Illustration: John Biddle / johnbiddle.co.uk

Since emerging in their current form nearly 3 years ago, INIDICA RITUAL have grown into one of Liverpool’s most popular unsigned acts. Through exhilarating live shows, pop-hooks and memorable colour scheme, they have become the party band of choice and garnered rave reviews from press and fellow bands alike.

The Indica Ritual sound is difficult to categorise. Some aspects fall under the already fairly general ‘post-punk’ tag, while elements of folk, electronica and even hardcore are also detectable, all inside concise pop songs. Andre Hunt (guitar and vocals), explains their approach to writing music; “Most of the time one person will come with the basis of a song, and then we all come together at practice and arrange the tunes, which is where the personality of our band comes through. What we’re really into is dense arrangements, lots of things going on simultaneously, while keeping focus on the cohesion of the song”.

This focus is evident on most recent single ‘Seamless Ejaculation/Alpha Male’. Both songs are mini-prog epics, containing multiple sections and melodies, but clock in at under 5 minutes. It’s a breathless song-writing style, the most striking feature being the ease of the interplay between such disparate styles, without it feeling forced or shoehorned in, “It’s the way we like to do things. We’ve never enforced many rules on ourselves, just to not make it boring. Our only real remit is to try to not sound like a typical guitar band. Saying that, we’re still making pop music. We just want to carry on developing our own style”.

Indica are nothing if not esoteric, and although there are touchstones to be found in Devo, Deerhoof  and Dirty Projectors, their schizophrenic structures and no-holds-barred approach makes their sound refreshing, and very much their own.

Andre and fellow Indica Ritual members Tom, George, Ferg and Nick are active in various other projects such as Balloons, Stig Noise Sound System, Gorton vs. Berger, APATT and Pariah Qarey. These projects are among those in a Liverpool underground scene, which has a small yet devoted following, and through bands such as Indica Ritual and The Seal Cub Clubbing Club is beginning to receive a small amount of attention in the national music press.“The Liverpool scene is still under the radar in terms of the UK industry, there are still preconceptions people have about ‘Liverpool bands’ that aren’t true. There is a small but fertile scene in Liverpool trying to do something new, where the only priority is to be progressive, but in terms of reaching a wider audience, I’m not sure it has yet, which can be quite frustrating.”

This year the Sound City Festival returns as many of music’s current big names descend on Liverpool. Both Sound City and Liverpool Music Week have grown into huge events in recent years, attracting talent from around the world. As part of Sound City, Indica Ritual will play a show with Domino Records’ Max Tundra and Holy Fuck. “That’s a great show for us. The whole Sound City event does offer some good opportunities for local bands, but the emphasis they place on a locality seems fairly arbitrary. It’s a good event for the city to host, but in terms of the publicity, little emphasis seems to be placed on local bands.”

“The Liverpool scene is still under the radar in terms of the UK industry, there are still preconceptions people have about ‘Liverpool bands’ that aren’t true." Andre Hunt, Indica Ritual

Through their reputation as an exiting live-band, Indica Ritual have earned support slots with diverse acts such as Deerhoof, HEALTH, Crystal Castles and 2 Many DJ’s. US act Ponytail cited Indica as ‘one of the best bands we’ve ever seen’ in their Drowned-in-Sound interview. “Live performance is good for us as a band. The way we play and the way we are, it’s definitely a live thing. Personally, recording and arranging is my favourite part, but playing live is a great part of the experience.”

The band describe themselves as ‘gig-keeno’s’ on their website, and have toured both in the UK and into Europe, although everyday life sometimes restricts how much they can do, “We haven’t toured as much as we’d like, given we have jobs and other commitments. But the tours have been great, especially into Europe. There’s a lot more collaborative, progressive music and art scenes, and so many council or government funded events, which it’s been a privilege to be involved in. Playing at the Mars-Attacks festival in Marseilles and playing Rome were amazing experiences. We tend to play more electronic events in Europe, not exactly sure why.”

Although these fleeting excursions into Europe haven’t bought world-wide recognition, they’ve proved worthwhile to the band “We sold a few records and made a few friends, so definitely a positive experience.”

Despite this, touring isn’t the immediate priority for the time being, The band are taking a short break from live shows to concentrate on finishing a new EP for release towards the end of 2010. “We were going to do an album, but we decided to cut it down, probably to about 6 or 7 tracks. We always seem to want to record our newest material, which poses problems for composing an album! But the EP is nearly done, and we’re hoping to maybe be touring again in June.”

With the band currently releasing on the POSTMUSIC/Samizdat label, the business side of the music industry has not become a concern as of yet, “We’re just happy getting our music across to as many people as we can, I’ve no particular problem with becoming a part of mainstream culture per se, but we certainly wouldn’t want to endanger our ideals about making music. We’re much more focused on making music than selling product, which is a good and a bad thing. Maybe we can improve on the business side, But for the time being our focus is on our music.”

 

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