Interview: Ray J. Currie, guitarist with Outliar

Outliar hail from North Carolina and play thrash the way it was meant to be played. Outliar take no prisoners with their in your face vocals, shredding riffs and pummeling drums that shake you to your very core. Influences range from Kreator, Death Angel, Testament and Exodus should whet your appetite and make you delve into the world that is Outliar. What makes me happy is that they also infuse their death metal elements with growls here and there which keeps this old thrasher happy. Having played with some of the biggest extreme metal bands on the planet including Cannibal Corpse, Suffocation and Obituary, Outliar will have certainly learned from this experience and garnered a number of new fans on their travels.

I for one, having heard their second album Taste the Blood in July of this year, hope that Outliar will expand on the touring front and more people will get to hear these monstrous tunes. Best of luck to Outliar, I will certainly be keeping an eye out on what they do next.

Simple things first – where are you guys from?

Outliar is from Apex, North Carolina (USA).

How long have you been playing together as a band?

With this lineup, we’ve been together for almost 2 years for the most part. Rick Ace joined in late 2016, but the rest of the band has been together since early 2016. There were previous members before 2016, but that band wasn’t on this level.

Describe your music. What makes you unique?  

I think it’s our blend of metal first that makes us unique. It’s not pure thrash nor pure death metal, but it’s got elements of both although mostly the powerful side of thrash metal. From a live perspective, we have a high energy show that we enjoy along with our fans.

How did Outliar come to being?  Where did the project start?

I started Outliar out of my love for early era Metallica, as well as the Bay Area thrash scene. Once I moved from New York to North Carolina in the late ’90s, I found myself wanting to start another band. It wasn’t a real serious effort on my end until around 2012, really. From there, it became more focused with each growing year until 2016 when it became a true band in my eyes.

Outliar have released two albums. How does it feel to put all your blood sweat and tears and get an album out there?

Although we have released two albums, the first album isn’t really one that defines Outliar present day. It was a good experience to be able to do a professional album back in 2011-2012, but our latest effort is the one that I am most proud of.

You have recently released your second album Taste the Blood in July of this year. What can you tell us about it and how would you say the sound is compared to that of your debut album Provoked to Anger?

Taste The Blood is the perfect representation of who Outliar is today and moving forward.  It’s so much more thrash focused and far heavier than Provoked To AngerProvoked… was a decent stepping stone for me to help me define our true sound and find the right members to complete this lineup. I feel like we’ve accomplished that and the record reflects that.

Taste for Blood is distributed by Malevolence Records. How did this come about and are you happy with everything so far?

Malevolence Records have been great to work with. It’s hard to find people who want to put in the effort to help an underground band to increase their fan base. They’ve been a big help and we couldn’t be happier to be affiliated with them and their expansive roster.

You have worked with a number of elite musicians in Outliar. From a personal favourite guitarist of mine James Murphy to Steve Smyth for their guitar solos, was this a personal ambition of yours to get guest musicians involved in Outliar?

I’ve been really fortunate to have forged relationships with amazingly talented musicians like James and Steve, not to mention Petri Kuissisto from Carnal Forge who is also supremely talented. I never set out to include guest soloists, really. The songs that they performed on just seemed to have a spot for a few killer solos and I love how they turned out.

Where was the album recorded and where was it mastered? Did you use the same team or did you try something different with this album?

Jamie King, who has recorded almost the entire Between The Buried And Me catalogue is our producer.  We went to his studio in Winston-Salem, North Carolina to record. He really is an amazing talent and there’s no one easier to work with, in my eyes.  With Taste The Blood, Jamie was able to utilize current technology to give us the tightest possible sound and tones without losing the organic feel of Outliar throughout the album.

You are very active on the live front, from local pubs and clubs to having played with some huge bands like Cannibal Corpse, Suffocation, Dark Tranquillity and Obituary. What should we expect from a live show and what is the experience like playing in front of a crowd for the band?

We’ve been really fortunate to be able to open for such well known national acts when they come through our region, as well as do some local shows that draw pretty well too. I truly believe that our live show is one that draws a lot of attention and our fans come out to support pretty well whenever we play. We are eternally grateful for their support, as well as the local promoters and clubs that invite us to play. There’s nothing more exciting than being able to perform and feeling a connection with our fans.

What are the lyrical themes of the songs from the new album? Is there a main lyricist?

The lyrics essentially deal with the human condition and reaction to personal struggles/challenges that we face in life, whether that be losing something or someone in life, being betrayed and how you respond or removing negative influence from your life and the vindication that comes along with doing so. The lyrics have always been a collaborative effort.

How often is the band able to get together and rehearse in the studio? Where do you get together and record?

We practice consistently throughout the year and between gigs and we don’t typically go into the studio unless we are ready to record an album or a song. Our goal is to get back to the studio in 2020 and record our next album.

How are the songs constructed in the studio? Are there the main songwriters of songs that take care of everything or is Outliar a band where all members contribute to the songs?

Before the current lineup was assembled, I have always written the material and the drum patterns for the songs. Looking ahead to new material that we will write with this lineup, I expect it to be different in that everyone in the band has the ability to contribute to the music, which is something that was never the case before they joined. That excites me quite a lot and I’m looking forward to seeing how the new material develops.

Being a five-piece and having different musical influences within the band, is there sometimes a lot of negotiating in the studio or do you feel you are writing the music you want to for the band?

With this lineup, it’s fully collaborative and we all really seem to be on the same page, which is pretty amazing considering how we all have our own favourite bands that are different from one another but we all seem to be heading in the same musical direction when it comes to Outliar material.

How hard has it been to juggle the touring side of things with the everyday jobs? Do you have plans to go on bigger tours and further afield in 2019?

It’s definitely a challenge to juggle personal and professional lives when it comes to any band, not just Outliar. We stay fairly local as a result of those challenges, but have plans to do a run of dates up the east coast of the U.S. sometime in 2019, which is exciting.

How hard is it for an extreme metal band like Outliar to survive in the current climate where bands have to tour non-stop and sell merchandise in order to bring money back into the band?

In today’s metal scene, it is incredibly difficult to survive so you have to be creative in terms of how often you play and whether or not it makes good business sense to take on an offer. Sometimes the smartest thing you can do is say no to a show because it could create financial havoc for your band. As the old saying goes, you have to spend money to make money and we realize that, although profit motive is not our driving force. We try to give our fans creative pricing when it comes to our merchandise bundles. It’s more important to us to have their support and give them our best pricing than it is to bleed them dry.

Being from North Carolina, are there any other bands from your local scene that you would recommend?

The North Carolina scene is loaded with local talent, truly. I couldn’t really single any band out in this area because we are good friends with so many of our peers. I really feel like we offer every genre of metal there is and we are grateful to be a part of it.

A fun question to end this interview. If you were a DJ and were allowed to bring 5 CDs to the party, what would they be?

This is always a fun, but hard question to try to answer. For me personally, I’d say the 5 most important records to me are:

  • Metallica – Master Of Puppets
  • Vio-Lence – Eternal Nightmare
  • Testament – The Legacy
  • Cannibal Corpse – Eaten Back To Life
  • Death Angel – The Dream Calls For Blood 

Any last message for our readers here at The Moshville Times?

Thanks for your support and we hope that you will check us out at and become a fan of the band.  Continue to appreciate and support local music and the people who support it, like The Moshville Times!

Outliar: official | facebook | youtube

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments