Sevenstring.org Interview: Ben Carroll of Ra

Discussion in 'Artist Reviews & Interviews' started by Chris, Sep 19, 2004.

  1. Chris

    Chris metalguitarist.org Forum MVP

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    <div align="right"><img src="http://www.sevenstring.org/newsimages/ra/ra_xlogo2.gif" alt="Ben Carroll of Ra" />
    <b>Interview: Ben Carroll of Ra</b>
    <font size="1"><i>By: Chris Quigley</i></font>
    </div>
    <div align="center">
    "What Ra has always stood for is hope," says Sahaj... That faith has been tested in the three years since the band's debut, One, which sold more than 20k as an indie release before getting picked up by Republic/Universal and released as From One. It went on to sales of more than 200k on the strength of the Top 10 Active Rock single, "Do You Call My Name," thanks to massive airplay by Boston station WAAF and a breakneck touring schedule of more than 200 dates in less than a year." - <b><font color="orange">Ra Official Website</font></b>
    </div>
    <img style="padding:20px;" align="left" src="http://www.sevenstring.org/newsimages/ra/1.jpg" alt="Ben Carroll of Ra" />
    <span style="color:red;font-weight:bold;">Chris</span>: Thanks for taking the time to meet up with me bro. I realize these impromptu interviews are a pain in the ass. [opens a beer] So give us the story of how you joined Ra.
    <span style="color:eek:range;font-weight:bold;">Ben Carroll</span>: Yeah, they're brutal. [laughs] I joined Ra in Dec2001/Jan2002, after 3-4 months of searching for a band that had a vocalist that could actually sing. My first real band (Absence of Faith) had just broken up. I actually found an ad [Ra vocalist] Sahaj had posted on the internet. We got in touch and set up an audition, at that time the band was based out of NYC/NJ and I was living in Massachusetts. I got the gig and moved to NJ, sleeping on Sahaj's couch sometimes, but mostly in the rehearsal studio with lots of bugs.

    <span style="color:red;font-weight:bold;">777</span>: I remember catching you guys in NYC at the Hard Rock at one of your first shows with the band. You seemed to "break" more as a Mass band than an NYC band though.
    <span style="color:eek:range;font-weight:bold;">BC</span>: After a couple of months of playing in the NJ, NY, PA area, and struggling to stay showered, I persuaded the band to come up and play my old stomping ground in MA. The first show we played in MA was the NEMO music industry showcase, to a whopping 5 people if you count the bartenders. But at that show was a friend of the program director at Boston Radio Station WAAF. That friend of the program director just happened to be the vocalist for my old band AOF James Garrity (who now works with our management co. Andon Artists.) He was blown away, so I gave him a CD to bring to Carrie (WAAF) to see if she was interested, and she loved it! Carrie pulled a favor with producer extraordinaire Toby Wright, had him remix "Do You Call My Name" for the radio and started testing the song to see if it got a reaction. The phones lit up!

    <img style="padding:20px;" align="right" src="http://www.sevenstring.org/newsimages/ra/2.jpg" alt="Ben Carroll of Ra" />
    <span style="color:red;font-weight:bold;">777</span>: I'll bet! The song is outstanding, I remember hearing it for the first time on the radio and thinking "This is going to be big.".
    <span style="color:eek:range;font-weight:bold;">BC</span>: Tons of people called in to find out who the band was, so the single got added to regular rotation, and soon became the #1 requested song for weeks on end at WAAF. During this time I was running the quasi-street team trying to keep people at requesting the song. I ran up a 700$ phone bill that month - to all you people in up and coming bands out there, Street Teams are gold!

    <span style="color:red;font-weight:bold;">777</span>:And once you got the airplay up here, Universal took notice.
    <span style="color:eek:range;font-weight:bold;">BC</span>: We started playing in the MA/NH area regularly to crowds that were growing significantly and went from playing to 5 people to playing to 1000 in just a couple months. We put together the EP "One" to release in the MA/NH record store chain Newbury Comics. At first they ordered 5 CD's I think. Those sold out in seconds. Another order was placed for maybe 10x that, and those sold out in a day. Then they placed an order for 300 CD's, cancelled that order and put in an order for 1000 CD's, cancelled that order and put in an order for 10,000 CD'S!!! In an industry that is run wholly on numbers, this turned some heads and we started getting some offers. Soon after we signed a deal with Universal/Republic Records around July of 2002.

