By Georgia Lundeen and Taylor Funrue
Rituals of Mine is an Oakland based band that recently started their tour with Garbage. We had the pleasure of having them in studio on September 31st. We talked briefly about their new record label and their follow up album to Devoted, which listeners can expect in 2019. Their latest single “No Time to Go Numb” was just released on October 8th, and we highly recommend. Read on to find out more about band members Terra Lopez and Adam Pierce and their musical process.
Georgia: I know your tour has just started but, how has it been so far? What are you guys excited for?
Terra: Last night was incredible. The show was sold out it was packed for our set it was beautiful the energy was awesome. Garbage is just a dream and sweet.
Adam: Yeah, they came into the green room before we played and introduced themselves and um, just really good vibes from the tour, so I think it’s going be good. Today is the second show and we’re just going to get better and better.
Taylor: How do you guys prepare for a show? What’s your ritual to prepare for the show?
Adam: Our ritual of mine?
Terra: I definitely have a few rituals. I’m like really weird and introverted an hour before the show and like I don’t want to talk to anyone. I just wanna get in that head space and zone and every tour. I listen to different songs while I’m doing my stretches and just kinda visualizing how I want to perform and how I want the set to go so that’s kinda what I do before a show. What do you do?
Adam: Yeah it’s just kind of a mental meditation for me and uh, there are obviously warm ups and stuff you do as a drummer. Yeah, it’s more of a mental thing to get in that state and changing into stage clothes is kinda like that moment where it switches and your personality switches. Um a lot of warm ups a lot of stretching um a lot of just breathing and not thinking of the show because tour can be like that who knows what your day was like before the venue so it’s always nice to decompress right before.
Taylor: Awesome, Awesome.
Georgia: So, one of the big questions we were talking about beforehand is how you both got into music? How did you guys decide this is what you wanted to do?
Terra: Yeah um, it was something that I was just a passionate about since I was 3 years old. I remember first hearing Patsy Cline and just something taking over my entire body and spirit. I would listen to music as a little kid and shut the door and it was a very private, sacred thing for me. But it was literally like I woke up thinking about music when I went to school, thought about music at home, but I was a shy person and I still am. It wasn’t until I was in high school where I was like “cool I’m going to join my first band and like perform” and once I started performing it was just this thing that I became addicted to. So I’ve been doing it for a very long time with various projects and it’s just something that I feel like is so innately in me and who I am that I don’t really think about it anymore. Music was just something that filled me. I don’t know I just feel so fulfilled everyday writing and creating and just expressing myself. What about you?
Adam: Yeah I agree with that that. I didn’t play in a band for like four to five years until I started playing drums and dabbling in guitar and stuff, and just honing my craft every day. I was going home and playing drums, but there was a lot of music in my mom’s side of the family so that’s how I kinda got into it. But there was a King Crimson record that forever changed my life. It was when I realized it was what I wanted to do with my life, and I was probably like 12 years old, so not bad right? I’m still here doing it.
Georgia: So, was it just those two artists that kinda solidified that for you guys?
Terra: Yeah I mean I think Patsy Cline. My grandma showing me Patsy Cline when I was a little kid and like hearing the passion and sadness in her voice really resonated with me for whatever reason. I’ve been a sad girl for sure but then also listening to Jeff Buckley and Fiona Apple and gosh Lauren Hill so many of these artists that I just immediately became obsessed with and wanted to do what they’re doing yeah.
Adam: Yeah, I’m such a music lover. The older I get I just like more and more music.
Taylor: You recently released the single “I’ll Always be in Love With You,” what was the inspiration behind the song?
Terra: It was actually a cover a 50s cover my producer and I just kinda wanted to do for fun. We had no intention of actually releasing it. Then we decided to start our own label, Bitch Wave, and decided we wanted to release something. We released it without thinking much of it and people loved it, so we released it on cassette. We actually have a new song coming out next week and I’m really excited about that. It was just kinda like paying tribute to the music that first got me into singing which was 50s ballads.
