Wednesday, 5 June 2013

INTERVIEW WITH RON ROCHONDO (Ice Dragon, Tentacle, et al.)

Live at Scion Rock Fest @ Club 152, Memphis, Tennessee.
That's Ron on the mic.  The being composed entirely of light in the
back is new drummer, Brad.
For regular readers, it's no secret that I have a borderline sexual crush on the band Ice Dragon, their pure, no-bullshit artistry, their work ethic and their beards.  Read on and you'll understand that their approach to being a band is just about as "pure" and "no-bullshit" as it gets.  No long preambles here, let's just get started ...

Hey Ron, it’s nice to chat with you.  Recently you played the Scion Rock Fest in Memphis with the likes of The Obsessed, The Gates of Slumber, Pallbearer, Subrosa and Inter Arma.  That was an amazing line-up.  So of course I’d like to know if you got to hang out with Wino, and is it an experience you’d like to repeat, playing festival shows or traveling other places?
AHOY MATEY! Indeed, we just had an amazing experience down in Memphis, TN. The line-up at 152 (the club we played at) was KILLER. Wino was around but I actually didn’t get to talk to him. Sigh. Maybe next time. Most of these dudes just chill out and hide somewhere until it’s go time. I spent very little time in the “green room”/band area too, so I’m sure that has a lot to do with it. I like chillin in the bar with the people, mixing it up a bit you see, like the common folk. haha. I was talking to these real nice people at one point in the night and they needed a few signatures to round out a band’s record they bought so I told them I would walk them up to the band area and they could ask. They were really stoked about that, I got them some free beers too and they were even more stoked. I got to talk to Reed Mullin in the hotel bar at like 2 in the morning, he was incredibly cool. I was insanely drunk and more than likely made a huge ass out of myself. I remember I kept telling him that I used to listen to CoC while doing my paper route. I don’t think he really understood the significance of it, haha. They were one of the bands that had a huge influence on me, and listening on my paper route means I listened to them for like an hour and half or so every morning 7 days a week. That’s what I meant, but it probably just came out like “I UESED TO JAYM TO U DUDEZ ON MY PAPEUR ROUTE MAN! I LOVE YOU! BURRRP”. You win some you lose some. I’d do it all over again in a second.

Haha, Isn't that what anyone would do in that situation?  Okay, now the interrogation begins … what were you up to before Ice Dragon?  Mostly just reading comics and biding your time before world domination? ...
My favorite comics growing up were mostly Marvel stuff, like X-Men and Wolverine. I do remember being overly into the The Infinity Gauntlet series and Thanos though. I love Thanos. The other big one would be Lobo for sure. My brother is 6 years older than me and he always had cooler comics like Lobo laying around, so I got to steal them. Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters. I used to make a ton of electronic music, not like techno dancy stuff, more like idm and shit. I was addicted to videogames for most of my early life and now I don’t own a single one. Haven’t since I was about 22-23 or so I think.

I like comics.  Tell me a bit about the formation of Ice Dragon and what, if anything, was the original mission statement of the band.  How has that changed in the meantime?
It started off as just Carter and I doing weird stupid shitty music together in his living room. Then we were like “we should maybe get some other musicians so this doesn’t sound so weird stupid and shitty”. Then we got a drummer and bassist and turned it into a real band. All growns up. I think we still pretty much keep to the original idea though, which was to be weird and make music we could be happy about. Not just make music in a certain scene or genre. You know how some guys are like “we should start a doom band man”. We didn’t do that, it just sort of mutated into something sort of like that, and we aren’t very doomy even now I think. We just wanted to make music together and I think we still do a good job of that. I hope we do anyway.

What if anything precipitated the rapid acceleration of releases from the end of 2011 through to today?  From what I understand the band kind of stopped giving a shit about playing live and started focusing on jamming and recording at home all the time.  What led to the decision?
Basically it all came from getting together every Friday night. It’s more of just a buddies night kinda thing, drink beers with your friends and make some music in between arguments over outer space and which 70’s band has a better bassist or something. Carter only drinks Corona, Joe and I drink Miller Lite usually. We get subs. So yeah, if you hang out every Friday and turn on a recorder you’re bound to end up with something I guess. Playing live around town mostly blows, so we got really bored of that really fast. Recording is where it’s at.

