Ricky Lee Roper, vocalist and founding member of UK’s Technical Deathcore band Osiah answered my questions about Loss, the band’s third album.
Hello and first of all, thank you for your time! Would you please introduce the band Osiah with your own words?
Ricky Lee Roper (vocals): Hey guys thanks for having me, Osiah is a Deathcore band from the grim north of the United Kingdom!
Loss, Osiah’s new album, was released some weeks ago. How do you feel about it? How is the feedback about this new album?
Ricky: The response from this record is insane, we’ve never had such a response from our music and to know it’s helping people on a personal level is a whole different vibe, it’s quite the honour to know your music is important to some, and it’s been such a beautiful and rewarding experience for all of us so far.
Is there a story behind this album? What does Loss mean to you?
Ricky: Loss is a digression from the linear concept we have established from our first two albums, there are loose themes that join a majority of the tracks but essentially this record is a snapshot in time, dedicated to 2020. It’s the first time in a long time I’ve just wrote about the present and not my past, and I think with the themes being so relatable, they have allowed many to relate to it on personal level, it was incredibly cathartic for me, and to know others feel it to; makes the pain (and loss) so worthwhile.
How does the composition process happen? Was it different from the previous albums?
Ricky: Not at all, apart from the fact I personally have put the guitar down and have not got involved in the instrumental process at all. But just like Kingdom of Lies – Andy (Andy Mallaby, ed.) and Keepin (Chris Keepin, ed.) would provide instrumentals for me to write lyrics over, and Noah (Noah Plant, ed.) got involved to write the drums to suit his own personal flow before hitting the studio to track them. We all know Osiah’s sound now, and I feel like Osiah in itself is its own entity, it is our job as musicians to nurture it and do all we can to help it grow alongside us.
What inspires you to create music and lyrics? Only music, or something else?
Ricky: Personally I feel like my purpose in life is to be an artist, and with music it’s all I was put on this planet to do. Doing this life truly connects and fuels my soul, and in music I’ve always felt home, it helps me get those deep emotions out and the people I’ve met along the way inspire me to keep going, and I couldn’t imagine living without them, especially my Osiah boys. Previously on guitar I would find myself getting lost inside it, and feeling peace, but there’s something deeper with using your voice, my whole body is my instrument and I feel my purge and growth every time I let it out. No matter what else I do in life, I’ll always gravitate to music.
On this album, you have two guest singers, Jason Evans from Ingested and Ben Duerr from Shadow Of Intent / Hollow Prophet. How did those collaborations happen?
Ricky: Ben was originally meant to be on the first record, but with it been so conceptual it made it incredibly difficult to achieve on a deadline, this time round was perfect and we’ve known each other for a while in music, and honestly, this just felt like the right time to make it happen and as soon as I hit him up he was down. Jason, on the other hand is like family to us. Ingested and Osiah have shared the road a few times in different ways, Jason guested on one of my solo projects and I also guested on Ingested The Level Above Human album.
In 2019 I also joined Ingested on the road for a few dates to help them out as a touring vocalist while Jason sorted some important home tasks. We’d wanted Jason on an Osiah record for a long time, and once again, this just felt right. I couldn’t be more proud of both their works on this record, and it was well worth the wait.
On the album, I feel obviously a lot of violence, some technical parts, but also some melancholy and blackness, like on Loss, the eponymous song, or The Ominous Mind (Jaded Inside). Do you also feel the same? How did you manage to create this balance?
Ricky: Yeah, I’d agree, but I guess that’s just the beauty of Osiah. From the beginning it’s always had these elements but over the years we’ve obviously refined the sound, and that’s what I mean about how Osiah exists as its own entity; because even though the songwriters and instrumentalists have changed, and we have also all grown as people, Osiah has grown with us and never really deviated from its core sound or feel. It just says a lot about us as peopleI feel, the north is tough, and there’s a lot of that struggle that has engrained itself into us, but, we aren’t beasts man, we’re just chill dudes trying to write about real shit in an angry way, and I guess that’s how we get that sound, it’s just us, being ourselves and letting the music flow free from us.
When Osiah was created, it was a solo project, then it came back to a full-band. What are the differences between creating music alone and with band members?
Ricky: Well, technically, Osiah was a band before the solo project, but many don’t know this. We originally formed from our old band Humanity Depraved and wrote some new tunes, hit the road and did a few little decent things, but the timing was wrong, and we just couldn’t do it justice. So instead of shelving it, we all went off to do different bands and I carried it on after a little hiatus, but that’s when people started to notice it and obviously that’s how people defined the start. Nothing has really changed, Perennial Agony is for many the start to Osiah, but we’d released stuff long before then, and the writing process hasn’t really changed since, most of the times all of us just write a song solo anyways, Keepin and Andy will just work on an instrumental and sometimes confer amongst themselves to get it perfect, and previously I just used to write full songs, or sing riffs to the lads so they could record my thoughts. I honestly can’t put into words how proud I am of Osiah, that even with this much ‘change’ it has never deviated, and has always just matured into what it is today.
Covid-19 fucked a lot of things up since last year, how did you manage to deal with the situation as a band? Does the crisis have any impact on Loss?
Ricky: It was horrible man, we’ve been in this for so long and just as we were picking up speed this happened, Loss is 100% driven by this emotion, we lost all our tours, watched our dreams get crushed and we threw all of it into this record. It’s angry, it’s sad, it’s claustrophobic, but it’s so damn powerful. Loss is real, there’s no gimmicks, no pretending to be tough guys, no shock factor, just real pain. We missed each other a lot, it was over a year I hadn’t seen my closest friends, but we created something special from it, and making this album really helped me, it probably saved me if I’m honest. I know the lads feel the same way about this record, it’s incredibly personal and the response has been greatly appreciated.
