Surrey-based band Celestial Ruin features, from left to right, bass player Mike Dagenais, drummer Adam Todd, vocalist Larissa Dawn and guitar player Marcus Carey. (submitted photo)

Surrey-based band Celestial Ruin features, from left to right, bass player Mike Dagenais, drummer Adam Todd, vocalist Larissa Dawn and guitar player Marcus Carey. (submitted photo)

MUSIC

Fiery new video helps reignite hard-rock band Celestial Ruin, with Surrey roots

The decade-old quartet continues in ‘restart’ mode that began in 2019, prior to the pandemic

Judging by the band’s new video, Celestial Ruin is pretty fired up to play music again.

The Surrey-based hard-rock quartet filmed their flaming-hot “See U Nxt Tuezday” clip near Quesnel, in a remote area of town – with good reason.

“We were blasting music, fire, smoke machines and geysers for almost 24 hours, so you kind of need the privacy to do that,” singer Larissa Dawn said with a laugh.

“It’s all nice and peaceful and quiet, and there’s so much land up there, and there’s not really a place like that here in town, where you can just go and be playing drums and guitars outdoors from three in the afternoon until 5:30 the next morning.”

Friends of theirs in the local off-road association helped clear the land for the video shoot with director Dave Benedict (bassist in the band Default), and helped set everything up.

“We knew we had something really cool,” Dawn added, “and it was fun but also a lot of work. Like, you’re trying to control fire, and people think, ‘Oh, you just light a bin and that’s it.’ Well, no, because then the fire burns too high or too low, the wind blows and you get a face full of smoke. That was the hardest, trying not to choke to death. It’s a tough shoot when you’re outdoors like that.”

So far it’s been a decade-long journey for Celestial Ruin, which started as a symphonic-metal band first envisioned by drummer Adam Todd. He recruited Dawn as vocalist after seeing her sing in a karaoke promo video.

Bass player Mike Dagenais joined not long after, and married Dawn about five years ago. For the past eight years, the two have lived in Surrey, in the Clayton Heights area.

With new guitar player Marcus Carey, the band continues in a “restart” mode that began in 2019, prior to the pandemic.

“This is a bit of a restart for us, yeah,” Dawn confirmed. “We have the new video and our guitar player, Marcus, joined us just a few months ago, so it’s an reintroduction in that way, with a new producer (Jay Van Poederooyen), new image, new video – it’s just a lot of changes.”

She said the band began changing things up two years ago when they travelled to L.A. to record songs with producer/engineer Mike Plotnikoff, who has worked with The Cranberries, In Flames, Motley Crue and more.

“That’s when we changed our style of music,” Dawn elaborated. “We went from symphonic metal to mainstream hard rock, to be able to fit in with guys like Three Days Grace and Halestorm, stuff like that. It was a change of direction, then COVID hits. You know, you get some traction and then you have all that momentum taken away. You can’t line up any tours to follow it up, so we just kept writing during the (pandemic). That was really the only thing we could do.”

When Todd asked her to front the band a decade ago, Dawn was a newbie in that role.

“My background was in musical theatre and theatre – I was a trained actor, in college and performing art schools,” she revealed.

“So when Adam asked if I was interested in auditioning for a band, I’d just finished up four years of doing ‘Tony and Tina’s Wedding’ in Vancouver, right up until the very end of their run, and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do next. So then this opportunity comes around, I met up with Adam and he had the band name and knew the style he wanted to go for, because at the time there was no female-fronted symphonic-metal band in Canada. It’s a European genre, so that’s where we started. After two months we found Mike, so he was with us pretty much from the start.

“It kind of worked out,” Dawn added, “and now I get to travel and do everything with my best friend, my husband. To be honest, I don’t think I’d have survived in a band as long as I did, without him, because unlike Mike and Adam, I had zero band experience.”

The Clyde Hill-managed foursome is now looking to play gigs again, once their favourite Vancouver-area venues reopen.

“There are only three venues in town where we’re willing to play, just to accommodate our gear and lighting and effects we travel with, to have enough power, things like that,” said Dawn, who named The Red Room, The Rickshaw and The Venue as preferred places to play.

“We’re told that the venues are getting ready (to reopen), and once they do, we’ll be there, 100 per cent,” she added. “Our hope is that we’ll be back playing by October, if everything goes well. Touring is a bit more tricky, and we’ve done a three-month tour of Canada when we released our ‘Pandora’ album. Mike is dying to get back on the road and I’m the more cautious one, saying we need a plan. That’s taking a bit longer. We’re sitting tight on that, just until we see the world return to normal again.”

Online, look for Celestial Ruin on celestialruin.com, twitter.com/CelestialRuin and also facebook.com/celestialruincanada.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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