First of, just want to thank you for participating in this edition of Infidel Interviews. Could you start off by giving a little information about both of you to the audience? Whatever you feel comfortable with, but name, age, what instruments you can play, and where you live would be pretty standard?
It's usually Xavier doing the interviews, this is the first one I am doing myself so I guess I would like to start off with an introduction. My name is Eric Holzer and I have been with Ruined Conflict from the begining in some form. During our live performances I play synths and sequence the music and live video. Recently I have been in a more active role in writing for the new album. Xavier Morales and I met years ago when Xavier happened to book time in my studio when I lived in Cleveland Ohio and we have been working together ever since. Dan Castro is a guitarist and was a long time friend of Xavier before Ruined Conflict started. He writes some of the riffs you may have heard on our albums and plans to tour with us in the future. We are in our early to mid 30s and between the 3 of us we are able to play most instruments....well except wind instruments I don't think any of us are well versed in blowing things hahaha.
How do you enjoy where you live? Is their a vibrant music community for you to indulge? Would you say you find that your local scene influences your attitude and/or creativity?
I currently live in Orlando Florida while Xavier and Dan still reside in Cleveland Ohio. I very much enjoy the weather in Florida and it is much of the reason I moved. To be quite honest the local music scene has not influenced us much at all. There is really not much if any local support for music like ours so we have focused most of our efforts in reaching potential fans in other scenes around the world. If it wasn't for the internet and todays social networking tools I don't think we would have made it this far.
What sort of unusual or strange music and art influenced you growing up and helped encourage you to peruse what might be called "alternative electronic music"? Are there any experimental artists/bands out there that you would say struck you with the chord that inspired you to peruse your current path of musical aspirations?
Well I know Xavier and Dan grew up listening to Industrial, EBM and Synthpop but I was not involved in these styles until I started working with Xavier. I spent my earlier years listening to metal and played in Hardcore bands. I was then influenced by the early rave scene and worked with others making techno music which led me to working with Xavier. German techno has a lot of roots in EBM styles so it was a somewhat easy transition into working on music with Xavier. Xavier is always evolving and is somewhat of a mad scientist in his studio though so you never know what he's up to that day. Dan also has some different influences than the rest of us though and is pretty versatile with coming up with guitar riffs so he usually can just blend his style with how the music is coming out at the time. I won't go into every band that has ever influenced us over the years because there are so many and we are at the point that we are trying to stay away from those past influences so that we can continue to evolve and hopefully influence other musicians in the future.
What would you say are your favorite themes and topics to write about? What draws you to those themes?
Politics is obviously a big theme for us as we all show much interest in the topic. Xavier also does write a lot of emotional lyrics, honestly I never questioned where a lot of it comes from hahaha. That would be a personal question for him at a later time if anyone is curious.
What would you say would be you short term, and long term, goals for your band? What do you see in the future for your creative output?
Well our plan is total global conquest so that it is only legal to listen to Ruined Conflict....hahaha Ok that might be a bit too much. Our short term goals are to finish the album we are working on and make it the best it can be and we would like to plan a nice tour to support the album. Long term we wan t to continue to grow our fan base so our music continues to reach as many people as it can. Creatively we just don’t know what is next but we always want to continue to evolve and bring interesting and meaningful music to our fans.
You have a new album coming out in 2017. How would you describe this album, and how do you feel it evolves your music since your last release?
Well we have gone back to a more electronic sound. Our last album ended up sounding a bit more influenced by rock and metal and while we do like that album and we hope others appreciate it too, we felt it was right to go back to a more electronic sound. You will feel more at home listening to the upcoming album if you liked our earlier work but you will also hear how we have evolved and there is a more retro feel to some of the tracks as we used a lot of classic synth sounds and added our own feel to them.
When you write your music, do you have any particular processes or routines that help you start or flesh out tracks? Do you have a formula(s) that you follow, or do you feel it out as you go along? Or is it more of a mixture of the two?
I think it is a mixture of both. Xavier and I have an idea of what we are looking to do a lot of the time but then there are times we just experiment until something interesting comes out and use it as a basis to start a track. Ideas can just flow from there. Dan usually comes in when a track is mostly finished to add the guitars but sometimes this does cause other things to be rewritten when he comes up with something that was unexpected.
When you make music are you primarily a hardware or software oriented musician? Or do you do a fusion of both? Are there any particular instruments, programs, or effects that you would say are vital to you making music?
Do you spend a lot of time crafting your own sounds? Or do you value song crafting and effects tweaking more? Or do you find it's a balance between the two? What's your relationships with presets?
Well as I said Xavier has been busy creating plugins so crafting his own sounds and presets is a big part of that. Myself, I may start with a preset sometimes but rarely if ever have I ever used it as is. It’s more of just a starting point because I know what I’m looking for and tweak everything from there to get .
Other than what you currently produce, what other sorts of genres, instruments, and sounds would you like to use in the future? Are there any other people you would like to collaborate with in the future artistically, musically, or socially?
As I said earlier I have been involved in metal and techno in the past so you never know what those influences will bring in the future. As for Xavier, he is always evolving and I don’t even know what craziness he’ll be up to even as soon as tomorrow. We are always open to collaborating and working with others if it seems right.
When it comes to your live show, how would you describe yourself thematically and visually? Are you an energy and audience driven band in the live atmosphere? Or would you consider yourself to be more thematic or presentation oriented?
Well, we have live video and visual effects that are produced and synced by us for every track we play live. We put a lot of effort and prep into our live performances. We try to keep our performance as high energy as possible and if the crowd isn’t engaged we didn’t do our job.
Playing live shows, recording new tracks, attempting to go live the life that gives you the experiences that inspires it all... it can be difficult to balance the time. Do you have any particular methods that you use to keep yourself focused or balanced in your direction?
We just go with the flow, things can get busy at times but we just keep moving forward. That's all you can do, and it’s all worth it in the end.
Would you say that your choice to pursue music has changed your life since you started? Would you say that creativity has evolved you spiritually, emotionally, or logically? What are some of the biggest challenges you have had to overcome in your musical career?
Well we have all been involved in music in some way for such a long time it is just the norm at this point. I don’t know how it has evolved us, I think it’s more just a part of us in general and is evolving with us. I think the chance to be creative is what keeps us all sane and happy. I think the biggest challenge is being where we are from. The US scene is not nearly to the level as it is in many other countries. This poses a challenge with our level of exposure to our fans as it is a bit hard to just jump on a show or tour when we live on the other side of the world from where our largest fan bases live. It takes a lot more planning and organization to make things happen.
Thank you so much for participating in this episode of Infidel Interviews. Any parting words for your fans, or my audience?
Thanks to everyone that supports us and to you for conducting this interview. Without the support there is no Ruined Conflict. Continue to spread the word and we look forward to seeing you all at our future shows. Keep an eye out for the new album and we hope you all enjoy it.
Follow Ruined Conflict on their official Facebook for all their latest information:
Head over to their official website for a complete rundown of what the band's been up till now:
Purchase their albums on their Bandcamp: