It was a big day for Indie rock band Born Ruffians. They had just announced their 6th full-length studio album, JUICE, and launched their own record label, Wavy Haze Records. Despite the excitement of the day, they still found time to stop by the Indie88 studio for the international radio debut of the first single off the record, “I fall in love every night,” and tease a second song off the record, Wavy Haze.
In this exclusive interview with Lana Gay, lead vocalist Luke Lalonde, drummer Steve Hamelin, and bassist Mitch DeRosier share how they involved their fans in announcing the new record, discuss taking control of their career by launching their own record label, and reveal what went into recording this new record.
Check out the interview below.
LANA: So this is the day the news breaks and goes everywhere. What is it like for you?
MITCH: For me, I run our social media platforms and it’s a pretty crazy day. It was a pretty wild one. We had kind of a cool way to announce this record and this song. About a month ago, I reached out to some of our biggest fans, to see if they were cool with me sending stuff in the mail to them, which is always a bit of a tough sell at first to anybody on the Internet being like, hey, give me your address. (I don’t suggest doing that unless you know the person).
LANA: Most people don’t really want to hand over their address…
MITCH: Not usually. I was worried, so I went about it in a way that I feel was fine, and thankfully, all of these people we’ve known for the past five, 10, 15 years, just from touring and meeting the same people at shows over and over again, which is why we want to reach out to them. We announced the record to them personally in the mail first and let them know all the information, and then today they were the ones that announced it on our behalf, which was, I thought, a fun way to do it.
LANA: So what was the letter like?
MITCH: Oh, it was a lot like a personal letter. In a way, when we go on tour and we’ve been touring for a long time, we would see a lot of these people more than we would see certain family members because they would come out once a year, twice a year. We would play a show in Vancouver, and I’d be like, ‘oh, there’s our cousin Chris,’ and then the next day I’d be like, ‘oh, and there’s Derek, who’s been coming to our shows for ten years, in Seattle or wherever.’ So, all these people, we have like personal relationships with them. It was kind of a way to thank them and just say, yeah, thank you for supporting us for so long, but also, here’s some surprise news for you.
LANA: The fan community is such a big part of everything. And then those longstanding fans, you guys go together, what, 15 years now?
LUKE: It’s something like that. I think more. We’re getting to the point now where I feel like an old actor or an old diva or something who’s like, ‘don’t mention that. It’s been a while. You know, let’s not talk about that.’ We’ve been together for a long time.
LANA: It’s the New Year, so you’re looking forward, you’re looking back, but wasn’t going back and reflecting on those earlier parts [of your career], part of the new album, part of that process?
STEVE: Yeah, specifically one track that I guess Luke should talk about because he wrote the lyrics, but it actually goes back to when we first moved to Toronto and lived together in a house and wrote our first E.P. and record there.
LANA: What was that house like?
STEVE: It was great. Yeah. It was a very tiny rehearsal space in the basement, kind of right beside the water heater and everything. That probably took years off our life. We breathed in a lot of asbestos or something, but made hit records. Baby. Mm hmm.
LANA: You’re also launching your own label right now called Wavy Haze. Tell us about that.
LUKE: It’s called Wavy Haze Records. Obviously, we’re really excited about it. It’s being announced today along with a single with a brand new logo, which we had designed by a fan and a friend and a very good graphic designer who lives in Chicago.
STEVE: We just decided it was time that we could kind of take the business side more into our own hands. We’ve been doing it for quite a while, so we have a little more understanding of what goes on. We thought, now is the time to release it ourselves, press our own records. Now, it’s us running the whole show, for better, for worse. If we screw it up, it’s on us.
LANA: Are you guys plan on signing other bands? Or is this is going to be a vehicle for Born Ruffians alone?
STEVE: Right now it’s a vehicle for Born Ruffians alone.
LANA: What’s the deal with Juice? Is it based on a lyric? Is it based on an idea? It’s kind of an interesting name.
LUKE: The word, it comes from a lyric. It’s a pretty common word, but the word also comes from the song “Wavy Haze,” which is not out yet. We’re building the anticipation for that. In the song, it sort of represents youth. The record title is more just representing us; kind of just squeezing more out of ourselves, and out of music and just the kind of juiciness that I mean. We’re also just trying to evoke a feeling of tactile, juicy, textural things that you wanted to touch, squeeze and hold through the artwork and through the title. And we wanted the music to feel juicy, I guess. And we want people to want to engage with it and, yeah, sit with it and hold it and look at it and play with it, touch it, squeeze it…
MITCH: (laughing) We get it, Luke.
LANA: So, when it comes to this record, though, was it different this time around?
LUKE: I mean, it’s a – it’s a long story, but [this record] is a bit of the last record. Uncle, Duke & The Chief kind of bled into this record in a way. A lot of the songs came from a three year writing spurt where we kind of juiced a lot of songs out of that time. We recorded Uncle Duke & The Chief and then immediately still had a lot of songs that we liked. So, we kind of went right to work on this record, and it wasn’t a quick process. I guess I could say we worked with a different group. We were worked with Graham Walsh, who is also in a band called Holy Fuck. Graham Walsh, we love you, baby. I hope you’re listening. We recorded this record with him in Toronto and a few different studios and mixed it with him at his house.
LANA: And that was that.
JUICE comes out April 3rd.