I had the chance to sit down with Johnny Mennell frontman for The Family Ruin and Craig Robinson lead guitarist and supporting vocals for the group about their first U.S. tour, what it’s like to be on tour with label owner and guitarist for Asking Alexandria, Ben Bruce, and what’s coming next to the group. They’re hitting the ground running and not letting up any time soon. Check out what the two had to say below!
Asking Alexandria came to the U.S. on the Moving On tour in December with support from Blessthefall, Chelsea Grin, Upon a Burning Body, and Ben Bruce’s own The Family Ruin. They brought their tour to Webster Theater in Hartford, CT on December 17 for what was set to be a memorable night for all from the very start. Crowds lined up down the block hours before doors, excited to see each band that was set to take the stage.
Before the year ends there’s 15 songs you need to check out if you haven’t heard them before so you start off the new year with some great new music! Some songs are probably a bit more well known than others but give everything a chance, there’s something for everyone! Check it out below:
I had the chance to skype with KBB’s newest band, The Family Ruin, a few weeks ago while they were waiting on their Visa’s to come tour the States with Crown the Empire; unfortunately the documents did not come through in time but not to worry as they will be touring in the late fall/early winter alongside label owner Ben Bruce’s band Asking Alexandria check the dates here and grab your tickets now! Keep an eye out for them, they’re a very funny group of guys with big things coming!
Johnny Mennel- Vocals
James Langley- Guitarist
Dom White- drums
Craig Robinson- guitar
Josh Adamson- bass
You guys recently signed to KBB records, congratulations, that’s a great accomplishment! How has it been working with them?
Johnny: Excellent, we’re having a great time. Things are picking up for us since we signed with KBB. A lot of tour offers, obviously the record finished, it’s been good!
James: It’s been great knowing that we got people in America that are in the industry; people like Ben [Bruce ] that got a grip and reputation over there obviously being in Asking [Asking Alexandria], so it was great to hook up with them and start seeing that side of the industry. They’ve been working us hard getting the album done, they chucked us in the studio last minute and said we need 16 songs lads and I think we only had about 9 written but we’d told them we already had the 16 so we just got them done as quick as we could. It turned out great. We’re looking forward to getting over there and working hard.
You mentioned working with Ben Bruce, how do you think its different going through the recording process with an artist that’s actually been out and toured versus a label that just does the behind the scenes stuff?
Johnny: Ben’s not been greatly involved in the writing the tunes and such. I think he was going to get involved at some point but every time we send him a tune he dug it.
Dom: It was good to have his opinion though!
Johnny: Yeah, he definitely pointed us in the right direction and to be a little more aggressive than we were previously so we through a few extra screams in and stuff like that. He kind of just gave us a general direction in which we should probably head in with our own style. We mainly worked with two guys called Sam and Joe Graves who were in a band called With One Last Breath. They have a studio here in York and have worked with Ben on his solo stuff and various things for Asking’s new album. They’re guys we’ve been mates with for years so we did a lot of the studio production with those guys which was good because it was super relaxed working with them after knowing them for so long.
Your new album comes out the end of the month and you say you’re influenced by bands like Avenged Sevenfold and Escape the Fate; what should fans expect from your debut album? (It’s out now be sure to check it out!!)
Johnny: I don’t know, Craig take this one!!
Craig: We are mainly influenced by the bands you mentioned but we’ve got a lot of our own influences that we threw in there. Dom’s into his 80’s weird pop. My favorite band is Avenged Sevenfold so to be fair a lot of the guitar work is inspired by stuff like that.
James: I think that we’ve been together as friends for so long and listening to stuff especially rock and metal music we take our influences back to the early 2000’s with bands like Limp Bizkit and Korn and Deaftones and things like that. We think what the scene’s missing is one of those bands where there’s a real good party time when you’re on stage and a real good beat where everyone’s jumping up and down. I think that’s what’s missing in the metal scene so it’s kind of taking all of these modern metal bands and mixing it with that scene really.
Off the new album, what’s everyone’s favorite song and why?
James: My favorite song is a song called “Wake Up”
Dom: No is it?!
