RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW CANADIAN BAND SIGNAL STATIC
Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
What made you decide that music is a thing for you?
Ryan: We all have our own stories, of course. I started playing bass in highschool when one of my best friends decided that we should start a band despite the fact that only one of our group had any musical skills. We were all super into U2 at the time, so we tried really hard to BE U2. Spoiler alert: we were unsuccessful.
I had the choice of picking up the bass or drums, and I went with bass because Adam Clayton made it look really easy.
Gino: My brother was the one who first got me into playing music. He played guitar in multiple bands and got me started playing with him in my first band.
Randy: I really loved all the rockstars during the Lollapalooza years in the early 90s and all the videos on MTV and Much Music (Canada’s version of MTV). It was a group effort.
Introduce us to the members of the band and your musical history.
Currently, we’re operating as a threesome, er, three-piece, although that will be changing hopefully in the near future. Currently we have Ryan Stringer on Lead Vocals and Bass, Gino Klein on Guitar, and Randy Camponi on Drums.
The three of us first got together as a unit around the fall of 2015. Ryan had played in different bands separately with Gino and Randy in the past, and when he got married that summer he introduced the two of them. We got together and started jamming and *poof*, here we are still doing it seven years later!
We released our first album a couple of years ago with our former lead singer, Connor, but after COVID lockdowns made it difficult to do normal band stuff, he left the band and Ryan took over the lead vocal role. We eventually decided to make it a permanent move and we’re now on the hunt for a new bassist.
The music industry is the hardest industry in the world to progress in, how do you feel you are doing?
Ryan: At a certain point I think we had to redefine what we think of as “success” as artists, because expecting to “make it” becomes depressing after awhile given how small the chances are of that actually happening. However, I get to make music that I genuinely love with people that I also love, and who help me to take my own ideas and turn them into something so much better than I could do on my own, and I get to do the same for them. That’s success as far as I’m concerned.
That said, though, we’re farther ahead now than we’ve ever been before since our new songs helped us to attract the attention of a really kick ass management team, and we’re also making the best songs and the highest quality recordings that we’ve ever done. We’re excited to see what this new partnership produces as we all get ready to drop our new songs.
Randy: I don’t think we can measure our success based on albums sold or shows played anymore. People consume music more individually now. There is less precedence placed on performance live than performance in front of camera for a wider audience. In this respect we are making headway, though with so much out there and so many options it’s tough to get noticed. We play for us. Like many musicians I suppose. If someone likes it and shares it, awesome.
Gino: I just want to play music for whoever wants to hear it. Mostly myself.
We set up RGM USA and many other countries in the world (NOW RGM CANADA TOO) to share music with America and the UK, good idea?
Ryan: Yeah, definitely. We are becoming a global community more and more as time goes on, and it only makes sense to get as many fans on board from as many places as possible.
Do you subscribe to any conspiracy theories?
Ryan: One of the central themes present in our songs is the notion of looking for truth and meaning amidst all of the noise that we’re all exposed to constantly. Finding the signal in the static, so to speak. The thing is, if you want to have any hope of actually discerning reality you have to approach things rationally, and the vast majority of the “conspiracy theories” contain very little of that. I tend to believe that events are far more mundane and people’s motivations are generally far less complex than they appear.
Plus, the notion that there is a massive extraterrestrial base buried under the Dulce Mesa or Area 51 or whatever, and that thousands of government workers are aware of this and have effectively kept it secret for decades seems patently absurd to me.
Randy: Yes, almost all of them. Especially the one about Democrats eating babies. I mean, who doesn’t like a well prepared baby?
Ryan: Randy, ixnay on the abies-bay!
Gino: THE EARTH IS FLAT!!! AND THE MOON LANDING WAS FAKE! THE MOON DOESN’T EVEN EXIST!
Let’s share the love, what bands are doing really well in your Town / City?
Ryan: It would be irresponsible not to mention our fellow Victorians in Spiritbox. Their guitar player even has the same last name as me (no relation). There is a band who started humbly and has exploded beyond anybody’s wildest imaginings, and they truly are phenomenal.
Apart from that I would definitely want to shout out Big Flakes, The Grinning Barretts, Supreme Remedy, Frances Hope, and Alli Bean, all of whom are killing it out here.
What advice would you give other artists starting out?
Ryan: If you make music that you believe in, that is really meaningful to you and that you enjoy, and then figure out how to do it really, really well, other people will enjoy it too. Or, at least that’s my hope. Also, be willing to invest in yourself and take risks when the potential for reward is there. This is not a cost-free endeavour, and being willing to spend your time and money on the tools and the support that you need to push forward is critical.
Randy: Just do it because you love it, not because you see yourself making a ton of money or fame. Keep an open mind and heart. BE PATIENT!!
Gino: Play music because you love playing music.
Did you buy anything you don’t need in the pandemic?
Ryan: Well, I do own seven bass guitars, although I probably can’t blame that on the pandemic.
Randy: Excesses of sneakers. I have a problem.
Gino: Too many Costco trips.
What was the worst experience on stage?
Ryan: In a headlining gig with a previous band, one of the opening bands apparently broke up in the car on the way to the venue. What showed up was two members of that band with a guitar and a keyboard, determined to still do.. something.
They went on stage late and failed to notify anybody that they were performing under an extremely vulgar name related to a menstrual cycle which they announced loudly to an unimpressed audience. To make matters worse, the venue also had screens all around the stage, all of which also proudly displayed the “band”’s name accompanied by a bright red visualizer.
