SPICE’s Ross Farrar on new music, Ceremony’s success and more

This week down the line at Soundsphere HQ, we have Ross Farrar of Ceremony fame talking to Dom Smith. Topics we cover include how he’s coped with lockdown, his beginnings as a musician, touring, how he has developed personally and much more.

As is expected in many interviews the topic of lockdown comes up, but Ross seems positive about his experience of it. “I’ve enjoyed it thus far, but not playing shows has been a little bit difficult, especially with Spice because we kinda wanted to start it up strong so even just locally just playing shows, we’ve only played one gig so far, so to just get a handful of gigs under our belt would be nice,” remarks Ross.

Ross made a name for himself in Ceremony, a hardcore punk band that defied conventions throughout the early 2000s and 2010s with their eclectic approach to music-making. The group have six albums and three EPs under their belt. Ross found his way into becoming a musician at an early age, after starting around 5/6 garage and punk bands while in his teens. “It’s become second nature to me, just creating or starting other projects.”

Speaking of SPICE, we asked Ross what the mission statement is for his new venture, which has slowly built after being sent music while living on the American East Coast since 2017. “Just getting into the room and playing, fixing songs, starting songs over, throwing songs away, the whole process to us is a pretty beautiful thing, “ enthuses Ross. The band are thinking of releasing a new single each month once the recording is done on the second LP.

Hopefully, new music will lead to a new tour (Covid- 19 permitting) but don’t expect a year-long tour or anything. “I would like to do short stints, like two weeks at the most, growing up in Ceremony and playing in Ceremony I toured so much for the last 15 years. I remember doing like half a year of touring, I can’t really do that as much anymore,” comments Ross.

With all his time in Ceremony, and now with his new project SPICE, how has he developed as a person? He talks about touring with Ceremony and how being in the industry and helped him develop personally. “It really does give you a sense of compassion and empathy for human beings, I can’t tell you how many times there has been dangerous and scary situations while touring and being in a band, and then there’s the opposite end of that where there have been really, really beautiful moments.”

This leads quite nicely into talking through one of the SPICE tracks from their self- titled debut, which is called ‘All My Best Shit’, which is a fusion of indie and punk you have to hear. The explanation of the track comes from a place of a “nostalgia for something that wasn’t there.” The song is a big hit with the growing SPICE fanbase as well, Ross gives an explanation to why people are connecting with it so much, “I think the reason for people liking it so much is that it sounds familiar, but it also sounds like from another planet almost.”

Ross also gives some excellent advice to younger musicians wanting to make it in the industry, which involves thinking about the audience want, along with what you want. “You have to think about the people too, you can’t be selfish with the thing you’re making, I think this is a part about reading the times that we’re in, speaking to what’s happening in the world or speaking to what you think is definitely wrong with people or how you can fix it, “ remarks Ross.

As the interview nears its natural conclusion we also touch upon Ross’s teaching, which he is very enthusiastic about continuing. After doing a grad program in poetry and having to teach a class of 40 students his experience was a very positive one, “First time I walked out of the classroom I was like ‘wow, this is what I want to do’.”

After that enlightening chat I think we have all come away learning a lot about Ross, along with making great new music with SPICE he also happens to be a top notch guy!

Interview: Dom Smith / Words: Brett Herlingshaw