Soul Control - Rory Vangrol

Interview Date: May 19, 2009

Associated band: Soul Control


You guys have been recording a new album, which is being finished up in a couple days. How has your first large recording session with the guys in Soul Control been?rnrn

RORY VANGROL: With the singles, we recorded everything in one twelve-hour session. This time around, we've had a lot more time to do some different things, so in that sense, it's been nice. Recording for me is always stressful; I'm not a person that enjoys it all that much to be honest. We've been recording with Jay Maas, and he makes recording seem more like hanging out than anything, so it's been very relaxed and very productive. To be honest I haven't been at the studio much. I started showing up when vocals needed to be started. I was and still am fully confident in what the other guys want in the sound aspect of this record; they didn't need me to keep a seat warm on the couch.

Aside from the \"singles\" released, this new album is really your first big opportunity to introduce yourself as the vocalist of Soul Control. What is it like to step into a band after they have already made an impression on the music scene?rnrn

RORY: Well honestly I would say at this point I've been in the band over a year, and we've done a bunch of tours so I don't feel new anymore. I guess as a whole this will be my first with Soul Control to have the lyric aspect, be somewhat of a focus. At first I had some reservations about replacing another singer. I've never joined a band; all the bands I've been in, I was always there from day one until the last day. That was different, but I just focused on what the band is now and with more new songs and more touring I don't feel much pressure from outside forces. I am my own worst critic, so if I feel comfortable with everything then I don't care what other people really have to say. The impression we are currently making is more important to me than the impression that was there previously, always moving forward.

Soul Control always had strong lyrical content in the past, especially regarding philosophy. Is the new material similar for lyrical style as in the past?rnrn

RORY: Well Matt was into philosophy, so it makes sense that he wrote along those lines. Me personally, that's not me, and that's not how I write. If there is any sort of connection, it's not on purpose. So I would say the lyrical style is a bit different, but in the same sense, it's close to each other. I think Matt's lyrics were very personal in nature but with a different spin on them. I can see where he was coming from on those songs; I think my lyrics are personal in nature and or in a sense on the same level. We just have a different way of conveying our messages about our mindsets.

Bridge 9 is putting out this record. How did the signing to B9 come about?rnrn

RORY: Bridge 9 is most certainly putting out this new record. We were in some desert in Arizona on our last U.S tour, and we got a phone call from them. We pulled over, and Jim talked on the phone while the rest of us explored some desert. As a band we felt that if we were going to write a full length, it would have to be with a label that would actually push it as much as we will, and I think with Bridge 9 that will happen. I'm sure we had help from friends being on Bridge 9, and the singles just came out…. Who knows really.

How did you come to be the singer of Soul Control after Matt left?rnrn

RORY: After Matt let the other guys know he didn't want to do the band anymore, they didn't know what to do. They didn't really want to stop, and, well, didn't really know what to do. So Jim talked to Sean from Verse and told him about Matt. Sean mentioned that I sang for some bands and told them that they should talk to me. Jim stopped by Nice Slice where I work and asked if I'd like to try out, gave me the Involution CD and his number and some songs I should try to learn. I told him that I would be down to try it out; I think a couple days later, we got together and I sang I Struggle. It went pretty well, then I asked if they had any new songs, and we kind-of went from there. They played it cool and said they would give me a call, and they called me about 2 hours later, then we started practicing.

You were also in several other bands from New York before coming to Soul Control. How did you first get into performing music?rnrn

RORY: Yeah I've been doing bands since I was fifteen years old. I guess I got into it because I was skateboarding and some of my friends weren't so good at skateboarding so they started playing music plus we need something to do in the winter months. Skateboarding got me into punk and from that I guess I just got into singing for bands, and from that I skated less and started doing music more.

rn rnrn
How surreal was it to perform at Burning Fight with such influential bands from the 90s? What were your top five sets of the weekend?rnrn

RORY: It was so awesome to be able to play and be a part of such an awesome event. The bands were so great, but honestly the vibe of that show was unstoppable. I'm thinking about it now, and it makes me smile. I really can't put into words how great that weekend was for me personally. So many friends, so many smiles, everyone wanted to be there and was so excited to be a part of what was happening. It made me realize how special that time was and how sometimes music is so much more than music; it's something that brings us together to share ourselves with each other. Run down on my top five of the weekend:


1.) Unbroken rn
2.) Guilt rn
3.) 108 rn
4.) Bane rn
5.) Trial

Outside of Providence, where do you guys get the best reactions from crowds on tour?rnrn

RORY: I would have to say some of the best responses have been Redding, CA and Oklahoma City, OK. Those two spots pop into my mind off the bat.

In a few days, you will be playing in the batch of Verse's last shows in Providence. How do you feel about that bit of Providence hardcore coming to a close? rn

RORY: I saw Verse when they had their demo out in Syracuse, NY a handful of years ago, and I really liked it. I've been into that band from then on. I think Verse is a great band with a lot of great things to offer people who think outside of their own personal world. They need to do what they think is best for them as a band. I think Aggression is the best record that they have in their catalog, so it's a bummer that I won't get to rage with them as much as I would like to. But you know what? You make do with what you have and enjoy the moments that are in front of you; that's important. Don't take for granted what you surround yourself with because you never know when it'll be gone. Go to shows and flip out because you want to be there and do those things not because you feel like you owe someone something or feel like you have to be there. That's how I feel about it.

Does Providence have a strong music scene now that Verse is gone and the Living Room has shut down? What bands should people check out that represent RI?rnrn

RORY: Music scene: yes. Hardcore scene: not in the traditional sense. As far as Verse and the Living Room are concerned, I don't think they hinder what's been going on in Providence. The Living Room never really catered to anything but bigger shows in Providence, and honestly your average hardcore show in Providence doesn't draw more than 40 people usually, unless it's something bigger. Places like AS220 and Firehouse 13 are a lot friendlier and more comfortable than The Living Room in my opinion, plus better sound, even if they are a bit smaller. The only reason The Living Room was nice was for that occasional bigger show like the Verse Record Release show. Also I don't think a club and or a band make up a scene, it should be about the people and the energy within the rooms that contain it no matter if that’s a basement, VFW or club.

rn rn

As far as music in Providence, tons of awesome music is made within the Ocean State. Here's a quick list is people care to check it out. Outrage, Tabernackle, Product Of Waste, Tides, The Body, Megasus, Dropdead, My Only Freedom, My Devil My Pocket, Deertick, Chris Paddock, Dead Times, Daughters, Death Vessel. There is a no lack of music in Rhode Island, that's for sure. There’s always a show pretty much any night of the week. This list is pretty broad and gives a good example of what there is in Rhode Island.