Ruiz! is a United Kingdom, Sheffield based musician, songwriter and composer who is well versed in the arts of Iberian Psych Pop, as he calls it. Ruiz! has just released an original single titled “Falling” accompanied by amazing visuals. We had a few questions and answers with him. Below are exclusive details on Ruiz! and his new release.
What’s your official stage name and why did you choose it?
It’s Ruiz! It’s my surname. I thought it would be a good name but I didn’t factor in that there are millions of Ruiz out there and unfortunately the! doesn’t get recognised in searches.
When did you decide to pursue music as a career?
I was born wanting to make music, I think. I’ve always played instruments. I started lessons when I was 5 actually, on the piano. I started playing the cello when I was around 9 but I’m self-taught on the guitar and bass. It was only during lockdown that I found myself writing whole songs. Before that, I’d always been “the bass player” in various bands. I’d never had the confidence to sing, let alone write and record, especially on my own!
How would you describe the music you typically create?
Jon McClure, aka the Reverend, called my music Iberian Psych when he first heard it a few years ago. I guess I’d call it Iberian Psych Pop.
Who (living or dead) inspires you as an artist and why?
Well, there’s a massive question. The Beatles inspire me. They were prolific and always changing their sound. They changed the world of pop music with their writing and recording techniques. Wasn’t Get Back inspiring? It blew my mind. A lot of the 60s harmonies I love too. Bryan Wilson and the Beach Boys, The Who, Crosby Stills Young and Nash, The Byrds, etc. I’m a massive fan of Matt Johnson of The The, and the way he writes and records too. He creates amazing sounds and his lyrics are brilliant. I also love the electronic noises made in the 70s and 80s, Kraftwerk, The Human League, and Depeche Mode to name but a few. Post-Punk too, the Factory records bands, Adam and the Ants, The Police, the Jam, as well as bands like Sabbath, Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, QOTSA… Where do I stop?
What’s your creative process like?
I have an acoustic guitar by the sofa in the living room, and I’m always messing around with it. I quite often record myself on my phone and then will listen to ideas up in the studio (the office really) and record them from there into songs. Sometimes I’ll just pick up my bass or mess around with synths until I get a sound or noise I like. I create my songs like a sonic puzzle. The words always come once the track is ‘finished’ musically. I’ve never sat down and written lyrics first although I do constantly scribble down ideas and things that I think sound cool. I’m always listening for inspiration.
What feelings or reactions do you hope to arouse in people who listen to your music? Are you surprised by the reactions you get?
I always hope my music will be liked at least. There’s a huge amount of music out there, not all of it is good however, it’s a subjective opinion, and we all have them! I also hope it will make people happy and want to dance. I hope the lyrics make people think too. I sometimes think they’re messages from my subconscious brain as I’m not always quite sure what they’re about until the song’s finished. I have been blown away by people’s reactions to my songs. It makes me buzz!
What is the best advice you’ve been given in relation to music?
It’s never too late to start making music. Make it because you want to, don’t worry what others think.
Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of music?
I love cooking and watch Saturday Kitchen almost religiously with my five-year-old twin daughters. I love the Keith Floyd clips, so much so that I wrote a song about him – see my YouTube channel or my website to see and hear it. I enjoy the outdoors too, I do need to get my mountain bike out again…
What has been the high point of your career so far?
I was once in a band that toured Spain. We had everything paid for, that was awesome. Playing on the main stage at Tramlines was pretty exciting too. My solo career has been the highest point really. I’ve released five singles and an album all on my own! It’s all been received so well and the kind words that people say are incredible. I feel very humble and chuffed that people even listen! My Spotify numbers for Falling are out of this world!
Which musician would you like to collaborate with and why?
I’d like to collaborate with Stuart Copeland as he’s the most amazing drummer, Dave Grohl as he’s such an all-around dude, and of course Paul McCartney. To be honest they’re all musical heroes. I couldn’t just choose one. David Bowie would have been fun too.
What accomplishments do you see yourself achieving in the next five to ten years?
More records out. A dream would be to get some of my music on vinyl, it’s so expensive to produce. I’d love to play live and tour, play at GreenMan. I’ve always said I’d like to perform at my first Glastonbury Festival too, I’ve never been to one yet… Aim high!
What is this new release about?
This song was inspired by talking to a very close friend who was struggling with life in general and it got me thinking about how a lot of us are, post-covid and lockdown, etc. Personally, I can’t just sit there and fester. I was off work for 6 months with Long Covid. We need to get out and optimistically bang our drum, and make things happen: Carpe Diem!
Who and how many people worked on it?
All my songs are all just me really. I write, perform and record everything using Logic Pro, and then my amazing patient buddy Paul Galpin mixes and masters it all. I do have an input into that process too but to be honest, he’s awesome and knows what I want. He’s been such an encouragement in the journey of creating my musical output. The artwork and videos are mostly made by another very important person, and that’s a very clever man called Tony Fitzgerald. He’s got an amazing eye for detail and visual creation. He’s also been extremely patient and encouraging. Paul and Tony are my Ruiz! family.
What are you working on next? Any future plans or projects in the pipeline that we should look out for?
I have a good five or six songs needing completion, plus there’s another track coming out in the next few months. My sophomore album (I love that word) will be out hopefully at the end of October, or early November. The plan (in my head) is to launch that with a live gig!!
If you had one message to give to your fans, what would it be?
Thank you for listening, sharing, and adding me to your playlists. It means so much. And finally, keep on keeping on!