Interview: DrylandMar 16
An Interview With Ryan Clapper of Dryland
Heavy metal is constantly changing; trends come and go, even entire sub-genres pop up and fizzle away throughout the years. But one path of loudness has always been around since the godfathers known as Sabbath gave metal to the world, and that is the kind of music fondly referred to as ‘stoner’. Aside from those Birmingham boys, stoner rock and metal has never really been ‘the thing’; the umbrella genre has always coasted slightly under the radar while other flavors of the day took the limelight. But through the years of NWOBHM, thrash, black, death, and all things nü, stoner metal has always been there, whether it was a Pentagram, Saint Vitus, Sleep, Electric Wizard, or anyone else, the genre has kept itself rolling on (pun intended), faithfully staying true to the primal spirit of rock.
One such band doing their part to bring pure rock to the masses these days is Bellingham Washington’s Dryland. They just independently released their self-titled debut album, which some of you might have gotten a taste of if you listened to episodes 43 and 44 of the site’s podcast. Guitarist Ryan Clapper took a few minutes for a short interview, so read on and rock out.
What’s the history of the band? How did it come together?
So the band started with me writing a couple mid-tempo heavy songs that I thought would be really fun to play live. My previous metal band called Leatherhorn had just broken up, and though I love playing blast beats thought it might be fun to play some slower crunchy songs. So I got a hold of some friends that I’ve spent most of my life playing music with in multiple bands and we started shredding. We’ve all played music together off and on for so long that it helped make everything come together very easily.
Bellingham has always struck me as an odd place; it’s half college party town and half retirement community it seems. What’s the music scene like? How healthy is it?
Yeah the music scene in Bellingham is awesome. It’s small but there’s always a good variety of rad punk and metal bands. But because it is a smaller scene lots of bands end up sharing members. We’ve all ended up playing shows and having to do double duty plenty of times and since it is a small college town alot of rad bands in the area come and go too quick. Plus we get to say Black Breath started here.
Personally, I’d describe Dryland’s sound as punk-inspired stoner rock, how would you describe your sound in your own words?
Yeah that’s a really good description. Haha! Way better than mine. I’m really bad at labeling my own music but I always just tell people that haven’t heard us that we’re a stoner metal band. even though we draw allot of influences from all kinds of different metal and punk music.
What are some of the common influences between the band members that led you to that sound?
We’re really influenced by bands like ISIS/Sumac, Yob, Converge, Helms Alee, Danzig, Wovenhand, Blood Ceremony, Black Sabbath (of course), Royal Thunder, Federation X, High on Fire, and Hammers of Misfortune.
There’s definitely a ‘jam’ vibe to most of the music on the album; how much of the writing comes directly from the rehearsal room?
There’s actually not too much jamming involved. I write the music and bring it to practice to show everyone. From there we do jam out some different parts and sometimes rearrange some stuff. And then Brad always seems to get vocals ready very quickly after that.
Tell us about the recording process of your debut album; who’d you work with and where did you lay everything down?
Yeah we recorded the album with our friend Eric Wallace at a place called The Unknown in Anacortes. We’d all worked with him before and knew he’d do really good job and help us get the heaviest sound we could get. Also The Unknown was an awesome place to record. It was an old church that was converted into a recording studio. We had heard about it ’cause Sumac recorded their last album there with Kurt Ballou from converge, which made us want to check it out. And mastering was done by Audiosiege out of Portland and he really did a great job at making it as loud and heavy as possible.
What would a dream gig/tour be for you? I saw that you recently opened for Castle and Mos Generator, I imagine that had to be close to being one.
Yeah we’ve gotten lucky enough to play with a lot of really rad bands so far like Castle, Big Business, and Helms Alee. I’d love to play a show with Royal Thunder or Sumac. Those are two bands that I’ve been really into and have influenced us a lot.
What are the plans for the immediate future? Any touring or gigging for the new album?
Yeah we just want to keep writing and performing music and try to play as many shows as possible. And hopefully get some tours going soon. Currently we’re working on new music for a new album, so hopefully we’ll start working on that sometime this summer or fall.