“We are ultimately pioneers of our own sound”: Oxford Legends Ride Discuss Their Adventurous 7th Album ‘Interplay’

Ride © Cal McIntyre
Ride © Cal McIntyre
Oxford shoegaze icons Ride discuss the creative process behind their adventurous seventh album ‘Interplay,’ surprising themselves along the way with their own imaginations and innovative production.
Stream: ‘Interplay’ – Ride

Despite the tendency for many music resurgences that continue to create static in the current airways, English rock band Ride have managed to create something truly unique.

Pioneers behind multiple adored albums, their ability to push the boundaries of their own image, while staying true to their distinct sound is a testament to Ride’s legacy. With gargantuan sounds and poignant riffs that are effortlessly replayable, the band’s seventh studio album Interplay is a record that easily tops the charts of their discography.

“And like a lot of bands, we are ultimately pioneers of our own sound.”

Interplay - Ride
Interplay – Ride
Shine, shining, the thought in your mind
As you’re racing away from the light
Tonight, the feeling inside
Is a tension that’s outside of time
As you climb, the face of the rock
Has a feeling that’s winding you tight
It’s alright, your instincts are always right
Give me a peace sign
Throw your hands in the air
Give me a peace sign
Let me know you’re there
– “Peace Sign,” Ride

Released March 29, 2024 via London-based Wichita Recordings, Interplay is a masterclass in development. Throughout the years, the Oxford foursome consisting of Andy Bell and Mark Gardener, who lead the vocals and guitars in perfect harmony, Steve Queralt on the hammering bass, and Laurence “Loz” Colbert, who beckons the rhythm to be heard on drums, birth an atmosphere to immerse yourself in. With songs like “Peace Sign” and “Portland Rocks,” you can hear the roots of their earlier works like Nowhere and Going Blank Again. It is smooth yet sultry, and constructs a blanket of warmth while listening to the album in full.

On “Monaco,” you become transfixed on a different level as if you were on the dance floor in the early ’80s listening to “Blue Monday” by New Order. On the other hand, “Midnight Rider” forces you to crack your neck and strut down the alleyway, flicking your cigarette butt into the nearby dumpster, creating an explosion behind you as the credits roll. All of these emotions or scenes can be felt on each track within Interplay and evoke unique emotions that blend seamlessly with the rest.

When this battle is over
Who will wear the crown?
I’m so tired of waiting
Tired of you wearing me down
What are we fighting over?
Who wins if it’s destroyed?
What is the prize if you win it?
Nothing lives in a void
Why do I feel this way?
Like I’m hanging off the edge of the world
Hanging on every word
(Ah) why do I feel this way?
Like I’m hanging off the edge of the world
Hanging on every word you say
– “Portland Rocks,” Ride

In this writer’s opinion, Ride can do no wrong. They consistently define themselves through experimentation and seek new outlets to improve their auditory proficiency. From their 1990 debut album to this new marvelous feat, Ride continue to establish themselves as a band that, without a doubt, reigns supreme.

Catch up with the Oxford legends in our interview below as Ride’s Loz Colbert dives into the making of Interplay, the futility of genre labels, and more.

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:: stream/purchase Interplay here ::
:: connect with Ride here ::


Interplay - Ride

Atwood Magazine: Hey Ride! How has everyones year been so far in the ramp-up to this new record? Are there any specific moments that stand out so far?

Ride: Going toe-to-toe with Beyonce for the No. 1 & No. 2 slots in the album charts was a fun moment! And getting to meet the people who had just bought the record at the Rough Trade in-stores…

First, I adore this new album! Interplay hosts a beautiful blend of your unique sound and echoes of your previous works. What are the key differences and similarities between Interplay and your other releases?

Ride: Thank you. I guess if I had to think about it maybe this one is more mature and, in a way, it tries less hard to be anything other than itself. Some of our previous albums have been more like live renditions in the studio and others have been built up in stages – this is like a good balance of the two. Even though it took the longest and was one of our toughest albums to make, artistically it was more a case of letting us go and being our natural selves.

Is there any special meaning behind the album title?

