RGM Introducing – Ruiz!

Hiya mate thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.

How are you doing today?

I am not bad, it’s been a tough couple of months since we went back to work. I work in a great little school not far from Sheffield, and I teach Spanish and Music there. It’s been insane trying to work and stay safe… Loads of hand-washing, sanitising and mask wearing are the order of the day!

What have you been doing during lock down?

I’ve mostly been learning to use Logic and to record music. I’d never ever managed to record a single song on my own before Lockdown. I’ve been playing music for years, in fact since I was 5 when my mum made me learn the piano, and then I moved onto the cello when I was around 9. I did do all the exams and got to Grade XIII on the cello when I was 17… I’ve been a bass player most of my life and always enjoyed making a racket and using distortion and weird effects, so actually making music on my own has been amazingly liberating as I’ve not had to wait for anybody else’s input in any way! I had no idea I could write, let alone sing and play guitar and keys. I’ve luckily had my very patient, highly talented and skilled buddy Paul Galpin to mix all my tunes though. Thanks Paul!

That and being a dad to my two amazing, now four year old twin daughters!! I’m rubbish at juggling in general but lockdown has been a huge learning curve for everybody! 

How has it effected your mental health? 

Lockdown has been really tough, especially not being able to let your hair down and meet up with mates. I’d wanted to get a band together and start to learn to perform my tunes but that’s not gonna happen anytime soon now. 

I’d be really stuck without my little getaway room at home. As the Beatles sang there’s a place that I can go… in my case, it’s my room.

So tell me a little bit about you and what you like doing for fun?

I am Catalan by birth, from Barcelona. Catalonia is the Northeast of Spain and fighting for independence from the fascist state of Spain. Obviously not in any way are all Spaniards fascist but the government there has been horrendous for far too long. My parents moved to the UK in the late 60s to get away from Franco but that in itself is a whole other matter. That’s why Jon McClure called my music Iberian Psyche, lol.

I’ve been around a few years, grew up in Durham and moved to Sheffield as a student where I’ve lived ever since. I’ve been in a lot of bands, released singles, had a single of the week in the Guardian with The Jim Muir Slideshow as well as really great reviews for the album in Uncut, Q and other amazing music publications around 2006 I think. I was in a band called obLONG for a few years which was ace fun and also helped form The Clear who had an amazing publishing deal with the guy who signed the Beach Boys amongst many great artists… And now I’m making music on my own and at home and I love it! What could possibly go wrong?!!

How do you think the government have looked after the the night time economy / live gig circuit?

I completely understand why the whole country shut down, including pubs and venues but the things that they’ve said about how musicians should retrain and get proper jobs when the music industry and hospitality industry etc brings in so much revenue to the Uk is insane. Also the whole thing with Spotify etc paying such minuscule amounts of cash per play is ridiculous. There will not be any bands in the future at this rate. I’m in a privileged position as a have a job but we all need to earn a crust… without the small venues supporting the local scene, the national and amazing UK music industry will collapse! Small venues are essential. Too Many have had to close. No support… The government are taking the piss in so many ways. It’s a disgrace.

What good bands are coming out of Sheffield at the minute? 

I’m really out of the loop at the moment, since becoming a parent and what have you. I really like most things with good rhythms and melodies. I am a bass player at heart so it’s all about the rhythm section. 

I really like the noises that Adrian Flanagan and Dean Honer create, for example in  the Moonlandingz and International Teachers of Pop. They’re awesome fun. 

I love all the Pulp, Human League, Cabaret Voltaire, Longpigs etc bands of Sheffield.

I used to part of the Club60 gang back in the day so I used to see loads of Sheffield bands then. Them were the days… 

What’s your favourite song right now from another band?

That’s a really hard question. I got my Spotify feedback stats back and my top 5 bands were all 60s and 80s!! Beatles, The The, The Smiths… Lots of ‘The’ bands… I really love If I had my way by the Osees. There’s an amazing band.

What support is out there for new artists in Sheffield?

Again, I’m not sure, I’ve been out of the scene for quite a few years… People like you who write about music I guess. Vital for all us new kids on the block!

If your fans could remember one thing about you what would it be?

I’m Catalan and proud, it’s never too late to try and do stuff!

What useless talent do you have/ party trick? 

I can open most bottles with a lighter or a key etc, and I can also open wine bottles with a phone directory (showing my age now!) or a boot…

What was the most fun you have had on stage?

When I was in the Jim Muir Slideshow we supported Willy Mason. At the Liverpool Bar Fly venue we played in front of a full house, 500+ people. It was amazing. The whole crowd was really into us. What a vibe, what a buzz. We were also flown out to Spain and did a few gigs in Madrid and then at a venue that was called Camelot, and near Valencia. We didn’t go on until past 1am but the audience were amazing! It was really bizarre as an other Sheffield band, Hoggboy, had played there a few weeks before and their posters were still up in the toilets…

What was the worst experience on stage?

So, you’ve had your sound check. You’ve got good levels on stage and then you’re on. It’s started well and then suddenly you can’t hear the bass because the amp has cut out. There’s no monitoring except for vocals so you can only just ‘mime’ and hope it sounds ok out front! 

Best drink to have on stage?

Water. I’d like to say beer, wine etc but ultimately, water! If you can’t get that then you need a mate to feed you tequila shots at very inappropriate times! Lol

Tell us a funny story from backstage?

Again, many years ago backstage at the Garage in Islington, about to go on stage… we were sharing a backstage room with a band that had members of the then defunct Ozric Tentancles. They offered us some refreshments, next thing I remember I was mid set… A great gig like! Bizarre times…

Best gig you’ve been to that you weren’t playing? 

It’s gotta be seeing Brian Wilson playing Pet Sounds live.. The twins (my daughters) were still in their mum’s belly. That was pretty special! Seeing Arcade Fire when they first came over to the Uk in Manchester was special too. Seeing Julian Cope, and Paul Weller at the Leadmill was awesome, as seen Green Day when Dookie came out at the Leadmill was great! Does going to Spike Island and seeing the Roses count?

Who would you like to work with on the circuit right now?

I’d love to work with King Gizzard and the Lizzard Wizzard or Sean Lennon’s amazing The Ghost of a Saber Toothed Tiger. So good on record and live!

What advice would you give someone going into the music industry?

You need to be thick skinned. Believe in yourself and always remember all feedback is subjective. Keep on keeping on!

Whats your biggest achievement?

Well, my biggest achievement is to have A) Recorded my own music, B) Written and recorded over 23 songs on my own since late March, and C) them having been received so well by so many people. I’m completely humbled by it all.

Tell us about a proper time you had a reyt laugh?

Every morning when I see myself in the mirror… Life is good really! Having a laugh is what it’s all about, right?

I hear you have a new single brewing, what can you tell us about it?

Ok, it’s called Please Baby Please. It drops on the 15th of January 2021 on Only Fruit Recordings. It’s available via my bandcamp site  (www.ruizsheffield.bandcamp.com) to download etc and from all good streaming sites such as Spotify, Apple Music etc. Do have a listen, download, tell the world!

Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?

Yeah, life is short, 2020 has been so bizarre on a global level… Remember to make the most of everyday. We are all equal, peace and love. One love for all.a

Thanks for doing us today folks, all the best and keep in touch.

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