James: We’ve been playing some shows in the UK and we’ve been playing 30 minute sets; I’ve been trying to get it into the setlist for so long and I think we played it for the first two shows then it worked its way out because these other four guys don’t think it should be. Obviously with 16 songs we’ve written got so many songs and only so many we can choose. I just like wake up because its three and a half minutes of jumping up and down, great hooky chorus, and a very Avenged style rift so to speak.
Craig : I’m going to go with “Battle for the Sun” because it’s just got a real filthy groove to the verse. I think that’s one of my favorite ones to sing as well.
Johnny : For me it’s been more of a grower. It’s the first one we released, “Let it Burn” was new but from playing it live it’s become my favorite. It’s quiet fun to play live and its quite heavy, that’s why it’s my favorite.
Josh: I would probably said “My Addiction”. There’s something about that song which I absolutely love. It’s probably my favorite to play live.
Dom: I’m going to be an absolute booger and say my favorite songs is one of the bonus songs. There’s two songs that we recorded and got fully mixed that aren’t on there.
On social networking someone recently mentioned not being to the states, have any of you been over yet?
Johnny: I’ve been once with the Mrs. to New York just to do the tourist thing. Four days of intense walking seeing all of the tourist stuff. Didn’t realize how big it is, you think you can walk it all then all of a sudden it’s alright I’ll walk down to the Statue of Liberty and then two hours later and you’re still not even halfway down. It was grand, but that’s the only time!
Craig: I’ve been to Florida a couple times mostly doing the Disney thing which was awesome and I did do a tour a few years ago with one of my old bands. It was mainly west coast and down the south then Diagonally towards New York, my geography isn’t always the best!
What are you most excited for with coming to the States and for some of you for your first time?
Group: KFC?! We have that here…
Craig: Not genuine from Kentucky. When we’re in Salt Lake City I want to become a Morman. I’m trying to think of all of these different things; like when I’m in Alabama I want to marry my cousin. I’ve got all of these things I want to do.
Johnny: We’re going to get a real warm welcome in Alabama now…
Dom: It’s probably going to be a whole big culture shock for us. For me, as these guys already know, portion size is going to be a big thing. In Yorkshire there’s a thing about being tight with your money and apparently I’m greedy with my food already and from what I’ve heard its big portions over there and I tend to finish what I’m given so I’m going to enjoy the food. But musically wise the audiences over there are really good especially we’ve heard a lot of English bands get a good welcome over there; mainly we’re just looking forward to meeting a lot of American bands and American fans and having a good time and spending a lot longer on the road over there mainly because of the size of the place.
What goals have you laid out for the future of the band and how do you plan to go about achieving them?
Johnny: I guess we just want to work hard and whatever comes our way we just want to nail it and show everyone that we can do it.
Craig: We want to stay on the road as long as we possibly can. We also have a competition to see who can go the longest without showering.
Johnny: Not me, I’ll be showering every day; even two a day.
James: To be honest now that the album is out the plan is going to be tour, tour, tour. Literally as much as we possibly can. At some point we’ll get back in and record the next thing, not sure what that’s going to be yet. It seems like a bit of a trend for people to do a second release as an EP or something like that.
Johnny: We’re going to do a lot of playing shows, drinking and see where that takes us.
Craig: Drinking tea that is because we’re English!
With so many skilled rock bands having a very similar sound these days a refreshing change in the common sound sets a band apart from the rest. KBB Record’s newest band, The Family Ruin, does just this with their debut album Dearly Departed which comes out in the states September 23. Hailing from York, UK The Family Ruin has hit the ground running with an aggressive sound on their debut album, which drops while they were supposed to be on their first US tour but have not been due to visa issues. The group has been playing shows over the past few months in the UK prepping their new work and setlist for their tour with Crown the Empire, which hopefully they will be able to hop on the last few dates of. With the help of label owner Ben Bruce (Asking Alexandria) and Sam and Joe Graves (With One Last Breath) Dearly Departed has a sound that will take fans back to the older days of Escape the Fate and Avenged Sevenfold. The group demonstrates their ability to shred on a heavy fast song one minute and switch over into a slower, softer sound gracefully without losing any of the power in their vocals or instrumentals. The album is sure to have fans screaming along and off their feet at live performances and singing along as it plays in their headphones.