Interview by: George Archibald
Photos by: Andrew James Bastion
Summer Slaughter Tour is the national showcase of what is heavy in metal every year. This year the tour played host to technical death metal band Rings of Saturn. Prior to joining Summer Slaughter, Rings of Saturn unveiled its newest release Ultu Ulla. The first album that features the playing and writing of newest member and guitarist, Miles Dimitri Baker. I got to speak with Miles on the last day of tour about this new album and how the band has grown in popularity over the last 2 years.
GA: What has made Summer Slaughter unique to you from the other tours you have been on?
MB: I think it is cool having this many bands on a tour. It’s sort of chaotic everyday with all the faces you see. There is just so many people and so many bands, it’s a different vibe than most tour packages. These shows have been really big consistently which is awesome. I’ve played some really cool shows but nothing like this.
GA: The band also dropped a new album right before this tour, please tell me about it?
MB: The new record called Ultu Ulla, and it came out on July 28th. I like it a lot, I think it’s a new direction for the band and a lot easier for people to listen to. The album has those chaotic parts that you expect from Rings, but there are also a lot more melodies introduced. We really worked on the harmonic structure and song structure as well for this album.
GA: The album to me feels a bit more balanced out.
MB: Yes, I think that is good because it opens new fan bases for us as well as opportunities to play with newer bands on tour based on the new sound; as well as satisfying the fans with the crazy shred stuff.
GA: I can tell your influence on the album. There are a few nods to Wintersun parts on there.
GA: Can you tell me about the writing process for this album?
MB: We knew we were going to be signing with Nuclear Blast Records, that was announced when we were on the Thy Art Is Murder tour about a year ago. After that tour, I went home for five days, then took off for two weeks to Las Vegas to clear my head and write. During that time, I got around half the album written, which was crazy because I am a slow writer. So, it was weird getting that much done that fast. Then I came home, and did a little more writing, Lucas was writing as well. We went back and forth over a few things and the arrangement of things. The album came together quick, I am surprised it worked out as well as it did. I am very happy with the way it all turned out.
GA: Rings of Saturn has been blowing up with notoriety, especially with the new wave from the release of Ultu Ulla. What are some of the things that you’ve noticed that have changed for the band, from say a year ago?
MB: Well the band has been blowing up more, and I think the band is starting to get more respect from the fans. The band has been preforming pretty well out on the road. With the new album, I think it is going to continue to grow. This would be a great question for a year from now. I joined right after Lugal Ki En came out, and the band was cycling that album, and it is all cycled now. For how the past year has been, now we get to see what comes with this new album.
GA: I’ve also seen you have been growing in notoriety as well. A Guitar World Magazine feature, a NAMM invite and demo, sponsorships as well, that’s huge in this industry.
MB: Yea that’s been a year now. It has been great, but pretty much the same upward, and continuing to grow. It is nice to see happen.
GA: What has to of been one of the funnier experience you have had this tour?
MB: There’s so many. Hanging out with friends on this tour. The Lorna Shore dudes are really cool, just hanging out with them, I’ve become tight with them. Betraying the Martyrs as well, just hanging out with everyone and having a good time. There is so much that has happened, and it is so hard to remember all of them. One cool thing was that I was home for 4 days during this tour, we played in SoCal.
GA: I seen the videos with you having Andrew (guitar player of Interloper and Vampire Squid) on stage with the band.
MB: Yea, that was one of the more memorable things that happened. That was cool to have him there because of the Interloper connection. It was very exciting.
GA: What is next for Rings of Saturn after this tour?
MB: We are going out in November with Carnifex, White Chapel, Entheos, and So This is Suffering. So, tour for November/December than after that we have the new album cycle to go out and do. Going out all over the world, hopefully we get to hit Asia next year, and do a few headlining tours next year.
GA: What has the reaction been to the new album?
MB: I think it has been positive. I think this is the most positively received thing the band has ever done. The band has gotten a lot more respect with this new record and our performances. The new album has those crazy parts, but it also has things that ROS may have lacked in the past. On the new record we go a lot of different paths other than just shredding.
GA: Being this is the last day of tour, what does that mean to you?
MB: For me, it is my birthday as well. So, I am in a good mood. Last day is fun, but it is a bummer too. You look back, and it is like, ‘oh I wish I hung out with so and so, or tried to make friends more.’ This is a networking industry and there are a lot of cool people; you make a lot of friends and it’s good to make those connections. Lorna Shore for example are some of the sickest dudes. If I hadn’t of hung out with them one day, I wouldn’t have made that connection. I can now call those guys when I am home from tour and talk to all of them. It’s one of those things that is bittersweet, you wish you had more time.
I want to thank Miles for taking time out to speak with me, it is always a pleasure. If you missed Rings of Saturn on Summer Slaughter be sure to catch them as they come around on the Decade of Defilement tour with Whitechapel, Carnifex, Entheos, and So This is Suffering. In the meantime pick up a copy of Rings of Saturn's latest release Ultu Ulla available now in your local music stores and now streaming online.