    <span style="color:red;font-weight:bold;">777</span>: And then the recording began.
    <span style="color:eek:range;font-weight:bold;">BC</span>: Yeah. They sent us directly in the studio (Sound on Sound, Manhattan, NYC) and we recorded mixed and mastered From One in 30 days! 30 days of total insanity. To make a long story short, after the album was released we hit the road and toured for a year, playing with bands I'd been listening to for years as well as a lot of other up and coming bands like: Korn, Godsmack, Sevendust, Disturbed, Stained, 3 Doors Down, Trapt, Shinedown, Evanescence, Seether, Breaking Benjamin, Stone Sour, and tons of other bands, we even did a show with Def Leppard!

    <img style="padding:20px;" align="left" src="http://www.sevenstring.org/newsimages/ra/4.jpg" alt="Ra" />
    <span style="color:red;font-weight:bold;">777</span>:What's your basic live and recording rig?
    <span style="color:eek:range;font-weight:bold;">BC</span>:Live, I use ESP Guitars, many makes and models. I have somewhere upwards of 12 ESP's, 6 & 7 strings. I also have an Ibanez Universe, an Ibanez S-series custom, and Ibanez RG 7 string that I never play anymore since I've been endorsed by ESP. I run through Mesa Dual Rectifier heads, Mesa Cabs, with a Boss GT-6 for effects. This was for the last tour, hopefully I'll be upgrading for the next tour.

    In the studio I'm using ESP Stephen Carpenter 7 string and assorted other ESP's, as well as some Gibson Les Paul's, (always the producers favorite). Always layering guitar tracks with different guitar/amp combos to get thick tones. For amps, Mesa heads and cabs, Marshall heads and cabs, Roland JC 120, Peavy and Fender combo amps [laughs] some other stuff. As far as effects, basically whatever. I play with a lot of shit to try and find cool sounds.

    <span style="color:red;font-weight:bold;">777</span>: You're endorsed by ESP now. How's that working out?
    <span style="color:eek:range;font-weight:bold;">BC</span>: Getting endorsed by ESP was probably the coolest moment in my life. ESP has been absolutely wonderful to me. I remember the day my 1st shipment of guitars came, I think I got 4 guitars that day it was better than every Christmas I ever had all rolled into one! Since then I've been to the factory in CA a few times and have grabbed a few more guitars. We make it a point to stop in every time we are in town.

    <img style="padding:20px;" align="right" src="http://www.sevenstring.org/newsimages/ra/5.jpg" alt="Ra" />
    <span style="color:red;font-weight:bold;">777</span>: How's the sevenstring work into it all?
    <span style="color:eek:range;font-weight:bold;">BC</span>:I've been playing 7 string guitars for 12-13years, since I was 15 and I first heard Steve Vai's "Passion and Warfare." My first was an Ibanez Universe which I still have today. The reason I've stuck to 7 strings is because, well for one they are really freekin cool, but also because of the dynamic range you get with a 7 string. A lot of modern bands today use 6 string tuned down, but the problem with that is you lose a lot of dynamic expression. A lot of the stuff I do with Ra requires having that higher range for solo's or ethereal effect sounds, while at the same time I need the lower range to get great heavy rhythm tones. We use super heavy tuned down rhythm guitars layered with lots of higher melody guitar parts or atmosphere guitar parts. We could not do what we do without seven string guitars.

    <span style="color:red;font-weight:bold;">777</span>:Can't say I blame you. So what's going on now?
    <span style="color:eek:range;font-weight:bold;">BC</span>: Now we are coming to the tail end of recording our second album "Duality" which is now 10 months in the works, a far cry from the 30 days of From One. In the past 10 months we've recorded close to 30 songs and the best of those will make the album. Once we pick the lead single (maybe "Tell Me") we'll get a radio release date and start the insanity all over again.

    <span style="color:red;font-weight:bold;">777</span>: Killer. Good luck with the new album. I can't wait to see you back on the road!
    <span style="color:eek:range;font-weight:bold;">BC</span>: Thanks. Can't wait to be back out!
    <div align="center">
    <a href="http://www.raband.net"><span class="ivred">www.raband.net</span></a>
    </div>
     
  2. DangerousTacos

    DangerousTacos dt.com Irregular :P

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    Ra is awesome. At least SOME good bands out there use a 7... :)
     
  3. paradigmdream

    paradigmdream SS.org Regular

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    I've met that guy a few times. his old band that he mentions, Absence of Faith, was incredible. I saw Ra back when ben has just joined the band too. good stuff. i think i still have their demo lying around somewhere
     
  4. Chris

    Chris metalguitarist.org Forum MVP

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    Heh, we've probably been to the same shows if you've seen AoF live. Ben was my roommate when he was in that band and up until he left to join Ra.

