WUNH interviews Ryan McPhun of The Ruby Suns
Published: Friday, March 22, 2013
Updated: Friday, March 22, 2013 01:03
New Zealand indie-poppers, The Ruby Suns are currently touring in support of their new record “Christopher”. It’s the fourth record of their career and has taken college radio by storm. During a recent tour stop in Boston, Ryan McPhun took a few minutes to relax and shoot the breeze with WUNH’s Sean Riley.
Sean Riley:“Fight Softly” back in 2010 was one of the most popular records of the year at our station. That’s how I got into you guys. What sort of developments have you made with the Ruby Suns’ sound from “Fight Softly” to the new record?
Ryan McPhun: I think a big part of it was clarity in both the song writing and production. There are a lot of acoustic instruments on the new album. I don’t know if it sounds like it, but there are. Both records are superb, also quite electronic. But the new one, I think, is more direct, and I wasn’t trying to fill every second of every song with sound effects just because I’ve done that before, so I was bored of it. So, there are some songs that are just really simple and have really simple arrangements. That’s something that I haven’t really done before. So, my goal was to do something different and write a pop song.
SR: One song off the new record Christopher, which we’ve been playing a lot, that I am intrigued about is, I believe the lead single, “King Fisher Call Me”. It kind of got my attention just when I was reading the track list just because it’s got kind of a unique-sounding name to it. Can you tell us a little bit about the back-story behind the song and how you got the title?
RM: Well, the title came first. I think I was going to write the song about something else, when I thought of the title. And then I just kind of changed my mind, and the lyrics aren’t necessarily about a bird. My flat in Auckland felt a little bit suburban, but it wasn’t far from downtown or anything like that. Even though it was a heavily-populated area, there were an awful lot of birds in the trees around my house and, I’ve always been a fan of King Fishers. There are often a couple sitting in a tree outside my bedroom window. So, I was inspired by that.
SR: Electronic music elsewhere around the world has been popular a long time and just now, the last year or two years, in the states there’s been an explosion of this whole craze. It rubs some people here the wrong way, and your sound certainly draws on a lot of electronic influences I would suspect just from hearing your records. What is your take on the whole situation of dance music today? Are there things you like about it? Things you don’t like about it?
RM: Well, it does seem like there’s some sort of homogenized thing that’s happening where it’s way more normal now for bands to just have a whole bunch of electronic things on stage and play a show or just be in an electronic band and it’s not weird like it was that one time not too long ago. As far as the states is concerned, I don’t live in the states and I’m not into blogs or anything like that, so I don’t really know what’s going on. When I hear new bands, I think, ‘oh that must be what’s in.’ It must be interesting to be here (in the US) because the (music) culture is so huge. There are so many bands, but in New Zealand, there’s like twelve bands.
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