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With his prior band Pacific Air on hiatus, Ryan Lawhon has cranked up his songwriting and found immense freedom in the world of independent recording. Ryan has created what he calls post-genre-pop under the alias Mating Ritual.
He recently dropped the first part of his debut EP, ‘How you Gonna Stop It? Vol. 1’, the project was recorded over a two year period in apartments, garages and lofts all over Los Angeles county. GroundSounds recently caught up with Ryan to talk about his latest music and more, check out the exclusive interview below.
For those just discovering Mating Ritual, can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got started with music?
I’ve been making music now for about 13 years, but Mating Ritual got its start when my previous band, Pacific Air went on an indefinite hiatus. I’m somewhat of a restless soul and sitting still wasn’t an option, so Mating Ritual was born.
How did you decide on the moniker Mating Ritual?
The name Mating Ritual came on a car trip down the 395 during a long conversation/rant with my brother about how modern dating lifestyles have ruined the way I approach relationships. 3 years and countless dating apps later my opinion remains unchanged.
What do you enjoy most about Los Angeles?
I love LA’s endless possibilities. I could go to a different bar or restaurant every night of the year and probably have a good time every night.
How You Gonna Stop It? was not a quick process, by design. My biggest goal with this album, and with Mating Ritual as a whole, has been to not rush anything. I want to let these songs develop naturally and evolve with me as I do. There’s nothing more rewarding unlocking a song’s potential through a mistake or unplanned tangent, and this album embodies me allowing the songs to dictate themselves without me forcing my preconceived ideas into them.
Why did you decide to release it in 2 volumes?
Releasing this album in 2 volumes is me adapting to modern listening practices. I love listening to albums in full and the context they provide about the artist, things that are difficult to grasp when only listening to a 3 minute single. I wish it wasn’t a part of releasing music, but recording and promoting a full length record is very expensive, especially since I’ve chosen to stay DIY through this whole process. Releasing in 2 volumes surprisingly makes the recording process much more approachable for me financially, while still getting my music to people in a format that I feel comfortable with. It’s also given me the fun challenge of creating two albums that work both individually and as a whole.
Can you tell us about the writing and creative process involved with the title track “How You Gonna Stop It?”
That track was a complete accident that came about in about 2 days from start to finish. I had just purchased a new guitar pedal on my never ending quest to record guitar properly in a quiet environment and was demo’ing the pedal when the song just popped out. The writing was completed in about and hour and the production as seamlessly as any production can. It’s probably the song of mine that I’ve heard the least, and maybe one of the reasons I’m still so excited about it.
What bands/musicians are you currently listening to?
Lots and lots of Spoon right now. Been feeling Duvchi as well.
Can you tell us about your upcoming winter tour? What do you enjoy most about being on the road?
This is Mating Ritual’s first run outside of LA, so I’m really excited about introducing people to the music in the setting that I created it to be heard in. While I love making records, I view Mating Ritual as a live band first so I cannot wait for people to experience that with us. I also love eating unique food in different cities, you can tell so much about a place by it’s cuisine.
What was the inspiration behind your single “Night Lies?”
“Night Lies” is about the paranoia that stems from modern dating. The options are as endless as they’ve ever been for casual sex. It doesn’t matter whether someone’s cheating on you or not, the seeds have been sown and suspicion can derail the best of us. If you love someone, let them know and stop keeping the door open just in case it doesn’t work out.
After the tour wraps up, what’s next for Mating Ritual, what can fans look forward to?
Volume 2 will be coming out in late April and we’ll be doing a more extensive tour around that time. We have videos, vinyls and much more on the way. What’s up 2017??