INTERVIEW: Chatting with The Ruminaters
They're the sonic equivalent of running slow-mo through the sprinkler (possibly naked) on a hot summer's day in a haze of crunchy riffs and pumping beats, and for Northern Beaches psych garage rockers The Ruminaters 2018 is certainly their time to shine.
Fresh from traipsing around the east coast with Grouplove to releasing and touring their sophomore full-length 'S.U.N 91', this charismatic bunch are a rare breed; ostentatiously cheeky and freakishly memorable with their hooky tunes, nostalgic swoon and technical finesse. But not content with just riding out their ongoing success, the boys have also dedicated themselves to pushing their signature sound and ideas, perhaps most notably on the brand new concept album that paints the sun as a time machine and follows different passengers travelling back in time to 1991.
With so much already under their belts for the year, there's no doubt a tsunami of awesome is poised on the horizon for The Ruminaters - but while they catch their breath after their recent 'Left Our Jobs Forever' tour, the boys took a moment to chat recording, concept albums and their foolproof excuse for calling in sick to work. Interview below.
'BOYS OFF WORK' (THE RUMINATERS)
TIANA SPETER: First things first – a massive congratulations on the release of ‘S.U.N 91’ – it’s a doozy of an album, and obviously quite a labour of love. It seems to mark a slight change for you boys, particularly not following the “I <something> The Ruminaters” titles seen on the previous album and EP. Where did the concept of this album stem from, both musically and thematically?
THE RUMINATERS: Thank you. We put more in to this album than we have with anything before. We spent a lot of time laboring over each song making sure individually they stand alone. I think cause of how much we crafted each song to be completely different from each other naturally each song had its own persona. Which led to each song being a different character flying on the sun. It’s a big step in production for us this album. Thanks to Rob Brinkman (producer) and RAK studios. It’s not different in the way we’ve always written what ever sounding music we want. We’ve never boxed our selves into any particular style. So this album was an exploration more into depth of what we could do as songwriters, opposed to recording a song to how we’d play it live. So I think album the feels more complete than any other recording we’ve done.
TIANA: And the album also sees a bit of a change process-wise…it’s the first album you’ve ever done demos for. What marked this change, and did this make for a more positive experience in the studio compared to the last few times? Is this something you’ll adopt for future releases?
RUMIES: Yeah we finally got some gear to record our selves. I mean it’s a pretty simple and normal thing for a band to do. Just demo a song. It doesn’t need to sound good. Just get the idea out. We’d never really done that before. We fell in love with laboring over the perfect part for a song. So instead of mindless jamming, we could all come in individually or together and work on parts. Definitely a good thing to do. Saved a lot of time in the studio.
TIANA: ‘S.U.N 91’ saw you bunkered down at RAK Studios, which has been home to some pretty insane acts. How did this opportunity come about?
RUMIES: Our mate Rob Brinkman moved to London and has been working there for a while. So connections from him. We went in and recorded two songs when we were touring Europe a few years back. We did PSYCHOPATHIC BRAIN EXPLOSION and HOW CAN I. We all loved the studio and felt we needed to go back and do a whole album there. So we did.
TIANA: And on the topic of Rob Brinkman – what's he like to work with?
RUMIES: He’s the best. We love him. Very close to our hearts that lad. He gets us completely and was across any demo we did or even voice memo. So he knew exactly where we were coming from as a band. He would listen to any voice memo I’d send him and would send back notes or a yes or no. One day I just put up every voice memo I had into a drop box and sent it to him. He listened to everything. Which was fuckin heaps ! He would be able to tell us if he thought a song had potential or not. Which was kinda nice letting someone curate what song to write. He picked out a small snippet of me playing I’M THE SUN THAT SHINES FROM YOUR MIND and was adamant it had to be on the album. We probably never would have recorded that if it wasn’t for him. And would never have had the album concept of the SUN.
TIANA: While there’s no denying the psychedelic tendencies in your signature woozy garage/indie rock, can you tell us a bit about the underlying musical influences behind The Ruminaters? Did you all come into this with specific influences, or are they all quite diverse
RUMIES: There are so many influences over this whole album. Pretty much every song I could tell you who I was listening to while writing it. We all have pretty similar taste in what we like and don’t like. So everyone's on the same page with what every one puts down. Mossy is always trying to find tones with his guitars he’s never heard. As a band we are always knocking back ideas and songs if it sounds too much like someone else. We really challenge our selves to always try to make something unique.
TIANA: You boys haven’t just been busy recording and releasing, you’ve also been touring your butts off, including the recent ‘Boys Off Work’ tour, plus a heap of shows last year. Do you love getting on the road still after all this time? What do you love most about touring?
RUMIES: We love it. This was probably the most fun we’ve had on a tour. We took our buds Crocodylus and Rosa Maria with us. The whole crew was so fun to hang out with every night. Now that it’s all done each weekend is kinda depressing. I wish we were all together again playing and gettin' up to funny stuff.
TIANA: And you haven’t limited your tours to Aus, you’ve also wandered off to Europe and beyond – what’s been the most memorable gig for the Ruminaters so far?
RUMIES: Most memorable shows are probably some of the first ones. In people's backyards and crammed into little living rooms. House parties were always so fun. Did a house party festival called FISH FEST once and it was crazy. It was pouring rain and it didn’t stop every band from playing. It was in this backyard that was just a grass hill. And there were people sliding down it all day. It turned into a big mud hill. It was fucked. It turned into a big mud pool down the bottom in front of the stage. And I just remember finishing the set cause the tent we were in collapsed and there was just 100's of wet kids singing deadstuff in the rain covered in mud.
TIANA: To slowly wrap things up – describe The Ruminaters in three words:
RUMIES: Living on earth.
TIANA: If the Ruminaters had to be trapped on a desert island with one other band, who would it be and why?
RUMIES: Limp Bizkit, they seem like nice dudes.
TIANA: The Ruminaters are famous for fire Insta videos and being general legends – but as for other Aussie bands kicking around out there, who are some of your favourite local bands and why?
RUMIES: Crocodylus they are the best lads. Love them to bits. So funny and fun to be with. Israeli Chicks, same as above. Rosa Maria, same as above. There’s heaps more. But ya know.
TIANA: And finally, your lead single from ‘S.U.N 91’ was Boys Off Work – what’s the best excuse for calling in sick to work?
RUMIES: “You wouldn’t believe it. I choked on a turkey bone last night. I haven’t been breathing very well. I need to go to the doctor today so he can help me get it out. Sorry let me know if there is anything I can do from home. I’ll do it tomorrow when I get in.”
'WELCOME TO S.U.N 91' IS OUT NOW VIA ALL THE USUAL MUSIC SUSPECTS - MORE INFO BELOW
BY TIANA SPETER