Ruled By Raptors – Interview

Angular alt-rockers RULED BY RAPTORS continue their upward trajectory by releasing their debut EP, Ouroboros, which arrives via Pulse Music on Friday 7th June. We had the guys down for an intro chat:

What is the full band line-up, who plays what?

Chris Bradley – Vox/Guitars
Matthew Dewar – Guitars/Vox
Nick Oliver – Bass/B-Vox
Will Robson – Drums/Percussion


How and when did the band form? Tell us anything interesting about your hometown.

Chris: Ruled By Raptors started in August 2018, although we kept it quiet until the November when the MC Lars tour was announced. It’s a bit of a complicated story to be honest.

The shortest version we can give you is that we’ve played together in a band since September 2016 as the four of us, although Nick, Will & I were in a band called Digits, for about a year prior to that. As Nick & Will had already came in as replacements for two previous members of that band and Matt joined a year later as a replacement for someone else who had left in the summer, we just continued as that band. We hadn’t split up with any animosity, it was just that real life stuff had got in the way, so I got the previous line up’s blessing for us to use the last 2 songs we were working on, Braggart and Promises, which I’d wrote the lyrics for and were never released. From there it gets a little more complicated, Dux is probably the first true RBR song, but the music was mostly written with one of the guys from Digits, once Matt joined and as we wrote more tunes (EP2 is well under way!) with time it became more and more obvious that this was a different band with its own identity. We also had a naming issue come up with a guy from Toronto which was increasingly becoming frustrating. When MC Lars messaged us asking if we wanted to come on tour, I brought it to a head with the lads as we’d talked about it dozens of times over the previous 2 years. It was now or never, break out as our own band, or continue trying to replicate what came before.


Will: As for our hometown, quaint little Blyth is little known for its power station (RIP) and local beach used as scenes in Alien 3.
Chris: The TV show Vera has also been shot in Blyth as has the TV series Vikings.


When and how did the band really start gelling and solidifying?

Chris: As a band we worked well together from early on, but like many things, it’s only after the honeymoon period has ended that you really know how well you will work together. We played a gig in Liverpool in 2017 where everything that could go wrong, went wrong. We were given the wrong load in time by the venue and got there much later than expected, Matt wasn’t very well, we snapped strings on three guitars, Matt’s Guitar strap snapped, the bass amp loaned to Nick fell out of the van, Matt’s amp had two of the knobs knocked off, it was a nightmare. All of this ended with us travelling all that way from Workington to play 4 songs, and each of us having a reason to be miffed with each other. We went back to the hotel with the intention of going back to the venue to salvage the rest of the night, only to find the trains weren’t on and that a taxi for that distance would cost a fortune for a charity gig we’d played for free. So, defeated, exhausted and hungry we ordered pizza and sat in relative silence, watching the TV. Family Guy came on and it was the one with the “Jaques Hammer” joke and we just fell apart at it. I think we all knew at that point we’d be ok.


Who are your musical influences?

Matt: We have such varied influences, but collectively we all take influences from the likes of Biffy Clyro, At The Drive In, Brand New, Deftones, and Reuben.


Where did the name of band come from?

Matt: The name came from hours of back and forth, trying to find something unique that fit our sound and vision as a band. We toyed with ideas of monarchy and regality, and more animalistic themes…
Chris: because we’re British and we have a political flair to our sound.
Matt: We landed in the middle for something that we feel represents both our music, and also the tribalism of this day and age.


How far back does your history with each other (the band members) extend?

Chris: There’s a bit of an age gap between us all. The 4 of us have known each for years from bands gone by, but we’ve since found out we had other connections; I met Nick by chance when he turned up on the first day I took over the rehearsal studios I run. No bands were supposed to be booked in that day and we were in the middle of repainting the rooms but Nick’s band turned up claiming they had a booking, so I introduced myself and put them in the other room. I then had them play for me a few times at some of the shows I put on as a promoter. I also met Matt from putting on one of his previous bands when I was a promoter, although I didn’t recognise him when Matt auditioned for the band 3 years after the last time I’d seen him, mistaking him for someone else. Nick & Matt went to the same school but being 4 years apart in age, they didn’t know each other, despite knowing some of the same friends. Matt & Will again are in some of the same friendship circles but didn’t know each other that well. Will is kind of like a little brother to me, I’ve been engaged to Will’s sister since Will was 11 years old, so it’s been great to be in a band, it’s brought us closer together.


Where have you played or toured? Please name all countries / regions and recognised bands that you have played with.

Nick: Under the Ruled By Raptors name, nowhere! However, as the four of us, we have a couple UK tours under our belts with some of the best gigs I’ve done to date.
Matt: Most memorable would be the Market Bar in Inverness, looks like it should hold only 40 punters with the smallest “stage” anyone has ever seen, but it had about 100 there on the night!
Chris: You could literally feel the floor bouncing underneath you. Last year we also played with MC Lars and Koo Koo Kanga Roo on their Newcastle show which was amazing as I have loved MC Lars’ music for about 10 years now. That lead to us being asked to be both his support act and his backing band on the full UK tour for this year which we are so stoked for!



In your opinion, how is your band different from all the other bands out there?

Matt: We’re unafraid to take risks. We approach topics, both political and personal, in our lyrics, and we venture through genres, even within songs, to appease a sort of creative attention deficit. We strive to keep everything interesting, to constantly evolve everything we do into something greater than the sum of its initial parts. Once we see a spark, no matter the source, we work until we’ve made something, we’re proud of, and accept nothing less.
Chris: Yeah, we’ve dumped songs that might have been ok to some, but that just weren’t interesting enough to us. It can be frustrating at times, but the pay-off can be amazing once a song is finished after all the hard work that went into putting it together.


If a deaf person were to ask you to describe the sound of your music, how would you describe it?

Chris: We can be rebellious, reflective, angry; it’s cathartic.
Will: A weight off your shoulders in musical format, almost.
Nick: But also sometimes sad.
Chris: I often joke that we’re pop metal, I think we’re hard to pigeon hole, we’re loosely post-hardcore, we go wherever the music takes us really. I definitely feel we’re a band you can listen to and pick out the most obscure likenesses, you can hear our influences’ influences.



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