We chatted with indie musician Renee Ruth, who's coming out with a new album, 'HyperBlue', in July 2011. Needless to say, Ruth has been pretty busy lately. Happily he found some time to tell us about his passion for his craft, his upcoming record, and how it all started.
Interview by Olivia Haynes
1) Describe your music, if possible?
How can I say in one paragraph what I've been doing my entire life? My music is me. It's what I know and it's true. I'm a passionate person. The largest part of my personality is art. My music is a way for me to express myself. The record button is the canvas and my music is my artwork. If I had to get technical I would say it's intricate guitar landscapes on top of deep bass and heavy drumming at medium to quick tempo inside of complicated time signatures all the while still having strong positive vocals roping everything together. I strive to make interesting music that will make people stop and question everything else that they have heard before.
2) How long have you been doing music and how did you learn your musical craft?
When I was growing up, I was all about sports. My father was a referee for high school basketball so ideally I was really set on working towards a basketball career. When I was 9 years old, my Mother came home one day and handed me a CD with a cartoon of a punk girl holding a gun (Green Day-Kerplunk). Once I put that CD in my player, it was like the music was speaking to me in a way I have never imagined. This opened not only my eyes but also my mind to a whole other world. Shortly after, I was hellbent on putting down the basketball and picking up a guitar. Throughout my teenage years, growing up with a close group of friends it was almost natural that we all came together and formed this outlet where we could play music as loud as we wanted; for as long as we wanted without anyone bothering us. The longer I was in these bands, the more I became interested in songwriting. I started to pay close attention to the architecture of the music and what it really meant to pour your heart and soul into something. And more recently after being in numerous bands over the years, and all of them being many different styles; my personal song writing has been influenced from every band, person, music, style that I have encountered.
3) Your video "Electric Eye" is interesting. How was it made and how long did it take?
It all started with a conversation I was having with a good friend of mine, Ben Stamper (who is also an amazing musician himself) at a diner in New Jersey. The initial idea for the video was this whole thing of me in multiple outfits playing different instruments. This of course manifested over a couple of weeks and next thing you know we were setting up a stage at a high school gym after hours and filmed different angles of me performing. Once we edited the footage we came up with a crazy idea that my cat would be the girl that I was talking about in my song. So we set up a green screen in my living room and just let my cat wing it, of course with a little help from some tuna. All in all it took about 5 months to film, cut, edit and release.
4) What is your take on mainstream musical media (i.e. radio, MTV, BET) and how do you view major record companies and their relevance in the digital age? Do you believe it's easier or better to join a major record label or remain indie?
I don't consider MTV a music media anymore. All they focus on is TV shows, money and who has the biggest tits or car. What happened to the music? What happened to focusing on what really mattered? All they do is make one person the big star and you hear their song over and over and over on the radio until no one wants to hear it anymore. It's played out. I don't think any record label will be easier or better. Everything that I am doing is a new experience, good or bad I am grateful to even have the chance for people to hear my music. Digital age? I would be lying if I said I didn't download albums from my friends via zip files or even Limewire; as long as people can hear your music; really that's all that matters to me. With the Internet now, there is really no point in worrying about CD distribution. I can't even find a CD store in my own town. But major record labels are getting smart now, everyone is going digital. 5) How do you feel about fame?
I believe there are two types of fame: One of them is when you're just being famous to get attention and indulging in all the wrong things, using your so-called fame to get you ahead of others and also, portraying a version of yourself that is untrue. Then there is the other type of fame, the kind of fame that challenges how others think, to show others that there are all types of people out there and that we are all capable of doing great things. I'm just trying to get my vision across. I want people to see who I am. I want others to believe that anything is possible. Real fame is when you’re recognized for making a difference. And that's the fame that last for a lifetime. That's what I want to achieve.
6) What is the response you have gotten about your music?
Is this guy black? I think he's Asian, no wait he's definitely Indian.
7) What do you see for the future of your music?
Once I finish my full length (HyperBlue, July 2011) I hope to reach out to people who will appreciate what I have to offer. I want these songs to reach all walks of life. I want to touch as many people with the talent I have been given and I want to bring something new to the rock n' roll table.
8) What do you hope for your music to achieve?
I think this goes with what I said before, about making people stop to think about everything else they've heard before. I want everyone to know that you don't have to fit a stereotype. Be whoever you want to be. Say whatever you want to say and stick by it.
9) Are you on tour right now?
I am currently playing local shows but a tour will be happening in the very near future.