They proceeded to play for 20 minutes longer than they were supposed to and by the time my band actually went on at like 12:30 AM, most people had walked out on the opener.
Randy: I was part of a funk quartet while living in Japan and during our biggest performance in front of quite a few people I broke the snare drum head. My stick went right through it. I don’t typically travel with an extra drum or drum head so I had to ask the band that played before us if I could use theirs by publicly addressing the audience in my then-broken Japanese. Not my finest hour. The silence was deafening.
Gino: My worst experience was when my microphone that the venue set up didn’t work and they had to change it in the middle of a song. Also, the stage monitor was buzzing so loud I could barely hear myself. Not as bad as some other people’s experience I guess.
Ryan: Sounds like every gig at [Redacted].
Tell us something about each member that you think people would be surprised about.
Ryan: I was once the subject of a hare-brained abduction and ransom plot which was subsequently discovered and terminated by my mom.
Randy: I was in the Navy for almost 10 years. It nearly cost me my sanity.
Gino: I lived in Germany for 7 and a half years and did a culinary apprenticeship.
If you had to describe your band/music to an alien how would you describe it?
Ryan: I mean, what kind of alien are we talking about here? Like a Vulcan who hears like a human but has no emotions or some kind of sentient mollusk that tastes sound waves with its antennae-like tongues?
I guess I’d say we’re a sort of evolutionary offshoot of Johnny B. Goode if he was statue sculpted out of tungsten, and if you get that reference you’re a bigger nerd than I am.
Randy: We’re an emotive, heavy rock band with attitude. Nothing more. No subgenre nonsense. Rock and Roll.
Gino : I usually describe our sound as heavy alternative rock.
What makes you stand out as a band/artist?
Ryan: Well, apparently we have extraterrestrials listening to our music, so that’s something.
That aside, we have a sound that reminds you of several other really cool bands but doesn’t really sound like anything but Signal Static, and I’m pretty proud of that.
Lyrically we’re always asking what being a human is all about, and how we can collectively be better humans. We’re not afraid to call out bad actors, even if that means calling out our own flaws. We also explore our own experiences to find meaning in the events that shape us. I think we’re a very honest and very transparent band.
I hear you have new music, what can you tell us about it.
‘Objects of Affection’ is our first new single since the pandemic, and it reflects a very new and improved era of Signal Static. Musically the song is pretty intense with a punk-y energy that doesn’t pull punches, and I think we’re all pretty stoked to be finally sharing it with the rest of the world!
After COVID shook things up we couldn’t do a whole lot aside from the kind of hiding out in our underground band bunker and working on becoming better creators. We have a bunch of new songs, which are honestly the best songs I know we’ve ever made, and we can’t wait to drop them all.
Talk me through the thought process of the new tune.
‘Objects of Affection’ was inspired by a dark time that we all went through as a band, when an individual that we had been working quite closely with came under fire from allegations of some very disturbing instances of relationship abuse and sexual exploitation by multiple women within our music scene.
The song is aimed at predatory individuals who use their power and influence to groom and manipulate others into exploitative and abusive relationships, and the title alludes to the idea that what a predator will try to frame as “affection” is really just a rationalization for abuse.
What was the recording process like?
We record everything. Our rehearsal space (affectionately known as “The Bunker”) is kitted out for recording which has been a huge leg up for developing our songs as we can basically hit “record” and capture new ideas in a way that allows us to edit, add-on, and produce with a lot of flexibility.
In the case of these new songs, we recorded several different versions until we had the drums dialed in the way that we wanted, and then recorded bass, guitar, and vocals. Gino is our resident engineer, and he’ll do many, many different iterations and mixes until we’re all happy with the production. And finally we ship everything off to an awesome mixing engineer named Ari who takes everything we’ve done and makes it sound like a miracle.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?
Ryan: I think the toughest part for me was listening to what we had put out in our first album with a critical ear and realizing that we weren’t as excited about those songs as we should have been. The pandemic forced us to basically lock ourselves in our underground band bunker for the past two and a half years and re-think our entire approach to writing and producing music, but the results speak for themselves.
I also had to figure out how to transition into the lead vocal / frontman role, which has a set of challenges all its own. Although the hardest part about that was wrapping my brain around giving up the bass role; that has been tricky, but I’m getting there.
Randy: This band has really always been the three of us and then we’ve had others join, so the song writing has predominantly remained the same in terms of approach. I think we’ve matured with how we tackle a subject and with how we translate that into sound. No real learning curve. It’s been more like a learning meander.
Would you change anything now that it’s finished?
Interestingly enough, we pretty much did that already. We had a couple of new songs (including ‘Objects of Affection’) that were done and dusted when we ended up attracting the attention of our new manager who hooked us up with the awesome Ari (of metal band Destrophy) to do some mixes for us. He just seemed to understand our sound in a way that we couldn’t have imagined and we ended up having him re-mix the previously finished songs as well. We couldn’t be happier with the results.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
Ryan: These songs are very important to us and we are extremely honored and proud to be able to share them with you and the rest of the world. Signal Static is a labour of love, and music is our art, our medicine, and our connection to the rest of humanity. We hope you will love it as much as we do.
Randy: This is the real thing. The stories we tell and the ideas we’re conveying in our music are genuine and legit. There’s no pretense or assumption that we’re going to “succeed”. In fact, to us we already have succeeded. We’ve been playing together for the better part of a decade and haven’t broken up or killed each other. That’s a win in the lifespan of most bands.