Next Wave #559: Bitter Ruin

Elton-championed duo from the southern seaside…
Bitter Ruin by Liam MF Warwick for Clash issue 92

Ben Richards, one-half of Brighton-based duo Bitter Ruin, is telling Clash about the band’s high standards.

“We’re very picky when it comes down to the quality of what we record,” he says, suggesting that that the pair’s second album, the April-released Waves, is the first recording that they’re entirely satisfied with.

“We’ve made a few EPs before, and kind of never really considered them as finished because we weren’t able to do what we wanted,” discloses singer Georgia Train. We see this as the first album that we’ve ever created that really represents what we do.”

Having been championed by the likes of Stephen Fry, Ed Sheeran and Sir Elton John, they were invited into the latter’s Rocket Studios to record an EP, ‘The Rocket Sessions’.

“There’s always something nice about being in a really posh studio where you’ve got access to all of this amazing equipment,” says Georgia. “But I think the one thing that we’ve decided, over the last two years of working together, is that we really need as much time as possible to spend on any one song, and quite often we can be up until about three or four in the morning just trying ideas, and that’s something that you don’t have if you’re working in someone else’s studio. So in a really weird kind of way, we prefer just recording at home as opposed to a recording studio.”

Favouring the DIY aesthetic of lo-fi recordings and mounds of hard work, the band crafts compositions with contrasting influences and tastes. “Each song sort of journeys into different genres,” Ben expresses, allowing Georgia to elaborate.

“Predominantly, there are lots of elements of the vocal arrangements alongside bits of rock, bits of classical, and this next album also has some aspects of experimental electronic music as well. Most bands are told that they should find a certain sound of their own and stick with it, but we kind of do the opposite to that.”

Now preparing to head out on tour with ‘Waves’, as well as releasing a handful of singles on the way, with such a remarkable cult following onside, it’s difficult to comprehend why Bitter Ruin are still confined to the constraints of underground success.

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Where: Brighton

What: Atmospheric experimental pop, with a difference

Get 3 Songs: ‘Diggers’ (video above), ‘Trust’, ‘Child In A Seacave’

Fact: Nobody knows whether the band members are a couple. Most followers ask, but they’ve never told anyone the answer.

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Words: Jonathan Hatchman
Photo: Liam MF Warwick (website

Find Bitter Ruin online here

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