Interview: Ula Ruth

Ula Ruth

Brooklyn-based indie rockers, Ula Ruth, are getting ready to drop their brand new EP and third release, Fever, due out late January 2016. The band – Nic James (vocals, rhythm guitar) Andrew LeCoche (lead guitar), Kevin Clymer (bass) and Luc James (drums) – formed in 2012 by brothers Nic and Luc, who named the band after their grandmother, Ula Ruth.

Recently, we talked to Ula Ruth about their upcoming EP, their growing success, and their recent Communion residency in NYC. Read what they had to say below.

Your new EP and third release, Fever, is coming out January 2016. This new collection of songs has showcased your journey into darker pop music. How would you define this genre?

I think overall, we try to tell a story with our songs and this record in particular has a very specific focus and theme. It’s darker because our lives have changed. All off the songs on this record are ethereal and dark in their own way, but also are very grounded in the reality we wish to escape. To us Dark/Pop really defines what we’re trying to do, it’s like moody alt rock in a post-apocalyptic dimension.

What has inspired this transition?

I think over time as we’ve continued to grow as a band, we’ve also continued to grow as people and have experienced heavier topics within our lives. Our new music reflects our personal real-life experiences, and for the very first time as a band we made a record that not only has an extreme focus, but sonically is the most inclined with the music we truly want to make. Interestingly enough, it feels more like a natural progression inspired by our reality.

How has the writing process differed from your previous releases?

Massively. Every member of the band had a major influence on the direction, sound, and thematic element of each song on this record. A lot of credit goes to our producer Chris Ruggiero, and recording engineer Greg Giorgio in the way they helped shape the record from beginning to end, and ultimately helped us discover the sound we always wanted to make. There’s a lot of magic in Tarquin, the studio where we recorded and wrote most of the record, which also played a major role in the writing process.

Nic and Luc, Ula Ruth was your grandmother’s name, can you tell us about her influence on you or the band?

She was a jazz singer from Hattiesburg, Mississippi who moved to New York to follow her dreams. When she got to New York they changed her name to better assimilate into the New York City Jazz scene at the time, leaving her southern roots, and most importantly her story behind. I always felt that her story was rather sad, and for some reason always stuck with me. The idea of leaving everything behind to follow your dreams is really encapsulated in her story, and has continued to be a driving force in my own journey for success. I chose to name the band after her, not only in her memory, but with the goal in mind to one day see her name up in lights the way it was always meant to be.

Ula Ruth was formed in 2012, and already you’ve played several notable venues in NYC and have been featured in Rolling Stone and Nylon Guys. It seems like you’ve accomplished a lot in a short amount of time. Was there ever a moment where your growing success felt surreal?

As it goes with all of this stuff, you never take a minute to step back and visualize your accomplishments. It’s sad, but true. I think we’re all far too driven to ever take a moment and be proud of what we’ve accomplished. As a band we really live in the future and never in the moment. Maybe one day when we play MSG we’ll look out on the crowd of strangers singing our songs and it will finally feel surreal, but until then I think we have to much work to do ever feel that way.

Speaking of playing shows in NYC, you’ve recently earned yourself a Communion residency earlier this month, congratulations! How did you learn about the opportunity, and what was your experience like?

Our amazing manager told us, haha. But it was really exciting news. It was incredible. I think for all of us Communion was probably top 10 shows in our career so far. It was sold out, and just an all around night of some on the most talented bands we’ve played with. Can’t wait to do it again!

Do you have any bucket list venues you’d like to play in the near future?

Bowery Ballroom is the next on on the list. We were lucky enough to play Rough Trade in September which was amazing, and now we have our sights set on the next biggest. We have a strong feeling we’ll be there soon enough.

Thanks so much for speaking with us! What’s next for Ula Ruth? Do you have some shows planned in support of Fever?

We will continually be releasing new tracks and visuals from the new EP, and begin to tour in support of the new record in early 2016. As of now we’re just super focused on rolling out this new musical direction and re-introducing our selves to the world.

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