R.Ring is Mike Montgomery of Ampline & Kelley Deal from The Breeders, together they make beautiful, caustic acoustic songs. I chat to Mike about future plans, being hands on and ensnaring Kelley for eternity..
When did you guys meet, how did R.Ring come together?
We met a couple of years ago. Breeders were asked to contribute a song to a guided by voices tribute album. Kim was touring with the Pixies so Kelley asked a band called Buffalo Killers to back her on the song, “scalding creek”. I was in the middle of recording a Buffalo Killers album at my studio in Cincinnati so they brought her there to rehearse/ record. They did everything for the song that night and she and I continued to work on mixes over the next few weeks. A couple of months later I was asked to open for another band I had recorded called Alone at Three AM for a record release show they were planning. They wanted me to play solo/ acoustic. It sounded scary. Out of sheer terror I asked Kelley to come play and sing with me. She was totally unaware that this initial one-off lark would ensnare her for eternity. R.RING is an ancient word for purgatory. She must dwell in this void, singing when it pleases me, if she ever wishes to see her lost soul again ( insert wicked laughter, thunder claps and heat lightning).
R.Ring has quite a sparse & stripped back sound compared to Ampline or the majority of The Breeders material, was that a conscious decision to make something different? How would you describe R.Ring?
R.RING is definitely stripped down compared to Ampline and the Breeders and it is intentional. We are both very interested in exploring the possibilities of songs as a duo. Sometimes a song feels like being on the edge of a diving board above an empty pool, but tumbling through the air is always exhilarating… For a bit. R.RING is abrasive, lulling, sparse and chaotic; often within the same song.
With you both being in other bands is R.Ring just a side project or do you plan on being around for a long time?
I think R.RING is just part of our lives now. As such, we and the members of our other bands adjust schedules accordingly to make time for whatever’s going on at the moment. As far as the lifespan of this band, please refer to the end of question one!
So far you have only played live shows in the USA, will you be bringing R.Ring to Europe? I’d love to see you over here in the UK!
We do intend to come to Europe to play some shows. Set your wrist watch alarm for March of 2013. Saddle the horses and join the caravan!
Fall Out & Fire is achingly beautiful, is it typical of what we can expect from the album?
We are both really happy with how “Fallout and Fire” turned out. I think it’s fair to say you could expect more ache and more beauty on the songs to come.
I absolutely loved the Devo cover of Mr DNA that you recorded with Kristian Svitak was it fun to make? How did it come about?
The Devo cover was way more fun to do than any of us ever imagined. It was all Kristian’s brainchild. He owns 1031 Skateboards. They’ve got the whole backstory up on their website as well as on the Phratry Records website ( very great, well-intentioned American indie label that released the song digitally for us). Check them out!
Mike, what can you tell us about the new Ampline material, you are experimenting with using vocals now why the change?
We originally started using some vocal textures with Ampline because our bassist, Kevin wanted to write a concept album. I thought it would help steer a listener’s thoughts if there were some words… And I like to sing… So, away we went. Our last album was loosely themed around being buried alive and was meant to explore the relationships between humans, nature, industry and religion…. So we had to ‘say’ something!
You have been creating sleeves for limited releases, is it important for you both to be hands on with the promotional side of R.Ring? Is it an aspect of being Lo-Fi that you enjoy?
We are both very hands-on with making the packages and containers for our limited releases. Kelley is actually putting together the last of the R.RING/Svitak ‘Mr.DNA’ singles right now as I type this. I don’t know that we have a particularly lo-fi aesthetic, it’s more of a way for us to be able to do whatever we want whenever we want to do it… and it’s loads of fun!