Tuesday, March 19, 2013


                                         BLADES OF APRIL

    Blades Of April is a 5 piece SUPER TALENTED, UNSIGNED METAL BAND out of IOWA. Recently the band allowed THE PIT UNSIGNED to conduct an interview with them and as if it was meant to be, they also became this weeks BAND OF THE WEEK at TPU. Their fans were relentless and came out in FULL FORCE. It let me know right then, that they have made a big impression in the music community and with B.O.A. fans.


  • CHRIS RANKIN - Vocals
  • RICHIE "RATMAN" - Bass Guitar
  • BEN HANSON - Guitar


THE PIT UNSIGNED - For the people that have never heard of B.O.A., how do you describe your sound?
B.O.A. Our sound is pure emotion, explosive energy with personable and relative lyrics. Something that is easy to identify and relate to. With the combination of emotionally charged lyrics, heavy hitting beats, and strong guitars our sound has evolved and is hard to classify under typical labels or stereo types. We have become accustomed to just calling it "Groove Metal".

THE PIT UNSIGNED - How long has the band been together and has it been the same members from the start?
B.O.A.Blades of April was formed in the spring of 2011 by cousins Chris Rankin and Honovi Simpkins. The line up has gone through its fair share of changes since the first days of B.O.A. however the members currently in the band have all been with B.O.A. for approximately a year and a half. Blades of April started out as a 3 piece- Vocals/guitar (Chris) , drums (Honovi), and bass (former member Scott ). Scott was later replaced on bass by (former member Dennis ) soon after (Ben) was added on guitar. B.O.A's current lineup is Tommy "Gun" Connerly (Guitar), Ben Hanson (Guitar), Richie "Ratman" Ragel (Bass), Chris "Empty" Rankin Vocals).

THE PIT UNSIGNED - Did all you guys grow up around the same area and where you all friends before the band?
B.O.A.Chris and Gun have been friends for a long time and go back years playing together in other bands. Ratman and Gun were neighbors when they both lived above a bar, Richie sat in on a few practices and the rest was history! As for Chris and Honovi, they being cousins, grew up together and started Blades of April with the mentality that blood is thicker than anything and that was the foundation they wanted Blades of April to be built on. Ben was a "diamond in the rough" Chris was lucky to have found on Craigslist during the early days of the band. Now as time has passed none of us could imagine not having the others around, and though we aren't all "blood" we are all family.

THE PIT UNSIGNED - How long has each one of you guys been singing or playing music?
B.O.A. - "Gun how long have you been playing?
Gun- Well, what year is it?
    B.O.A- Uh it's 2013 Gun
        Gun- Well then 11 years, but technically I played bass first.  Started when I was 17.  I have been playing guitar 7 years. The first four years in and out of bands with the bass.  Then switched to guitar.
Honovi- Just 2 years. (Chris taught Honovi for the sole purpose of starting B.O.A
Ben- (This guy can play anything he picks up! He amazes us all the time).  I started playing Piano and saxophone when i was in 4th grade then i learned the violin in 7th grade and played in the juinor desmoines symphony in 8th grade. and played them all through high school. then in the navy I bought a guitar in japan and taught my self how to play it. then 4 years ago I started getting serious about my guitar, and bass guitar playing. I have also dabled with the trumpet, trombone, clarinet, drums, and i just bought an accordion to play with.. 
Chris- "Uhh....(big sigh) 19 years. That seems like a long fucking time 19 years!  It seems like just yesterday I was in my mentor Dan's basement learning my chops on drums.  Its like a lifetime ago already."
Richie- over 20 years

THE PIT UNSIGNED - Has B.O.A. been able to build a local fan base and what type of feedback are you getting?
B.O.A. - Honestly? Not really.  Not as much as any of us have had in past bands.  We branched out first, doing shows outside our area, and are working our way back the direction we came from.  That being said and having only a hand full of shows behind us we definitely can see that our fan base has grown already.

THE PIT UNSIGNED - How often do you get to practice?
B.O.A. - As much as we can!  Ideally we would like to say a couple times a week but in reality with us all having commitments outside of B.O.A. and trying to find balance and a schedule that works, we are practicing twice every other week.  When we are together though its a full day of practice, like 8 hours or more sometimes.  We are all from different cities some of us drive up to an hour and a half away for practice.  That makes it a challenge.  On a normal month (not like the last couple lol) anywhere from 4-6 times or more (if the stars align).

                                      "THE TRUTH INSIDE"

THE PIT UNSIGNED - What all venues have you played at and is there one that feels like your stomping ground?
B.O.A. - I think we are really forming a strong fan base in the Des Moines area.

THE PIT UNSIGNED - How many songs have B.O.A put together?
B.O.A. - We currently have seven songs and three more in the works.

THE PIT UNSIGNED - What is the song fans seem to get into the most and what is your favorite to play?
B.O.A. - The fans favorite is just about as tough as coming to a unanimous decision on what the bands favorite song to play is!  We would have to say the fan favorite is "Truth Inside" the lyrics are memorable and before you know it you are singing along.  The band favorite depends on which member you ask...
Chris- "Wait for the End" and when asked why that song he replied, "the emotion of the lyrics and the way the music brings out those emotions, amplifies the lyrics, and the raw emotion and feelings I felt when I wrote it."  "we don't go into the song writing process solely to come up with catchy music or to make hit songs we take our time and talk not only about the lyrical content but how the music can work with the emotion of the song.
Honovi- "Uh I really like playing the newest one we are working on."
Ben-  Number 2 (an original instrumental song dedicated to Paul Gray of Slipknot)
Gun- "That's a tough one as I enjoy playing 'My Home' however, 'Number 2' is also very good and I like playing that one."

THE PIT UNSIGNED - Have you recorded any songs in the studio?
B.O.A. - Unfortunately no, however being and playing in a studio is a huge goal we are working towards in the next year.

THE PIT UNSIGNED - What about an ALBUM or EP is that something in the works?
B.O.A. Oh ya, with the completion of the few songs we are working on right now, we definitely have the material to do so. It is a priority and one of our short term goals as a band for 2013.

THE PIT UNSIGNED - If you could open up for any band ,who would that be?
B.O.A. - There again, we couldn't come to an unanimous decision,
     Gun- Pantera no doubt! But since that isn't really possible.... Machine Head will do.
     Ben- Korn for sure
     Honovi- (without hesitation) Sevendust!
     Chris- Korn, Mushroomhead, or Nothingface for me

THE PIT UNSIGNED - What would you want everyone to know about Blades Of April and where it is headed in the future?
B.O.A.Chris says "I want people to know we are passionate about music and we are very driven to accomplish our dream" Chris then added "As for the future, it looks a lot brighter now then in my whole career and I see us accomplishing the goals we all have talked and dreamed about achieving."


                         THE PIT UNSIGNED

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