Today marks IndieBeat history, as one of our Indie List Makers joins the Alt Rising Acts featured artist club. Back when we started, we used to write profile articles about our favorite rapidly-rising artists, such as HAIM and Bastille, and LA based The Ceremonies was one our select picks. We've been longtime fans from the start, and recently we had the chance to talk with Matthew, Mark, and Michael Cook, along with new addition Kane Ritchotte.
In this exclusive interview, the guys talk musical memories, their acoustic video releases, as well as what we can expect from their upcoming debut full-length.
Well we really feel like It’s impossible to pinpoint the single most influential of those categories, but we can definitely name some!
Mark - “Abbey Road” by the Beatles, “The False Mirror” by Rene Magritte, and “I Am Waiting” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
Michael - “Thriller” by Michael Jackson, Shepard Fairey’s creations, and “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud,” by William Wordsworth.
Kane - “Grace,” by Jeff Buckley, Van Gogh’s self portraits, and “PICASSO” by Frank Elgar
What are your fondest musical memories, both as music makers and as listeners?
Well, one memory that sticks out in particular was playing our first festival at Firefly out in Delaware. It was also only our second show as a four-piece band. Our chemistry on stage and the vibes from the audience really felt right. It’s a hard thing to put in words, but we felt a click.
What is your dream collaboration and why?
We are long time fans of “Talking Heads,” and have always admired David Byrne’s prowess as a multi-talented artist - songwriter, musician, filmmaker, author, actor, etc. To collaborate with him would be a dream come true.. we love that his music knows no bounds in terms of genre. He writes what he feels, be it rock, funk, country, new wave, etc. Exploring the songwriting landscape with him would be incredible.
You filmed the Tonight is the Night video on Mulholland Drive. Something we find interesting here at IndieBeat is how the base city of artists impacts their creative process and sound formation. You guys have always seemed very connected to the Los Angeles landscape. I’m wondering if LA has been a conscious inspiration and influence in the way you craft your art.
We’ve absolutely been inspired by the LA landscape, but not super intentionally. We feel people are somewhat products of their environment, and our tastes have been shaped by what we’ve surrounded ourselves with. That being said, we’re proud to be born and raised in LA~
Speaking of Tonight is the Night, your sound has sort of evolved with this release. The midcentury vibe is still centric, but it has elements of more 90s based alternative soul. Can you tell us about this creation of this song? What’s the narrative you’re focusing in on, both musically and visually in the video? Have you been listening to anything in particular that may have influenced this sound aesthetic?
“Tonight is the Night” is inspired by the notion of real love, something that is boundless and undying, despite whatever physical or emotional barriers might stand the way. The lyrics are leaning toward romantic, but are also really grounded in reality. The song acknowledges that despite loving someone wholly, for whatever reason, they just can’t be together for the time. The version we released was stripped and live, but the actual studio version feels very nostalgic, like a high school prom in the 80s. We haven’t really been listening to anything in particular that has influenced the song, but Michael Jackson undertones seem to always find a way to come through. Perhaps in part because we grew up listening to him, so his influence has become inherently part of our sound.
What motivated you to release 3 acoustic videos to gear up for your album release? How have you approached these video processes, compared to Land of Gathering and your very stylized covers?
We have been writing a ton since we refined to a four piece band. There was a bit of a shift in gears as far as artistic direction goes, and what kind of songs we want to write. We’ve been very inspired, and have gone through many phases ofthis new found direction. Producing a song is not like playing live. Live, you play a song, it vanishes into thin air, and you’re left with an impression or an opinion of it. When it’s recorded it has a bit more sense of permanence to it. (Though there is always the possibility of re-recording something, no art is ever finished) But regardless we decided to release live acoustic performances to get people acclimated to our new material.
You guys have been very adamant about how you don’t consider yourselves a “band,” but rather more as an art collective focused on performative expression through communal experiences. Can you explain to us what your live setup looks like and how your multimedia philosophy gets produced?
The best way to describe it would be as any real Ceremony-- visuals and audio paired into an entire show, unexpected turns; a real communal experience. In terms of the process, we’re constantly bouncing ideas with off of each other, just like for songwriting or anything really. That’s how our collective works best.
What can fans expect in your upcoming full length album release? Will it be a continuation of your self-titled EP and the nostalgia-driven Land of Gathering concept, of keeping your inner childhood imagination alive?
Well, our new music feels more true to the adolescent point of view-- a slightly matured version of the child’s imaginative perspective. We have a lot of songs at this point and are really just excited to start showing them and getting them out there. All we can do is stay true to making what we like and hope that it makes others feel something as well. That is, after all, the fundamental point of art.
Thanks again to The Ceremonies for talking with us. Keep up to date with them via their charming social sites at the following links. We'll keep you updated about any news about their upcoming debut release. For now, enjoy their harmonious cover of Twin Shadow's To The Top.