TBFM caught up with SOiL‘s Tim King and Ryan McCombs at Hard Rock Hell in December – here’s what they had to say…
How you doing guys? you’re on stage in about 5 hours, can we expect any new tracks on your setlist tonight?
Ryan – we have been playing since we came over as part of this UK run, we’ve added a track that is only available through the Kickstart project that we’re working on it’s called My Time..
How is album no 6 coming along? I believe its due for release next year?
Ryan – Well, been writing – been enjoying the writing process, I think the material is really good, I’m really happy with the stuff these guys have been writing, its been fun writing the lyrics to it, and looking forward to hitting the studio in February and getting it down on tape. …On tape? Wow.. on vinyl?
Tim– I don’t think you can find tape anymore!
Ryan –We’re releasing it only on 8-track!
Tim – We’re bringing the 8-track back!
With all of the band members coming from more death metal bands to this band, how did the band SOiL come about?
Tim – Well basically all the rest if us, you know, besides Ryan, were actually in death metal bands and we just kinda got him burned out on the scene, you know, back in the day when we formed it, all the black metal stuff was coming out and they’re all painting their faces like KISS, being satanic and all this sort of stuff.. and stuff that we weren’t into.. and the death metal stuff is just like you know how heavy can you be, how fast you can be, and it was kind of just getting really boring to us I guess you could say. So we wanted to get back to our roots, and start a band with like things like influences like Aerosmith and Sabbath and Metallica, Corrosion of Conformity, Alice in Chains, we started writing material that would eventually actually be the SOiL ‘Worm’ EP that Century Media put out, and then, came across Ryan and he joined the band and you know we just kinda went from there. Kinda evolved our sound things like that. it was kinda weird because we wanted to stray away so much from the death metal stuff, that we were writing more like kinda stoner rock music, and we decided, hey let’s stop fighting this, we’re metal at heart, and then we kinda incorporated those metal influences and then more rock and that’s how your scars redefine and the band evolved from that. Thats where all that kinda came from.
I’ve got a couple of questions for Ryan about your Drowning Pool days – how’s working with Drowning Pool different from SOiL?
Ryan – Err.. accents! They’re from Chicago, Drowning Pool are from Texas. There was way more similarities than there were differences, as far as like in the writing process – CJ (guitarist, Drowning Pool) was responsible for the bulk of the musical writing. CJ really is the heart and soul of the music aspect of the band, whereas it seems like this band we tend to get a little more accomplished being in a room together. With Drowning Pool it was more of CJ would write the music and he would actually sit at the back of the bus and record everything on his laptop and he’d hand me the CD and I’d write the lyrics to it and maybe subtle arrangement changes. And that would be a big difference I guess. In the olden days of SOiL, I was the one guy that wasn’t from the area. So there were a lot of times, self-imposed, there were a lot of times that I kinda felt like that fifth wheel guy. And with Drowning Pool you had 3 guys there, I was their 3rd singer, those guys grew up together, again very similar I felt a lot of times, probably self-imposed, felt like a fourth wheel in that situation. SOiL nowadays is the 3 of us, nothing gets done without a unanimous decision and we’ve also gotten mature enough to know that maybe my view on this is the thing keeping it from being a unanimous decision.
I’ve got another question for you Ryan, again about your Drowning Pool days; What can you count to?
Ryan – I can count a lot higher than four, I just don’t get the opportunity to do it! [laughs] Have you ever seen the Youtube thing with me?
Yes! That’s what I was coming to.
Ryan – That was at a venue in New Jersey, we were recording the self-titled Drowning Pool album. and I got to know the owner of this bar, and so every other night I would leave the studio and he’d send someone over to pick me up and I’d just sit in there with the guys, I got to know everyone that worked there, and get trashed with them every night – and one night Psychostick was playing..
Had you heard of them already?
Ryan – No.
Coz I interviewed Rob, the singer from the band and he told me the story..