Georgia: What is your favorite song to perform live?
Terra: I think “Devoted.” For me, playing that song usually ends the set since it’s like an anthem. It’s kinda a song about reclaiming yourself for yourself and its just so fun to perform it on stage and scream, just like going at it.
Adam: And the drum fill part, it’s just pretty hard.
Terra: Yeah, it’s really intense. It’s really fun to see new fans in the crowd like, with their mouths just wide open after that set they are just like ‘What did we just watch?!’ which is cool. We want to leave them kinda freaked out so…
Georgia: Leave them wanting more.
Taylor: Googling the name.
Taylor: Devoted is the name of your first album, what were you feeling when you released it? Were you excited?
Terra: Yeah, I mean, I don’t know, I’m still excited about it. It’s something that took me through a really difficult breakup. It was really finding myself afterwards that was just a journey. I created these songs while lying in bed crying. It came from a really sad dark place. Now, performing them, I’m a completely different person, so the songs have transformed as well. Releasing that record was so therapeutic. I felt it was totally therapy writing those songs and now with Adam it is still very much therapy. It’s always so exciting finally like, seeing the work you’ve done in a year out in the world. Now it’s no longer ours, it belongs to whoever is listening to it and it’s really powerful hearing from fans saying these songs saved their life, or these songs were playing at their wedding, or we played this song at a funeral. It’s just a spectrum of emotions that our fans come to us with and telling us how these songs have helped them is kinda wild.
Georgia: Have you ever been nervous about releasing something? What were you feeling when you released this album?
Terra: I’m always in my head while creating music ‘cause you work on songs for so long and you listen to them so many times to the point where you don’t even know if it’s good anymore, so it’s always a little scary and nerve racking releasing music. Then you realize “oh, no, I love this,” and it’s really cool seeing and hearing other people’s reactions to what you make.
Adam: Yeah it really gives you that perspective that you kinda lack when you get into that bubble of your own because it’s hard to step out of.
Georgia: So, once you found out how your fans reacted and the different ways they used your music did it change the way you felt while performing, or the way you see it now?
Terra: Yeah I think it always helps because, again, you’re listening to your songs, you’re in such a zone and in a tunnel that you only hearing this work. We probably listen to the song hundreds of times before its actually released and put out into the world, so it’s definitely validating to hear fans singing along or really loving a track. It definitely makes us more confident, like, “ok cool, awesome people are liking what we do.” It’s definitely always therapeutic when we write and we release music in the hopes that it serves as therapy for others as well.
Taylor: What’s your typical process of writing a song?
Terra: It varies. It has changed a lot. Right now we’re working with our long-time producer West Jones and we’ll like, send each other ideas back and forth because he’s currently in Florida, so it’s really like a long-distance love affair of sending tracks back and forth.
Adam: No for long though.
Terra: Yeah he’s moving to LA, but, um, it’s kinda cool in that way. We’ll send him ideas and he’ll send us ideas and see how we create separately. We’ll finally meet up in a studio and then that’s where the magic really happens of like, forming and putting all these collective ideas together and creating these songs. Yeah, it kinda varies most of the time. I normally have the music first and then I’ll write lyrics, but sometimes I’ll already have a melody going on and I’ll send that. iPhone voice memo is my savior.
Adam: It’s a great tool.
Terra: I hope no one ever steals my phone. Hopefully no one ever has to hear that because it’s just me screaming out ideas while driving on the highway, but, yeah, it’s full of different processes.
Georgia: How has your music influenced your life as a whole?
Terra: Oh my gosh well I wouldn’t have any friends. Yeah, I feel like music is great for me because I’m such a socially awkward person. I get in this zone around people with music, so I don’t even think about it. It’s just so easy to have conversations about music, live shows, and performing. I’ve met so many incredible people that are dear friends in my life through music. I also just think everyone has a purpose and a passion and I absolutely feel like [music is] ours. I don’t want to speak for Adam, but for me it is completely like the thing that I need to be doing. I am a creative individual so I don’t know how I would function without being able to express myself in that way. [Music is] how I deal with the world and deal with things that happen to me or to those around me. I don’t know what I would be doing, maybe I would be a WMBA sports commentator, something super random, but, yeah, I don’t know.
