This year marks the 10 year anniversary of †‡†, one of the most influential records in the Witch House scene and a pillar of that genre. This release was at the forefront of a wave of bands that brought a new flavor to dark music and challenged the expectations of what goth music could/should be.
To celebrate this occasion the fine folks at RE:Mission Entertainment are releasing a new remastered version of this genre defining release on vinyl!
JC Lobo a.k.a. Ritualz was kind enough to chat with me about the EP, his thoughts about its relevance to his overall process, the scene in his native Mexico City, and what’s next…
Wow! 10 years… How do you feel †‡† has held up?
I still like this release a lot. Some of my favorite tracks I’ve made are on it and I still play a couple of them regularly on my live shows, a bit updated to fit with the newer songs, but I didn’t change them too much. I think for a 10 year old EP from a very specific time it’s held up fine. A lot of commercial music from that time sounds awful today but a lot of the underground stuff is still good.
I remember hearing this back when it came out and was like “holy fuck!… This is what I’ve been missing since the early days of TKK and Coil” What made you decide to take this direction?
When Disaro asked me to release an EP on his label I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with this project. I only had a couple of tracks which were pretty much just experiments. I had no direction set for this project. It was when I made Kvltstep that I felt I had tapped into something. It was the first time I felt this purple feeling in the music I make. I can’t really explain it, but it’s not synesthesia. I don’t see anything. I just feel “purple” inside. It’s the mood, the emotion of the sound. I decided to try and get that feeling from every song without making every song the same.
Your music is described as “night music for the end of the world”… What does that mean to you?
Part of this purple feeling in my music is the sensation of it being nocturnal. I don’t think it’s music to listen to during the day. I don’t think I ever worked on any of these songs before it got dark, I always worked at night. So this music is dark because it comes from literal darkness and some things are just better enjoyed at night/in the dark. As for the “end of the world” part, I think we are living through it. People have this idea of the end of the world being far away and a one day cataclysm, or some supernatural thing that’s going to end us, like aliens or the rapture, but this planet is billions of years old and we’ve been around for a tiny fraction of that time. It’s the end of the world because we’ve entered the final stretch of our time here as a species. It might last a hundred or five hundred years, I don’t know, but our days are for sure numbered. So that part is just commentary about the times we’re living in I guess.
After 10 years, what do you think you would want to tell your past self about how things would go with the record? Would you try to change how you did things, or would you just tell them to just get on with it?
I think I did the best I could with this release and everything that happened in the 6 months between it and the next one. I would only tell myself to make more music and then make like three backups of everything I make. It’s all lost (hard drive with the only backup died) and it could’ve been prevented if I was less trustful in technology.
How does the scene in Mexico City influence/support what you are doing with Ritualz?
My music is too dark/not dance-y enough for the electronic scene and not abstract enough for the experimental scene. I identify with goths the most but the goth scene here is stuck trying to sound like bands from the 80s. No one wants to make or listen to anything new. We’re on like our third post-punk revival and people think industrial music is shitty techno with a distorted kick, so I just don’t get too involved. There are some people that do support what I do and I am very thankful to them, but I think I’m largely underappreciated in this city/country. Not that I think I deserve a lot of recognition either, it’s just weird knowing far more people are into what I do in Los Angeles, Warsaw, or Saint Petersburg than here. I tweet and post in english because I know 99% of the people reading are not from Mexico, that should sum it up.
How did you get hooked up with RE:Mission for this anniversary release? What was it about the label that made you decide to go with them?
I had plans for reissuing this EP on vinyl for its 10th anniversary but the pandemic and a canceled tour ruined those plans for me. Wes knew about them and offered to release it on Re:Mission. I’ve known him for a while now and have seen the work he puts in the label so I agreed. It’s been a good experience.
What’s next? New music? Shows? A line of fine china?
New music in the fall hopefully. I’ve been holding on to this new record for over a year now so I hope I don’t have to wait until next year to put it out. I’m still very cautious about booking shows. I haven’t been vaccinated and won’t be until around August and I want to wait and see how things go for people playing shows before I start playing again. I’d be surprised if I play any shows at all this year. My canceled European tour is going to be rescheduled for 2022, so that’s the only certain thing right now.
Thanks for taking the time to talk about Ritualz and †‡†
Ritualz’s debut EP †‡† will be released as †‡† on 180g/45RPM vinyl via Remission Entertainment on June, 25th 2021.
Pre-order the vinyl here:
Check out more music from Ritualz @ https://ritualz.bandcamp.com