An album that really woke up my true metal feelings one more time. A start for a new band that can distinguish from the rest since "Dogface" is a worthy album. Rick Renstrom took the time and asnwered to my questions. |
Hi Rick. Thanks a lot for taking the time to answer to my questions since I know it is a tiring process to write these long mails. First of all, congratulations for your debut album with LEASH LAW, 'Dogface' that blew me off. I was wondering how the band came to life? I have read that you and Wade Black are the founders of LEASH LAW. How did this work?
Rick: Thanks so much for all the kind words and the opportunity to speak with you. I first met Wade through Ferdy Doernberg(Rough Silk/Taraxacum) when I was on tour in Europe with Rob Rock. I had asked Ferdy if he knew any singers and he gave me Wade's email. From there, we started writing songs and thinking of band names. Also, we also got Richard, Steve and Emo involved in between all the writing.
The music on 'Dogface' is characterized in my view, by the variety. On this album I listened to very melodic moments ('Stealing Grace', 'Banion'), rockin' tunes ('Hail To Blood', 'Better When Betrayed') etc. I get the sense that the idea with LEASH LAW is to combine different elements of heavy metal music to come up with a strong result. Is that the case?
Rick: You are correct! We wanted to take all of our influences and throw them in a pot and make something that no one has ever heard before. You hear the influences, but somehow it sounds completely different from anything out there.
I can identify the major influences for LEASH LAW being JUDAS PRIEST, HELLOWEEN, some PRIMAL FEAR, YNGWIE J. MALMSTEEN (especially on the guitars). Do you agree first of all and would you ever consider inputting some more elements (other than heavy metal perhaps) on the music of LEASH LAW?
Rick: Sure, maybe at some point. Right now, we are focusing on becoming even heavier and more aggressive, yet still keep the melodies involved. I believe, the more time we have for the next record, we will be able to do much more.
What are your expectations with the release of 'Dogface'? Do you think that the various bands that each member has contributed to will help LEASH LAW to become known?
Rick: Of course. Everyone in the band has done many things in the last few years. All the names together make you wonder what the band might sound like. The result is great!
When we start playing live, it will become even more intense.
How is the press welcoming the debut album of LEASH LAW?
Rick: So far it is great. Maybe a few slightly negatives, but that?s to be expected. We cannot please everyone, but I think for the most part everyone is very happy. Even at the listening party we had in Athens. The atmosphere was electric and everyone had a big smile on their face. There is something for everyone on this record.
There is also a Limited EP that has been released. Can you tell us the story behind this release and from where people will be able to get that?
Rick: Not too much story, other than Black Lotus wanted to release a single originally, but after the performance Wade and I put on in Athens, apparently the result was better than expected and they felt it would be cool to add some tracks and put a couple videos. It might be hard to find the Ep, I believe it is actually sold out. Maybe if there is more demand they can make some.
It seems that the lyrical content of the album has to do with governments and how they manipulate our trust and votes. I don't have the lyrics of the album, so can you tell us the circulating idea on what is going on with the lyrics? Do you refer to anything in particular on your songs?
Rick: Yes. Each song has a lyrical meaning to it. I didn?t write the lyrics, however, I have heard them so much that I know them well. As a whole, the record represents people trying to hold us down. Anyone for that matter. A lot of the record is about real life events and issues in the world. Battle. Death. Loss. Fear. Betrayal. When you see the lyrics, it will all come to you. Wade speaks to you on this record and makes you feel like you are a part of this journey.
What is this classical theme that you have on 'Hail To Blood'?
Rick: None in particular. Richard wrote the original chords for the intro and I just added some more melody into it. It very 18th century, come to think of it. Very victorious and marching. Other than that, you probably just hear my classical influence.
I believe there is going to be a worldwide tour to promote 'Dogface'? What are the plans for that? Are you going on a headline tour, or are you going to support a major band? Any Festival activities for the band this summer?
Rick: As far as I know, Black Lotus will be working on it. Once the record has a month or two out there, I?m sure it will only be a matter of time. Some festivals are in talks, but I cannot comment on which ones.
What is the concept behind this strange front cover of 'Dogface'?
Rick: There is no particular concept other than the people on the higher levels like politicians are so 2 faced. They say one thing and do another and that affects people like you and me.The doberman dog represents Leash Law. The crazy looking men are the 2 faced politicians. Combine the lyrics of the album and the doberman showing human hands, he is presenting a world that you might not really know about and as the album unfolds, it explains almost everything.
Have you shot or are you going to shot any video clips for any song on the album or you consider this a waste of time and money?
Rick: We haven't shot any videos just yet. If the album does really good, I'm positive we will do it. It is not a waste of time. It is a venue to get Leash Law and any band more out in the world. It's a big place and if you can have a hundreds of thousands of people seeing you on TV, that is amazing.
I have also seen that you are working on another project called TIWANAKU. What is the story behind this band and what should we expect from that project? Will LEASH LAW be a full time band for you or you will hold this as a project?
Rick: Tiwanaku, is an ancient site in Bolivia believed to be visited by extra-terrestrials. Emo and Wade are the founders of it. It will be one of the most aggressive bands you will ever hear. Just do some searches on the net and there is a page with some mp3 samples. It will knock your head off!! It's a full time band. Wade, Emo and I are partners in all this. We are all on the same page and we work very well together.
How is the composing process on LEASH LAW? Everyone is contributing to the riffs and melodies? How does it help you to write songs for a voice like Wade Black's voice?
Rick: For this record, the writing process was totally different. Maybe 4 or 5 songs Wade and I wrote in the beginning. The rest were written by all of us in some sort or fashion. A couple songs, Hail to Blood, to be exact was originally written from an answering machine message Wade left me. I copied his melodies into my computer and built the main chunk of the song. I gave it to Richard to write a few riffs in the beginning and write a solo section. Emo added some keyboard melodies and 7-string mayhem, and there you go.
What does Rick Renstrom listens on his stereo these days?
Rick: Not too much other than LL and my solo stuff. The last things I've listened to were Primal fear-Devil's Ground, A fantastic record from an awesome band! Great stuff! Also, I've checked out Dragonforce's latest. I really liked it until I accidentally broke it. I'm working to get a new copy soon!
Rick, thank you very much for the answers. I hope I didn't tire you a lot. I wish you all the best with LEASH LAW and the rest of your musical projects and I hope to catch you guys live perhaps in Greece (although I am writing on a German based webzine). If I forgot to ask you something, please be free to comment it here. Once more congratulations for 'Dogface' and good luck with everything you do.
Rick: I want to thank you again for all your support and opportunity to have this interview.
I also want to say to all the German fans..Thank you so much for all of your support and being so great when I was in Athens. Thanks for cheking out all my solo material for all these years and now with Leash Law! Hail and Kill!!! Looking forward to seeing you all sometime this year!