Ride: Yes. It is a word that summed things up creatively and circumstantially… It fitted and reflected everything from the technical playing and making of the album (e.g. mixture of live and electronic instruments), to the detail of the creative process (how we work together), but also other events that were happening around us at the time – COVID, global events, other dramas…

Ride © Cal McIntyre
Ride © Cal McIntyre

It seems like you gave yourselves room to breathe and experiment a little bit throughout the record. Were there any specific inspirations you focused on when writing these songs?

Ride: The irony of it is that yes, within the lane of not trying too hard to be anything else, we found ourselves getting imaginative and creative and surprising ourselves with what came out of it! Our producer, Richie Kennedy, would have to take some credit for some of this effect and for pushing us to innovate within that lane, also.

I previously did an article on the first single off the record, “Peace Sign,” and genuinely connected with the message, especially with how the current world operates. Did any current events or media help influence the meaning behind this song?

Ride: It was from watching the film ‘The Alpinist,’ which is about Andre Le Clerc, the famous free climber. The original backing music for the song was provisionally titled ‘Berlin’ and had a breezy sense of musical and instrumental abandon about it. Andy came up with all the lyrics and melodies after we all watched ‘The Alpinist’ together, and it all seemed to gel after that as a song.

I have a couple of other standouts, including “Stay Free.” I sense a darker undertone, but it has a somewhat “anthem” feel. What is the message behind this song?

Ride: Another of Andy’s songs in which a key theme is keeping close to the hard-won truths within, I feel, this is one is in part influenced by the ‘deconstructive’ approach to pop music that for example Talk Talk took in the late 1980s.

My favorite track off the album is “Portland Rocks.” Where did this title come from? Also, it starts off with, “When this battle is over, who will wear the crown?” Was this inspired by any previous hardships the band may have faced?

Ride: This is a song that came from Steve, who always comes up with such great titles, and with the lyrics contributed by Andy again.

Are there any songs on the album you hope new listeners connect with? Are there any songs you hope loyal fans appreciate?

Ride: It has been really pleasing to see the reaction to ‘Last Frontier’ and I really hope that people get a hold of and get into ‘Midnight Rider’ as it is a classic IMO!

What do you hope listeners take away from Interplay? What have you taken away from creating it and now releasing it?

Ride: The usual things really: art, music, relating to and understanding these experiences and emotions in your life; maybe a sense of the interconnected nature of things… but ultimately, we just hope that just the music takes listeners where it will, as people have their own experiences and write their own stories from it.

As pioneers of the shoegaze genre, how do you feel about the conversation revolving around the “shoegaze revival” we are supposedly in?

Ride: Like a lot of bands, we gained attention because we managed to somehow communicate the spirit of the time into recorded sound, and live performances. And like a lot of bands, we are ultimately pioneers of our OWN sound. The band output has changed and developed several times since Shoegaze, but we can’t erase that connection with our original points of reference, and luckily the interpretation of Shoegaze by the recent generations is very positive…

Do you still connect your sound with the term “shoegaze,” or are you hoping to move away from that genre of music?

Ride: Personally, I think we moved away from it long ago, but it still gets used… and probably still will! (shrug)

Ride © Cal McIntyre
Ride © Cal McIntyre

I see that you are about to embark on a massive tour. Are there any cities you haven’t performed in before? Any ones you are looking forward to?

Ride: Looking forward to playing in Budapest, Hungary, which I don’t think we’ve played…

What can fans look forward to from your live shows, and what songs off Interplay are you most excited to bring on the road?

Ride: We’re working on it right now, so hopefully some great live versions of the album tracks plus visuals, looking forward to playing ‘Midnight Rider’ and ‘Essaouira’, ‘Last Night I Went Somewhere to Dream’, ‘Came to See The Wreck’…

Lastly, can you recommend any artists to our listeners that you have been digging into lately?

Ride: Lately and for this album I have been enjoying Can, A Certain Ratio, Liquid Liquid, and Grouper.

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:: stream/purchase Interplay here ::
:: connect with Ride here ::

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Interplay - Ride

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? © Cal McIntryre

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