The Ruby Suns formed in 2004 when California native Ryan McPhun moved to New Zealand and started playing with a couple Auckland bands. After some time together his band, then known as Ryan Mcphun & The Ruby Suns, released their eponymous debut album in 2005. The band’s breakthrough came in 2008 when they released their sophomore LP Sea Lion on indie super label Sub Pop. The album was praised by critics and allowed the band to expand their fanbase.
Sea Lion, as suggested by the band’s name, is a sunny album. It’s an album that mixes influences from all over the world to make a layered and fun guitar pop album. Listen to the album and you’ll hear African, New Zealand Polynesian (stand out track “Tane Mahuta” is sung in the native language Maori), and good old-fashioned Californian pop influences. Add on psychedelic and tropical layers and you have yourself a refreshing album. The Ruby Suns third album, which is tentatively titled Fight Softly and due March 2nd, 2010, is now completed as Ryan McPhun discusses below:
Have you seen, heard, or read anything that you would like to recommend to our readers (film, art, music, literature)?
I’ve been getting into Toro Y Moi from South Carolina a bit. He does a nice "Human Nature" (by MJ) cover.
What is the songwriting process like?
The songwriting process for me is pretty random. I don't have any set way that I do things. Sometimes I just think of stuff when I'm trying to go to sleep, or I'll accidentally play something on guitar or synth or drums that catches my ears. Then I just start messing around with ideas that might somehow fit with the track and I start layering stuff on top. I do most of the process by myself so it usually takes ages for me to finish stuff.
Are you working on your next LP? If so, how far are you and what's the process like this time around?
I just finished the next record. The process has actually been the same as always for me. I do everything pretty much by myself. I'll start with an idea, and build ideas and sounds on top of that. The difference will be in the sounds that I'm making and using. Different sounds have been inspiring me this time.
What else are you up to?
We're currently on tour in the U.S. with The Dodos. It's been fun. We've been friends with these guys for a while so it's great to be on tour with buds. I'm also starting to work on ideas for a record I'm doing with my bandmate Bevan Smith aka Signer. I play and help in his project Signer, and he plays and helps with The Ruby Suns. We're trying to make a record that neither of us have made before. Something more straightforward and fun. Something that would sound good in a club and make people want to dance. That's the idea anyway. We'll see happens.