Bringing in a fresh wave of metal from the South comes Nashville, TN’s Voodoo Prophet. These guys combine the elements of hard rock, metal and melodic metal to create a dizzying whirlwind of musical mayhem. Listening to some of their older work it would be easy to categorize them as being in a similar vein to bands like Killswitch Engage, Trivium or early All That Remains, but there’s something there that sets them apart from the fold. Voodoo Prophet recorded their last EP Human? at Zing Recording Studios in Massachusetts where bands like The Devil Wears Prada and All That Remains have also recorded. The band returned to the Zing where they had recorded their last EP Human? to work on their latest effort which was originally titled The Flood. After discovering that Of Mice & Men had also released an EP under the same name not long ago, the band decided to rework the title and is in the middle of tracking and fine tuning the EP. We recently got a chance to talk to guitarist and backing vocalist Myk Ricci about some Voodoo origins, triumphs, and revisiting Human?.
How did Voodoo Prophet come to be?
MR: Well...Voodoo Prophet started out as a handful of lyrics and a band name scratched into the back pages of a high school math book. (laughs) I started really looking for a band my senior year of high school. I hooked up with a couple and did some shows, but none of them were really doing the kind of stuff I wanted to play. So, I decided to start my own. Enter Voodoo Prophet. The rest of my senior year was spent auditioning band mates, writing songs and trying to avoid that goofy hat on graduation day. (laughs) It took a few years to find the right group of guys, Jason (bass) has been with me pretty much from the beginning.
What was it like working with Logan Mader on Human?
MR: Working with Logan on the mastering of the Human? EP was a pretty awesome experience. Most of us grew up rocking out to Machine Head, so working with him on a project was pretty killer. Great dude!
Where does most of your inspiration come from?
MR: Wow. That's a tough one! Without sounding too generic, I would have to say life. Most of the content in our lyrics come from life experience. Whether that is heartbreak, anger, happiness, etc. There is always a specific subject in mind when we write a song, however, we make an effort to leave it open enough for people to interpret it how they want/need to. We aim to move people with our music, so it's just as much the fan's song as it is ours.
“Human” (title track) is rife with rolling thunder and infectious melodies and riffs paired with vicious vocals. How did you guys go about finding your balance?
MR: “Human” was kind of a science experiment. I had this riff (the main riff) that I was always noodling around with it at rehearsal and one day Malcom (drums) said to me, "Dude, that's a really cool riff. And it's in a weird time signature." I'm very much a student of the old school and a feel oriented guitarist/writer. So, music theory is not my strong suit. I like to groove. The guys all wanted to try writing around this riff in this odd time signature.So, we did, for the first time ever. (laughs) "Human" was also the first song the band had written with real vocal melodies. Everything we had done previously had hinged on heavy vocals.
The guitar on the EP is really impressive in it’s fluidity and technicality. How do go about honing your technique?
MR: Thank you! Just lots of time working on (my) chops. I'm not the most technical player, like I said I'm the “feel” guy. My main focus is being tight and consistent. Who wants a sloppy sounding record or lazy live show?
Who are some of your musical heroes?
MR: That's a big list! (laughs) I'd say my biggest influence across the board came from the members of Pantera. Dime, Vinnie, Phil, and Rex. Two of the highest points in my musical career were meeting Vinnie when we played with Hellyeah last Summer, and hanging out with Phil Anselmo after our set with Arson Anthem in 2011. Had you told me when I started the band that a few years later I would be hanging out drinking beer with Phil Anselmo, while he was down on one knee singing Soundgarden to our drummer (who looks like Chris Cornell) I would have called you effing crazy. So many crazy stories from that night!
What was your first concert?
MR: Buzzfest 2003. Big festival. I remember 3 Days Grace opened, then Powerman 5000 and Mudvayne headlined. Hearing "Dig" live for the first time in a huge outdoor amphitheater changed my entire view of playing music. The way the kick drums hit you in the chest, the guitar blaring... It's really that concert that made me realize I wanted to do this for the rest of my life. Being able to play Buzzfest 2010 really brought everything around full circle. Another huge career high for me.
How does it feel returning to Zing to record?
MR: Returning to Zing is going to be a BLAST! We had such a great time up in Massachusetts last time. We have worked in multi million dollar studios on Music Row in Nashville before, but as nice as they are, they lack the vibe and feel that Zing has. We are excited.
What, if anything, will be different about the new EP compared to Human?
MR: The new EP is going to be a lot heavier and have a lot more groove. It will still have elements of the Human? sound, but the focus will be on...the groove. We try to do something different with every recording so that our releases don't all run together. Every EP has a theme and a feel to it. Human? Had an aggressive vibe to it, this EP will be a lot darker.
What can we expect from Voodoo Prophet in future?
MR: Expect a killer new EP and tour dates! (laughs) Once we button up this recording we will be heading out on the road. Right now we have a couple BIG shows in the works for this summer, one of which with Machine Head in Nashville! We also have a music video for "Drowning in the Flood" (single) set to drop in a few weeks. So, keep your eyes on www.voodooprophet.com for more details!