I recently had the opportunity to have a Skype chat with RUACH. Jon, Robert, Harry, and Christian are a band of genuine, hardworking dudes forging a style of their own where hard rock meets metal.
We chatted a bit about band history, the Trailer Park Boys, line up changes, recording their EP, and what to look forward to with a new full length album.
Here is a portion of that conversation.
So how did you guys arrive on this name – what does it actually mean?
Jon: Well, it’s Hebrew, and in Hebrew it means “breath, wind, spirit, courage.” I found it in a book I was reading and I just saw the word and it was in capital letters, and italics, and bold and I just looked at the word for a couple minutes, just trying to figure out what the f–k it was. I had never seen anything like that and the meaning was pretty heavy. When we were jamming and writing some songs we didn’t have a band name yet so I was putting the songs that we were writing into iTunes under that name. And our old band member at the time saw it and he liked it, he shared it with Rob, and we all talked about it and everyone like what it stood for. It just felt right.
Robert: We run into a lot of problems with people saying “I can never find you guys.” But we really like the name, we like the meaning behind it. To us, it kind of symbolizes each member of the band, you know, breath, wind, spirit, courage, and –
Jon: It’s pretty balancing in a way, it keeps us grounded.
How long ago – when did you guys start playing together?
Jon: April of ‘06 Robert and I started the band. When we started the band is about the same time I started playing the drums. I had only been playing drums for about three months and I realized that’s what I was going to do. Robert and I had been best friends already for like close to six, seven years, and he played guitar. So, we just joined up and started jamming.
J: Yeah, it was kind of a growing process.
Robert: It was. Jon didn’t know the drums in any way, shape, or form when we started playing. He just kind of gave me a call one day and said “Dude, I want to start playing some music” and I was like “Yeah, what do you want to play?” and he said “Drums!” Our plan was to really just start writing some riffs and start sending them back and forth.
In one of your YouTube videos you shared about how you recorded a bunch of stuff [for the EP], and spent about a grand on it, and then scrapped it and wanted to start over.
R: Oh yeah. We started recording the album at this other studio and we just weren’t happy with what was coming out. We kept feeding it money, and they weren’t being successful on their part and they kept taking our money, and we had a lot of dead sessions. They would keep taking it, keep taking it, keep taking it, and it wasn’t going anywhere. We were unhappy so we went and recorded vocals at this one studio that a friend recommended. And we liked the work process so much and our relationship with the recording engineer that we continued to work with him and record it with him and he helped us fix a lot of stuff. I think we spent less money and got things done much faster at that guy’s place, in a couple months.
It was just a learning curve, a learning curve on dealing with people, and where to invest your money and stuff. We don’t have any hard feelings towards him anymore, it’s just, you know when you’re starting out, that’s the kind of stuff you go through to help gain wisdom in the right position in the future
It was a big process, it definitely was. And at the same time we were changing band members. So when we were recording the album Christian came in to fill in, and he had to learn all the parts, he was in a band at the time. It was just, there was something constantly stirring up the pot. But in the process, we got it all finished. We were able to overcome a lot of obstacles and it was nice to know that we overcame them. And we’re very proud of it.
R: Also a big obstacle was that it was Jon’s first time, really, trying to record anything and my first time – I’ve never considered myself a vocalist, recording, especially. So it was really just going in and hearing the development of our sound. Really, up to that point we didn’t know what we really sounded like. At the same time it was a big learning experience. That was a lot of fun. A lot of dynamics. A lot of frustration.
J: We played a lot of live gigs and that but when it came to recording an album, we were developing our sound and who we were as individuals and together as a complete band, in the studio, so we were constantly being surprised, going “Oh, that’s how we are. That’s how we sound.” So we didn’t go in very confident. We went in confident to record, but weren’t very confident in the actual parts, and they were developing in the studio as we were recording.
Can you describe the differences – I guess having your own studio is a big one – but also, the difference between recording this full length and where you were recording the EP three years ago.. like just your mindsets and how the band functions now..
