We caught up with Ross Farrar, lead singer from Ceremony. We talked about working with Matador Records for the first time and some other topics – some of which he had some hysterical responses.
NT: Despite releasing your latest record on a bigger label, you guys still work with smaller businesses as well. I noticed on your website that your merch company is a one-man operation, is this a conscious decision?
RF: Yeah. Our friend Brian does all our merch out of Oakland. He’s a ledge’ and no one will ever change that, no matter how hi-tech your machines are, no matter how colorful your ink is, no matter how nice your print is, no matter how long your legs are.
NT: Considering moving labels, were you a little nervous about creative control before recording “Zoo”?
RF: Yeah. That was our first question in the process. We wanted to be able to do whatever we wanted artistically – meaning: designs, cover art, where the music goes, etc. They explained to us that we have the power to do whatever we wanted with the band, and everything would be passed along to us in decision making.
NT: Your sound has changed a bit over the past couple of years, from obvious hardcore influences to more of a post punk sound, what influenced you?
RF: I was skateboarding at the Petaluma skatepark a little after the release of Rohnert Park, I hit my head airing out of the big bowl. The slam was really hard and I think that had a direct influence on the change of musical influence. I started listening to Bach, Donizetti, and Verdi, things like that.
NT: You guys appear to avoid the social media, it says on your website “We do not have a Twitter, MySpace or Facebook”. Do you find that form of technology soulless or is it a case of just letting the music do the talking.
RF: We don’t use all those things because we have a website already with everything you need to know – ceremonyhc.com. After that it’s just air coming out of different holes in the body.
NT: Are you excited about your upcoming tour? I noticed your doing some shows with Refused, Quicksand, and Iceage. and a bunch of dates with Bloc Party. Sounds like a fun tour.
RF: Yeah. It’s going to be interesting. We’ve never toured with an ‘indie’ band before, so we’ll see what happens I guess. I really hope they’re going to have good food backstage though. Once we were in Europe and for an entire month we had sandwich stuff backstage, but no mustard. As you know mustard is a key ingredient to any sandwich (Anthony will disagree) and having a good amount around is quite important. I’m looking more towards green salad, a potato dish, kobe beef, that kind of thing, but god only knows.
NT: Tell me about the decision to do the covers EP for Bridge Nine, was it tough coming up with the song choices?
RF: We had extra time in the studio during RP, so we decided to do some covers. Each person added their two-cents about what they wanted to do. Anthony choose Crisis, and I choose the rest basically. I guess it wasn’t really democratic – the song choosing that is…but Jake, JD, and myself have pretty similar tastes in bands, so each of them sort of spoke through me.
NT: Were you excited about doing documentary about the band, at the legendary 924 Gilman?
RF: Yeah. Jesse Miller-Gordon is the man. I was very pleased on how it came out, very professional. It’s interesting to see someone grow as an artist, something that sneaks up on you.One minute we were kids going to shows at Gilman, the next minute Jesse is living in NYC and making short films on various groups, artists. He’s doing good though, I’m proud of him.
NT: Can you tell me five records which you will never grow tired of?
Cass Mccombs – A.
Rhino 39 – Xerox 7.”
The Cave Ins – Gridfarce by Lamplight.
Total Control – Henge Beat.
Cold Sweat – Blinded.