This year many people across the UK were exposed to No Spill Blood as they opened for Baroness across the UK. Their intense performance on the tour won over many attendees including myself. The band’s unique, heavy and challenging music has taken them to interesting places and I can see it taking them to much greater heights. Keyboardist Ruadhan O’Meara talked about their history and music, touring with Baroness, upcoming plans and the music scene in Ireland.
Jack: Hi, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. How are you doing?
Ruadhan O’Meara (Keyboards): Fine thank you! Currently basking in the grey of an Irish summer morning.
Jack: So how did No Spill Blood form?
Ruadhan: It was just a spur of the moment thing one Saturday where we decided to book a rehearsal room, drink some beer and have a jam. There were no definite plans or aspirations, it was just 3 friends hanging out.
Jack: The line-up of the band is made up of bass and vocals, drums and keyboards. Why is it this particular set of instruments?
Ruadhan: Well, I just had a bunch of synths, and we wanted to do something a little different. We initially tried guitar and a few different configurations, but the more we played, we just went with what sounded most interesting to us.
Jack: Your music is quite unique and you’ve been labelled as sci-fi noise rock in the past. What genre would you classify yourself as or do you not see yourselves fitting in a genre?
Ruadhan: There are many genres we touch off I guess, there are varying ideas out there of what it actually is or falls under. All the usual tags applied are true in some sense – sci fi/noise/prog/metal/stoner/punk/electronic/krautrock/ industrial whathaveyou..
Jack: What bands are an influence?
Ruadhan: We have quite a varied palate, lots of 70s progressive synth stuff, Tangerine Dream, Synergy, Heldon, lots of metal, Sabbath, Pentagram, High on Fire, Witchfinder General, Krallice. Lots of 70s/80s film soundtracks too, John Carpenter, Goblin, Fabio Frizzi. Other big ones would be Devo, Oneida, Zombi, Trans-Am.
Jack: I see a strong Killing Joke influence on your music. Are they an influence on No Spill Blood?
Ruadhan: I do find it funny that they are the first band everyone mentions, as I have listened to them in the past but pay them little or no attention at all when it comes to the band. I really like that first self-titled album, but they lose me the more they go down the industrial route. I see the correlation, sure. Maybe I should give them some more time!
Jack: Your latest album Heavy Electricity came out in March 2015, are you happy with the response?
Ruadhan: Yes, we were quite pleased with how it turned out in the end, and mostly people have had positive things to say about it, what more can you ask for!
Jack: Is there a theme or concept to the album?
Ruadhan: Yes, the lyrics are written as a continuum, through various states of savagery and alternate consciousness. A brutal and psychedelic journey from Milan to Minsk, if you will…
Jack: What was the recording process like?
Ruadhan: It was a very intense and productive week spent in the Meadow studios in Wicklow, with Rian Trench and Scan a.k.a. Deaf Bros. We had an insane amount of gear to play around with, and a 20ft wall of amps to blast everything through. We did round the clock sessions most days, and we definitely went crazy from sleep deprivation etc but the guys knew what we were after and did an outstanding job.
Jack: Have you started working on new material yet?
Ruadhan: Yeah we are in the midst of a busy and productive writing period at the moment, trying different things and seeing what sticks. Sometimes we turn it all upside down, sometimes we return to what we believe worked for us in the first place. It’s my favourite process of being in a band.
Jack: In February and March you toured with Baroness, did you have a good tour?
Ruadhan: We did indeed. It was a great run for us, getting to open up to big rooms of people, who were largely attentive and receptive to what we were doing. I think it was a good match for us, as sometimes people don’t know what to make of us, and it’s either too heavy or not heavy enough. We had a blast.
Jack: How did the tour come about?
Ruadhan: We just got an email from their agent saying the band were wondering if we could do some shows and a few days later we were packing the van.
Jack: On Facebook you described them as a great bunch of lads, were you fans of the band before the tour?
Ruadhan: Yeah totally, we had been listening to them for years, since they played in Dublin in 2006. They were great to play with, they had a great crew with them too. Even though they are a lot bigger these days, you can tell they came from the punk and underground circuits by how they behave and treat others with respect. Always great to see that.
Jack: You’re playing Cosmic Carnage’s Smash It Out Three in August in Brixton. Are you excited for it?
Ruadhan: Absolutely, there’s a great line up , looking forward to seeing Terminal Cheescake, Casual Nun, Lower Slaughter and the rest of them… Love what Cosmic Carnage do, and they have alerted us to a lot deadly bands in the UK that we would not have come across otherwise.
Jack: The last time you played a Cosmic Carnage gig I heard the amps caused a power cut, what happened here?
Ruadhan: Yeah that was gas. It was a super line up with Death Pedals and Necro Deathmort. We drove all day to get to that show and didn’t have time to check. Our bass amp kept tripping the power on stage, which in that venue was wired to the lights, tills everything…. We left the crowd in the dark and thirsty for 20 mins, but we got going with help in the end. Thankfully people stuck around!
Jack: Cosmic Carnage puts on eclectic line ups, do you prefer mixed bills or playing with bands of a similar ilk?
Ruadhan: I like a varied bill myself, though it seems we tend to go down better amongst heavier and more experimental stuff. Seems to me that Cosmic Carnage have a good grip on that kind of thing.
Jack: What are your plans for the rest of 2016?
Ruadhan: Keep writing and experimenting for the moment, get some more jams together and gear up to do another record. We are outlining the whole thing at the moment.
Jack: Finally, I’m interested to know what is the scene is like in Dublin?
Ruadhan: Dublin has always been a great music scene, there is plenty of variety, experimental, metal, indie rock, folk, techno, hardcore, hip hop, there’s something for everyone. Check out Wild Rocket, Zom, Twinkranes, Wizards of Firetop Mountain, Hands up Who Wants to Die, Molossus for starters!
Jack: Thanks for your time and I hope the upcoming shows go well.
Ruadhan: Thanks to you!