Recent Calgary-to-Vancouver transplants Hyperia are all about thrashing in a style inherent to ’80s basketball shoes, shredded denim, battle jackets and those studded gauntlets that may look cool, but are likely more responsible for forearm rashes than being a gateway to one-night stands. Imagine classic Megadeth, “Toxic Waltz”-era Exodus, Annihilator and Anthrax alongside Exmortus, Havok, Warbringer, Violator, Crisix and others with a new-school take on an old-school sound.
Silhouettes of Horror, the band’s second album, was officially released into the wild a couple weeks ago and amid the classy, bouncy, melodic thrash, shredding solos and unnervingly cheerfully bright vocals comes darkness (songs about various abuses and real-world horrors) alongside the light (songs about the partying lifestyle, riffs that sound like they emerged from a partying lifestyle and an ABBA cover). What also comes to light about this quartet is how one-half of the lineup — guitarist Colin and vocalist Marlee Ryley — are a married couple. So, we figured this would be a neat little topic of discussion to accompany the videos below: a guitar play-through of “Experiment 77” (which goes to show it’s not all dour and sour in the Hyperia camp) and official promo video for the album’s first single, “Operation Midnight.”
Take it away, married folks!
Have you found that being a married couple in a band together to be a rare thing, or have you come across other couples in similar situations?
Marlee Ryley: We have actually noticed quite a few bands that have couples in them! Often times they aren’t married, but we’ve actually been surprised about the number of bands with members who are least in a relationship with each other. We definitely do still have people curious about it though, especially how the dynamics play out with the band. Normally people think it’s really cool though!
What are the details of your story? Was it metal that brought you together?
Colin Ryley: We actually met in a different band called Loremaster in 2012 through a mutual friend who reached out to us individually asking us to join his band. At that point, we never really talked to each other, as we would mainly show up for practices and shows and never really hung out much outside of those limited engagements. It wasn’t really until after the band broke up that the mutual friend told me Marlee had a thing for me [laughs]! After Loremaster broke up, Marlee also joined my main project at the time, Skymir, on keyboards. We got married in 2016, had a 13-month honeymoon across 23 different countries, and then decided it was time to come home and start playing music again, which was the inception of Hyperia in late 2018.
At what point did you decide to jump into being a band together? Did you have people encouraging/discouraging you?
Marlee: I think since we had already been in two bands together, it was kinda a normal thing already for us. Music is both of our main passions in life and it was only natural for us to share it together, rather than being in two separate bands and never seeing each other. I also think since we had been in bands together since the start of our relationship, none of our friends found it that weird, so everyone was super-encouraging!
Have you had discussions with the other guys in the band about them potentially feeling like collective third wheels when it comes to lineup dynamics?
Colin: Neither of us is one to be overly affectionate in public and, at this point, all of Hyperia is one big family, although perhaps we are the parents [laughs]. I don’t think anyone in the band really feels like a third wheel. Often I wonder if they forget we’re married at this point since we’ve all been around each other so much, especially during Covid.
Are there any written or unwritten rules given the interpersonal structure of the lineup? For example, when you get hotel rooms on tour is it a given that you guys get a bed together and the other dudes take the other bed…?
Colin: I guess that’s one thing [laughs]! As I said before though, we all see each other as a family, so if there’s only one bed, we’d have no problem sharing. I think the other members of the band just see Marlee as a sister which makes everything feel less third wheel-ish. I think a conflict that happens sometimes is that since we both seem to agree on most topics, it comes across as us taking each other’s sides, even if we both agree for our own separate reasons. This isn’t to say we don’t disagree a lot as well, but somehow this goes unnoticed.
When there is band-related conflict, how do you prevent it from carrying over to your personal lives and vice versa? Have the others ever been caught in the crossfire of a conflict?
Marlee: It can definitely be a little tough. For both of us, Hyperia is a huge part of our lives, so we definitely carry over some things to our personal lives. We are lucky as a band to be super-communicative and transparent with each other, so whenever we have a conflict, it’s usually hashed out and resolved within 30 minutes of “bitching” at each other, followed by a hug. Communication carries over to our personal lives as well, which also minimizes conflict within Hyperia. At the end of the day, the show must go on!
Given the amount of time a band takes to practice, write, record, tour and do business stuff, when was the last time you had a non-Hyperia related conversation? What do you do to try and take time as a couple away from the band and have you been successful at it?
Marlee: We both have other passions in life away from music such as hiking, camping, hanging out with dogs and watching TV/movies together. Lately, Hyperia has been the main focus of our conversations, especially with all the logistics involved with releasing an album and planning show schedules, but I think both of it enjoy the band so much that it’s something we enjoy talking about and figuring out together.
What advice would you give for any couples who are gun-shy about being in a band together?
Colin: I’d say it definitely takes commitment and work! You need 100% communication with your partner and the rest of the band. And you have to be sure you want to be committed to the other person, or else risk conflict or termination of the band. You get what you put into the band and the relationship and if both of you are equally as passionate about making music together, it can be a super rewarding and beneficial experience. Also, expect to spend A LOT of time together, so make sure you’re up for that!