After growing up together in Portland, Oregon’s punk scene, longtime friends Aidan Wolfe and Wolfgang Williams joined forces dramatic dance-beat, synth-driven pop passion project known as Ritual Veil. Wolfe and Williams developed a deep affinity for similar genres of music and the desire to create their own, utilizing a common love of the connection between music and visual media.
Now they announce a new EP, Keep Looking Down, an opus borne of tragedy, heartbreak, and unspeakable loss…and perhaps a touch of bitterness, Wolfe admits, explaining that the songs are all derived from personal thoughts and experiences, filing a few short pieces into different emotional drawers. “2020 completely turned my life upside down,” says Wolfe. “Having my life upended by Covid and losing my partner to cancer in the same short span had me in a dark place for a while. Writing these songs was pretty much the only cathartic release I had through all of that.”
The title track sets the mood of the casette as something more introspective, while still remaining engaging and hopeful.
“I was hearing vocal samples being used as leads in a lot of songs and felt inspired to do our own take,” says Williams. “As soon as I wrote the lead you hear at the beginning and throughout the song I knew I wanted to write a song around it.”
Wolfe and Williams wrote all of the music together and collaborated on writing synth and drums for the first time. “We’re channeling the essence of RV from when we were first starting to write synth-pop riffs on a little Casio and drum machine and setting up fun photoshoots and set designs in Wolfgang’s basement,” Wolfe says.
The band collaborated with Jonathan Sirit, of Belgrado, for the album artwork as well the art printed on the cassettes. They also collaborate with photographer Yvette Aispuro, who shot the cover.
In 2017 Ritual Veil began rehearsing synth and drum-machine compositions, with Wolfe improvising meandering vocal melodies over top, and pairing the song ideas with stylized sets and abstract visual concepts. Wolfe’s smooth, baritone vocals echo down a hallway of oscillating beats, driving bass tones, and captivating hooks invoking a lustful, melancholic aura.
“Aidan wrote all the lyrics on the album and while he pulled a lot from his own personal experience, I find so many ways to interpret and apply them to my own life,” notes Wolfgang Williams. “I think that’s one of the strengths of this album, and I hope when people hear or read the lyrics they’ll feel a personal connection to them.”
“Wolfgang and I have been friends since high school,” says Wolfe. “We met my freshman year and he looked like Sid Vicious (but with better style, naturally) so I thought he was cool as shit. We made friends pretty quickly. We were both punks and went to the same local all-ages shows in Portland and started a band with some friends. After that disbanded we played around with a couple project ideas before landing on Ritual Veil.”
Listen to Keep Looking Down below:
Keep Looking Down is out June 11, 2021. Order here.
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*Photos of Ritual Veil by Yvette Aispuro