Even if the future is still full of doubts, do you have some plans for the band’s future you can tell us?
Ricky: We just want to put out a tonne of content on our social media until we get the opportunity to hit the road, our options are limited on what we can do due to Covid-19, but we are still doing everything we can to support this record, so thank you for your time and helping us do just that.
As Osiah is based in the United Kingdom, does Brexit have any impact on the band?
Ricky: Oh man, I think so, but not from my end. I see everyone in my friendship group complain about it and how its affected their art, but for me it’s still too early and we aren’t able to tour now anyways (which is what I care most about,) things change all the time, and I’m one of those wait until we know the full picture kinda guys, some rule or regulation will just change anyways by the time it really matters, and if it doesn’t, so be it, we’ll do what we have to do. Apart from that, merch has took a slight profit hit I believe, but it hasn’t really impacted us massively at the same time.
Osiah signed with Unique Leader for some years now, how do you feel about this cooperation with your label?
Ricky: Love them, the best thing about Unique Leader is that they’re musicians themselves, so they get it, and Unique Leader understands Osiah and allows us our creative freedom to just be ourselves. Above all though, there’s some absolutely sick material coming from this label and we truly feel that now is the Renaissance of Deathcore, with Unique Leader at the helm. We are proud to be a part of it.
Do you remember what led you to the Deathcore/extreme Metal universe?
Ricky: It had always been on my radar, I got heavily into Thrash when I was younger, and used to listen to Old School Death Metal with a few friends but it was always missing something for me, when I first saw All Shall Perish on Headbangers Ball, and then Suicide Silence on MySpace that was it, fully hooked. I played in a Metalcore band with Andy at the time, and we quickly transitioned to Deathcore once it emerged. There’s just no energy like it.
Do you remember the first time you tried to sing? When and how was it?
Ricky: I grew up jamming Blues with my dad and his friends in our kitchen, I was raised in a very musical environment because my dad was a musician, so I always had a little singing experience. Then I heard Hatebreed, and I could just, kinda do that style. Not for very long, but enough to start to refine the skill, and slowly over time with playing guitar and doing backing vocals in a Metalcore band and then later a Deathcore band I discovered I had a voice, I never really put much time into it cause I was very much a guitarist until Osiah started to take off, then I had to practice and learn how to do it properly. It’s been fun, there’s still tonnes I want to learn but at the moment it’s just finding time and I’m very Old School anyways so these new techniques just sound a bit over the top to me, though I still very much appreciate the skill required, I’m not sure it has a place in Osiah, I guess I’m just old.
What do you love about your music that you cannot find in other band’s music?
Ricky: The diversity, I just find it so interesting that we can blend so many themes and styles and still find a way to write meaningful lyrics…. or just go all out savage. You never know how a song is going to end up when we start, and that’s what I love most about watching it develop, even though we write it, it truly has a mind of its own.
Do you have hobbies aside from music? Do you also have a job, or does your music income allow you to live?
Ricky: I love the gym, and I love adventuring and gaming. I work full time as a manager for a tattoo company now, but previously I made 100% of my income from music, I used to work in the tribute scene, and even though the money was great and allowed me to grow my craft, everything else about it sucked and for lack of a better term, was musical prostitution.
What is your best and your worst experience as a musician ever?
Ricky: So yeah man, the tribute scene sucked. It was incredibly degrading for me as a musician and as a person, but it paid the bills I guess, and taught me a lot of valuable lessons. Even though the money was good, over time the scene slowly died and we got less and less gigs, until eventually I was broke, but if I wanted to continue funding Osiah I had to just keep going until I could find a better job. This is something we can all relate to in this band, we’ve had to find careers we can do alongside Osiah, because a lot of jobs won’t give you time off to tour, or support a decision that could end up with you leaving. But, with this struggle comes respite, honestly, playing European festivals is incredible, I dreamed my whole life of being able to do what I do now, and every step to get here is so worthwhile when I get to step on a stage and do what I love with the people I love by my side. America and Japan next please.
Maybe you already heard about the french Metal scene? Which french bands do you know?
Ricky: I’m going to be honest, I don’t keep up to date with much music, especially Metal, I don’t really listen to anything heavy nowadays, unless it’s one of my friends bands, or a band I’ve toured with that’s dropped something new. I know Andy loved The Bridal Procession, and Betraying the Martyrs, who are sick! We need to play France, we need to see the local bands, and we need to feel the venues, it’s something we still need to experience and I hope we get to real soon, because that’s how I personally learn the scenes.
What if I ask you to compare Osiah’s music with an english dish? Which one andwhy?
Ricky: Cheesy Chips and Blue Pop. It’s the staple diet of those from Newcastle and Sunderland and if you’re ever in our presence, we are indeed very northern.
Last question: which bands would you love to tour with? I let you create a tour with Osiah and three other bands!
Ricky: Ooooof, right. Metallica headline, Slipknot main support, Whitechapel and then us. That’s a dream line up there.
That was the last question for me! Thanks a lot for your time, last words are yours!
Ricky: Thanks for taking this time, with us off the road it feels great to be given this opportunity to promote the record this way, if you’re reading this and you haven’t checked out Loss yet, (or anything else we’ve done) then please take a moment to check us out on any streaming service, and if you like it, tell a friend and we’d love to hear from you both. We love you all for your support and we can’t wait to get out on the road again.