1.Hello James how are things going in Scotland these days?Please introduce yourself to the readers?
Things are OK at the moment, thank you. I am from Aberdeen, Scotland and am the sole-member of Hellripper, Lock Howl and Lord Rot and I am the guitarist/vocalist for crust band Rats of Reality.
2.When did you first become interested in writing and playing music?What was the first instrument you learned to play?
I think I first started writing music when I was about 13/14 around about the time I started taking guitar more seriously which was the first instrument I learned how to play.
3.Are you self taught or did you take lessons when first starting out?Are their any new instruments you would like to learn to play one day?
I am mostly self-taught. I did receive a few guitar lessons when I was at school, but it was more focused on classical playing and I did not enjoy it at all so I stopped after a while. I really want to learn how to play piano and have been interested in learning for ages now. I will stop being lazy and will get around to it eventually.
4.James you formed HellRipper in 2014 what gave you the idea to start this band?Who would you say are some of HellRipper's biggest influences ?
The idea to start Hellripper was just because I wanted to write music that I was into and the fact that it is a solo project is simply because there was nobody else around that was into or willing to play that kind of music at the time. The biggest influences for the Hellripper sound would be bands such as; Sabbat [JPN], Toxic Holocaust, Kreator, Midnight, TANK, Mercyful Fate, Venom etc. I could go on and on but those are probably the main ones.
5.Coagulating Darkness is the bands debut release which was released through Barbarian Wrath Rec. how did you first come in contact with this label?
They messaged me and expressed an interest in releasing the debut album when I got around to recording it. Barbarian Wrath, along with partner label Witches Brew are excellent labels both in terms of how they are to work with and the calibre of their releases so I was very happy to be part of that. The 'Coagulating Darkness' CDs turned out amazingly as well so I am very pleased with that.
6.I believe i read their will be a vinyl release will this be released through Barbarian Wrath or will you work with another label?
The vinyl edition of the album was just recently released but through another German label 'Diabolic Might Records'. Again, very cool people to work with and they have put out some amazing releases despite being a relatively new label. I worked with them last year on the vinyl edition of the compilation 'Complete and Total Fucking Mayhem' and that turned out great so I was happy to work with them again. The 'Coagulating Darkness' vinyls turned out amazingly to.
7.Besides the debut release does the band have any past releases still availible for the readers?Besides physical releases is their any other merchandise availible for the readers if yes what is availible and where can the readers buy it?
Indeed, there are a number of releases still available at various labels/distros online. Just visit the Hellripper bandcamp page for a list of releases that I personally have available and check out the websites of the labels who put out each release. Alternatively, a quick google search will give you all the places that have Hellripper stuff in stock. Regarding merchandise, there are a couple of t-shirt designs available at the moment as well as a couple of patches. These can be found on the bandcamp page. (http://www.hellripper.bandcamp.com).
8.In your opinion what is the best and worst thing about the underground scene today?And what does underground metal mean to you?
The best thing about the underground scene today is that there is so many good bands. Almost everyday I discover a new band that I become a fan of. The worst thing would be all of the elitists that refuse to get out of their comfort zone and then spout shit as if their opinion is gospel.
Underground to me is just the community of metal bands and fans that are in it for the music. Supporting other bands, buying their merch, going to shows, sharing new bands with friends.
9.I know you have session members to play live show when did you decide to start playing live?What have been some of the most memorable show you have played so far?
I always thought it would be cool to play live shows with Hellripper but didn't have a willing line-up. When I found a bunch of friends that were keen on playing live shows, we got a few local shows booked quite quickly. We have only played a couple of shows so far and I would say the first gig we played was the best because it was in a small rehearsal room and the energy in there was nuts. We have a show in October at Old Grave Fest in Romania with a couple of my favourite bands such as Necrophobic and Blackevil. So, if all goes to plan, that will hopefully be the most memorable show so far.
10.Are their any tours or shows coming up in support of Coagulating Darkness? If yes where will the band be playing and who are some bands you will share the stage with?
We have the show in Romania that I mentioned previously which is our only planned show for the moment.
11.Have you started working on new music for the next full length?
I have got a few riffs and ideas for the next full-length but that's a long way from being ready at the moment as I have a specific vision in mind for the album.
I have however, got a bunch of songs ready for upcoming splits and possibly an EP for the next year or so. So there should be no shortage of Hellripper releases for the near future haha.
12.When not working on new music or band business what do you like to do in your free time?
To be honest, that's basically all I do. If not working on music, I will be listening to it or will be at a local show. Other than that, I'll be watching some shit on TV haha.
13.Besides HellRipper do you currently work with any other bands or solo projects?If yes please tell the readers a little about them?
I am also the sole-member of Lock Howl which is a post-punk/goth band influenced by bands like Type O Negative, Beastmilk, Opeth, Editors. I released the debut album for that in February of this year.
I am the sole-member of Lord Rot, a death metal project influenced mainly by the Swedish scene such as Unleashed, Repugnant, Entombed, Dismember. So far only an EP has been released but a split with American band VHS is planned for later in the year and will be followed by a full-length hopefully sometime in 2018.
I play guitar and perform vocals in crust band Rats of Reality. We have released 3 EP's with each differing in sound slightly. Our latest, 'Obsequies' incorporates some influences from bands such as Oathbreaker and Converge to our style originally inspired by Darkthrone, Celtic Frost and the likes.
14.Thank you James for taking the time to fill this interview out do you have any final comments for the readers?
Thank you for taking the time to conduct this interview! If anyone is still reading, check out Hellripper on facebook and bandcamp!