SOiL Interview @ Electric Ballroom, Camden London

21 October 2014
Interview By Rowena Lamb, Photography by Inty Malcom

Ryan McCombs – Vocals
Tim King – Bass
Adam Zadel – Guitar

First of all welcome back to the UK. The last time we spoke to you was in March at the Forum in Kentish Town with Skindred. How are you finding the difference between the venues?

RYAN: Well size. We had a good show there and we’ve always had good shows here, I’ve got no complaints about the place. I mean we’re in London England, we’re in the UK period. For us if you put us in a shoe box here we’re going to love it, so it’s cool.

TIM: It was cool with the Skindred thing cause Skindred are a very large band in the UK and combining the two we had a really good package with them that warranted playing The Forum and with us coming back to headline we had already done a few gigs here at the Electric Ballroom so we wanted to get that back here. It’s already sold out tonight so it’s going to be a great show and we’re looking forward to it a lot.

With Southampton selling out yesterday you’re not doing too badly, and with one day into the UK leg you’ve already had a day off.

TIM: Well we’ve already been in Europe for the past ten days, well actually two weeks in Europe. Then we played Southampton, had a day off and then we have 6 shows in a row starting with London, then another day off and then 5 shows and on our way back home. So it’s a pretty long tour; a good solid month.

SOiL, Electric Ballroom

Of course you’ve toured with (hed)p.e. earlier this year in May.

RYAN: Yeah actually within the past 2 years we’ve done 2 tours with them in the States. Each one decent runs so we’ve definitely got to know each other. Well we knew each other before then, but you never know each other like you do after you’ve spent some time on the road together. We’ve got to know each other and we get along great, so to bring that connection over here and knowing what you’re getting into. A lot of time you go on tour with a band it’ll be the first time, you’re not really sure what you’re getting ready to dive into and because you’re dealing with each other on a daily basis your personalities have to mesh well. We knew coming over here that we meshed well so we knew that the road would be a good time.

TIM: Again with American Head Charge that’s on the bill we brought them over in 2006 for just the UK run. Bringing these bands together this time it’s really cool because everybody knows each other, everybody gets along. There are a few new faces as with any band that’s been around for a while.
If you’ve known each other for a while, how do you think (hed)p.e. would describe you?

TIM: It depends on who you ask. Jahred loves to coin certain terms so he’ll probably say those fellers are really nice guys, I really like those fellers. Jackson would probably be very humble and Trauma the drummer would probably be like a cartoon character; they’d do it in their own way. I hope they like us – they say they like us. We like them.

Well I’ll ask them the same question so you’ll find out. (Laughs)  I’ve been quite amused by the recent posts on your Facebook page, it’s really quite a personal image you have.

TIM: It’s Ryan there.

RYAN: Someone asked me today what I thought the most important thing about my job was and I think it’s being able to connect with people when you’re on the road and being accessible and being able to connect with them even when you’re not. Just being real with people. Hopefully that comes across on the social media because I’m just a dumb ass from Indiana and that comes through cause sometimes I’m just meh and thrown up what we’re doing and what we’re up to. As well as my stupid, and I believe all of our stupid sense of humour sometimes with the silly posts and stuff like that.

But I appreciate it, I hope people get a kick out of it, out of the social media because I have fun just being real, well the band’s always been real so hopefully that’s reflected in that. I’m not sure what the fuck I’m talking about right now.

It was a very good answer.

RYAN: Thank you.

SOiL - Ryan McCombs
SOiL – Ryan McCombs

It’s nice to see the difference because some of the pages have a more corporate image. It’s nice to see that there’s no barrier in a way between you and the fans.

RYAN: I hope that comes through. I view social media as that being the point. I mean technology and computers have done so much damage to the music industry but at the same time I think some of the positive it’s done is that it’s allowing us, the bands out there like ourselves to have a more personable touch to people and to be able to really see what the fans, the people that give us a job to do are thinking, and what their opinion on things on the things we post is. As well as just being able to have that 1-2-1 contact with people when needed.