    I have that demo as well. Mule is a rippin' track. :metal:
     
  5. paradigmdream

    paradigmdream SS.org Regular

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    did you ever go to the Post Pig Roast? it was one of AoF's last shows.

    sadly, that was the only time i got to see them before they broke up
     
  6. Chris

    Chris metalguitarist.org Forum MVP

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    Yup, I was there. That was in like Plaistow or so, right? I remember the fucking stage being on top of a hill, and playing a LOT of drunken frisbee. :lol:

    Did you catch Eve To Adam's set that night? They're friends of mine/Ben's as well. Great bunch of guys.

    AoF's singer is Ra's manager right now, btw.
     
  7. paradigmdream

    paradigmdream SS.org Regular

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    oh man, i totally forgot about eve to adam. i'm gonna have to dig up their cd, i have it around here somewhere.

    i've met garrity a few times, my cousin's band is good friends with him. have you heard of Shot Down Sun by chance?
     
  8. Chris

    Chris metalguitarist.org Forum MVP

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    http://www.evetoadam.com

    Those guys are so goddamn good live. :metal:

    Haven't heard of SDS, no.

    Edit: btw, small world, eh? :lol:
     
  9. paradigmdream

    paradigmdream SS.org Regular

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    i would love to see them live again

    sds is a grindy/deathy sorta band. heres a link if you wanna check em out. http://www.myspace.com/shotdownsun

    and yeah heh tis a small small world
     
  10. moonshine1

    moonshine1 SS.org Regular

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    WOW!! people actually KNOW about ben. Its realy cool to know that people INTERVIEW BEN!!! it makes me very proud to be his cousin
     
  11. Makelele

    Makelele SS.org Regular

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    He's a member here too, but I don't think he's been posting in a while.


    http://www.sevenstring.org/forum/member.php?u=368
     
  12. Chris

    Chris metalguitarist.org Forum MVP

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    There will be a follow-up interview with Ben coming up soon, since he's in two bands now (Ra and Jediah) and this interview's two years old. :)
     
  13. Chris

    Chris metalguitarist.org Forum MVP

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    As a heads up, Ra is in the studio now recording their third studio album, Black Sun. :metal:
     
  14. Satch

    Satch Contributor

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    Key your eyes posted for RA's new record "Black Sun" this year. I know the recording is in progress and I will have something posted on RaFans.net once I get a taste of the new sound.

    I've heard the new record will have more of the heavy tones of From One with a little middle eastern influence...

    Can't wait!
     
  15. ben

    ben Forum MVP

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    We have a couple of "Black Sun" tracks posted on myspace.com/ramusic
    check em out, tell me what you think!
     
  16. ben

    ben Forum MVP

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    hey, check out the new Ra album BLACK SUN! Out NOW!
     
  17. lava

    lava Gelatinous

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    I just happened to check this band out based on this interview... WOW! They are great! I love "Faulty Information".
     
  18. ben

    ben Forum MVP

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    ANNOUNCING:

    Monthly Ra guitar lesson workshop with Ben Carroll.


    COMPLETE TAB and VIDEO!



    Every month I will be discussing a new Ra song and teaching you how to play it!

    This months song is “Sky.”

    Get the “Sky” guitar lesson with COMPLETE TAB & VIDEO right now!

    More Info and Download

    BenCarrollMusic.com
     
  19. ben

    ben Forum MVP

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    Live 1-on-1 guitar lessons with Ben Carroll, guitarist for Ra. No matter where you live you can have live in person guitar lessons with the Ra guitarist!

    “I have lessons with people all over the country and it honestly feels like we are together in the same room jamming! It's great! I'll have one lesson in California, the next in North Dakota, then Arizona...without ever leaving my house.”

    For more info and booking visit:

    BenCarrollMusic.com
     
  20. Matti_Ice

    Matti_Ice TR Guitarist

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    Ben is one of those unsung heroes! He also is a very "conservative" guitar player. A lot of guys with skills like his tend to overplay songs, but Ben is what makes Ra great, they're songs are catchy and easy to follow.
     

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