Cruising around Ybor City with Ricky Armellino from This Or The Apocalypse before their show at the Orpheum looking for a Chase Bank, gave us the chance to have a lengthy chat. Check it out.
Q – Your latest album “Dead Years” has been out for 16 months now, are there any current plans for a new album?
Ricky – Yes there is, we’re working on a batch of new songs at the moment. I’d say that through the varying degrees of pieces that we have, we have enough for an album, but we’re not particularly happy at the moment because it’s a little loop sided in production value going more towards a rock sound that we kind of capture in “Haunt What’s Left.” So we’re going back to the drawing board and writing a lot more material and we’re going to revisit it after this tour.
Q – What are the lyrical themes for “Dead Years” ?
Basically I sum it up as war and family. “Dead Years” is about a lot of internal struggle and trying to find yourself in your mid 20s amongst a lot of confusion.
Q – What’s something you want your fans to take away from your music or from your live show?
Ricky – I think that we try to bring this intense honesty to what we do. My belief with heavy music is that the absolute center of what we do revolves around us taking our personalities and just turning up the volume knob. It’s not about trying to fulfill this picture-esqe character that constitutes what a hardcore or metal vocalist. It’s not about creating the characters you see other people perform in and something that I get is a lot of people coming up to me and telling me that I’m a weird vocalist and I appreciate that because I think I’m kind of a weird person. In fact, Dave from Bleeding Through, who is one of my favorite guitar players on this planet, he made me have a damn near panic attack because we were hanging outside of a show and Dave turns to me and he says, “Ya know man, a lot of people try to act eccentric, but you’re the real fucking deal man.” And I couldn’t sleep over that, but honestly when I’m on stage, I don’t want to try to portray some character or anything like that. I just want to take me, I want to put that into my music and I want to do it the right way and I think that’s how most heavy and independent music should work because at the end of the day, most of us aren’t going to be paying mortgages with this stuff, so why do anything thing else other than be who you are and feel like it’s okay to be yourself. You know if you’re going to be in a multimillion dollar grossing pop band, then I can understand playing the game and people wanting to act out these roles. It wouldn’t be for me necessarily, but we’ve toured with a lot of bands that seem to do things that seem so out of character for them simply to put on a stage show, which I think is cool, people like putting on a stage show, but sometimes I get the impression that some of them may get this “gotta do this stuff for the kids, I mean it sucks, but whatever.” So what I want people to hear when they listen to our music is a group of guys that work very, very hard, and I want them to feel like that whatever it is that they’re doing whether it’s working for a magazine, driving a car for a company, whatever you’re doing, you can dump all of that effort into it and see something out of it.
James(interviewer) – I definitely get a sense of realism when listening to your music.
James(interviewer) – That’s what I personally look for, like the gritty, down to earth type stuff.
Q – You’ve posted a video recently of “stage callouts.” Where do you draw inspiration for some of things you say on stage?
Ricky – Well that particularly was from a few years ago, and that was from me drinking with the singer of Oceano and him and I, jokingly were talking about competing about who could do better mosh call outs, which I’m pretty sure I won, but that’s up for debate.
James(interviewer) – I think you did too, because that video had me rolling on the floor.
Ricky – I actually did sit and think about them beforehand. I love humor and most people don’t know this but I do stand up comedy every now and then. I’m not particularly good at it, but I give it a shot every once in awhile. It’s had mixed reviews, there have been a couple of time where I’ve killed and there have been a couple of times where nobody laughed and I have a list of jokes in a note that are for an emergency set just in case it’s like “alright, none of these are working I’m going to go to my emergency jokes that everyone laughs at.” I just have a brain that’s constantly wandering and I really enjoy humor. I like surprises and I think that sometimes I have issues with people who think that I over trivialize things because I always default back to humor.
Q – What are some of the goals you have set for TOTA and what are some goals you’ve accomplished?
Ricky – Well this tour has been a set of goals that have been smashed left and right. I mean, I got to bring one of my favorite bands on tour, they’re happy with the tour, Shai Hulud, they’re my first hardcore show thirteen years ago and they’re still together, they’ve gone through a lot of member changes, but they’ve never lost importance to me. So I really do love that band. This headlining tour is doing very well, we’ve been playing to audiences in the hundreds, very frequently and it’s definitely not all us, every band is contributing.
James(interviewer) – And that’s just the magic of a good tour package put together.
Ricky – Yeah! It’s a great tour! Sirens & Sailors and Sworn In have been incredible draws on this tour as well. I’m incredibly happy with how this headlining tour has turned out.
Q – What’s the best concert you’ve ever attended that you didn’t play?
Ricky – So we were in Belgium on tour, and we didn’t play this concert, but I got to see the original line up of Further Seems Forever, I got to see Thursday play “Full Collapse” in it’s entirety, Every Time I Die, Circa Survive, Shai Hulud, and Underoath and all of those bands are really important to me and to see all of those bands in one show was huge.
Q – Favorite music releases from the last year?
Ricky – El-P and Killer Mike put together this CD called “Run The Jewels” and it’s my favorite shit ever.