Ayr – Interview with R.C. (guitars, bass, synth, vocals)
Interview by Pete Mutant
Hey and thank you for your time. Where did the name of the band come from?
At this point I can’t recall. I’ve seen some things online suggesting that we named it after a town in Scotland or something, but that’s not the case.
You had a break as a band between 2011-2018, are you glad to be back?
Although we had a hiatus during that time, we were working on “The Dark” off and on from 2013-2019. At one point in 2018, I figured it would never come out and almost deleted the recording sessions. It’s nice to be releasing a new record especially one that we’ve worked on intermittently over the course of several years.
When did you first start getting into music and know you wanted to join a band?
I started playing guitar around age 7 and then drums around age 12. Around that time in the mid 1990’s was when I began experimenting with home recording. My sister had some sort of karaoke machine with a dual cassette deck and recording features on it. I would record myself playing drums on a blank cassette and then overdub guitars which would record on another cassette in the machine. Very primitive. It was around that time I began taking an interest in starting a band.
You’re about to release your first full length release. What is the concept behind the album?
“The Dark” is essentially a loose interpretation of Lucifer’s fall from heaven. The lyrics were written by a close friend of ours who has collaborated with us on music for the last 15 years. He and I also recorded an EP together under the name Raven Mocker.
How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it?
Atmospheric Black Metal seems to be the most straightforward description.
Who does your artwork? Is there anyone you’d like to collaborate with, be it an artist/photographer or producer, etc?
The artwork for Ayr has been mostly handled internally or by close friends who have great experience in photography or design. The cover of “The Dark” was taken by New Orleans photographer Teddie Taylor. She is mostly known for her live concert photography but has worked in private shoots with more well known artists like Chelsea Wolfe and Behemoth. Her nature photography is exceptional and she was kind enough to allow us to use the photo. As for collaboration, I can’t think of someone specific we wish to collaborate with but we are fans of the Norwegian band Whoredom Rife. Their music and artwork is otherworldly. Whoever is responsible for their artwork is someone we would look to collaborate with. Most likely not for Ayr, but maybe for one of our other bands. I think it all depends on the record in question and what type of atmosphere the music puts forth that defines what type of artwork would fit best.
What is the procedure of producing a new album/EP ? Do you have a set way of doing things ?
Each album/EP has taken on a different process of production. The songs on “Circling” were written as a band and recorded mostly live. “Eternal Sustain” was the same process except there were more overdubs on the recording. “Nothing Left To Give” was written and recorded as a full band. “The Dark” was written in sections and pieced together.
Do you have a favourite track from the album?
Sever the Golden Chain.
Where do you draw your influences from when it comes to producing new music/lyrics?
It’s difficult to say. We just write what feels right to us.
Is it difficult balancing out being in a band with a ‘normal working life’ ?
It used to be more difficult 5-10 years ago but these days it’s not. We have a great balance between our normal lives and what we do creatively. I think having that balance makes us appreciate what we are doing so much more. We have no intentions of touring or even playing live with Ayr. Our main focus right now is out other band, WORSEN. Although, with the current COVID-19 pandemic and the weak leadership of our current administration there has not been a live show since March in the United States. We don’t expect to see live events resume until next year sometime.
What do you think of the music scene like where you are based in Charlotte, North Carolina? Is it interesting being a black metal band in that neck of the woods?
The music scene here in Charlotte, NC is diverse. We have friends who play in many different types of bands from punk/hardcore to outlaw country but the interest in black metal is limited, so with that it’s always interesting. The first WORSEN show was back in January at a small club here in Charlotte. To our surprise it sold out quickly and was a great experience.
Do you think image is important when being in a band?
Visual aesthetic is important for any type of band.
Are you guys looking to tour and if so, what are you mostly looking forward to?
Ayr has no plans to tour or perform live.
Is the music industry how you thought it would be when first starting a band?
(laughs) No, not at all. Over the last 10 years between Ayr and our other bands, we have worked with small independent record labels, much larger independent record labels and been approached by massive international labels. Based on our experience we prefer to work with smaller independent record labels.
Do you think it’s important for a band to be signed to a label to be recognised in today’s society?
Not necessarily although it can prove to be difficult to receive recognition without a label backing you sometimes. We live in the internet age where unlimited data is available in seconds. This can definitely make it easier for a band or artist to be recognized solely for their image or their music without the help of a label. This also opens the door to artists being recognized for how they conduct themselves off stage or behind the scenes.
What genres of music do you like to listen to personally? Any new bands that have caught your attention recently?
A lot. Most recently I’ve been listening to Teitanblood, Mare, Archgoat, Fearing and The Handsome Family. Ossaert is a black metal solo project that caught my ears recently with the release of “Bedehuis” on Argento Records.
Were you given any advice from other bands before starting out?
What are the pros/cons of being in a band?
That’s an interesting question. The pros of being in a band are obvious – the ability to express yourself creatively and release art. For me, the only con to being in a band is simply not having enough time to spend on it but at the same time this limitation is what makes me appreciate it so much. If you asked me this question 5 years ago the list of cons would be much longer… balancing tour and home life, work schedules, egos, internet trolls, etc. These days we keep our focus on simply writing and releasing music that we’re proud of. Nothing else seems to matter much outside of that.
What do you like to do outside of music? Any hobbies?
Music is honestly my primary hobby but it’s extensive. I have several bands or solo projects in different styles, I have a home recording studio and I run the label THE HELL COMMAND. Outside of music I enjoy simple things – time with my family, running and the occasional video game.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Right now I’m writing a new WORSEN record with my band. It was previously a solo project for me but this will be the first recording to feature a full band. I’m also working on a new record for my project called SUFFERING DAWN. Outside of this, I’ll just be working and taking care of my family.
Thank you for your time, is there anything you’d like to say to our readers?
Thanks for the opportunity and thanks to everyone who has shown support to us during the release of this new Ayr album.