1
Sep

Interview: Richie Londres (Sol Invicto)

Sol Invicto

Two weeks ago I covered news of Sol Invicto‘s first EP being released. Little did I know, that the article would attract attention of none other than one of the members of the band, Richie Londres.

Only thing I could do at that moment (besides counting my blessings it wasn’t Stephen who saw it) was to ask for an interview. Richie was once again very cool about it, and as a result, you get quite a read if I may say so. We talked about a lot of things, from Sol Invicto, metalheads’ point of view on electronic music, trends in music and music industry, to me not being able to visit the West Coast any more without looking over my shoulder.

All in all, you’re up for a treat, so make the jump.

Sol Invicto

Dose of Metal: Hello Richie! Besides becoming our favorite new commenter, what else should people know about you?

Richie Londres: They know too much already, it’s hard enough just buying a pint of milk these days without someone harassing me for some reason or other, getting sick of it to be honest.

DoM: How did you end up on our website in the first place? Was it just the general awesomeness that found its way to you, or was it by accident?

Richie: It must’ve been the awesomeness that led me to a review you did earlier this year of our Diamond Eyes remix, which read, and I quote “I know what you’re thinking, “I might as well go and buy the new Linkin Park CD, but this song is only $0.99, not as shit” after reading that I knew I was in the right place, fast forward another 5 months and I find another review, this time a scathing attack on our debut EP Initium.

Eric Bobo (Cypress Hill) recording for the project

Eric Bobo (Cypress Hill) recording for the project

DoM: You’re involved with Sol Invicto, a band that also features Stephen Carpenter (Deftones) on guitars, Eric Bobo (Cypress Hill) handling percussion and AJ Cookson doing synths and production. How did the project come to be?

Richie: I met Eric via DJ Muggs (Cypress Hill) in 2004 and we started working on a Spanish project called Cultura Londres and I share a studio with AJ, who I have known since school. In 2006 we started working on a drum & bass project and wanted to get Eric on one of the tracks. We sent him the parts and then a few weeks later it came back with percussion and………guitars! I got in touch with Eric and he told me he had played the track to Stephen, which was unexpected, it blended perfectly into the track. We sent over another track and the same thing happened again, it seemed like the natural thing to form a project and make more noise.

DoM: How would you explain the sound you guys create to an ignorant average metalhead?

Richie: Understand that we are all ignorant metal heads too, with a love for heavy electronic music. I would like to think that Sol Invicto will reflect all our tastes in metal & electronica. Our main influences would be Meshuggah, The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza, Squarepusher, Aphex Twin & Scorn. All those people share a common vibe, real music made for the right reasons without compromise. To describe the sound I would say we go for a very visual, dark cinematic soundscape and blend heavy beats & riffs you can groove to.

DoM: You’ve just released your first EP, simply titled Initium EP. It comprises of 7 tracks, titled Initium 1.0 through in 7.0. Is there a specific reason for this, or were you just too lazy to come up with real titles? I’m not being judgemental, I’m planning on naming my children in a similar manner.

Richie: Originally we were inspired by The Count from Sesame street and were going to call the interludes “ah ah” but then Henson’s people got on the phone and we had to throw that idea out the window. Its actually one piece of music, we figured naming them 1.0 – 7.0 would make the most sense. We might not name any of our songs in the future, what’s in a name anyway?

Sol Invicto - Initium 4.0

DoM: Let’s take a quick break from musical questions. You’re from London, right? The only related question I could think of: How many looters does it take to screw a light bulb?

Richie: Who knows, they took them all.

DoM: To be a bit serious for a moment, were you impacted by the rioting in any way? Is it sad that the biggest issue of youth today seems to be getting an iPhone 4, because that’s what it came down to in the end?

