One of the bigger news stories of the last few years in the world of metal and hard rock is the return of original vocalist Ryan McCombs to the band SOiL. The Chicago outfit had been on the fast track to becoming one of the first huge rock bands of the 21st century until a fickle audience – and by extension, the record labels – seemed to abandon the genre in favor of disposable pop and country music. In the fallout, the band was dropped from their label and McCombs departed, ultimately joining up with Drowning Pool. However, years later, SOiL bassist Tim King and guitarist Adam Zadel got in touch with McCombs and the three of them decided to reunite and hit the road to celebrate the 10th anniversary of 'Scars,' the album that catapulted SOiL to the big leagues back in 2001. During this trek SOiL fans got the news the vast majority of them wanted to hear: the band would soon head into the studio and record a new album with McCombs. That album, entitled 'Whole,' was released on August 20 and proved to be a very welcome return indeed (read my review of the album here).
The band has been on the road for months, promoting the album well before it was released, and will finally be in Columbus this Friday, October 11, at the Alrosa Villa. I was able to snag a few minutes of Tim King’s time last week to discuss McCombs rejoining the band, the new album, the state of the recording industry and whole slew of other topics:
Examiner: With Ryan McCombs back in the band, was the writing process for 'Whole' more or less the same as the earlier albums with him or has it changed since those days?
Tim King: It was the same in the fact that we had more of the original ingredients back in the band. It was different because we wrote without really jamming. The three of us put riffs and songs together without a drummer. Once we had it all together we then sent it over to Will Hunt to put the drum ideas together.
Examiner: While working with McCombs to get him back in the band, did you also reach out to Tim Schofield and Shaun Glass, or are they ex-members for good reason?
Tim: I think you just answered your own question...LOL.
Examiner: Will Hunt is an absolute powerhouse of a drummer. What was it like working with him in the studio?
Tim: He is amazing. He recorded all the drums in two days. He added a whole new dimension to the songs and the album.
Examiner: SOiL has definitely had a lot of ups and downs since 1999. 'Whole' is proof that those experiences have made SOiL an even better band than before, but were ever any times when you considered throwing in the towel?
Tim: When Adam and I were the last two standing we definitely considered it but circumstances and desire not to quit kept us going. It certainly paid off.
Examiner: Your new album 'Whole' contains a plethora of very cool twists and experimentation, but it also sounds a lot like your earlier material. Was this the idea when recording 'Whole' or did it just end up that way naturally?
Tim: We definitely wanted it to be a throwback to the original formula but we just also wrote what came naturally and from the heart.
Examiner: Will you play any songs from 'True Self' or 'Picture Perfect' on tour now, or are is that material effectively retired?
Tim: We tinkered around with "The Lesser Man." It may find its way in a set or two. But to be honest, there are many more songs off of 'Whole' that need to be dropped in first.
Examiner: For your new album, 'Whole,' you guys used Kickstarter to help get the recording off the ground. Based on your experience with Kickstarter, do you think you will use it again in the future?
Tim: It helped pay for the actual recording and gave us the freedom to do the album at our own pace and on our own terms. And it gave the fans some cool things and experiences they normally may not have gotten the chance to get. I can't really tell you if we'd do it again or not. I guess we will wait until the time comes.
Examiner: You played at the Rock On The Range festival here in Columbus last year. You drew a huge crowd despite not having any new material at that time and you were even playing at the same time as Trivium, who have a pretty big fanbase. Did that reinforce the feeling that reuniting with McCombs was the right thing to do?
Tim: Yeah, that and other similar shows really gave us the reinforcement that we were back and people wanted this line up of SOiL.
Examiner: Finally, this question is out or left field: Why is the “i” in SOiL lowercase?
Tim: Adam came up with that. He had the idea cause it was something that was different and looked kinda cool.
SOiL will be performing at the Alrosa Villa, opening for Dope, on Friday, October 11. Doors open at 6 p.m. and tickets for the all ages show are $15 in advance.