Interview by Saara Laidlaw
The Born Ruffians are a Canadian band from Midland, Ontario. Mitch Derosier, Steve Hamelin, Luke Lalonde and Andy Lloyd are the musical geniuses behind this band. Their newest album “Uncle, Duke & The Chief” is a fierce, caffeinated indie pop album derived from the Toronto music scene. It is beautifully written, and the opening song “Forget Me” was in fact written on the day our beloved David Bowie had died. Throughout the tears of this loss, the boys stepped up and granted us with a wholesome rhythmic beat, that sets the tone for this album perfectly. This album is very welcoming because it invites back the original drummer of the group, Steve Hamelin who took a short break. The tour consists of many stops across North America and promises to deliver shows that no one will forget, and want to miss.
How did Leah Fay (of July Talk) approach you or how did the band approach Leah Fay for the direction of your music video?
Yeah uhh that was actually a really odd fortunate thing that happened, we were looking at what we wanted to do visually for the album and originally we spoke to Peter from July Talk and he came with Leah Fay and they were up to do three three music videos and they just sort of agreed with us visually and it just sort of came together.
How do you feel Toronto influenced you as a musician?
Umm, that's, I, I dunno, it's hard to say how Toronto itself influenced us, we’ve just sort of always been in the Toronto scene so it's hard to see what it is sometimes, but we moved from midland our small town to toronto around 12 years ago now and just the chance to see shows every night and see bands play every night is pretty cool , I think we saw one band the constantines around 12 times in three years, its something we’ve always wanted to do and have always strived for so it’s pretty cool.
Who typically creates your album art?
That’s always for us something that comes at the end, it's pretty rare for us to have the artwork even before the end of the record being made, this last one that we did with Peter and Leah of July Talk we just ended up finding a photograph we really liked, but in the past we’ve just found a painting online and messaged the artist to use it, that's how we did our album red yellow and tape came along. So it's really important for us because that's the first impression people get of the album.
Do you have any rituals before you go on stage?
It’s usually its not really rituals, its just sort of drinking beer and stretching and singing roger miller, so we never rea- oh man what am i talking about we have a whole new one (haha) so we got a portable steamer on our last tour so now before every show we go through and steam all our clothes cause it's super important to get those wrinkles out ya know.
If you could sum up your new album in one word what would it be?
Oh boy okay, gimme a sec to think ah man, for some reason the word comfy comes to mind, like that's how the record makes me feel, its been a while since we’ve gotten to fully record together as band in one room and that's just how the booth made me feel and the music coming out made me feel, it's nice.
What was the inspiration behind the Miss You music video?
That one, uhhh, it kind of came together with Peter and Leah and we had an idea for the first two videos and we would meet and their idea was for a trilogy that arched together so we had an idea for (first two) and we had to sort of have the other two first, so what we did was at the beginning of the video with Leah and the dummy, Leah did a sort of short film in the past with a dummy where she found the dummy and sort of took him around, sung karaoke, and then at the end buried him, so miss you was sort of finding our own dummy which is important to us, and the old man prosthetics were fun cause it was like finding our own dummy after a while and sort of coming to terms with our own dummies, it was really fun to do.
What’s the mood that your band tries to put across for fans at each tour location?
It's kind of a, when it goes and it's going right i find there's a perfect balance between fun and chaos with a lot of energy, i find that when we get on stage it gets really high energy where we put out a lot of energy and the crowd sends it back, it's sort of like a ping pong game with no real perfect recipe but we try our best to put it out every night.
What's the most embarrassing moment thats happened on tour so far?
Oh boy, ummm, like ever? YES. Okay umm going through my rolodex in my head right now, my biggest nightmare is falling down on stage and there's been a lot of close calls and it happened one time, it's happened a couple of times not gonna lie, so you know when you trip on the sidewalk and you just sort of run like aha I'm not tripping I'm just running so i tried to do that on stage a couple of times and no one bought it, at one point i ended up taking a knee, but one time I just completely fell don and I tried to play it off as a rock move and I think some people bought it but not everyone did, so yeah, I could go on about all the bad things that has happened to my dumb self but I'm just gonna limit it to falling down for now.
What, writing wise, is the biggest inspiration for your music?
Umm, it can really depends, like a lot of things i guess, like Luke has mentioned that sometimes you have to look for inspo on what to write lyrically, like sometimes you find a perfect moment where you pluck a song out of thin air and you're like what where did that come from, but other times you don't have that and it's frustrating because you want it to be that magic moment all the time and it’s not, but it can come from your personal life of other artists or art work, and you just have to go with it cause you can't always get that magic moment, like this record we’ve, Luke has mentioned that its very personal and this record since we’ve gotten to record together it's more of a personal one cause its like replicating the feel we had when we first moved to Toronto because its when we would play in our basement and we would play for the fun of it so that's where the comfy part comes in.
What's a one word hint you can give us for what’s coming up for the band?
(heavy breathing) the lame answer is “more”, like I'm giving too much away and normally when you're creating the record and touring you're just sort of getting off tour and creating the new record and just doing that but this time we’ve kind of got the jump on that so it should be coming sooner than expected, so I hope I can stay true to that.