Choosing to appear behind a veil of anonymity in the fledgling stages of emergence has become a common tool utilised by the new artist/producer of today. Primarily as way of "letting the music do the talking", it's a forceful remedy to the over-exposure and fast burn thrust upon new acts in the fast-paced times of our internet-age. London-based production trio, RITUAL appeared with an air of mystery little over a year ago and with the release of their stunning second EP, From The City To The Wilderness, a few months back, the need for more intensified. Hot on the heels of this release, they announced a special remix version of the EP titled From The Wilderness To The City.
Specially curating and commissioning the project, RITUAL connected with some of the most exciting emerging voices in hip-hop and R&B. Then, somewhat surprisingly, they revealed that they were ready to give Complex rare insight into the collaborative and creative process behind the EP, and the band as a whole. As well as today unveiling the Bearface remix of "Too Deep" and Alfa Mist remix of "Josephine", we caught up with them to find out more about their secretive inner workings.
Was the orginal idea always to construct a remix EP as you were making From The City To The Wilderness?
The idea came after we had actually released FTCTTW. We remixed "Amnesia" featuring Bishop Nehru, from our debut EP The Fall, and wanted to build and expand on that concept this time around. We had the idea to reverse the title and re-imagine the songs from a different perspective. We wanted to collaborate with hip-hop and electronic producers that we were fans of, as well as rappers and singers this time. Rather than shopping the songs out for remixes, we wanted to curate the whole thing ourselves and build this concept of the songs against a more urban/industrial landscape—hence it being called From The Wilderness To The City.
How would you describe your sound/style to new listeners?
A mix of the sounds that the three of us bring to the project;, folk, R&B, electronica. We're all from very different musical backgrounds and it's the three of these meeting that give us our sound.
Explain the thought process behind choosing to remain a bit elusive in these early stages?
It's easy to form quick opinions on artists based on their press shots and videos. Some artists may even heavily rely on image as part of their brand. We're not interested in our image or personalities being at the forefront of what we do; we'd rather our music hold that spot. If people are interested in seeing us or speaking to us, then we are more than happy to comply.
What are your personal faves from the EP?
It’s hard to say because we're so blown away by everyone's contributions. The biggest surprise was Alfa Mist's reworking of "Josephine". It took a while to get into the intricacies of it—we always imagined a Dilla-style production around it—but he took it above and beyond our expectations. But then, we are huge Brockhampton fans so to have Kevin Abstract and Bearface work on "Too Deep" was incredible. There's the "Instinct" remix by Sound Of Fractures as well, and the way this guy remixed the track made us like it more than the original!
How did you guys go about selecting the features?
We chose artists we listen to in our own time and respect, people we work with and artists that we knew could bring something new to the songs. Everyone involved has a fresh take on their style of music and is at the beginning of what we think will be a really exciting time.
What's the creative process like with you all in the studio?
Our process is very collaborative between the three of us. When we're starting something new, we normally like to begin with a drum loop and a lyric concept or title. From there, we have good foundations to build on and we'll jam ideas together until we hit on something. When we're producing, we try to keep a balance between things. Perfection is something we avoid. We try to find somewhere in between analog and digital, organic and industrial, and lyrically between ambiguity and honesty.
From The Wilderness To The City is out right now.