Richie: Well as a Londoner I was impacted because it’s not nice to see idiot youths tearing up the city, but it was bound to happen at some point. Truth is the media hyped it up, there are areas in London where the kids have nothing at all to do and get constant harassment from the police, I have no problem with police, it’s the decision makers who tell them what to do. If the system put more money into the youth and educational system then things like this wouldn’t happen since kids would start respecting their surroundings and each other, but when you have nothing, you have nothing to lose. I’m not saying that the people who rioted are justified, they deserve a baton to the kneecap no question. The majority of kids today are a lost generation, burying themselves in materialism as to give their lives purpose. I believe it’s been engineered this way by the people in charge as it creates unrest which allows those in power to manipulate the majority using fear to create change, its been happening for decades, you just have to accept it.

Derrrrp. Guitar. Metal. Good.

Derrrrp. Guitar. Metal. Good.

DoM: The music you created is mostly based on guitar work and drum and bass (it goes beyond that, I’d say, but what do I know, I listen to three bands only and all three have very high pitched vocals). How come you’re not playing dubstep or something like that? Isn’t that the hottest thing right now?

Richie: We have no interest in what’s hot or what’s not, as a general rule of thumb I think that if the majority is backing it, its best to stay away from it. You can apply that theory to everything, food, films, books the list goes on, sometimes, good things, real things break into the mainstream, but it’s not often. Mainstream Dubstep is probably one of the most offensive types of music I’ve heard in a long time, not to say it can’t be done right but sounds to me like these “producers” have just downloaded some freeware production program, spent 30 minutes on YouTube looking at wobble bass-line tutorials and they think that the whole world needs to hear their creations. In this age nothing has a chance to develop anymore, the industry is intent on squeezing the life of anything that’s good just to make a quick buck, it used to be about hits, now its about “hits,” get what I’m saying.

DoM: Speaking of that (sub)genre, it feels like it almost exploded overnight, yet Britain’s electronic music scene has been building it for years. Holy shit, were you guys musically looted? What can you tell us about modern electronic music in the UK (and you can tell us anything, since we know nothing).

Richie: I’m glad America looted Dubstep, please take it. There is some great music coming out all over the world, you just have to look a bit harder and go on recommendations from people not what’s trending. I do think the UK always brings something different, I think it’s our weather, we spend a lot of time inside and it’s miserable, how many metal bands come out of Hawaii?? Exactly.

DoM: A game known to many metalheads is dismissing electronic music as ‘not real’ or ‘not music’ because of it not being instrumental in the classic sense. What are your thoughts on this?

Richie: It’s quite narrow minded to write something off like that. It’s totally fine to hate something, sometimes you just do and you can’t explain why, as I mentioned with mainstream Dubstep, to just write off the entire electronic music scene is ridiculous, what is real anyways? It’s not like you can walk into a forest plug your ESP into a rock and jam out some Sabbath riffs is it? That’s my point, distortion isn’t natural, neither is electronic music, but if people are being innovative and making music for the right reasons I think it should be appreciated, even if you don’t like it.

DoM: We’re a metal blog after all, so we have to ask: favourite metal bands and/or musicians?

Richie: Rob Zombie, Mike Patton, Dimebag, Machine Head, Meshuggah, Iron Monkey, Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza, Swarm Of The Lotus, Nailbomb, Sabbath and of course Rammstein!

I love you Stephen!!!

You're awesome Stephen!!!

DoM: Is Stephen a nice guy? I’m only asking because I feel like I have a punch in the face waiting for me now.

Richie: He is a nice guy but these guys roll pretty deep, your talking Boo-yaa Tribe, Cypress Hill, Soul Assassins most of the West Coast clique on hand. I will try put in a good word for you man but well you can’t hold these people back know what I mean, you might have to send him a gift basket or something?

DoM: Now, to go back to Sol Invicto… Some people might not be aware, but the EP was in the making for quite some time actually, I remember reading about it last year, if not earlier, and I remember you released the remix for Deftones’ Diamond Eyes around Christmas. Any specific reasons it took this long?

Richie: Everything happens at the right time, it just took a while to work out what we wanted to do with the project and the best way for us to work together. The important thing is, we worked it out and now can continue putting out new songs to our fans.

DoM: You’ve already announced a few more EPs coming, how fast can we expect that? Any full albums planned?