There’s messages on there that are pretty personal and pretty deep sometimes and it’s cool that people share that with us, but it kind of gives us an opportunity for us to maybe help people out a little more than just the music does sometimes. It’s cool to have that opportunity due to social media.

Of course now you’re on Instagram.

RYAN: Yeah I finally learnt that shit. It’s not easy for my caveman ass to learn this technology bullshit, but I’m trying to keep up with Instagram, trying to keep up with both SOiL and myself. I don’t have that many ideas during the day so trying to keep up with both can be a bit of a pain in the ass, but you know trying to.

Well you’ve not just sold out tours but you’re also selling out some of your meet and greet packages ahead of the shows.

TIM: Yeah that was actually a last minute idea and Adam has been orchestrating the whole thing. It was just a way that we could get a little personal time in. We always try to get out there by the merch booth and sign a few autographs and things but sometimes our schedules and things don’t permit us to spend a lot of time there and people don’t always know we’re going to be there. So we figured we’d give everybody the chance if they wanted to spend some time with the band one on one and actually get to interact and get a picture, and try to keep the price real cheap for it so it’ll be worthwhile.

How’ve they been going?

TIM: They’ve been really cool so far, really cool. Some nights there’s just a couple of people, some nights it’s flooded with people.

You’ve not had any overzealous people running up to you and giving you a barrel hug?

TIM: There’s always those sort of people. One guy kept hugging us and asking for picks, which we didn’t have and he kept on asking and asking. He was a little bit drunk. (Laughs)

RYAN: He’s was the same guy who kept talking to me right here in my face and I’d take a step back and he’d take a step forward, I’d take a step back and he’d take a step forward. There has to be some personal space in there somewhere man come on. It was fun though we all laughed about it.

SOiL - Tim King
SOiL – Tim King

You’ve done a few tours this year, with a few dates in America in September as well, are you planning on having more of a rest period next year?

TIM: Well the dates in September were to warm up for this because prior to that we had been going for 11 months straight on this record without a break. We covered every nook and cranny of the United States and came over to Europe and the UK with Skindred. Playing this tour to come back to Europe and the UK and went over to Australia. We hit everywhere you could possibly imagine so we took a little bit of a breather in the summer and then did the warm up dates in the States to do this.

There’s a lot of stuff out there right now, doing some more things just trying to reel them in and we’re trying to get a little bit outside of the box and go to some places we haven’t been to. You know like maybe the eastern block of Europe, we’ve been looking into and South Africa. Since we worked this record and covered all the standard places we’ve been looking at some more obscure things maybe to do; pop out some other stuff and there’s always things to do in the States because we’re there and can easily go here and there. So there’ll be some things coming up so stay tuned and keep your ears peeled.

So if you were going to do a secret internet album completely different to SOiL but not attribute it to yourselves and just release it, what would you do?

RYAN: A lot of jazz flute. A lot of jazz flute and some oboe. Some oboe, cause I don’t know what the fuck it sounds like but that’s fun to say and I think it would be cool to have on there.

TIM: I’ve been secretly working on a reggae solo album, nah I’m kidding. I wouldn’t actually mind doing another death metal record. Me and Adam were part of a death metal band for quite some time and what I wouldn’t mind doing is, if there was a band that had a complete death metal album done without vocals on it, just have me going in and writing a set of lyrics and putting the vocals onto it. That’s the only thing probably from the death metal days that I miss is being able to have the outlet to put some words down on paper and kind of scream them out. I’ve always liked that sort of stuff.

RYAN: I’m pushing for him to do something death metal like so he can use the name Hermaphradon.

TIM: I like that.

RYAN: Me and Stevie are going to do a death metal band called Hermaphradon so I just want the name used, I want it out there.

Maybe you don’t in case someone nicks it.

RYAN: Fuck!

Copyright Ryan.

TIM: Patent pending.