IMONOLITH – the new metal powerhouse featuring vocalist Jon Howard (Threat Signal, Arkaea), drummer Ryan ‘RVP’ Van Poederooyen (Devin Townsend Project), guitarist Brian Waddell (Devin Townsend Project), bassist Byron Stroud (Strapping Young Lad, Fear Factory), and second guitarist Kai Huppunen (Methods of Mayhem, Noise Therapy) – is making an unforgettable entrance with a brand new official single, “Hollow”, available to stream/download for the first time today.
We had an opportunity to speak with Imonolith drummer Ryan ‘RVP’ Van Poederooyen and check in on the bands formation, their new single, touring, production and when we can expect more music from this new heavy hitting hook filled supergroup.
Metal Nexus: How long did Imonolith take to form and what was the process like in recruiting members?
Ryan ‘RVP’ Van Poederooyen – Imonolith was put together fairly quickly. Brian ‘Beav’ Waddell and I started the band. We had been writing music together since 2015. When Devin broke up the Devin Townsend Project in January 2018, Brian and I decided to form the band right away in February 2018, based on the music we had written the past 3 years. We had an idea of who we wanted in the band right away. We got Byron Stroud (Strapping Young Lad, Fear Factory) on Bass Guitar first, then Jed Simon (Strapping Young Lad) on 2nd Guitar and finally Jon Howard (Threat Signal) on Vocals. After about 3 months of jamming/writing together, we knew Jed Simon wasn’t going to work out. It was a mutual decision from both sides. Jed’s style of writing did not fit into what we wanted to do and vice versa. There were no hard feelings in the split. Jed is family and a brother to us, we wish him well in his musical endeavors. In the summer of 2018, we decided on Kai Huppunen to be our 2nd guitar player. I’ve known Kai for 20 years. He’s a killer player, great person and his unique writing style fit with what we were doing musically and added to our sound.
Metal Nexus: Do you feel already having a working chemistry with guitarist Brian Waddell is helpful in starting a new band?
RVP – Yes, that was very helpful. I got to know Brian musically over the past 17 years as a guitar player in the Devin Townsend Band and a Bass Player in the Devin Townsend Project. Brian and I also have similar musical influences and enjoy listening to a lot of the same music. It was very natural for us to write together and start a band together. Brian is also a great guy to hang out with on a day to day basis. Having that overall camaraderie makes things even easier.
Metal Nexus: Were there any similarities in your previous bands (Devin Townsend Project, Ten Ways From Sunday, Terror Syndrome) that you wanted to bring to the table or avoid with Imonolith?
RVP – Not really. All those past bands were their own thing and I like to leave those chapters as is. Whenever I join or start something new, I want it to be a new fresh new start. I think it’s only natural for some aspects of those past bands I played in to ‘slightly’ show up in any new band I join, because I write a certain way. The beauty of it is that you’re writing with new people so the dynamic changes and you end up getting a new, fresh sound. That’s exactly what happened with Imonolith. You have a bunch of new talented people to work with and help you grow as a songwriter.
Metal Nexus: A band’s first single can sometimes make you or break you and “Hollow” is receiving high praise, what made this the perfect song to introduce your sound to the world?
RVP – I won’t lie, it was a tricky decision to make. Our sound has a catchy side like ‘Hollow’ and then a much heavier side, and then music in between the two sounds. We realized that people were somewhat expecting a heavier sound to our music due to our past projects, but we also realized that we had a catchier side that we really enjoyed writing. We found that ‘Hollow’ blended a little bit of everything and would be a great introduction to our music and show that we’re different from our past bands. We’ve made it clear to our supporters that we have a heavier side but that we also enjoy writing some catchier metal tunes, like ‘Hollow’.
Metal Nexus: You have said “we don’t like to play just one style of music. ” Do you feel because of that you will be able to reach fans from various genres?
RVP – Possibly? The reason we just don’t focus on ‘Heavy’ or ‘Catchy’ music is because we love writing in various ways. We’re writing music that we truly love to play. If it does reach a larger audience as a result, then great. We definitely want to make this band as big as possible. I think the best way to have success is by being true to who you are. Do what you love and love what you do as much as you possibly can. That’s exactly what Imonolith is doing.
Metal Nexus: You have also talked about the positive message within the lyrics of “Hollow”, in our current world there are a lot of people that suffer from mental illness and seek out lyrics for solace. How important do you believe it is to promote positivity while also composing a quality song?
RVP – I think it’s very important. That’s why I wrote those lyrics in a specific way. It’d rather focus on finding a way NOT to be ‘Hollow’ versus being ‘Hollow’. I believe in making the most of every single day. You only live once, so make your life the best it can be. Find the good in the bad. It’s so easy to default to a negative attitude but where does that get you in the end? It’s not healthy. I’d rather promote a positive outlook through our music and lyrics versus a negative one, in hopes that people can take a positive outlook from our music. It’s a win/win situation for everyone! As for the importance of composing a quality song… It’s important, but again, it’s all about being honest and writing a song you love. Don’t fake it, be yourself and I think you’ll come up with your best material.
Metal Nexus: In what ways did your brother Jason “JVP” Van Poederooyen and Brian Howes – who has worked with bands like Nickelback, Airbourne, Simple Plan and Skillet – help shape or mold your final product?
RVP – They helped a lot with ‘Hollow’. Brian Howes co-wrote some of the vocal melodies of the song and helped shape my lyrics. Jay Van Poederooyen helped produce it with Brian. Jay also engineered, mixed and mastered the song. Their production is A-List stuff. They have the credentials to back it up. Their focus was to not to change our sound but to enhance it. That’s exactly what they did! They took a great song and made it even better in our opinion. That’s why you hire producers like them… so you can get the best quality out of your songwriting and your sound. Jay Van Poederooyen will be producing, engineering and mixing our full length album. He understands our approach and has worked with Brian, Kai and myself (in various bands) over the years. It’s a great match and we’re all excited about our debut album.
Metal Nexus: You already have 3 dates scheduled in your native Canada beginning at the end of February, when can U.S. fans expect to see you on tour?
RVP – We want to tour the USA asap. To be honest we want to tour the world asap. Haha. We aren’t going to be picky. I think it makes most sense to tour the territories that we’re getting the biggest support from first. So far the USA has been amazing to us. We debuted with ‘Hollow’ at #6 on the NACC Top 30 Heavy Charts in the USA (week ending January 29th, 2019). That was a pleasant surprise for our introduction to the USA with ‘Hollow’. We look forward to booking more shows as soon as possible but we need to finish recording our full length debut album first.
Metal Nexus: What should fans expect from the rest of the music to come and when should they expect to hear more?
RVP – The rest of the album will be a mix of some crushing metal and the some catchier material, like ‘Hollow’ and then some music in between the two styles. We’re not focused on just being heavy or catchy. We’re focused on putting out the best music we can that we love playing. We will hit the famous, Armoury Studios in Vancouver starting on March 6th to finish recording our debut album. We plan on releasing a second single and then our album sometime in Summer 2019. We will definitely follow the album release with extensive touring anywhere and everywhere we can around the globe. Stay posted for more details at www.imonolithband.com.
We want Imonolith to be around for a long time. This is what we all want to do for a living. It’s been a great start so far with the release of ‘Hollow’! Thanks to all of those people supporting us, without you guys we simply can’t do this. Endless thanks to you all!