Think you know Born Ruffians?
Think again. The Canadian three-piece went into sessions for their new album determined to look anew at their work, to strip things down and move things forward.
Eschewing studio trickery, Born Ruffians used natural echo, handclaps, tambourine rattles, and thumping snare cracks to build their rhythm tracks.
Fascinating experiments in sound, new album 'Uncle, Duke & The Chief' arrives next month, with Born Ruffians finding new paths amid their trademark sound.
Rhythm, though, sits at the centre of it all - as the group explain...
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The Strokes - 'Is This It?'
The first track of this record of the same name was probably the first track I was able to drum the entire way through and basically taught me how to keep a beat. Eventually, I would make my way through the whole album, playing along with it on my Sony DiscMan.
However, this opening track, the slowest and simplest on the record, was the first one I conquered and probably gave me the most satisfaction.
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Joy Division - 'She's Lost Control'
This choice actually relates to the scene in the film 24 Hour Party People where Joy Division are recording this track with Martin Hannett.
Stephen Morris is warming up in the studio for Martin and he is doing drum-fills or whatever and Martin says "people have been playing like that for the past 20,000 years and quite frankly, it's boring me arse off, y'know? Let's try something simpler. Faster, but slower."
For whatever reason this stuck with me throughout the writing and recording of basically every album. I shy away from a lot of fills and like to keep parts simple and clear (when it fits). I love the song, love the movie and love that scene in particular. It had a big influence on beat creation.
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Akron/Family - 'Raising The Sparks'
We saw these guys live in the early days of the band and it blew our minds. I think we learned a lot about creating an energy on stage and basically forcing it on the crowd. These guys were probably the least pretentious, most earnest performers I had seen and they didn't care about creating a mystique or being aloof, they clearly loved playing with each other and made the crowd love it too. We've been lucky enough to play some shows with them over the years and even share the stage with them. I would cite them as a major influence on my live playing.
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The Beatles - 'Tomorrow Never Knows'
I was listening to this song the other day and it struck me that it must have been a massive influence on how I approach drums. I listened to 'Revolver' a lot in my teens while I was learning to play drums and I never noticed until now how often I attempt to rip this beat off.
I probably have countless times, especially in the early stages of songs when we are still sort of improvising them and jamming them out. I am a big fan of locking into one beat and playing it forever (which we usually flesh out into other parts as the song develops). I think subconsciously this beat is running through my head a lot.
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Otis Redding - 'Try A Little Tenderness'
For me, this is probably the best drumming ever done on record. When the snare finally kicks in it gives me goosebumps every time. I am always chasing this feeling. I would love to give our listeners that experience.
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Born Ruffians will release new album 'Uncle, Duke & The Chief' on February 16th.
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