R: With this album, we wanted to make sure that everybody on the album kind of has a voice. So when we first started writing it, obviously we lost our bass player – but when we first started writing it, we structured it around 5 songs. We’ll all work with that, you know, and kind of the process of getting all the bodies of the songs together. There was one person that kind of wrote out the structure and then, it was kind of laid out already. We’ve noticed with this album that there’s a lot of pairs; two songs go together. Like we realized that say number one and number seven kind of go together, like similar styles.
J: We’re doing 12 songs on this album, on the full length, and there’s about six different vibes. And each vibe has 2 similar style songs. So, that’s kind of what he was explaining.
R: I would also say that musically this has been the biggest musical leap for all of us this year. We’ve been challenging ourselves and, we’ve always pushed ourselves. It’s almost like we write in our heads what we can’t play yet. But it’s just developed through the years and practice and sometimes we practice five days a week just to be sure that we’re up on our chops.
We never really put ourselves in a genre. We have four elements that we focus on: that’s loud, fast, heavy, hard.
We’re not trying to be the fastest and the heaviest, loudest. It’s just trying to be real and be organic. We want people to really feel what we’re experiencing. That’s what a lot of the lyrics are and I think it’s a very emotional album, to be honest, and I – not just because it’s our band – but there have been times where I listen to this music and I literally get chills.
Our main focus has always been, trying to be true to who we are. And not only as individuals, but as the four of us as a band, always try to represent ourselves. We never really put ourselves in a genre. We have four elements that we focus on: that’s loud, fast, heavy, hard.
Now, just like earth, wind, fire, all that type of stuff. The elements of the earth. That’s kind like our elements of our band. So as long as we stay in that circle, everyone gets to represent themselves, who they are individually – cause everybody has their own writing ability in this band so we make sure everything is balanced out and everyone’s happy and having fun.
But to answer your question on the further part, as far as how it’s been writing and recording in our own studio, I mean it’s just kind of like being in your house, you’re so comfortable in your environment, you’re always ready and able to create, and write. We have our buddy Matt who does a lot of engineering for us and he records our band practices, so sometimes he’s able to catch magic as it happens and he’s like, “come back, listen to this s—t!” and we’re like “whoa”, and listen to the stuff that we came up with and did on the spot. You know, reaching that organic vibe, trying to capture all of that. So it’s nice to not have the pressure of, having to load your gear up and drive somewhere and set up, and like be like “okay, make sure you get everything done in 8 hours exactly.” It’s like, the drums are done when they’re done. The guitars are done when they’re done. And we have 24 hour access, and it’s just really nice, man, you get to really focus on the point instead of being forced to record and all that stuff.
R: The only bad thing: we get no sleep. I mean like, I was here the other day until seven o’clock in the morning.
We were just talking about song writing, do you guys share in the writing of the lyrics as well, or does somebody take the lead on that?
J: Robert and I – we’ve always been pretty equal on lyric writing. Either, if I have one song dominantly written, I bounce it off of him, and he picks up on it, and vice versa. Maybe he has something and he’ll bounce it off me. And we’ll push each other. So we just go back and forth and bounce things off of each other.
Cool, I like that.
J: We’ve been best friends since we were 15, 16 years old so we know each other pretty well by now.
So you can handle criticism from one another too, then.
R: That’s one of the biggest things with our band. Every year we have four quarterly meetings. Within those meetings, it’s literally an open, constructive criticism forum. So if there any kind of problems, if there’s any kind of animosity, or anything like that – you can’t have that s–t. For your own health, or in the jam room. So we always want to make sure we’re able to express how we feel, how to help each other grow, you know.
J: We cherish our band so much, and we don’t want any personal conflicts to slow us down. Because we have enough obstacles, you know.
Yeah, keeps things healthy musically and relationally.
R: It’s a marriage.
J: Yeah, it is.
I wanted to ask about the artwork. The album art on the EP is sick. And we see some of that in the “Throne” video. What’s the story behind that?
