones with more available time for the mix. So that has to do with budgeting and making money on a lot of tours for recording projects.
Matt: When this tour’s over, what are your plans for the rest of the year?
Paul: This tour ends in about three more weeks, then we get two weeks off before we do Puerto Rico at the beginning of August but that’s just three days. Then we have a couple weeks off then we do Europe for a few weeks. I think Japan’s in there somewhere. The plan is to go out there, play shows and push the album.
Matt: Good meeting you
Paul: Thank you.
Matt is a freelance writer living in Chicago, Illinois and a metalhead since 1999.