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Review Zoo talk inflatable fun with Chris Ryan from Party Cannon




Hi Chris

Welcome to Review Zoo.

Where do Party Cannon call home?

All the members are a bit scattered around these days, but the band started in Dunfermline, Scotland - a town with virtually no metal scene.

How did the name Party Cannon come about?

Originally when we all first conceived the idea of starting a brutal death metal band together we used the name ‘Catatonic Thanatology’, which isn’t an amazing name but no one really had much else to suggest at that point. While we all loved brutal death metal and wanted to make that style of music, we loved grindcore/powerviolence just as much and kinda gelled more with the tongue-in-cheek stuff going on with those scenes so when we wrote songs they already had Party Cannon style song titles before we were actually called Party Cannon. One day our singer told us a story about he spent a considerable amount of money on an item called a ‘party cannon’ that didn’t work and we thought this was hilarious, so we changed the name of the band to Party Cannon.

What does the Writing process look like in the band?

The writing process is surprisingly straight forward given how bitty our music can be. Despite not being able to play electric guitar, I write the majority of the riffs for the band. I use a program called Guitar Pro that lets you write out guitar and drums and plays it back to you in 16 bit form. I’ll write out a skeleton of a song and send it to the rest of the guys to learn before we take it into the rehearsal space to jam out and incorporate any ideas the guys might have. We all live in different cities and meet up twice a week to jam together so it’s a convenient way to share ideas.

I love the samples you use, do you hear a line and think it’d be great for a sample, or do you look for a sample to fit the bill?

Samples are a bit of an obsession. I’m always on the look out for potential samples, whenever I hear something I make a note of it in my gigantic sample database I’ve built up over the years. Samples don’t necessarily fit a criteria to be used in a certain song, if I think it sounds good then it’ll go in. As long as it’s funny or depressing, it’s a candidate.

What got you into playing Bass Guitar and how old were you?

I think I was 14 when I started playing? I’m 31 now so it’s definitely been a while. As with every bass player I know, I had friends at school that wanted to start a band and needed a bass player so wanting to be involved I became a bass player. I would say my actual interest in bass definitely came about a year after taking up the instrument. For the first year I took lessons from a guy who was an incredible guitar player and taught bass as well, I don’t think his teaching style or approach to bass playing ever really gelled with me as I remember finding the same AC/DC song we were working on for ages just as difficult as when we first started it - there was just no progress. I turned up at his house one day and his mum answered the door saying he wasn’t teaching guitar anymore and that was that, I had to find a new teacher. I started taking lessons from a guy called Lawrie MacMillan who turned out to be a professional session bass player who had toured the world playing all types of music. After one lesson with him I was 100 times more interested in playing bass, he broke things down into formulas and my brain seemed to like that.

Your favourite comedy?

People who follow the band probably won’t be surprised to read it’s Peep Show since we’ve sampled it so many times. It’s just so real.

Your favourite comedy character?

For consistency I’ll say both Mark and Jez from Peep Show. It’s like they represent the ying and yang of existence, the full spectrum of the human experience is covered.

Please can you give us a rundown of what gear you use personally, and does your setup differ live to studio.

I keep my live and recording setup the same, we go for more organic/live sounding production on our albums so feel it makes sense to use what we have on stage - so it sounds like us.

My set up is pretty minimal; I only use a Sansamp Bass DI Driver pedal into the front of a Peavey MiniMax 500 head on top of a Hartke XL 4x10 cab. I’m endorsed by a company called Waghorn Guitars so the main bass I use is a custom they built me which is a swamp ash body, pale moon ebony top and fretboard with Fishman Fluence pickups.

Pick, fingers or a bit of both?

For Party Cannon it’s mainly pick but there’s a few slapping and tapping sections throughout the set. In terms of picking I only really use down, economy and hybrid picking. I only in recent years learned that what I was doing was economy picking and not alternate picking - turns out I can’t alternate pick for shit!

Who’s your biggest influence?

When it comes to writing Party Cannon songs, I’d the biggest influences are Disgorge, Dying Fetus, Gorgasm, Guttural Secrete and Devourment. In terms of bass players that influence me I would say Steve Harris, Victor Wooten and Jacob Schmidt.

Do you enjoy any other genres of music outside of Metal, if so which ones?

I’m a big fan of mathrock/mid-west emo type stuff. Bands like American Football, Mineral, TTNG and The Reptilian. I also love gabber/terrorcore, like Noisekick.

The song which has the most meaning to you (Any band/Artist) (and yes it can be Cannibal Corpse ha ha)?

Stupid Dickhead by The Afternoon Gentlemen. I find the lyrics to be incredibly relatable.

You’re stranded on a desert island and can have one album, which album are you taking?

It’s hard to think of an album that ticks every box, but the album I’ve probably listened to most in my life is Somewhere In Time by Iron Maiden so I’ll go with that. Probably my favourite production on a Maiden record too.

Do you play any other instruments?

I can barely play the one instrument! Other than bass there’s no instrument I’d say I can actually play but I could probably manage some simple stuff on guitar and drums. I dip in and out it doing vocals but I’d never say I was good enough to for anything more than backing vocals.

What are your hobbies outside of music?

My main hobbies are pretty basic, mainly going to the gym, cooking, and volunteering at a greyhound rescue shelter. I’m really into horror films, anime and Nintendo games too but I think most 30 year old men are.

Highlight of your career so far?

Hard to pinpoint one, but a personal highlight for me was playing Japan as part of our Asia tour with Waking The Cadaver. That’s literally been my dream goal since first picking up an instrument as a teen.

Any funny band/tour stories?

We were on tour with GWAR during a massive heatwave in the UK, we kindly asked our drummer not to leave his Kitkats in the ice cooler we’d bought for the Ben because everything might melt. After three days of reminding him, we got to Norwich and opened the ice cooler to find all the ice had melted and the Kitkats had dissolved, coating all the cans and bottles in a layer of sour smelling slime. I walked into the dressing room to find Mike our guitarist furiously rinsing everything under a tap.

Are inflatables welcome at Party Cannon shows? Giraffes, doughnuts, Unicorns, that sort of thing?

Welcomed and encouraged, if anything it can’t make our live show worse.

Anything you'd like to mention?

Cheers for all the support! Check out our Partied In Half 10th anniversary gigs in London and Manchester!

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