Born Ruffians’ sophomore album Say It, following up from 2008’s Red, Yellow and Blue, reunites them with their previous producer Rusty Santos, who helped them experiment with saxophones and Minimoogs while in the studio.
Where Red, Yellow and Blue began with a utopian dream, Say It opens with Oh Man, a jagged romp that finds singer/guitarist Luke LaLonde shaking his head at a romantic fool and trying to steer him right. “You’ve got to go man,” he explains, riding smoothly over Mitch DeRosier’s galloping bassline and Steve Hamelin’s malleable but steady drum pattern, “and go take your place in this wonderful race.” A ragged echo slaps back at the guitar like wind in the band’s faces; they don’t flinch.
You can still hear the nuts and bolts of the songs, with guitar hanging out on its own (the jagged arpeggios in Late) or a bassline running away with that infectious crazy-quilt, Retard Canard, which incidentally isn’t about the developmentally delayed. And the residue of their production experiments can be traced in the swooning sax licks dangling over Come Back or the watery synths lurking in the tightly-wound What To Say.
Inspired by acts such as The Replacements, Violent Femmes and Modest Mouse, they’ve already toured with Franz Ferdinand and Tokyo Police Club. We caught up with them to ask a few questions about life and music.
What are the Born Ruffians?
It doesn’t really have a meaning as such, we sort of got it when we moved to Toronto five years ago. It was the last name we all chose and we stuck to it. It’s not really a punk or hardcore name. It’s like a tongue and cheek name I guess, nothing with a fairytale meaning behind it.
Ok, what are you guys up to in London at the moment?
We are playing in the Hobby Horse tonight; it’s really small and hard to put things together.
Bit stressful then?
No it’s ok. Just we won’t be able to dance on stage that’s all.
You have a jam-packed diary at the moment. Anything you’re looking forward to?
I guess we are really looking forward to going on tour because we haven’t done one for over a year. It’s exciting to be back on the road and playing our new music.
Canadian girls or British girls: Who do you prefer?
Laughs... there’s good and bad people. I would say I know more Canadian girls. My girlfriend is from Australian soo... I guess I’m more biased to Australians.
You have toured with some amazing bands like Tokyo Police Club and Franz Ferdinand. Who have been your biggest influences, and do you still keep in touch with any of them?
Tokyo Police Club are really good friends of ours. Dave is one of my best friends so we have played with them quite a bit. I used to live around the corner from him, and he used to hear our demos etc. Franz Ferdinand surprised me how friendly they were; we expected them to have egos, but they were very welcoming. We would go with them after the gigs. We have been really lucky from all the people we toured with.
Yes you have been. There are some really big names on your list. What do you miss when you are on tour?
Not having a routine becomes quite tiring. You sort of get fed up eating out every night and sleeping in different beds.
Tell us about your new album, which is set for release real soon, and why should people go and buy it?
If you like our band, go and buy it, or if you liked our previous work. I made it in the hope that people will like it and buy it.