On the Road: Born Ruffians

Thanks for taking some time to talk.

Luke Lalonde: Yeah, of course.

So this is the tour for your new album, "RUFF." Where did you guys record this one? I know in the past you’ve all spent a few months living together.

LL: We did our last two records in Toronto, but the previous one took a long time because of the studio and the producer we were working with to schedule everything. But for this one, we tried to keep it closer to the way we made our first two albums — we just went in, set up, and recorded. We would play through the songs and just track it. Each day we did a new song and we never spent more than a day on each one. 

So this time it was only two or three weeks as opposed to months. Which was the goal, really. We wanted to limit the timeframe and just be more straight up with this one I guess — try and capture the feeling of these songs as they’re performed live.

Mitch Derosier: There’s definitely benefits to both methods I think. But it just felt so right to do it that way for this record — for everything to just be so immediate.

LL: Yeah, we knew that was the direction we were gonna take just from the types of songs we were writing early on. It was either we do it all ourselves at our garage studio, or we do it with someone like Jeff McMurrich who’s really easy to work with — but that was always the goal. We wanted to do something easy, live, and rock n roll. It was a fun approach.

When were you all living in that farmhouse? Was that for "Birthmarks?"

LL: Yup, we rented this place because we really needed to write music and we needed to be together to do it. But instead of having a rehearsal space in the city, we wanted to go somewhere that we could just wake up and make music. So we found this sweet farmhouse near Stratford which is a picturesque Ontario town and it was really nice. (Laughs) It was really dusty and we were all super allergic to it the whole time — I was taking my inhaler pretty much nonstop. But it was great to be able to just set up and record, and a lot of elements from those demos were on the record too. 

That was the way we did "RUFF" as well. We had a garage studio and we demoed everything very thoroughly so that when we hit the studio we were literally pulling tracks and putting them in the record, and it was basically just the blueprint. Then we went in the studio and just tried to combine them for the record.

I’m sure it helps having all of you living in that shared space.

LL: Definitely, but it’s also good to not live together all the time too — especially as we get older and start getting closer to adult life. You can’t always be twenty-year-olds in a basement, which is how we started and how we wrote the first record. You can only recreate that to a point. The new record got even more complicated where now we have a new drummer, but Steve, our original drummer, is also contributing and plays five songs on "RUFF." So we couldn’t be like, “Alright, Steve leave your life and come to this weird town.” Everyone has their own stuff going on so it gets harder as you get older for sure.

MD: But even the farmhouse thing was only a couple of years ago. It’s one of those things where it wasn’t ideal having to get away for those days, but it was still really fun. The purpose of it was definitely writing music, but it was also like a band retreat. The parts I remember the most are just drinking by the fire, or hanging out watching Star Trek or The Voice.

LL: (Laughs) Yeah, I think it was the first season of The Voice while we were there.

MD: It was the only channel we got so by the end we were all pretty invested in it like, “Oh I hope she does well.”

I definitely get the sense that having a sort of retreat would be nice. I feel like the pace of touring and just finding the time to all get together and record must be tough.

MD: That’s the kind of thing you can’t do downtown. You can’t be like, “We’re gonna live here and just play whenever we want.” That was a huge plus about the farmhouse — it was pretty secluded and if we wanted to mess around until three in the morning we could. So that was great but the studio set up is nice too. You’re commuting and it’s sort of like going to the office. Which is kind of fun for me too — just clocking in for the day. 

LL: Yeah, but it’s the best kind of clocking in.

Well I won’t take up any more of your time. Thanks for letting me hangout.

LL: Of course, man.

MD: Sure thing.

Thomas McDermott