Interview With Soil - 23rd October 2011

Photo Of Soil © Copyright SoilLauren caught up with Adam Zadel and Ryan McCombs from Soil before their co-headline show with Puddle Of Mudd in Manchester to talk about the future of the band and much more.

It’s the tenth anniversary of the Scars album.
R: Yes, we’re old.

So, are you back for good Ryan or just with the band for this tour?
R: Right now, we’re just taking it day by day. Adam and I have talked about it for a couple of years, then Tim and I started talking, and Adam and Tim started talking; a lot of talking going on and then about two years later it all just lined up schedule wise. We talked to our booking agent and Puddle OfMudd were wanting to come over here too, so it all just worked out.

Did you guys ask them to come on tour with you?
R: I don’t know how it happened; we both have the same booking agent. It’s a great match though, we have about 17 or 18 people on that bus out there and 17 or 18 personalities on a tour can sometimes be a little fucked up, let alone on one bus, it’s pretty cramped in there, but it’s been great.

Have you toured with them before?
R: With Drowning Pool I know I’ve done festivals with them before, but not a proper tour no.

What’s the set list been like just Scars?
R: A lot of Scars and some Redefined stuff. We tried to make it strong on the Scars stuff because it’s the anniversary.

Yeah, I guess that’s what most people are here for.
R: Well I don’t care what people are here for.

What’s the reaction been like?
R: It’s been great, it’s been surprising, it’s been scary at times.

Has it been good being back together again?
R: Yeah, we’ve been having fun, we’ve probably been having a little too much fun. We’re all a little run down, the liver and kidneys at this point have already left. But the response has been amazing; I haven’t played these songs in years so it’s probably a little bit more noticeable for me. I’m glad it worked out because this is where we wanted to do it at, it was one of those, “If we do it, we need to do it over there,” so it actually happening and it working out so far, it’s been a blast.

What has it been like being part of soil without Ryan?
A: It was a totally different animal and it actually is fresh and new the way we’re doing it right now. I mean you’d think you can only play Halo so many times and actually it’s fun to play again.

Do you ever get bored of playing Halo and the hits?
A: I don’t sit around in my spare time and play it let’s just put it that way, but whenever you’re on stage with it it’s all fed from the crowd reaction and it’s different depending on where we play it, the performance dictates how that song will be perceived by, you know, you, me, or anybody that evening.

R: Sometimes I remember the lyrics sometimes I don’t.

Hopefully the crowd will remember them anyway.
R: They seem to be remembering the lyrics to everything better than I do, so…

Is there any plans to work on new material together?
R: We’ve talked about it, there’s been talk, but I don’t know, this tour is proof of never saying never, so we’ll see what tomorrow brings I don’t know. Yeah, I’d definitely like to write with this jackass again.

And are you still doing things with Drowning Pool?
R: As of right now, yeah that’s the way it’s going.

What will you guys do if Ryan does go back to Drowning Pool full time?
R: Well I haven’t left Drowning Pool.

A: Well yeah we even talked about that, I mean Corey Taylor could do it and he’s in the largest band in the world and he’s in how many bands four or five nowadays?

R: 37 something like that.

A: No, honestly we’re open for whatever we’ll just take it as it comes.

R: You couldn’t have done it ten years ago, like when I was in the band before we couldn’t have done it because the touring. In order to try and get established the touring was eleven and a half months out of the year you were on the road, whereas now Drowning Pool and Soil have got established we don’t have those types of schedules. I might end up having that kind of schedule, but the two bands themselves really dictate when they want to do stuff.

Is it hard having a lot of line-up changes, does it make it hard writing material?
A: Yeah, it sucks but such is life. Relationships come and go and it’s unfortunate to see things like that happen, but you also learn a lot of lessons along the way. You just try to take the good out of instead of the bad and press forward; it’s really the only thing you can do.

When you guys first started out you had a lot of major labels bidding over you and then Halo was such a success what would you say are the high and low points of your career?
R: It sounds so cheesy but I still remember the biggest high the biggest “Oh shit,” moment I’ve ever had in my career was flying into London the first time. I’m a simple boy, like an idiot from Indiana so flying in at night and to see the lights below as we were coming in it was just like, “How the fuck did I get here?” That was one of those moment, you know? I grew up listening to a lot of music from over here so that was just, “Holy shit I’ve done something right.”

A: We’ve had a lot of highs and we’ve had a lot of lows, I don’t ever like to remember the lows and focus on one specific time. Whatever, I like to take it as it comes and focus on this as being a high point right now.

A lot of people say that British audiences are some of the best in the world do you think some are better than others?
R: We always have said British audiences are the best, it’s not to kiss ass it’s just true.

People say it’s because we’re drunker than most audiences.
R: Well the drunker you get the better we do sound that is a mandated fact. But I think it is true because I think the first show we ever did was Nottingham and we drove up and got off the bus and we had fans waiting, before that I think we had only done one show over here. What I’ve noticed about fans over here is that you’re loyal, there is a loyalty to being a fan of a band whereas in the states they’re a product of the system that they’re in. Kids are told on the television what’s cool and what’s not and they believe and so their taste changes every five seconds just like their taste in blue jeans or anything else changes.

