If you are looking for some great metal with a Scottish vibe, Ruadh will certainly do the trick. Joining countrymates such as Saor and Adabroc, they have opted for a heavier sound which is a perfect soundtrack to visions of the highlands. With a 2nd full length album entitled “The Rock Of The Clyde”, they have established themselves as a project with many interesting ideas and a very dark, hypnotizing style. We sent some questions over to the man behind Ruadh in Tom Perrett and he gave us some responses regarding the formation of the project, the writing process and style, influences and a few other things of note… check it out…
Congrats on your sophomore effort “The Rock Of The Clyde”….how has the response been to it so far?
“Thank you, It has been astounding, so many encouraging comments and wonderful feedback.”
Could you give our readers a brief history of the project and why you named it Ruadh?
“Ruadh technically started in Autumn 2017 but under a different name and when a different path set out for what it was supposed to be. I had some time to write the first black metal stuff I had wrote in well over a decade and the song I was writing became “Where I belong” After sending this to a friend who was keen to work with me on the project I waited months for them to do vocals and send it back, it never happened and by this time it was early 2018 and my kids where born and very young. I had a few other tracks done as well one of which was “Waiting” So I did a shit demo of the song, shared it with Ethereal black metal on Facebook and then Torsten from NSP contacted me asking to hear the album when it was done. I guess if he never did I would have waited longer to do and perhaps never actually finish it so I’m grateful he heard something worthwhile in it, I guess you could say he gave the endeavor purpose or something to strive towards. In regards to the name, It’s purely because of my home town which translates to “The Red Valley” – Red being “Ruadh” in Gaidhlig.
For those who are unfamiliar with Ruadh, how would you describe the style/genre? Is it easy or difficult to put a simple tag/description on it?
“This is somewhat hard to answer in fairness. I would quantify it as Atmospheric Celtic Black metal perhaps but everyone will have their own view. Caledonian metal is one term that get’s thrown around but I’m not overly keen on that label.”
What bands are the biggest influence to your sound?
“Bathory, Emperor, Windir and For the hypnotic stuff it would be Burzum. I Also really enjoy newer bands like Sojourner, Panopticon, Horn and of course earlier Saor.”
What about a comparison to countrymates Saor? What do you think the similarities and differences are? Are there other Scottish based acts that you may have more in common with?
“Again, it’s not something I’m fond of being linked to them as I feel they are quite different from Ruadh, You don’t have to like one to like the other I would say. Andy writes more atmoblack with folky passages but we both use the Scottish feeling notes and progressions so it’s easy to establish a link. Ruadh however isn’t afraid to be a bit more traditional metal which I feel is sometimes lacking from atmoblack stuff. Like, listen to Windir and those “Metal” riffs are great, I wanted some of that, I also draw heavily from Bathory and closer to home I would say Runrig. Tin Whistle is synonymous with Scottish/celtic culture and history and has been for a very long period of time so it’s understandable when you are drawing from the same well that some of the sounds will be similar to a degree.”
Scots & Skills
Besides the name, what other aspects of your sound make you distinctly Scottish?
“The Rock of the Clyde is more Scottish for sure, Sovereign is thematically and lyrically Scottish or Celtic where as the actual music is more folky in the newer album and that makes it a bit more Scottish to my ears.”
You have to wear many hats doing all aspects of the tracks…. what are you the most comfortable with? What do you find is the most challenging? Are there any possibilities of finding other members or is doing it solo an easier proposition?
“Given how the project started, waiting around on people is not an option for me, Ruadh is done when I need it to be done which makes it easier. I can play the instruments easily enough but there are some I enjoy more than others. Bass for example I don’t enjoy recording bass but Guitar is my number 1 instrument so it’s very easy for me. Strings and composition can be challenging sometimes but always rewarding. Contrary to some people’s words the whistle is very much played too, that’s fun I enjoy playing the tin whistle it’s an emotional sounding instrument.”
Trim it or bin it
How do you start with writing a track? Are there lyrics and/or music you stockpile and merge together or are tracks worked on one at a time with specific lyrical content to go with current riffs?
“Guitar riff then scratch drums and build around this until I have something I like. Lyrics are always last with me.”
The track lengths are above average compared to other acts…. how do you approach being able to maintain the energy for the longer tracks? Is it the repetition of riffs and rhythm patterns/tempos or is there more thought put into prolonging the track? How do you know when a track lends itself to be 8-10 minutes or longer?
“I would say not to overthink it, if it sounds good keep it and if it doesn’t trim it or bin it, you would be shocked to learn how many songs I’ve binned where Ruadh is concerned. Never compromise with art.”
How did your relationship with Northern Silence come about? Are there any inhibitions when it comes to working with a label/distributor as opposed to being independent?
“I answered this already but I would just say NSP are really good, the deal is fair and Torsten is a cool guy based on any of our previous conversations.”
I see that you have played some live dates… how did you decide on who you would have perform with you live? What sort of preparation time is needed to do a live show? Do you have to re-evaluate song arrangements in order to perform them live? Is this something you want to do more of?
“I never actually thought about playing live, it was my other half (partner) who planted that seed in my brain. I got talking to Jim from Beermageddon and he was keen to bring Ruadh to his festival so of course we did and it was amazing. The arrangements haven’t changed much but of course you have to break things up a bit more and ensure that everyone is playing their parts correctly.”
How has Bandcamp been as far as being part of your success up to this point?
“Amazing actually, I can’t fault it.”
Near future plans if any after the album?
“I’ve already started writing the next album to be fair. Hopefully more gigs when all of this is over too.”
Favorite music from 2020 so far? Any albums you are looking forward to?
“Horn, Sojourner and Winterfylleth have knocked it out of the park this year.”
“Thanks a lot to everyone who has supported the project, I appreciate it more than you’ll ever know and please stay safe during these mental times.”