In a Wheel interview last year, The Ceremonies said that their influences — Ian McCulloch of Echo & the Bunnymen, Robert Smith of The Cure and Morrissey of The Smiths — “are all three poets in their own right.” Those exact words are especially true when it comes to The Ceremonies themselves.
The band, once solely comprised of brothers Matthew, Mark and Michael Cook, now includes their dear friend and fellow creative talent Kane Ritchotte. Ever since The Ceremonies’ self-titled debut album, they have continued to challenge and evoke the imaginations and perceptions of their audiences.
In addition to working on their second album, the band has been making Sundays ceremonial with “Ceremony Sunday” videos that they post on their YouTube channel. What the videos clearly reveal is The Ceremonies’ ability to break down the limits of creativity. They have covered artists ranging from John Lennon and Sia to The Weeknd — adding their unique sound to each and every creation.
The Ceremonies recently released a new video of a song from the band’s upcoming second album. The video is a live-stripped rendition of their creation called “Tonight Is the Night,” and was shot on Mulholland Drive in the band’s native city of Los Angeles.
In the song, The Ceremonies take their audiences on an all-encompassing journey of a turning point in a relationship. Much like the band’s previous creations, “Tonight Is the Night” solidifies The Ceremonies as more than just a band, as the creation proves to be the product of poetic and sonic intellectual thinkers.
The raw sound and visuals that encompass the video of “Tonight Is the Night” enable audiences to transport their minds through their screens and subsequently feel as if they are physically and emotionally right beside The Ceremonies on Mulholland Drive.
When viewing the spectrum of The Ceremonies’ creations from the very beginning all the way up to this point, it is clear that the band is like a four-piece bouquet of roses. There is much more than meets the external aesthetics of their creations, as their lyrics and sounds never fail to delicately and passionately bloom with deep inner meaning and thought.
The Ceremonies will be performing in Los Angeles at The Roxy on June 22 and at Bardot for School Night on June 29. The band took the time to answer some questions in an email, discussing a wide range of topics, from the inspiration behind “Tonight Is the Night” and in what kind of ceremony they would play their song, to what audiences can look forward to in their upcoming live shows.
Benazir Wehelie: What is the meaning behind the song’s title — “Tonight Is the Night”?
The Ceremonies: It means something of significance is happening that night, be it love, confrontation, sex — it’s a turning point in a relationship.
BW: What is the inspiration behind the song?
TC: “Tonight Is the Night” is inspired by the notion of real love, something that is boundless and undying, despite whatever physical or emotional barriers get in the way.
BW: If you were to describe the meaning or emotions behind “Tonight Is the Night” using a creation by someone from the past — a poem, work of literature, piece of art or scene from a film — what would you choose?
TC: “Romeo and Juliet”
BW: How would you describe the overall lyrics and sounds that encompass “Tonight Is the Night”?
TC: We would say they are leaning toward romantic, but they are also really grounded in reality. The song acknowledges that despite loving someone wholly, for whatever reason, they can’t be together right now. The sound feels nostalgic, like a high school prom in the 80s.
BW: What was the most challenging and rewarding aspect of creating this piece of music?
TC: The process was really quite fluid, we took some time to discuss and plan out what we wanted to say before writing it, and then when we had that figured out it came together pretty well.
BW: If you were to select a specific kind of ceremony in which to play “Tonight Is the Night,” what kind of ceremony would you choose?
TC: Perhaps the night of a prom, anything where lovers are shortly after off on their separate paths.
BW: Is there a specific lyric within the song that each of you find most interesting or intriguing to you personally?
TC: “her kiss is never over, a moment feels too long ago”
BW: How does this piece of music compare to the creations from your first album?
TC: This is a live-stripped rendition and not a polished mixed/mastered song, so it’s difficult to say — because we feel the song itself will fit in with the rest of the EP in terms of intention and meaning. Perhaps sonically, the album version will showcase a little more of our 80s influence that we’ve since showcased on a song like “Wolfdance” off our [first] EP.
BW: Your previous cover songs and personal band music videos have been shot primarily indoors. The live acoustic video for “Tonight Is the Night,” however, was shot outdoors on Mulholland Drive — is there a particular reason you chose this location?
TC: This is a good point. We tried driving the car indoors, but it didn’t work. People don’t like it when you try to drive indoors. But in all seriousness, we really like the view looking off Mulholland Drive and felt it really fit the vibe of the song. We’re also big fans of David Lynch and liked the subconscious association we made with his film named after that road.
BW: Has your native city of Los Angeles influenced your creations — whether the songs themselves or your music videos — in any way?
TC: Definitely, a perfect example is in the previous answer — the fact that we have driven through Mulholland Drive so many times and that we felt that visual fit the song so well. Despite the song being written before we decided to shoot there, it could have easily been the other way around and that the location inspired the song. I really believe there is some truth to the saying that people are products of their environments.
BW: How would you say the creation of your live acoustic video for “Tonight Is the Night” in particular enhances the experience of the music for both yourselves and your audiences?
TC: We think visuals can set or further a tone for music in 2015. In the 80s and even early 90s, there were a lot of artists rebelling against shooting videos because they wanted the sole concentration to be on the sonics. They felt visuals would dilute the experience. While we appreciate and understand this perspective, we’re more interested in music as an all around experience. A multimedia endeavor that takes you on a more guided adventure. We think having several different videos for one song, (like we did with “Land of Gathering”), proves that visuals don’t limit the experience of the song, they can further it by showing multiple perspectives. Think of it like reading a book and then seeing a movie based on the book — Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club was an incredible read, but what you envisioned when reading was without a doubt different than David Fincher’s adaptation — no less incredible, but a different perspective.
BW: If you were to describe the music on your upcoming second album in one word or one sentence, what would you say?
TC: Our EP was largely written with the intention of keeping the perspective of a child; our new music feels more true to the adolescent’s point of view.
BW: What are you most excited about from your latest creations?
TC: We have a lot of songs at this point and are really just excited to start showing them and getting them out there. All we can do is stay true to making what we like and hope that it makes others feel something as well.
BW: What can listeners look forward to most from The Ceremonies with regards to the second album and live shows?
TC: A real Ceremony — visuals paired with the entire show, unexpected turns, a real communal experience.
BW: Can you speak about the addition of Kane Ritchotte to The Ceremonies?
TC: Kane is our dear friend and like a fourth brother to us. We are aligned on a really deeply creative level. He has been integral in our new work, and we really feel connected as a band and familial unit. Our first two tours in support of our first EP we did as a six-piece band, which was a great option to explore. We learned a lot, but we’ve felt our new layout as a four-piece band is more true to our sound.
BW: What is the title of your second album and how did you decide on the title?
TC: That’s a really tough question, we’re actually wrestling with it right now. What we can tell you now is that the second album will most definitely have a name, and at some point in the future, we will most definitely decide on it.
BW: What is the release date for your second album?
TC: Another very tough question that we’re also wrestling with. We can say that the next release of music is coming, just like winter in “Game of Thrones.” (Spoken like Jon Snow — “It’s coming.”)
Copy Chief | Benazir Wehelie is a College senior originally from Johannesburg, South Africa working toward a film studies degree. She transferred to Emory University her sophomore year and joined The Emory Wheel as assistant copy chief. Having lived in South Africa, Monaco and the United States, Benazir is always ready to travel and experience different areas of the world.