Richie: We are working on 2 follow up EP’s, which are effectively Initium II and III. I would like to get those out to fans over the next 8 weeks. The tracks on the 3 EP’s were originally going to be an album, but since it was recorded over different periods of time and with different drummers it didn’t have the feel of an album, by breaking them up into EP’s it gives us more freedom to experiment with the sound and build our audience organically, each EP has a different guest drummer with the core members always being myself, Stephen, AJ and Eric. We will record the debut album this year, it was just a case of finding a few clear weeks were we can all get together and record a body of music in one hit.

DoM: Does the music of Sol Invicto translate into a live setting? Anything planned regarding that?

Richie: Absolutely, that’s always been the goal for this project but we wont tour until we have the album finished, I don’t see us performing any tracks from the EP’s live, we might reinterpret some of them but it all starts with the debut album. AJ & myself might look at doing some shows with a simple laptop set up while the other respective bands are busy.

DoM: You’ve released the first EP for free online. Is that the model you’re basing this project on, are you looking into more traditional means of distribution?

Richie: This is a subject we can go into great detail but I will keep it short. Lets be honest, is there really any point in following the traditional route or signing to a label these days? All your doing is putting a bunch of middlemen between you and the people that really matter, the fans. There are very few labels out there who really care about their artists, its all about first week sales, this is why you are seeing bands get signed up based on YouTube hits, it’s a false economy and today’s YouTube hits are our version of yesterdays million selling singles, the industry will clamber over themselves to capitalise and squeeze the life out of anything good and new, provided they can make a quick return. They know what they are doing, it’s a smart business model, the issue I have is that music is art and not a commodity, I’m not saying we don’t want to sell hundreds of thousands of records, I’m just saying we want to do it on our own terms and be able to justify our success or failure, this should be the mantra of every artist.

The next 2 EP’s will be made available for free to our mailing list first then we will leak it out online. Once the EP’s have circulated we will look at doing a run of special limited edition of cds & vinyls on pre order. Present company accepted we have no need for reviews or press or interviews, if we make something good, people will share it and if its legally free it makes everything much easier. If press want to speak to us we are more than happy to speak with you, especially independent radio and blogging sites etc, the mainstream press just want content to make themselves look relevant, we are not interested in playing that game plus they wont even touch you until you chart, its all bullshit esp here Radio 1 is the market leader in pretending they push new music, they play what they are told to play. All you need is a good website were fans can buy your stuff, a decent booking agent and a great crew.

Sol Invicto - Initium 7.0

DoM: How do you personally feel about the commercial aspect of music today? It seems a lot of people go from one extreme to another, either give away everything and hope the quality speaks for itself amongst about a million other projects, or hunt down people and sue them for every non authorized YouTube stream they’ve made. Is there a sane middle ground in sight?

Richie: I would hope that everything will even itself out in the end, the way I see it is there are 2 sides to the music industry now, either you are a real artist (commercial or otherwise) or you are an entertainer, most of the music that charts, classes as entertainment music. Sometimes real music creeps into the charts but it’s swallowed up by the vast amount of crap that’s purveyed on there. My point being that you’re always going to have a divide between independent and “major” artists. I think its time artists forgot about getting a deal and just focused on the fans, its better to have 1000 dedicated real fans than 100,000 hipsters who like you just because you are “hot right now” or they heard your track on The Hills, bands who respect themselves and their fan base last longest, even when they are not in the public eye, that’s a mark of real success and true artistry.

DoM: Well, that’s it, I’m out of questions! Thanks you for your time and playing along with our attempts at being funny! Any last message for Dose of Metal readers and future Sol Invicto fans?

Richie: No problem at all, your website is a refreshing take on all things metal, people take themselves far too seriously these days.
My message would be, delete your facebook account permanently using this link here: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=16929680703 when you’re ready of course.
Peace,
Richie

That’s it! Once again, huge thanks go out to Richie for beeing cool and for all his effort regarding this interview.

You can find out more about Sol Invicto on their official Facebook page, their Tumblr page, you can download their Initium EP right here, and you can subscribe to their mailing list at si@alteredbeats.co.uk to receive the latest updates.


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