J: It’s a long history. The artist who did the EP art and the font for the RUACH logo, and lot of the stuff that you’ll see in the near future as well, I’ve known him since I was about 18 years old. We used to work together at a custom motorcycle shop in Long Beach. I was a fabricator and welder, and he was the design engineer. And we had a strong relationship not only with work but as friends, and also in music. He would design stuff for us. He designed the logo for us and he also said “whatever artwork I have, it for you guys as a band.” And that large painting that you saw in the music video? That was one of his very first oil paintings he had ever done, and he used to have it in his office, and I used to watch people offer him thousands of dollars. And he told them no, because that meant so much to him. But when we started the band, he gave it to us, out of a gift of inspiration. Just to pursue your dreams and to live the dream and painting was his representation like to keep us accountable for living the dream. And we honor him and love him so much as a friend, we couldn’t dishonor him by letting him down, type of thing. So his artwork is going to be with us until the rest of time.
R: And that dude, with the logo, it’s kind of cool because for a while, we used a few ideas, it took a couple months to come up with the actual logo. And dude, there were some gnarly, awesome, intricate, super bitchin’ designs, but we didn’t want it as a logo. One of the things we told him, we were like dude, we want it to be to where if you’re a high school kid, and you’re not paying attention in class, and you’re doodling, you want to doodle our logo. Like we all used to.
Oh yeah, every kid’s got that notebook with like the Metallica logos..
R: He just sent this one, and I remember thinking “damn, it’s so plain, but dammit but I love it!” And it’s cool because we’ll get some fan art from kids at school, like straight up drawing our logo on their folders and stuff.
Wicked. Is there a website we can check out to see more of his stuff?
R: Yeah, www.wargasser.com
R: His artwork will be in galleries. They do motorcycle parts and stuff like that. And he just kind of does what he wants.
Will there be any teasers or anything coming up? There will be a song before the end of the year, is that correct?
J: Yeah, we have something special coming up really soon. One song that’s just to kind of get the juices flowing again for the upcoming music that we’re doing. But yeah, in the next couple weeks.
Rob: Yeah, I’d say, for sure within two weeks. We really want to hone in on social media. We’re going to really try to innovatively show, and keep people up to date every week with what we’re doing in consistent 2 minute videos. To show our personality and character as a band, you know. We’ll have our music for the album in the background of it, or just might be “hey, check this out, look at this riff that Christian just came up with” and just solo type it thing. There will be a lot more content coming soon.
So if somebody were to come to one of your shows, to see you live for the first time, what they experience?
J: A lot of energy. High energy. Constantly. That’s for sure.
R: You’re going to see a vocal powerhouse. You’re going to see a lot of energy. Whiplash.
Our goal is to make it so that people had a fantastic time. Great night out. An unforgettable evening. And you know so it’s not so much just coming out to watch your friends band, we want to make it so that people go that want to get into this, and talk with everybody, and listen to all the bands and not just kick rocks right after their friends band. It’s like our goal is to make it where people have a great time, ‘cause if you have a great time, you’re going to want to go to every show. No matter how many times we play.
So what you can expect from a RUACH show is a lot of energy, a lot of laughter, a lot of loud, fast, heavy, hard music and we will always be there to pretty much talk to anybody that wants to talk. That’s what we’re all about.
Any last words about the album, or potential titles, or… nothing you want to reveal just yet?
J: I don’t know if there’s anything we want to reveal. But it will be a full length, of 12 songs.
R: I would probably say this year has been really rough for us because we haven’t played too many shows. And there’s been lot of hurt, a lot of headache, a lot of heartache, but it’s really encouraging to know there hasn’t in any way shape or form been any kind of like second guessing of our career path. We know that this is what we want to do and we know that we’re going to have to work as much and as hard as we can. So you can really expect the best that we can do on this album. And I think that, hopefully people will really connect with it. It’s going to be really emotional, and it’s going to be really fun. We’re looking forward to hitting the road again, we’re looking forward to really hitting it hard with the album and making up for the lost time.
Check out RUACH’s Facebook page.
Visit them at www.ruachtheworld.com,
And you can pick up their EP at iTunes.
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