Pining for the days of Day-Glo posters and riff-loaded stoner rock?
Then has Epic Ruins got an album for you: Void Mariner and the Mystic Boogie of the Sacred Line, the band's sprawling debut. The group, composed of several prominent Fort Worth musicians (Jordan Richardson, Steve Steward, Sam Anderson and Jeff Dazey), is the closest thing to a '70s rock appreciation society the city has going.
Epic Ruins celebrates the release of Line on Friday. I wrangled Richardson, currently on tour with Ben Harper & Relentless7, and Steward, for an e-mail conversation about all things Epic. For our complete chat and to hear some of Line, visit dfw.com/music.
There's a pretty elaborate back story with Epic Ruins. Why is that and whose idea was it?
Steward: Jordan and I had wanted to make a record together for a couple years, and last August, we both had a week open to write together. We'd been passing riffs and lyrics back and forth for a while and we hashed the ideas out.
Richardson: I recall the idea living as far back as when we were recording the last Darth Vato album. We birthed this story and the ideas from it kept growing larger and larger, and pretty soon, we knew we had something on our hands we had to chase down and create.
Did having that rich foundation make it easier to create songs for the album?
Steward: I think the songs are really outgrowths of things we've both been interested in for a long time -- '70s space rock, B-movies, parallel universes -- and assembling the riffs and ideas flowed pretty easily from that. Just about any idea was welcome, and when we realized that, it was like, 'Holy shit, we can make this as weird as we want.'
Richardson: The songs really did create themselves, I think ... more specifically in the studio. We were chasing a very, very specific sound and aesthetic for every tune. I think from a production standpoint, actually 'seeing' the sound of the finished product in your head is a great navigating tool when making a record.
What can people expect from Epic Ruins' live show?
Steward: There will be plenty of psych-freaking. We want to make this show as close to a theatrical production as a rock show on a small stage can be, but at the same time, leave room for improvisation.
Richardson: Steve is spot-on. Also expect fog machines. and a cover song from another land.
Can you outline, for those who may be wondering, what is the ideal way to listen to Void Mariner?
Steward: We mastered it in such a way as to encourage sitting down and absorbing the whole thing. It's definitely a 'couchlock' type of record, and it's good for solitary, late-night drives. I suggest low lighting, a comfortable seat and some weed.
Richardson: It really is hard to just hop around this record as a listener, for me. We tried to make the record as 3-D as possible. We hope it draws a listener in, so that they take 38 minutes to absorb the whole thing. It's way more fun than NCIS, and people sit down and do that all the time.
Is Epic Ruins a one-off project, or will this keep going?
Steward: We're already kicking around new riffs and discussing subject matter for the next album. I know Relentless7 will be on tour again next year, so it might be a while before Jordan is free to work on it again. As for shows, they're sort of touch-and-go. We'll probably play at least one more in December when the vinyl copies come out.
Richardson: Epic Ruins is and will be a lifelong project.