You recruited a new member (drummer Brad) in order to do the Memphis show.  Is he a permanent fixture now?  How many goats were sacrificed during his initiation?  How has his presence changed the dynamics of the band in regards to writing and recording?
Brad is good friends with the dudes in Pilgrim, so we got to know him through them. He’s a ridiculously good drummer and a nice guy to hang out with, which is VERY important to us. We hope he hangs out for a good long while. Having an actual “drummer” is very nice indeed. It makes everything much more of a band sound, ya know? Less studio-y. So we’re gonna roll with that from here on out and try and make some killer new albums. Possibly even play a few more shows too. Me and him shared a room in Memphis and I got hammered and started running around the hotel trying to outwit the security guards at like 3am, going up and down the elevators you see, they go go down. So I lost track of him and went into the room eventually but I locked the door and he couldn’t get in. I wound up with a text message the next day from 3:33am that just said “I HATE YOU”. Haha. Eventually I woke up and let him in though, the baby. It was only like an hour he was out in the hall.

'Dream Dragon'
I wonder, looking back in hindsight, what the difference is between an album such as ‘Dream Dragon’ and a side-project such as Slow Heart.  In other words, was an album like ‘Dream Dragon’ simply a case of exercising a wild hair while a side-project like Slow Heart is more a case of getting out some long-term inspiration?  Or was it simply a matter of one thing sounding so unlike Ice Dragon that it needed its own name?  Or something else?
Slow Heart
Yeah I think you hit the nail on the head there. We were going to just change our name to “Dream Dragon” when we made that album and then only make soft dreamy music. That would have been kinda funny. Looking back now we probably should have just had Slow Heart be an Ice Dragon album too, but c’est la vie. It was drastically different than everything we were doing at the time, so figured we’d make a side project. We all thought it was going to be the biggest thing ever but no one seemed to really be all that into it except for the reviewers. Oh well. We thought everyone would hate Dream Dragon and that is about ready to pass The Burl in downloads from the Bandcamp. Shows how much we know.

Typically, do you plan your next move, such as “okay, now we’re going to work on a new Tentacle album.  Next month it’s Slow Heart time …” and so on, or do you fly by the seats of your collective pants letting the muse dictate the direction of the band?
We do a bit of both really. It usually starts with one or two tracks that we just happen to stumble upon through jamming and then that dictates what we’re going to do for the next few months. Once we get a good idea of what the feel or concept for the album is going to be, then it gets fun. We love that part, and that’s why it usually happens real fast from there on out.

What’s next for the band(s)?  Any upcoming releases you’d like to tease or give release dates for? ;)  Are you personally looking to get more into the film/video side of things in the future?
We are very very much looking forward to getting back into our usually recording cycle. We’ve been just practicing for the Scion gig the last few months. There’s definitely an album’s worth of tracks nearing completion though, which is odd, but who knows if all of them will make it through the final editing process. I think the next one will be more of the heavy psych vibe, long and weird tracks with super fuzzed out guitars. I’ve been getting really bored with mixing things the same old way so I’ve been trying to do some odd stuff. We’ll see what happens. No dates or names for anything yet. Sorry. I’ve always been very into film and making videos and things, but I’m poor, and they usually don’t go hand in hand. I had a pretty decent setup going for a while but then the camera broke on me and I couldn’t afford a new one for a long time. Recently my wife used some birthday money to get a new hd camera, so I’ve been getting back into it pretty heavy. Definitely want to do more and more, and I have the ideas, just have to find time. I work 9-5 m-f, so that doesn’t come by so easy.

Thanks for taking the time to do this, I really appreciate it.

Thank you very much man. Your blog is awesome and you are a great writer. Glad to be a part of it. 
Awesome, awesome, awesome.  Here's a buttload of links to chew on:

And me babbling on about what these guys get up to on the weekend:
Ice Dragon


The Mangled Dead

Slow Heart

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...