Portraits: Rituals of Mine at Elsewhere
Initially formed in 2009 as Sister Crayon, the acclaimed Los Angeles, CA-based electro pop duo Rituals of Mine, currently comprised of singer/songwriter Terra Lopez and percussionist Adam Pierce have received attention on this site and elsewhere for a slickly produced sound that draws from 90s trip hop, footwork and downtempo electronica and R&B — and for years of relentless touring up and down the West Coast, playing house shows, DIY venues, basements and clubs with the likes The Album Leaf, Built to Spill, Antemasque, Le Butcherettes, Maps & Atlases, Doomtree and others.
As Sister Crayon, the act’s first two albums — 2011’s Bellow and 2013’s Cynic were released to critical acclaim. 2015 may was a profoundly difficult and harrowing year for Ritual of Mine’s Lopez: her father committed suicide and several months later, her best friend Lucas Johnson tragically died in an accident. Reeling from the grief and shock of unexpected and inconsolable loss, Lopez felt the need to reassess her life and her work. Ultimately, she decided to the put the Sister Crayon name to rest, moving forward with a new moniker — eventually deciding upon Rituals of Mine. As Terra Lopez wrote at the time, “It was a mantra that I repeated under my breath on a daily basis when the loss I was experiencing felt too heavy at times. Music, the act of creating, performing, touring, writing, singing, experimenting – all the rituals we have created to get through life.”
After years of obscuring her own story and emotions through metaphorical lyrics, Lopez felt a sudden confidence to write much more directly about her experiences and life as a queer woman of color. Lopez began fleshing out the material on what would become her Rituals of Mine debut Devoted with her longtime collaborator and producer Wes Jones, who helped turn her heartfelt writing on her trauma and personal growth into urgent and pulsating electronic tracks. Lopez then enlisted Adam Pierce to play drums, knowing that his background in metal percussion would provide an intensity that could match her own.
Last year, was a busy year for Lopez and Pierce. They opened for a handful for handful of dates for The Afghan Whigs and Built to Spill’s co-headliing tour, including a Chicago area stop last April and opened Garbage during the multi-plantium Grammy Award-winning band’s US tour. They also went on their first UK tour with JOVM mainstay Geographer and The Seshen.
Now, as you may recall, the duo’s highly-anticipated Wes jones and Neal Pogue co-produced follow-up to Devoted, Sleeper Hold EP is slated for an October 4, 2019 release through Carpark Records. The EP will include the urgent anti-Trump anthem “No Time To Go Numb,” and the glitchy Timbaland-like “Burst.” The recently released “Burst” was driven by Lopez’s commitment to unvarnished emotional honesty. “I made a promise to myself that I’m no longer going to play small or hide behind metaphors, that I’m going to really lean into self-confidence, self-reliance and take up space,” Lopez says in a statement to Billboard. “‘Burst’ is the beginning of that.”
The members of Rituals of Mine are currently in the middle of a short series of tour dates that included their first ever headlining show at Elsewhere‘s Zone One last night. (You can check out the remaining tour dates immediately below.) Before their set, I had a chance to catch the band for a quick street-style portrait session. Check that out after the tour dates.
Sept. 26 — The Olympic – Boise, ID
Sept. 27 — Mississippi Studios Presents at Polaris Hall – Portland, OR
Sept. 28 — Everett Music Initiative Presents at Scuttlebutt Taproom – Everett, WA
Sept. 29 — Chop Suey – Seattle, WA
Oct. 5 — Harlow’s – Sacramento, CA
Nov. 15 — Freakout Festival – Seattle, WA