Baltimore’s Ruiner are set to return to Australia for the second time this month, and the band’s vocalist Rob took some time out of the band’s busy schedule to answer some questions for us.
Start off by telling us your name, what you do in Ruiner and your favourite beverage?
Rob I sing and coke would be the most regular thing when I do drink sorta. Rasberry flavored lemonade would be my favorite beverage before getting into desert based beverages like milkshakes or smoothies.
Can you tell us a bit about how the band started? Who are the band’s main influences musically?
Our first show was in October of 2004. We had started writing songs for our first demo that summer prior. A few of us were in another band at the time and just wanted to start from scratch. The bands main influences are probably late 90s/early 00s fast aggressive hardcore bands at the time. We come from a lot of backgrounds but that would probably be the best way to describe it. At least for the early on of the band.
How would you describe the band’s sound to someone who has never heard you before?
I’d probably tell them to buy a record because its incredibly difficult to describe your own band with out feeling stupid.
The band’s newest album “Hell Is Empty” was released in September last year. Can you tell us a bit about the writing and recording process of the album?
We spent most of 2009 home writing the songs to make up Hell Is Empty. It would be our last recording with our previous drummer Joey Edwards. So almost immediately following finishing the recording we had to train a new drummer. When it came to the actual recording process we worked with Jay Robbins at home in Baltimore, it went great from start to finish. Jay is really easy to work with and has his own unique way of hearing a band.
What has the reaction of the album been like so far?
Its been pretty positive. I’d say over all better than our past LP. I know we are really happy with it so we could really give less of a fuck.
Do you think the band’s sound has progressed much since “Prepare To Be Let Down”?
Yes very much so.
Bridge Nine once again released the album. Do you think Bridge Nine is the best label for the band?
I don’t think any member of Ruiner would want to me anywhere else honestly. B9 treat us great and we have a very strong relationship with the label.
The band was a part of the 2009 Bridge Nine Tour with Strike Anywhere, Polar Bear Club and Crime In Stereo. Did the mixed bill work well for that tour? What was the reaction like of your band compared to the others?
I think the bill worked great. I would much rather see a package of bands like that than four bands who sound exactly the same. I think each band brought something different to the tour so it worked out really well in the end.
The band will be making their second trip to Australia in April. What do you think this tour will be like compared to your first tour in 2008?
I am personally really excited to get back to Australia. The first time was incredible. I honestly don’t expect it to be has successful. I say this because it seems like the attention span of kids today is measured in milliseconds. The second time back to any place is usually not as great as the first time you were there. That’s just my opinion. I could end up being totally wrong. Either way we are still excited.
The Australian tour this year has a few shows in nightclubs, whereas the 2008 tour didn’t have any. What is the band’s opinion on playing shows at nightclubs rather than all ages shows?
Our tour in 2008 had just as many none all ages shows. We played a couple of night clubs as well. So I’m not sure where you read that. But I would rather all of our shows be all ages. I think its rather dumb for any band who considers themselves apart of this subculture to play over 18 shows or even worse over 21 in this country. But I understand things don’t work the same everywhere so this is how its gotta be.
The band has always had a busy tour schedule. What keeps the band motivated to tour so much? Do you ever get sick of it and need a break?
We have always just been very motivated to get out and tour. We don’t see ourselves becoming huge or think that skys the limit for us. We just always knew how to get in the van. And yes plenty of times I do not want to get in the van. Sometimes I have no motivation at all to tour because I would rather be working or involving my time in something else. But I know its important to see things through until the end. So whenever that is I will continue to do so.
Where do you see yourselves as a band in five years?
If we are still a band in 5 years I can’t imagine us touring anymore, at least not full time. We would probably be just releasing records and doing shows here and there. All of us will be in our early 30s at that point. I really don’t want to be the dude complaining about his life at 32 trying to relate to kids. I have a tough time doing it now at 26.
These days every person in the hardcore scene with access to a computer is quick to voice his or her opinions negatively about bands, how do you feel when you see something written negatively about your band?
If its got merit and actual thought put into it I have no issue at all. I have plenty of opinions that I share at the drop of a hat (most of the time when no one wants to hear them). But I have no issue at all firing back on someone if they can’t support their opinion. Saying a band sucks or is overrated tends to get me. In regards to any band I would prefer to read more than that. Like how is the band overrated? Or how is the band bad? Someone stating the band is bad because blah blah blah I can handle that. This opinion goes along with someone saying a band is incredible or amazing as well.
What do you think you would be doing with your life at the moment if you weren’t playing in Ruiner?
At this moment I am in a van in California not really enjoying myself because I don’t like CA. If I wasn’t doing this I would probably be at work or working on some sort of project. I tend to stay very busy. I’d probably be wrestling still or coaching in some manner if the band didn’t exist ever.
Do any of you play in any other bands besides Ruiner?
Everyone but myself at one point had other bands. Currently Dustin plays in a band called In The Hollows with a few ex members of Ruiner. It’s a bit less serious for those dudes so it works better for their schedules. Danny does a lot of stuff himself; recording songs at home with plans to one day do something with them.
Who are some up and coming bands you’ve seen recently that we should be checking out?
I enjoy the band Battle! from Florida and Seasick from New Jersey. Couple bands in Maryland Mindset, Sacred Love, Pianos Become the Teeth and Praise.
What is the most memorable show the band has ever played? And what is the wildest thing to ever happen at a Ruiner show?
I can’t even think of the wildest thing that has ever happened honestly. I tend to forget a lot from tour to tour. Shit I barely remember the names of people I meet. Most memorable show? Years ago we played with Paint it Black in the Charm City Art Space in Baltimore. Place is tiny and it was just a crazy fucking show. Also one of our record release shows some of our friends hit us in the face with pies when we played. Our first record release show for What Could Possibly Go Right… the venue was just perfect. It was this skate park that only had a hand full of shows.
You’re going to jail and you are allowed to take five records in with you. What are those five records and why?
Nine Inch Nails- Downward Spiral. This record is literally the background music to my middle school and year school years.
NOFX- The Decline. This is one of my favorite songs.
Diesel Boy- Venus Envy. This record always brings a smile to my face.
The Lawrence Arms- This is a difficult pick for which record. I’d probably need to some how create a mix of a couple different ones. They are probably my favorite band.
NWA- Straight outta Compton. I would want some sort of rap record with me just to change things up. Figure this is would be what I would pick if I was in fact going to jail. It would get me into the frame of mind to attempt at fighting off being raped or shanked by large men.
What are the band’s plans for the rest of 2010?
This tour lasts until May 16th. In July we head to Europe with Carpathian. After that I can’t say I am sure.
Thanks for doing the interview, any last words?