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Modality in Sound with R. Ring

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Kelley Deal and Mike Montgomery make up R. Ring, the duo whose musical spectrum incorporates a unique perspective of utilizing space with guitars, keys and voice. It may seem simple in context, but deep down, Deal and Montgomery have used utility to make something distinctly unique, sometimes sonic, and often times abstractly beautiful.


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The two are on a four-show outing with cellist Lori Goldston, with a stop on February 18 in Bloomington, Indiana at The Bishop. Goldston is best known for her work with Nirvana and Earth. For the band, it was like a dream come true to incorporate her into the R. Ring sound.

“I met her on the Nirvana tour,” said Deal. “When the Breeders were playing with Nirvana. The In Utero album had a cellist on it, and she actually went on tour with them. Last summer Mike and I were touring the Northwest, and we played a place in Seattle. And this band that opened she was with. Lori walks in and comes up to me saying, ‘Hi Kelly do you remember me? It’s Lori.’ I was freaking out. It was so cool and real nice to re-meet her. When she was playing it was just her cello and an amp and she had this drummer that was with her. He played from this kit he made himself. People are so incredibly interesting. Here he made this kit because he likes to go hiking in the mountains. It all sounded really great at that show, and we re-connected there. Recently, we did a show last summer with her at Bell House in Brooklyn. That was really beautiful and fun.”

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The band recently released a seven-inch split with Detroit band Protomartyr and released a video for their song “Loud Underneath.”

This follows the 2013 single for their song “Salt.” with the beginnings being a seven inch for “Fallout and Fire” back with the more noisy “SEE.” The big question is when are we going to get a full length release from R. Ring?

“Mike and I are ready to get a record together. Some of the songs we have recorded in various incarnations and iterations just by ourselves in the kitchen or wherever it has to be and some of them we have recorded properly. And some of them we have never recorded. We are going to take some of these songs we want to get a different recording or better recording and then add cello on it and see what we can do.”

Being able to work at Montgomery’s Candyland studio allows the two to really push the envelop and seek out happy accidents that end up to be creative successes. Deal looks for those accidents and tries to take advantage of the elements to extract the best out of their songs.

“There are performers and then there are people who like to entertain and then there are the sonics as well. I’m into the sonics and find it entertaining. Mike moved his studio Candyland, from Cincinnati to across the river. Today was the first day we actually tracked something successfully. One of the things we commented on was that it was not in any of the rooms built for actual recording. What we ended up doing was taking this little Ribbonmaster Beatbox and hooking it up to this Fender Twin and putting it through this anti-chamber between rooms. Sometimes things work and sometimes they do not. In a way, at least I’m present and have an opinion and it’s a good feeling to have, through the successes and failures.”

This penchant for experimentation leaks over to their physical performances. Look back to their 2012 SXSW appearance at the Texas State Capitol building. There they incorporated the echo of the large, hollow room to present a more dream-like experience for their song “Hundred Dollar Heat.” Or, that time they used a sewing machine in their show to create rhythm. They always seem to search for unconventional ways to create depth and mood toward their songs.

“The last thing I want is Mike and I on acoustic or electric guitars and a snare cracking behind my head. No thank you. That would drive me crazy! It’s really fun, like a puzzle. We really do want to find out what the elements that need to be there. I like to play the things that are possible to play with two people making music.”

Be it on stage or in the studio, R. Ring is always an organic experience that is constantly evolving and growing, as well as re-inventing what it is the two do.

“One of the reasons why I liked to get back out between Breeders tours was to play more guitar. To get out and keep growing and learning. One of the thing Mike was looking for beyond Ampline was to do more vocals. Our journey together has been really cohesive.”

The two will return to the road beginning in mid-March for another sting of touring.

Andrew Duncan
Dug out from a pile of zines and hot sauce, Andrew Duncan has contributed to many publications through the years, including Chord and work with the ever so spunky Readyset...Aesthetic! He now resides deep within your membrane.

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