INTERVIEW: Born Ruffians @ CMW

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By Winnie Surya. The four-piece, Toronto-based, indie rock band, Born Ruffians, was nominated for “Group of the Year” and “Must-Follow Artist of the Year” at the IndiesXM Awards during Canadian Music Week 2014. Vocalist Luke Lalonde and bassist Mitch DeRosier chatted with us about their expanded deluxe edition of Birthmarks, recording a new album, twitter, karaoke and much more.

I was wondering which member is the one behind your Twitter account…
Luke: This guy. [pointing at Mitch]

My thought exactly!
Mitch: Yeah, everybody seems to just know or remember.
Luke: The younger people just know; like at shows, they say, “Where’s Mitch? Mitch!”. A lot of people want to know that; “Who does your twitter? Where’s that guy?” [laughs].

You guys are funny on Twitter. No wonder you’re nominated for Must Follow Artist of the Year.
Luke: It’s crazy because we’re up against people who have millions of followers [on Twitter] and we have about 13,000.

Maybe you guys could reveal who’s been behind your Twitter account after the awards!
Mitch: Definitely going to take order to do that one.
Luke: Yeah! It’s not our label just doing it for us.
Mitch: Unless we lose- then you run the Twitter.
Luke: That’s right.

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Is the set tonight at the Indies going to be any different than usual?
Luke: Yeah! It’s a half an hour set so we’ll do it a little tighter – play only the hits.

What made you decide to release a deluxe edition of Birthmarks?
Luke: We had this song, “Oh Cecilia”, and all these alternate, sort of acoustic, versions of songs from Birthmarks. We had a few b-sides as well, so we had this collection of songs that we liked, and we weren’t going to hang on and put them on the next record because it didn’t make sense. We also didn’t want them to go into obscurity and never be heard. It was either to put together an EP or do a re-release of the record with a bonus disc with all of this stuff on it, so we decided to do that. We thought it would be cool to kind of re-release and give it a new life. We just want to show the b-sides in some way; the alternate stuff that didn’t make it to the record.

Speaking of alternate acoustic versions, can you tell us about the Acoustic EP on your website?
Luke: That’s kind of synced up with three release, which was this free online streaming thing with five songs from the record that we did acoustically, and four other songs that I had demoed within past four or five years. We just put all of that into a digital-only Acoustic EP which I think we’ll make free, so that anybody can download it. We’ll do that soon. I think what we wanted to do is to have the record out and then [re-release it] a little later, mostly for fans, like, “here’s another side of the record and here’s some songs that you might like”, and it’s nice to give things away for free too.

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I heard that you guys have been demo-ing stuff at Hollerado’s studio. Can we expect new music soon?
Luke: Well, hopefully. I mean, the plan is just to do a record and have it finished by the middle of the year. The end of summer is our goal which means that it won’t be able to come out until early next year. Our goal basically is to have a new record out as soon as possible without being rushed…we want to make a good record and have it out as soon as we can so that we can tour again [with] more new songs and all that exciting stuff. That’s the most exciting part for me, working on new things. The Hollerado guys have this studio right by where we rehearse, and while they were in Europe, Menno [Versteeg] was like, “hey, you guys want to go in and do some songs?” and I was like, “yeah as a matter of fact I have a lot of songs right now that are just in my head, and it’ll great to go in there and do something with them!” We went in and just said, “here’s a song, here’s the guitar and vocal; sing it”. I actually sang about five songs, and the guys who runs it was like, “okay let’s do that one, just let it come out”; we did a couple songs that way and it was great. We’re in that phase right now, the creative phase [in regards to] how they are going to sound- it’s so exciting.

Are you planning on bringing the karaoke machine to any of your shows in the future?
Luke: Yeah [laughs]. We are actually…maybe we should announce this officially, but we don’t have a tour coming up. We thought that that show was really fun, and it worked really well- it was a tester. I just had this idea – wouldn’t it be awesome if instead of an opening band, the audience opens the show and does just regular karaoke on a big stage. Who doesn’t love karaoke? Everybody loves to laugh at the train wreck and be like, “yeah that guy is killing it!”. It’s just a fun time, so why not try to do it? [The last time], Mitch had to run a Twitter contest where people had to sign up, and it worked out really well.
Mitch: I was more nervous for that than I was for the show. I was so nervous for the people who were going up, [I wanted them to] do well and for everything to go well, and for people like it.

_MG_2606For Luke: You’re doing a solo project- how do you balance that with Born Ruffians?
Luke: I did the solo record before Birthmarks came out and that was kind of it. I just did those songs, and Paperbag [Records] asked if I want to release it, and they were nice enough to put the record out for me. I wasn’t able to go on tour or anything because the timing didn’t work out, but after that I was kind of like, “well, [maybe] I’ll do another record but right now it’s not a focus anymore; my focus is entirely on the next [Born] Ruffians record, so I’m not going to think about another solo record”. I’m entirely focused on the band right now.

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