Ryan – The owner of the club comes up, he brings me over to the stage as they’re coming off and he’s like ‘Hey guys, I wanted you to meet Ryan’ ..he knew they’d totally recognise me right away.. ‘from Drowning Pool’.. and I was like ‘Nice to meet you guys’ I forget what they said, I was just laughing my ass off, I thought it was great.
There’s been a few changes to the line-up in the last 15 years but you’ve turned full circle.. what has drawn you back together as a band?
Tim– I guess with any band that lasts as long as we have, there’s you know, very few bands that last for fifteen years and don’t have some sort of change go on, and we had a few fill in members here and there but I mean as far like original members that have left, I mean, we have three of the five act, you know and there’s have only been three members that are actually not here anymore so its not too bad considering the time-frame but you know Adam had been talking to Ryan for a few years and things like that, we started talking again and we kinda started missing playing together and the time came when scars was on its 10th anniversary and our second singer had quit the SOiL fold and our drummer had left too and you know me and Adam approached Ryan about doing a UK anniversary tour coz the UK was always very special to us and we worked all that out and you know at first we were just gonna see how that tour went and see what happened in it. We just had such a great time, and we just, you know, each and every one of us we were just at a different spot in our lives. We’d had more years to grow up, we’d had more experiences and we were all exactly where all 3 of us needed to be at that point in our life, like Ryan was saying you know, it’s a 3 way decision process now and surprisingly enough pretty much we’re unanimous on everything we come up with you know and if we’re not, we listen to what the other person has to say and take everybodys viewpoint into consideration, where before you know we’d be pushed and prodded by managers or really loud-mouthed members of the band [laughs]
Ryan – or I stomp my feet and start screaming until I get my way, its one or the other..
Tim – It’s really cool now, I couldn’t be happier at this point in the bands career or in my own personal musical career as well.
You tour quite a lot in the UK especially with Breed 77 and Fozzy, is there a special relationship between the 3 bands? Is there a particular reason why they all go together?
Ryan – This tour has been cool, in the aspect that you got Breed 77, Fozzy. It seems like each band brings a little something different to the live show and there’s a little something there for everyone that’s been coming out. As far as people go, they’ve been awesome to be with. All those bands we get along well, there hasn’t been any issues that I know of, so it’s just been a good time.
I think anyone that likes a SOiL song is most likely gonna be liking a Fozzy song and a Breed song..
Tim – Well, we’ve only done, I think this is only the 5th or 6th date that we’ve done on this tour together. All the bands seem to be getting along, we’re having some fun together so yea, its good.
You do tour the UK quite a lot, and you did say it was special to you, is there any particular venue you really enjoy playing at?
Ryan – I gotta figure out a new one! Since I came over here the first time, well since I played the London Estoria that has always been my answer to where’s your favourite place to play. And so now that it’s no more, I gotta find me another new place.
I’ve heard the 100 club in London is a very good place..
Ryan – I’ll have to check it out!
Tim – The Electric Ballroom wasn’t bad when we played there, there was another place called Koko, I don’t know if that’s still around?
Yep, it is.
Tim – That was a nice venue
One final question, how do you feel the music industry has changed from when the band first got together in the 90s to now, with social media, downloading music..
Tim – This could be an hour long interview [laughs] The industry has gotten the crap beat out of it!
Ryan – Regretfully there are a lot of musicians that have had to make that hard decision on whether they will continue in the dream job that they been given by the fans or whether they’re gonna go home and get a real job so that they can keep their lights on in the house. Coz thats the one thing the industry has always been really good about.. The industry has been limping and it’s pretty much crawling at this point and that’s what’s led bands like ourselves and others out there to decide to try to move on without dealing with a label. Just dont want anything else to do with it anymore! The industry is hurting so we gotta come up with some sort of answer for it, somebodys gotta come up with an answer. At the end of the day, its hard – the kids need shoes! My kids need clothes on their back and there’s been some rough times where I wasn’t really sure… and there are tons of musicians out there far better than myself that have had to go home and make that tough decision because the industry is the way it is right now.
Thank you for taking time to talk to us, hope you have a really good show tonight.
Thanks we hope so too!
All photography by Martyn Turner: www.martynturnerphotography.co.uk