When it’s time for a new Red Cain album, you know you’re going to get something a little extra special compared to other acts of similar nature. That’s what you get with their new concept record, NÄE’BLISS. Released this past June, the album delves deep into the progressive metallers’ love of art and literature. The album is based on the Wheel of Time fantasy novel series. Authored by the highly celebrated Robert Jordan, the series debuted in 1990 and came to span 14 volumes. It also spurred a television series that premiered in 2021, produced by Amazon Prime Video.
The Wheel of Time series has been particularly influential for both Red Cain singer Evgeniy (Jack) Zayarny and guitarist Sam Ridout. Zayarny is an author himself in his native Russia, and Ridout reads dozens of books every year. Ridout is also extremely involved in news and geopolitics. His interest in books and current events is really what drives him as an artist. It energizes his interest in his work and has become a great source of motivation and musical inspiration.
With his bevy of interests in reading and learning, there is perhaps no better candidate than Ridout for our Fahrenheit V13 series. Today, Red Cain’s Ridout joins us to discuss the books that have impacted him the most, the influence of reading on his childhood, his favourite writers, and more.
What was the most memorable book from your childhood?
Sam Ridout: “It’s very hard to say, but I’ll go with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. When I was very young, the Harry Potter series kickstarted my love for books. I pre-ordered the last one as soon as I could and remember waiting anxiously for it to arrive on my doorstep. Surely, it arrived right at midnight on its release day, and I began to read it immediately. I spent my next few days doing nothing but read it.
“However, on the last few pages, I forced myself to only read one page at a time so I could extend my time with the characters. Even though I felt that the series came to a satisfying end, I was a little sad it was over.”
How important were books and reading in your family growing up? Did you share that same level of enthusiasm, or did you differ from them on that?
“Reading was always encouraged in my household. My dad would always read to me as a young child, but when I developed my own reading ability I started competing with him over how fast we could finish our books. This led to many fun discussions between us.
“However, I got a computer in junior high, which sent me on an extended sabbatical from reading. It got to the point where it was super challenging for me to get through a single book! In college, I rediscovered my passion for reading and am proud to say that I finish more books per year than the rest of my immediate family combined.”
What is the book that has made the most impact on you as a person?
“Lord of the Rings, without a doubt. The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan also greatly impacted me; we even just wrote an entire album about it. Tolkien’s work resonates with me the most for many reasons. It touches on many themes that will continue to be relevant forever, such as innocence vs. enlightenment, man’s relation to nature, heroism, and many more.”
Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction? What’s your preferred genre?
“When I was in university, I preferred non-fiction because I thought it had much more to teach than fiction. As I’ve grown older, though, I find I learn more from fiction. Although, I do love a well-written history book.”
Who are your favourite writers?
“JRR Tolkien, Isaac Asimov, Frank Herbert, Stephen King, Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson, John Gwynne, George RR Martin, Neil Gaiman, Robin Hobb, Steven Erikson, Joe Abercrombie, Terry Pratchett, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Harper Lee, George Orwell, Charles Dickens, and many more.”
What book have you been meaning to read? How long have you been meaning to get to it?
“I’ve been wanting to read the book The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu. It is originally in Mandarin, so I’ll have to read a translation. People have told me it’s one of the most profound science fiction books of the 21st century, which has sparked my curiosity. It’s been on my to-read list for a year, but I’m coming around to it soon.”
What book do lots of other people enjoy that you just can’t stand?
“I tried to read Moby Dick and just could not get into it. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I couldn’t stand it, and it’s definitely well-written. But I just don’t think I’m a big fan of stories where they are on a boat the entire time. Still, I might give it another go since everyone seems to sing its praises to the heavens.”
How often do you find or make time to read? Do you prefer paperback, hardcover, or eBook?
“I read every day when I get a moment. It might not even be for that long, but I feel disappointed in myself if I don’t make any progress during the day. I’m mainly a paperback reader because hardcovers are more expensive, and I prefer reading from paper than from a screen.”
Graphic novels and comics have enjoyed mainstream crossover thanks in no small part to the cinematic universes of Marvel and DC. Do you enjoy graphic novels or comics? Are any particular titles that stand out as favourites?
“I love a good graphic novel! My favourites have always been Watchmen by Alan Moore, although I actually think the movie improved the ending. The Sandman series by Neil Gaiman is also really good.”
Most people seem to have a cookbook that was either passed down or gifted that has stood the test of time and remains a fixture in their collection. Do you have such a book? How did you come by it?
“This answer is going to be quite boring, but in my family, it is The Joy of Cooking. It’s a very common one, but it has stood the test of time, in my opinion.”
What’s the longest book you’ve ever read? Did you enjoy it despite its length?
“At the beginning of the COVID pandemic, I decided to finally pick up the uncut version of Stephen King’s The Stand, and I really enjoyed it! Maybe it’s just that reading a book about a pandemic (albeit one less deadly than coronavirus) was timely. I actually think the length did the story a service in this case because you really get to know and love the characters, and upon completing it, it felt like I had just completed an epic adventure.”
What’s a book that you think everyone should be required to read from cover to cover throughout their time in school?
“The Republic by Plato, because it forms the foundation for so many ideas in today’s world. A lot of philosophy is derivative of what was in it and it reads much easier than books by many of the other famous philosophers. When a book continues to be relevant a couple of thousand years after it was published, then it’s worth reading, in my opinion.”