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  • Ben Province

Q&A: Former Volcanoes Member Talks New Project, Looks Back

In 2015, St. Louis noise/dance rock duo, Volcanoes announced an amicable break up, as Riverfront Times reported.

The band, made up of multi-instrumentalists Jon Ryan and Eric Peters, released two LPs and an EP, before calling it quits. But not before seeing some success.

The duo toured nationally, and was even signed to Afternoon Records, which is an active member of Warner Music Group, in 2012.

The act, which was essentially formed in a college dorm room, had made its way all the way to tour stops in New York.

But as life moves on, priorities change, and people grow up. Both Ryan and Peters now have wives. The Peters family is now living in Los Angeles to pursue modeling, and the Ryans are proud parents.

As the two friends parted ways, they recorded the single, "The Future You Had Planned" and corresponding b-side, "Heavy Breath," which were released in Jan. 2016.

And though Volcanoes' Facebook page explicitly says they're "no longer a band," Ryan and Peters reunited for a show on Dec. 23, 2016 at Foam.

The band's legacy is, to some extent, continued with Ryan's new project. Necessities, a local super group of sorts, made up of former members of now broken up St. Louis bands.

Ben Province: After declaring the band disbanded in 2015, what prompted the recent Volcanoes reunion show more than a year later?

Jon Ryan: Eric and I were talking about his plans to visit St. Louis over the holidays, and he just said at one point, "so are you going to book the reunion show or am I?" And that was it. BP: Was that a one-time thing, or could that lead to new music from the band or more shows like it?

JR: Very much a one-time thing. I've since reconfigured my bass gear to the point where I wouldn't be able to play those songs again even if I wanted to. BP: Your new band Necessities was also on the bill that night. What was it like playing live with the band for the first time?

JR: Stephen [Bair, formerly of Dots Not Feathers], Chris [Phillips, formerly of Bear Hive] and I had already been playing together for more than a year at that point, so it was very much overdue. We saw it as the last step to becoming a "real band," which made it somewhat nerve-racking, but the atmosphere was very relaxed and we got a great reception. BP: With your new project being relatively new, how soon can listeners expect a studio recording from Necessities?

JR: We're about to start mixing our first EP, five songs we tracked at Native Sound in November. We've been recording vocals at Bird Cloud [Recording in Edwardsville, Ill.] over the last few months. I don't want to make any promises, but I'm hoping it will be out towards the middle of the year. BP: And do you see this band as a continuation of what you were doing stylistically before with other bands or something new?

JR: Stylistically, I would say it's a pretty even mixture of our previous bands (Volcanoes, Bear Hive, Dots Not Feathers) combined with new influences we've all agreed are important. Personally I'm approaching it in a more thoughtful, tactful way than any other project I've worked on. BP: To backtrack a little, what's your favorite memory of touring the country with Volcanoes?

JR: It's hard to limit this to just one, but I'll say the time on our very first tour when we went camping, fishing and hiking in the smoky mountains for a day and a half between shows. There was a huge (and enjoyable) contrast between playing in grimy basements and camping in a national park. BP: And while geography separates both you and Eric, is it fair to say the band lives on in some sort of way?

JR: Very much so. I still habitually think of song ideas when my mind wanders throughout the day, and most people in St. Louis music primarily know me through my involvement in that band. There are also the digital artifacts of our presence online that will probably be around for, I don't know, forever.

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