There’s a special live gig at Death  Disco club on March 30 granting darkness, gothic atmosphere, pure witch house! We approached the headlining act Ritualz (Mexico) for an interview, that he kindly accepted, and it turned out to be a very interesting one! He’s currently on tour in Europe, proof of his music’s impact and the ‘dedication of the witches’. We talked about music, witchery, religion and future plans…absinthe and read!

Hello and welcome to Last Day Deaf, you are getting on Death Disco stage as a headliner among Sycorax, RVTS, Dednewb & FlökosH, on the 30th March. What are we about to experience on that night?

It’s my first time in Greece ever so I’m pretty excited about it. So far on this tour the response to my set has been pretty good so I think people looking for a night of musical darkness will enjoy it very much.

Your latest Ghetto Ass Witch (in cassette format)  was successfully sold out on Bandcamp. Why are you using that specific format to spread your music? Can our readers find your work in similar analog formats too (vinyl)?

I run a tape label called Maligna, I like the format for ultra limited releases, it’s cheap and you don’t need a pressing plant or big budget to make tapes. It’s all hand-made, DIY. I enjoy working like that. The reissues of ‘CDR’ and ‘Ghetto Ass Witch’ on tape were meant to close a chapter for Ritualz. The new music (which I’m playing on this tour already), while it still sounds like me, is different than those two EPs or anything I’ve released before. So it was a farewell. I re-released them for people who might’ve missed them 6-7 years ago and included some bonus previously unreleased tracks from around that time for any fans following from the beginning.

Ghetto Ass Witch is a rather strange and quite aggressive title. What is G.A.W. after all, and what is the message behind it?

There is no message or meaning behind it. ‘Ghetto Ass Witch’ was a joke, something an ex-girlfriend said about witch house or something like that, I don’t remember the exact conversation. I liked how it sounded enough to name a song and EP after that.

Your music is blended by an intense gothic darkness, can you share with us the reasons why?

My favorite music has always been dark and melancholic, whatever the genre. I tend to prefer sadder, more emotional sounds. I never write music thinking “oh it should be darker,” “should be more aggressive” or something, I just do what sounds good to me, and I like dark music. It’s what comes naturally.

Crosses, darkness, goatheads, pentagrams, aggression, are ruling the image of your music, but where does all that spirit emerge from? Also what is the musical manifest in Ritualz?

I went to Catholic school growing up, I loved Marilyn Manson, Norwegian black metal, etc., and the “satanic” image those bands had. So Christian/Catholic, and its “opposite”, Satanic/Occult/Witchcraft imagery were both there during important formative years. It’s an aesthetic I like and that I think goes well with my music. It doesn’t mean anything because it’s a complement to the music not its equal.

What is really inspiring you in collecting, making and arranging your music?

I like making music a lot and I don’t know if I could be making anything else. I just like every step of the process from messing around making new sounds to turning them into beats then into songs, adding or taking shit from them, finishing and hating a song, working more on it and loving it again. It’s a complex creative process I find satisfying. Just listening to something and saying “wow I made this!“.

Other kinds of music you are interested in or keen on as a musician? Can you share with us few titles that got your pulse in the last weeks?

I like most styles of music, even if it’s just one song or one artist in a genre I wouldn’t usually like. I do have some favorites of course. My favorite releases this year so far are Drab Majesty‘s ‘The Demonstration’, and Exquirla‘s ‘Para Quienes Aún Viven’. But mainly I’ve been re-discovering stuff like Caifanes, especially their first album. Listening to a lot of early Clan Of Xymox, having yet another Depeche Mode phase, the usual.

What are the advantages as an one-man-band when performing live, do you use guest musicians?

Long ago I realized in order to bring someone in for live performances or as a band member or sorts, it should be someone willing to consider it a real job and a priority. It’s hard to find someone that would just accept that someone else is making all the decisions, creatively, touring and financially-wise, and would be ok with just playing some music live in an underground band. I’m fine touring alone though; I can have a minimal setup and keep expenses low. It does get lonely and you can be bored on your own traveling. It’s hard.

Within March you are touring in Europe, so what are your plans after the tour is over?

I’m going back to Paris for a few weeks to finish recording the vocals for this new album and then see what happens with it. Then back to Mexico then USA in the summer. It’s going to be a busy year. Thanks for the interview.

Photo credits: Paco Mendez

Mike Dimitriou