Here we go again… Last year we covered every band on the Hobgoblin New Blood and Jagermeister stages in the run-up to Bloodstock 2015. This year, we’re going one better and aim to have interviews from all the bands on those two stages as well as all of those on the SOPHIE stage prior to the event kicking off on August 11th. That’s almost 100 interviews to get online for you lucky people over the course of the next couple of weeks. I bloody love this job, but you lot owe me a beer at Catton Hall, right?
Thanks to all the bands who’ve taken the time to respond!
Ramage Inc – Hobgoblin New Blood stage, Saturday
Questions answered by Bryan Ramage (BR), Allan “Hef” Forsyth (Hef) and Marcin Buczek (M)
Simple things first – where are you guys from?
BR: Edinburgh – Scotland
How did you meet?
BR: Me and Hammy met in high school and have been playing music together in various forms since we were teenagers. Hef had auditioned for Ramage Inc. back in 2006/7 I think, and we have been working together ever since. Me and Marcin Worked together at a PA/Backline hire company and shared a love of good music and humour. He had seen Ramage Inc. live in an earlier lineup and liked the music. When I was looking for a new bass player in 2013 he completed the definitive R-Inc. lineup you have today.
Hef: I was introduced to Ramage by a friend of mine, whom I played in a band with at the time. He was heading to a gig after band practice one time and invited me along and it was Ramage that was playing with his old band “Kuroneko”. Shortly after that another friend had told me Ramage was looking for a second guitar for a new band he wanted to get up and running so I gave him a call one day and went to meet up with him and hear some of the stuff and have a bit of a jam. Been playing in bands with him and ever since. I met Hammy properly (read: not in Studio 24) when Ramage asked me to fill in on bass for a band they were doing together before Hammy joined Ramage Inc. and I met Marcin when Ramage introduced us. The way I remember it Marcin came along to a jam one day and we hardly talked at all, we just got straight into rocking out.
M: I’ve met Ramage through work many moons ago.
How long have you been playing together as a band?
BR: Us four have been playing together since 2013.
Hef: I started jamming with Ramage on this project in mid 2006 I think… wow! But that’s including previous lineups. The current team has existed since late 2012 with our first shows together at the beginning of 2013.
M: First time I saw Ramage Inc was at The Ark in Edinburgh (I think), back in 2008. Been a huge fan ever since. A few years later the opportunity to join Ramage Inc presented itself and here I am.
Where does the name of the band come from?
BR: Back in 2003 when I was writing music for myself and wondering what to call the project if it were to ever take form, a friend at a house party suggested calling it Ramage Inc. It stuck.
What are your influences – individually or as a band?
BR: My most poignant influence would have to be Devin Townsend along with Klone, VAST, NIN, Deftones amongst others.
Hef: I will listen to anything once. My most played album at the moment is Gojira’s Magma. I was mega excited for the new Deftones album but it didn’t really scratch the itch I hoped it would. I loved a lot of the classic metal bands like Metallica, Pantera, Megadeth etc growing up and still spend a lot of time jamming their stuff for my own amusement even now. I get excited by bands like Mastodon, Meshuggah, Kvelertak and The Sword.
We still toast Van Halen before every show.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
BR: Ramage Inc. has got a heavy sound with lots of melody. It’s passionate and powerful with lots of layers when it comes to vocals. For me the Uniqueness of R-Inc. is the whole package. Every gig we play we always seem to stand out as being different musically. And our persona. We are not cool or Hip or part of any fad, we just… are. I used to feel very apprehensive before going to play gigs, always thinking we aren’t going to go down well because we are different, but now I just get up and just do. If what we do is liked or not it is not up to me.
Hef: The music covers a wide emotional gamut so I think everyone finds something different they like in our shows and music. I don’t think our sound really completely fits a simple description like “djent” or “prog metal” but it definitely contains aspects of both those sounds. It causes this weird crisis for us when we’re booking gigs as we quite often end up playing shows with some seriously intense technical bands and seriously heavy thrash or doom bands and we always feel like “these folk are gonna think we’re lame because we aren’t xyz enough” but whatever it is people like about us, I’m just glad I get to play my guitar for them.
M: Not having fourteen breakdowns in each song, sense of melody and epic scale.
What’s your live show like – why should the baying hordes troop over to the stage you’re playing on to watch you?
BR: If people are looking for something with power, passion and melody then we should appease their musical appetite.
Hef: We are all passionate about music production so we are always trying to make the shows sound as perfect as possible, right down to self-built instruments and custom strings. We put every drop of heart and soul we have into our gigs and if that’s not worth seeing then I don’t know what is.
When/how did you find out you’d been selected to play at Bloodstock?
BR: At the Bloodstock Metal to the Masses battle of the bands competition final in Glasgow, we were announced as one of the winners lucky enough to be playing at Bloodstock this year.
Hef: I was utterly gobsmacked when Simon called out our name after the Metal 2 The Masses final in Glasgow. It’s like realising a life goal when you get told you are going to be playing at a fest like Bloodstock where people are going to see mega names like Slayer and Twisted Sister.
What sort of setlist can we expect?
BR: We will be playing a couple of songs from both of our albums Feel The Waves (2013) and Earth Shaker (2015). As we only have a 30min slot it will be hard for us to decide what we will play especially due to most of our songs averaging at 6-8min. But I think we are gonna try to have a dynamic mix of what we have to offer.
Hef: Short but hard hitting. We picked our favourites from both albums.
Which main stage band do you most hope you’re not clashing with so you can see them play?
BR: Gojira, Behemoth, Stuck Mojo, Paradise Lost… too many
Hef: Cambion, Gojira and Mastodon. I will openly cry like a little child if I miss any of those but there are a LOT of bands playing that I really want to see.
M: Cambion, Gojira, Paradise Lost, Behemoth, Corrosion Of Conformity, Fear Factory, Slayer and as many New Blood Stage bands as possible.
What are you working on at the moment?
BR: I’m always writing and recording. Working on new Ramage Inc. material amongst singing for other projects that seek my vocal performance. Full on busy as usual.
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done on tour?
Hef: In Netherlands we were kicking about outside ProgPower Europe festival waiting for our showtime when we heard what we thought was a wedding band with like brass and drums on the wind nearby so we went to investigate… As we got closer it turned out to be a brass band with a drummer playing The Trooper! They did a bunch of awesome covers of classic metal tunes in an open square outside a beer garden! Naturally we got a beer and stayed to watch their whole show :)
What advice would you give to a young band just starting out today?
BR: Stay true to yourself, write the music you want to write and most importantly, do not take to heart any criticisms of your art.
Hef: Work hard. Practice together as much as you possibly can and play it exactly like it’s the biggest gig you will ever play. Be nice to people. Help others and they will maybe return the favour. Always ask even if the answer will be a no.
M: Don’t follow the trends. Find your own way and stick to it. Pay attention to details. Hone your skills.Have realistic expectations.
If you could be part of any 3-band line-up who else would you have on the bill? One band above you and one below – a chance to plug a smaller, unsigned act!
BR: Devin Townsend Project, Ramage Inc., Klone – that would be my dream gig. Klone are not smaller or unsigned but hey, If I could take part in any 3-band line-up that is what it would be.
Hef: Only three bands is hard going. I can’t pick just one other unsigned band to recommend because all of our pals are in unsigned bands so here’s five awesome bands I like from Edinburgh instead: Dog Tired, Tiberius, Lucifer’s Corpus, King Witch and Nest Of Vipers.
M: Tool, Ramage Inc, Leprous.
What stage / time are you playing at Bloodstock (if you have your slot yet!)
M: We are playing on Saturday. Exact time still TBC .