Adam: I uh can’t imagine my life without music. At such an early age it had an impact on me, and just like the community it brought me, the friends. I can’t even imagine my life without music.
Taylor: It’s hard to.
Georgia: Once you get into music it just sucks you deeper in.
Taylor: How do you both approach a new song? Feelings about it? The writing processes? Collaborating?
Georgia: Also, do you both go about the songs separately? How do you look at it from your perspective and then bring those ideas together?
Terra: It’s kind of a process because Adam writes all of the live parts, so our studio recordings are 100% different from the live sound. Like, you make the song so much more intense and urgent and so it’s such a different process from the recording versions. I’ve never been a person’s who’s been like “I’m going to write a song about this,” it’s always more about like what I’m feeling throughout the day, or something inspires me. I just play the song and see what comes, so it’s very off the cuff. I’ll be singing that way, but it’s such a different process when we come together with the full finished song. Adam takes it and transforms the song into something completely next level.
Adam: With new song, we’ve been sitting on it for a minute and I remember not knowing what to do with it and then it just came to me. I hear the song after a lot of production has been done which is to my benefit because West Jones is amazing. I get to mimic a lot of his production elements so there’s a lot of stuff there. But it is a process, and sometimes it doesn’t always immediately come. I beat myself up about that, but as long as the process is working you’re like using that muscle and that’s when awesome art is created.
Terra: Yeah, it’s all about routine. There are definitely times where I go into the studio and I can’t come up with anything that I like and then it’s really difficult not to get in your head too much.
Adam: Yeah, you can’t be in that bubble.
Taylor: What’s your cure for writer’s block, then? I know many people have a routine to get them more relaxed to try to break that wall that comes up sometimes.
Terra: I used to beat myself up a lot when I thought I had to be productive every single day. It would create this fear anytime I went into the studio, so I’ve been doing something over the last year where I’m just like “this is so awesome that I get to do this.” I really changed my perspective and have just been trying to have fun and relax. When I have that mentality, I usually produce my best work. I read a lot and then taking long drives with that iPhone.
Adam: I’ve gotten into yoga lately, which has been awesome. That’s been my way to take my mind off stuff. I write in the woods, too. I love just going and being able to get a cabin or AirBnB. I’m working on turning music-making into more of a destination spot.
Taylor: Adam, what is your favorite beat sequence to play during a show?
Adam: Uh actually “Bicep.” That’s fun to play live. The new single [that came out on the 8th] is my new favorite to play. When I wrote a lot of the parts for the old record it was great, but I really just kind of hurried through the writing process. We were playing for probably a year when I finally got comfortable more detailed oriented and refined parts, it’s a lot of fun.
Georgia: Since we do have a lot of musicians on campus, what advice would you give them?
Terra: I would say if you feel pulled to do music absolutely follow that. Follow your passion and spend a lot of time practicing and honing your craft. I can’t even tell you how many shows we’ve played over the years, just thousands and thousands of hours of doing this. I think that’s really how you get to know yourself as a musician, as a performer, and as an artist, so keep going. Things aren’t just going to happen overnight, so if you’re in it for the right reasons you’ll feel fulfilled every day, even on the harder days.
Adam: Yeah practice, practice, practice and remember that you’re always growing as a musician, that’s the fun part of being a musician. If you ever feel stagnant do something different because it should never feel like that, you know, and just find happiness in what you’re doing.
Taylor: What can we expect to hear from you in the future? You say you have a new single coming out.
Terra: Yeah so, we have a single called “No Time to Go Numb” [that came out on the 8th], and we’re currently working on the follow up album that will be out early next year.