This week’s Band of the Week is The Ruse, an indie/pop rock band from L.A. When I first reviewed their CD Light In Motion, I was completely blown away. Even more so when I learned they had recorded it on a laptop in Jason Young’s (drummer) closet, “with clothes on the floor and everything”.
Light In Motion is a breathless, impassioned, honest album with all the qualities that invoke feelings of being mellow and lustful, sultry and comfy. The Ruse has a melodic, soothing, cultivated sound with influences from U2, Coldplay, and Travis. The Ruse’s frontman, John Dauer’s voice is smooth, mellow, and rich. He also has the enviable ability to be hauntingly emotive.
Earlier this week, I got to chat with John Dauer about The Ruse’s song writing. I was also given a sneak preview of their newest, hot-from-the-studio songs.
Tell me about your song writing process.
John Dauer: Jim (guitar) will come to me with a verse and the chorus of a song. That will include chord progressions for the verse and chorus, as well as melody and lyrical ideas for the song. Jim and I will sit there and try and make a whole song from that material.
After that, I take it and finish up any lyrical stuff that needs fixing, but it is a continual process. Then we bring the song to rehearsal where Jason (drummer) and Mark (bass) will add their parts, as well as critique what Jim and I have.
Once we have played it a few times, we actually figure out if it is something we can use. I know that is unusual; for most bands there is usually one writer and arranger, but for us, it is much more collaborative.
“Goodbye” is a beautiful, haunting track. John’s vocals are full of heartache, sorrow and melancholy.
Can you tell me about the lyrics for “Goodbye”? It sounds alternately that it’s about death or about losing a love.
John: When we were on tour on our way out to L.A., we were moving across the country in a couple of different cars, with our whole lives in a couple of trailers. We had been in the desert for about two days and no one had any cell reception. We emerged from the desert with several messages on our phones, mostly from family who wanted to know if we were still alive.
I was in the car with Jim, and he and I were checking our messages. He was driving and all of the sudden he whipped over to the side of the road and slammed on the brakes. One of the messages that he received was from his mom telling him that his grandfather had died suddenly the day before. That song comes out of that experience.