The Ruby Suns play a set in the opbmusic studio, showing the band's new sound and lineup on their fourth album, Christopher. We recorded the band on their recent stop in Portland.
Audio engineer: Steven Kray
Video: Nate Sjol, with Nathan Quigley and David Christensen
Photos: Inger Klekacz
Interview: Jeremy Petersen
Entire session audio (performances + interview):
A lot has changed in the three years since The Ruby Suns released Fight Softly. Following a breakup with a past band member, Ryan McPhun changed the band's lineup and, to an extent, its sound. The Ruby Suns is now a trio of McPhun on guitar and vocals, keys player Bevan Smith and drummer Alistair Deverick, and the tropical styles of songs like "Tane Mahuta" have given way to a new kind of pop direction on the new release, Christopher.
This evolution only seems natural as parts of the album were created in Olso, Norway, a key player in the fabled Scandinavian gloss-pop scene. In discussing his relationship with pop music, McPhun told us that he “flirted with pop long enough, it’s time to delve in.” He also discussed his love for Swedish dance-pop queen Robyn, which he references in the track “Desert of Pop.”
McPhun persuaded Chris Coady, who has worked with many indie heavyweights, to engineer the album. The result is a bright hi-fi sound full of synths and youthfully nostalgic lyrics. In lyrics like those of “Kingfisher Call Me,” it becomes apparent that the album is about moving on and growing up, “You came so far/from psychological high school/the look on your face/waterfalls/dry your eyes/it’s what to do/don’t listen to anyone but you.” Christopher serves as a metaphor for transformation, both emotionally and musically.
The Ruby Suns are currently touring the US and Canada. Christopher was released by Sub Pop on January 29.
Watch the new video for "In Real Life"
-- Elizabeth Elder