Frontman Ringo Waterman details his earliest influences, his eagerness to release new music and his excitement to hit the road tour abroad.
Californian metalcore/nu-metal upstarts Mugshot are poised to have an exciting 2023. With a new album announcement on the horizon, a swath of touring and their recenting signing to Pure Noise Records, the band will be pummeling you into oblivion with each step.
We chat with vocalist Ringo Waterman about the band’s trajectory, the partnership with Pure Noise, and what the rest of 2023 will look like.
“We met up with them when we played a show in Nashville and got coffee and talked,” vocalist Ringo shared of the recent signing. “The conversation just went really smoothly, just talking about music and bands and influences and what we’re doing and what we got going on. Then they invited us out to their office in Nashville and that was super cool just seeing like all the records that we had grown up with. Then it just snowballed from there and it’s been amazing working with them.”
Nashville isn’t necessarily known for its metal scene, but their scene is as healthy as the country Nashville is known for. “Nashville has a great scene out there,” Ringo reminisced. “We’ve played there a few times and every time it’s just been unreal. Some of the shows that we played out there were shows that we’ve never experienced before and they just have really cool music going on down there.”
“They’re definitely more violent, I can say that!” he stated of Nashvillians. “We start our set, and as soon as we start going, kids are beating each other up, haha!”
The band has and will continue to have a crazy touring schedule this year with another US run starting in August followed by a trek across Europe in the winter. “We just wrapped up that run with MyChildren MyBride, No Cure, and Your Spirit Dies and it was amazing.,” Ringo shared. “Everyone got along really well. We had never really hung out with Your Spirit Dies or MyChildren MyBride before, No Cure we’re friends with, and it was great getting in there. We already had familiar faces with No Cure, but meeting everyone else was good, the shows were really fun.”
“We’ve never played in Corpus Christi before and that show was just a wild ride. The second we walked in, a ceiling fan fell on someone. We had no idea what to expect and it was kind of a stressful and scary day for us. But then the show started and it was one of the best shows we’ve ever played. The kids out there are super fun, lots of stage diving and moshing. The energy was really good after everything else.”
Young bands and old bands alike face challenges on tour. Overcoming them can make or break things when you’re on the road. “One of the main things is communicating with your band members. Those are people you’re sitting in a van with for weeks or months at a time, so if there’s an issue, it’s good to address it immediately,” Waterman advises those embarking on their own runs.
“The other thing: buy food from grocery stores because fast food is very expensive, haha!” he continues. “I like protein bars and things like that because it feels better than eating an Impossible Burger every day.”
“This is a survival tip for everyone: if you buy packets of instant oatmeal and go to gas stations, put it in a coffee cup, put some hot water in there, they’ll only charge you for hot water and you have oatmeal right there. And that’s a way better breakfast that waking up and getting fast food.”
Their latest single, “Left In the Wake” is an absolute bruiser. No skimping on the bass, these guys take it low and nasty.
“Recording the single was fun,” said Ringo about the process. “We all live in a different city, so we don’t really get to spend a ton of time together outside of touring. So when we were recording the new EP we are going to be putting out, we got to hang out for a long period of time in the studio. And all of us just being together was a huge influence, because ideas fly better when you’re all together. You’re not just playing riffs by yourself and wondering if it’s fine; you’re playing riffs and a bunch of people are hyping you up.”
And their influences are clear. “Generally, we like a lot of old nu-metal and classic hardcore. We like Slipknot and Korn, but also Trapped Under Ice and Hatebreed, the influences mesh really well.”
Hardcore and metal continue to converge, which was not always the case. However, the attitude of “no metal in my hardcore, no hardcore in my metal,” dissipates more and more as bands give less and less of a fuck.
“When I was first getting into hardcore, it was kind of gatekeepy in a way,” Ringo shared of his experiences growing up in the heavy scene. “I liked metal and metalcore, but also hardcore, because really, I just liked heavy music. But at the beginning, I had to hide that I was into bands like Emmure.”
“But now, as an adult, you realize that’s kind of dumb. I feel like my generation of hardcore kids has less of that gatekeepy attitude. And kids nowadays, they like whatever they like. They don’t care. I feel like that is helping blend a lot of the styles together.”
Love it or hate it, the nu-metal resurgence is still going strong. Those of us who grew up in that era understand why it was and continues to be so popular for the next generation.
“My sisters growing up were really into nu-metal so they introduced me to that,” said Waterman. “So I was listening to Slipknot and Korn, and one of my favorite bands of all time is Mudvayne. They have been a huge influence on me.”
And there is a whole new crop of bands bringing nu-metal to renewed heights. “For new bands, Vein.fm is carrying the flag,” said Ringo. “There is a band called Purity, they are it. They have some sick nu-metal vibes.”
With all the news surrounding the band, we are chomping at the bit for something new.
“The album is coming!” Ringo exclaimed. “We worked on it out in Colorado. It is pretty much wrapped and will be coming really, really soon.”
While he couldn’t share a ton about the upcoming opus, there does appear to be a lot to look forward to. “We experiment a lot on the new album,” he explained. “We play in a standard tuning, but we play it in a way that is like a drop tuning. So we don’t do power chords or anything like that. So everything on this album is dissonant. We also experiment a lot with industrial sounds. A lot of static and loud bass, which is great for live shows. Lots of breakdowns, so it’s going to be a fun time.”
“We want to push the heavy deep tones, especially when we are playing live. Feeling the bass hit you in the chest when you’re in the crowd is such an amazing feeling. It pushes the adrenaline and makes you want to get moving. It’s very fast and aggressive. It doesn’t really have any breaks, it’s just one after another and then it ends, haha!”
As stated above, the band will be hitting the road in August with the Acacia Strain and heading to Europe for the first time ever both personally and professionally for Ringo. One thing he is looking forward to in Europe: the food.
“We listen to the Hardlore podcast all the time. It’s pretty much all we listen to when we’re on tour and they talk about the food in Europe. This might sound goofy, but I genuinely want to understand it, so I’m very looking forward to trying it; I want to try beans on toast, haha!! And crepes obviously, I want to try them. I hear they have a ton of vegan options at the McDonald’s out there, so I’m excited to see what that’s about.”
As exciting as touring is and the new album will be, we all know what the most exciting thing of this interview is. Are you ready to find out what Ringo’s favorite dinosaur is?
“Velociraptors! I love those, they’re crazy. I feel like if dinosaurs were here now, I could be friends with a velociraptor.”
Catch Mugshot on tour both in the US and Europe this year. Tickets are available HERE. And keep your eyes peeled for new album info that will be coming soon!