I think it has a lot to do with singles; they’re still pretty popular in America aren’t they?
A: Well, albums are a dying breed I think, the way we did it doesn’t work anymore, it’s trending towards singles again.

Do you think that has anything to do with the internet?
A: It has absolutely everything in the world to do with the internet.

How has it changed the way you do things?
A: Well it starts with record labels having no money to promote you anymore, we never made any money off the record labels anyway, but it’s a symbiotic circle we need them to be able to afford to promote us so we can be out there doing what we do. Fortunately the era when we came about we had the promotion and the brand built so we’re still sort of worth something. You just don’t see new bands coming out and making it anymore it’s a lot fewer and farther between, you have to work a lot harder. Plus you put the economy on top of that and nobody can afford to go to shows anymore so everybody sits at home and Youtube’s gigs and it’s just sad, you know? It changed everything, somethings will be for the better, I think it’s still in a stage of correction, but it’s just my opinion, but for now and especially for new music I think the internet’s going to be responsible for killing the album.

R: Some of the tools just aren’t there anymore and you have to figure out what to do to compensate for that.

A lot of sites like Last FM and Spotify are now making people pay for the music that used to be free; do you think that’s more likely to make people go back to traditional methods?
R: No, it’ll probably just make them figure out other ways to take it and download it for free. Once you get something for free you don’t want to go back to paying for it.

A: Just from a human standpoint and in my opinion it’s going to take a lot of education and a lot of marketing dollars to get people back to paying for music again and not feeling like they’re getting ripped off because right now that’s how people feel if they have to pay for a song, it’s just content, it’s just in the air, “I deserve this,” because for the last two generations now they’ve learned that that’s how they get their music.

R: I had to break it down for a kid once because he just didn’t get it and finally I said to him, “What’s your dad do?” and he said he worked in a car manufacturer and I said, “Okay, so tomorrow if everybody in America wakes up and come and drive a brand new car off the lot and not pay a dime for it how long’s your dad going to have a job?” and he was, like, “No, but that’s different,” and I said, “No, your dad makes a car a band makes a song, so if you’re not buying the music then you’re not buying the product that’s being manufactured and therefore there’s not a job anymore.” I mean I would do it for free, but I’d do it for free in my living room while I go make the money at another job so I can buy my kids electricity and shit.

You’ve worked with some big rock producers over the years do you think producers make a big difference to the recording of an album or it’s primarily down to what you guys have?
A: I think what they do is offer an objective opinion that you can’t get from within, that’s the most important thing that they do. Some are more involved than others, some want to write for you and rip it all to shreds, but good ones just appreciate what they are and just take it and try to make it better.

Have you learnt enough from producers that you would consider doing it yourself?
R: Oh absolutely I know I could do it better than they do.

Why don’t you?
R: I think we will on the next one. You pick up little bits from each guy and we have worked with some amazingly talented guys who have worked on some amazing albums in their career, so yeah you try to pick up a little bit from each person you work with.

Arguable you could say that metal’s becoming more mainstream, we were just wondering what you thought about that?
R: You’ve got to remember that we’re from the United States though, I mean holy shit you guys have rock bars over here it’s awesome. I mean if you go to New York and ask someone where the nearest rock bar is they’ll tell you where the one or two are in the entire place and that’s New York city, I live in Baton rouge, Louisiana a big college town and there’s two that I know of, but there’s a thousand fucking clubs. It’s all dance and frigging techno DJ shit. Metal might be becoming more mainstream here, but I don’t see it in the United States.

Do you think that it would be good for metal to become mainstream though or that it would just become watered down?
A: Metal’s been around so long now it’s starting to become its own entity like Jazz or something like that. It’s something that comes back and they draw influences off the whole spectrum of the catalogue form the beginning and I think it’s going to be here to stay.

As the first support band begin to take to the stage Ryan hurries us up so we don’t break with his routine.
R: I have this routine I do every night that keeps me from drinking too much.

Okay. Final question that we ask every band; if you could be an animal out of a zebra or a giraffe what would you be?
R: I’d be a zebra; it’s basically what I am now. They’re on the shorter end of the horse species, but they’re still hung like a horse.

Interview by Lauren Mullineaux

 Band Members

Adam Zadel
Tim King
Ryan McCombs
Jon Wysocki
 Latest Releases
Soil - Picture Perfect
Release Date - 20th October 2009

1. Tear It Down
2. The Lesser Man
3. Like It Is
4. Picture Perfect
5. Surrounded
6. Wasted
7. Every Moment
8. Anymore
9. Falter
10. Too Far Away
11. Calling Out
12. Temptation
13. Last Wish
14. Chosen One
 Band Related Links
Soil MySpace