We’re ending this week with an interview with LoneWolf Low from the French band, Hell of a Ride! Among other things, you guys will have the possibility to learn more about the band’s new album, “Nine of Cups”. But also the story behind their change of style. Check out the full interview below!
Hello HELL OF A RIDE, thanks for your time. Would it be possible to introduce your band to our readers, as well as your roles in it?
HELL OF A RIDE is the soundtrack of a pedal to the metal tour in a testosterone buffed hotrod. A high-speed chase on the tracks of John “Mad Dog” Ringsdale. A headstrong man branded by his past, ready to annihilate the road and be freed from his demons.
We are five, there is Djej Rider (Singer), Nore the Lucky (Lead Guitar), myself (LoneWolf Low, Rhythm Guitar), Franck the Gent’ (Bass) and Thibs (Drums).
It started around 2011, Djej, Nore and I decided to join our forces while our own bands were splitting. One night, we had a drink at a bar and a man joined us at the table. We started to speak, he told us his story and his life inspired us a lot! It motivated us to start this new adventure called HELL OF A RIDE. We created John “Mad Dog” Ringsdale from what he inspired us.
How would you describe the French rock scene from your own POV?
There’s a lot of good bands, more than in the past decade, whatever the Rock subdivision (from Metal to Pop Rock). Producers are better, bands are better on stage. But in my personal opinion, even if these bands sound good, they lack creativity. They are trying too much to sound like their models.
There are stoner, heavy metal, metalcore, death, black, nu metal bands that are not trying to go beyond what has been done these 10 to 40 years. They sound good, but they sound the same. Music must be fun, mixing things up, and rock’n’roll should be shocking your parents.
What is shocking when you play what your dad used to listen to when he was young? Where is the extreme in metal when you have to follow patterns to sound metal?
I understand why bands like Bring Me the Horizon took a different direction, because it shocked the metal scene. There are few in France that are trying to break the mold, like Ze Gran Zeft and that’s a reason why we are so fans of them. And why we decided to work with BOOTS, their singer.
You spent months and months working on your new album, “Nine of Cups”. We really notice the difference between “Bête Noire” and this new record. What influenced this change of style?
We spent something like 3 months, from the conception to the recording. We wanted to bring everything we experienced during the time we defended our previous record “Bête Noire” on stage.
From the interactions with the audience to the people we met, from what happened in our lives to the stories people told us, we were in a positive mind.
We listened to a lot of new music, different genres too. I loved Sia’s record “1000 Forms of Fear” for example, or Bruno Mars’ “Unorthodox Jukebox”. And every one of us wanted to bring a little of his new influences in the writing of “Nine Of Cups”. But we kept what makes HELL OF A RIDE: the energy, the rage, the determination and a touch of nostalgia. We also kept the grooves too.
Between the writing of “Bête Noire” and “Nine of Cups”, which writing / recording process challenged and amused you the most?
Without hesitation, “Nine of Cups” was way funnier to write and record, because we tried new writing and recording techniques. We took time to reinvent our sound, our approach on how to express our feelings. We did a lot of research on what hooked us in the artists we liked the 5 past years and how we could mix it with our own way to express it.
The writing process was a real interaction with the different guests who took part in it, like BOOTS from Ze Gran Zeft, or Robby Creasy from Farewell My Love and Jared Farrell. They brought their own universes into that hell of a ride!
Did you feel that this new album was well received by your fans and the media?
We wanted to take that Modern rock odyssey to new paths and it was a risky bet, because like I told you, in France, bands stick to a genre and the media are really critical to them if they add some “pop” elements.
But surprisingly, we had a lot of great reviews and feedback from our fans! Because they know that we’re not betraying ourselves or them. They saw us on stage, and the first reactions were “WoW, these songs sound awesome!” We have a lot of support from rock media too!
If you had to pick one song that, according to you, best reflects the spirit of “Nine of Cups”… Which one would you pick and why?
I’d say “Stand Down”, because it has all the elements that reflect our state of mind during the making of this album. From the lyrics to the music, it is us. I remember that I sent the demos to Charles “Kallaghan” Massabo, the producer, and it was the first song he worked on. He sent me back the track with some extra arrangements. It was 4AM in France (Kallaghan lives in Los Angeles, USA), I listened to the intro and I was like “oooooowww sh*t! You got me hooked on the first notes!”.
The artwork of the album is really cool. Who created it and what is the story behind it?
Artwork is important to us. We endeavor to do our best. While we were writing music ideas, we were working on the lyric’s themes, the record title and the artwork. The nine of cups is a Tarot card, the most powerful, and the meaning fitted with the themes and what we wanted to write about our character John Ringsdale.
So, we did research work on Tarot and stuff about Mythology, Tattoos and medieval arts. We add some movies and literature references too. I’m a big fan of Stephen King’s “Dark Tower”, Dante Alighieri’s “Divine Comedy”, and it was exactly where I wanted to lead Mad Dog’s story.
So, Djej and I worked on how to illustrate it, he made some sketches and I made the final artwork.
It shows John Ringsdale on his way to hell, with some characters in the background that he will meet. And he’ll have to choose carefully who he will trust.
Do you guys already have some dates planned for the end of the year or 2021?
We will play at Fertois Rock In Fest v2.0, a festival that will take place near Paris on September 19th. We had some earlier but they got cancelled because of covid-19. We’re working on other dates in 2021, so stay tuned on our Facebook page!
The last words are for you. If you have a message to convey, here’s your chance!
We’re living in a mad world, so join us into that hell of a ride and drown your body and soul into a Modern Rock Odyssey!
Thanks for your time!