By Steve Church:
RIBS have never shied away from their comparisons. Likened by fans and critics to such hard line, atmospheric rock monsters as Nine Inch Nails, Deftones and Muse, the Boston quartet embraces these associations as both a testament to their established musicality and an indicator of form towards attracting new fans. And after earning Reddit.com’s top–
voted music post of all time within a month of releasing 2010 EP British Brains, (amongst other accolades) it’s clear that RIBS is a band that can flourish beyond the similarities.
“We’re not one of those bands that are like, ‘Oh, you can’t compare us to anything,’”
says guitarist and lead vocalist Keith Freund. “I think that what we do is rock music that’s meant to give you chills—anything that goes from something soft to something loud in a short period of time. [With] bands like Deftones and NIN, I definitely see the comparison there.”
High school friends Freund and bassist Blake Fusilier formed the basis for RIBS, writing music in Atlanta together before attending college in Boston in 2005. The two spent their time shaping and experimenting with sound while actively searching out new members to round out the group, discovering drummer Chris Oquist and guitarist (and fellow Atlantian) Justin Tolan, in Boston’s metal scene. Freund and Fusilier found their potential bandmates’ interests extended far beyond those of your average metalheads:
“I met Justin, who was this shred guitar prodigy. I was hearing about him through a lot of rumors, and he was in Guitar Player magazine,” says Freund. “Then I found out that he was into a lot of the same stuff that I was in to—Muse, Radiohead, Aphex Twin. That piqued my interest.”
Oquist appealed to Freund and Fusilier in much the same way, telling them right off the bat that his favorite artists were Paul Simon and The Beatles. With influences ranging from metal to electronic to ‘60s pop and four incredibly talented musicians on board, RIBS had its final lineup by March 2009. The band set to work on their first EP, British Brains, a guitar-driven effort in industrial doom and gloom mixed and produced entirely by Freund. A year later, Freund posted the completed British Brains on Reddit.com, where its ratings skyrocketed and sold 600 copies in the first week. For their next record, RIBS tapered their mechanical appeal in place of a more dance-worthy post-punk on 2011’s Locrian Singles.
RIBS have now cracked the local rock scene, garnering praise across Boston for their complex songwriting and fiery live performances. They’re currently working on releasing their next EP, Russian Blood, expected later this year. In the meantime, it’s all about performing in new and innovative ways. Incorporating vibrant lighting displays with their music, RIBS have set a standard of performance for Boston acts, and they promise something special—though they’re keeping quiet—for their east coast tour kickoff before snaking their way south towards Atlanta. And they’re hoping to pick up some new fans along the way.
“Our live show makes use of a lot of different elements,” says Oquist. “It’s about trying to pull people out of the usual experience of a show and doing something that is more immersed in what the music is about. That’s sonically, lyrically and visually a lot in terms of a live performance.”
WITH LIGHTS RESOLVE
AND ART DECADE
1222 COMM. AVE.