Rue Royale - Interview
Interview with Rue Royale October 2013
Anglo-American duo Rue Royale have just released their third album 'Remedies Ahead' and have been busy touring since the release. The pair both met several years back, fell in love and, soon after, started making beautiful music together.
Since signing with Berlin based label Sinnbus, the pair have been busy as ever this year with high praise for their single 'Set Out To Discover' and a European tour that has taken them all over Germany, to Italy, back to France and beyond. They are possibly the hardest working music-making couple out there and show no signs of stopping as they head out again in November to promote their next single 'Pull Me Like A String'.
Ruth and Brookln Dekker took time out of their busy schedule to talk to Contactmusic just before they hit the road again next month.
CM: You've just released your album 'Remedies Ahead' - how has the response been?
We're thrilled! We've not yet had this much blog, magazine and radio attention before. It feels great! Seems like people are really digging these new songs and sounds. We took a turn on this album as we were able to more fully realise our musical ideas and colours in the studio with Paul Pilot. It seems like we're picking up a lot of new fans and that our previous fans are happy to carry on with us on this journey.
CM: The video for the single 'Set Out To Discover' is lovely. Can you tell us a little bit more about the video and the song and the story behind them both?
We wrote the song 'Set Out To Discover' in our kitchen a week or two before we went into the studio. A bunch of stuff was coming to a head; the Kickstarter campaign was about to end, imminent recording sessions etc. Usually, we're so busy touring, scheming and working for the band that we don't have a whole lot of time to really consider where on this journey we are at a certain moment. But at this particular time, we both had clarity on that and felt overwhelmingly grateful for and stressed about all of these amazing opportunities. It was a natural thing really, we just wrote about the season we were in; a season of journey, discovery and chance.
For the video, we didn't really give much input to it at all. I think Stephane Leonard [director] picked up on an interesting aspect of our journey in that song. We filmed it overnight in his grandparents' house in the Berlin suburbs; it was dark and wonderful watching the sun come up and running around a little house all night.
CM: You're both in a band and life partners - where did you meet and was it love at first sight / song?
We met in 2000 when Ruth was Stateside singing with a mutual friend and singer-songwriter from London. I fancied her but it was an awkward situation as I had a girlfriend and Ruth thought I was a jerk. I guess I was, actually. A year later, our mutual friend from London had moved to Chicago and we were roommates. Ruth was over for another friend's wedding and came to Chicago to visit my roommate. He locked his keys in his car and asked me to go pick her up from the airport. We got stuck in traffic, I had no girlfriend, et voila. Things happened pretty fast for us from there. We were smitten. We got married about 2 years later and about 3 years into marriage, we started making music together as Rue Royale. Our first song was "Even In The Darkness".
CM: Is it hard being together and writing music together?
We are very different as individuals. That can make it tricky and it does get pretty tense in writing sessions but that shows through and the tension is a part of the music we make. We have a very good relationship. Truly are best friends.
CM: You do terrifically well in Europe. How do you think the scene in the UK differs from mainland Europe?
Well, that's tricky really. The UK is a tough nut to crack as a band. The UK music scene seems to be viewed as much more important internationally than other EU markets. That means that a lot of bands are trying to "break" into the UK market. In our experience, it feels more competitive.
CM: Your music definitely has a tinge of folk about it, but it's not quite straightforward folk which is a good thing. What influences you musically?
We both grew up on different music. I was raised on gospel, American folk, blues and rock music. Ruth was raised on Britpop, blues and northern soul. We have a very eclectic taste in music currently. If we were to put together a mixtape right now it would probably include artists such as (in no particular order): Atoms For Peace, Bill Withers, Sun Kil Moon, Fleetwood Mac, Arcade Fire, Everly Brothers & Air. When we're writing, we don't reference other bands.
CM: Are there any bands or artists people would be surprised you'd be into?
Well, we are also really into African music right now. Artists like Mulatu Astatke, Fela Kuti and Seckou Keita often soundtrack the drives between cities.
CM: The music and imagery has been described as Wes Anderson-esque a few times in the recent past. Are you a fan of his films at all?
Absolutely, and we love the comparison! We don't see it ourselves but we love it.
CM: What can people expect from you both live?
We normally keep it just to the 2 of us playing so we're both playing a few instruments at any one time. We're rubbish at following set lists and tend to go with the flow. If it's a party crowd, we're a bit more party royale (playing louder, faster and more intensely) if it's a quiet, listening crowd we'll hone in on the intricacies of the songs and vibe it out with the crowd.
CM: Brookln - you're from the US but now reside in Nottingham. Is there anything you miss about America?
I miss family and friends the most. But I also miss the wide open spaces and streets. Being from Chicago and now living in Nottingham, I really miss the changing of the seasons. In Chicago, we'd get all 4 seasons every year. It really affects the way I feel. I could talk about this a lot right now as it's going autumnal back home and nearing the holiday season (which is another thing I miss).
CM: Although one of you is from America, the other from the UK and you both live in Nottingham, you're signed to Berlin label Sinnbus. How did this come about and who approached who?
We were approached by Sinnbus. They were collecting covers, remixes and reworks for one of their other bands (Hundreds). They approached some friends of ours (The Black Atlantic) but they didn't have time as they were in the middle of a busy touring season so they recommended us to Sinnbus and gave them our contact. At first, Sinnbus just asked if we would be interested in doing something with one of the Hundreds' songs called "Fighter". We just happened to have some time and we thought the song was cool anyway so we went for it. They loved it and put it on the variations album. After that the conversation just naturally evolved. I don't actually remember how it all went down after that. We just got on really well from the word go.
CM: If you could collaborate with any artists dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Funny, we're actually really struggling with this answer. Maybe that's a sign of us being pleased with the way we work now. Don't really feel like we're missing out on so much but it would be cool to collaborate with someone to come up with something different and fun. Maybe it's a cliche but I think Thom Yorke seems to have gone through a real journey of discovery himself and now, with Atoms For Peace, seems to be playing with reckless abandon. I want some of that!
CM: What's in store for the band next year?
We're writing again and coming up with some new ideas. We'll keep touring and next summer we'll play the festival circuit. We're chatting through ideas about a special EP. Who knows, really? Things happen pretty fast in the Rue Royale camp.
CM: Finally, you have to sum up in one sentence why we should go listen to you right now.
We're trying to contribute something good that makes people feel something.
'Remedies Ahead' is out now on Sinnbus. The band will be on tour throughout November, for full dates keep checking Rue Royale's official website.
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