If you haven't heard of the Ruen Brothers yet, it is a pretty sure bet that by the middle of 2014 you will have. The brothers are Scunthorpe siblings Henry and Rupert Stansall, and having released some great singles, performed at some major festivals and had a load of positive press coverage, they are well placed to really explode next year. Paul Hastings took the opportunity to chat with the band, and find out a bit more about how they have emerged with such a great live presence:
PAUL: Most band interviews begin with a, how did you meet question but I guess as brothers we know that! However, when and why did you actually decide to start a band together?
RUEN BROTHERS: We started our first band at secondary school at the ages of 11 & 12... We'd already been getting up at pubs and clubs as a duo prior, backed by whoever was playing in the pub at various jam nights. We'd been playing our instruments for a few years by then and really wanted a band of our own to start gigging with.
PAUL: I've read that your Dad sang with The Sex Pistols after Johnny Rotten left, is this true? Is that where your love of music comes from?
RUEN BROTHERS: When Johnny Rotten left, the Sex Pistols still had an album to finish for Virgin/EMI. They were actually auditioning for people to sing on 'The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle'. My dad went and 'knocked on Malcolm McClaren's door' as he tells it and asked to audition. He went back the next day and got the gig along with 'Tenpole Tudor' and two other guys. He was actually going to do an album with Sid Viscous, but Sid died before this could happen.
Dad has always been really supportive, taking us to gigs when we couldn't drive, brought us up on an array of the best music ever written and encouraged us along the way! He's our biggest critic haha. So yes I suppose he's accountable for our love of music!
PAUL: You began playing in Working Men's Clubs, I used to go to those as a kid, with my nan and grandad, and,whilst at the time I didn't appreciate it, I now realise part of my love of music stems from hearing bands there. Even now, I'll hear a classic song like "Saturday Night At The Movies" and I'm instantly transported back there. Is that the same for you?
RUEN BROTHERS: Haha oh we know those kind of nights well! £1.80 a pint, pool table at the back and requests for The Drifters, Elvis and Bingo... Funny you mention that song transporting you back, it does the exact same for us! It was our bread and butter those gigs; the music we played and the experiences we had at various Working men's clubs will always stay with us.
PAUL: Do you think that background helped hone your skills as a live act?
RUEN BROTHERS: Definitely. Playing hit songs from decades by gone that have stood the test of time, being strict with the structures, having to nail them or get grief for not playing them right... Playing week in week out has helped hone us in without a shadow of a doubt!
PAUL: When I saw you at The Secret Garden Party, I really got the feel of a band that sounded raw and melodic, like the Beatles would've sounded when they were in Hamburg. Is this what you would like to achieve in a live environment?
RUEN BROTHERS: Yes! Funny you mention Hamburg! We played the famous 'Molotow' club at the time of the Reeperbahn Festival this year... The club was RAMMED, sweaty and going MENTAL... Such a good experience. Being a four piece the sound is always going to be pretty raw as we don't have any programmed instruments on stage and it's all guitar and drums! The songs are written with melody being a focal point, so hopefully we do achieve that in a live environment. It's not that we particular want or try to achieve that, it's just what we are I guess. It's honest and I think that's what connects with people when you play live.
PAUL: Your sound is often described as 'retro', does this annoy you? and how would you describe your sound?
RUEN BROTHERS: It's not purposefully retro... We aren't really bothered how people describe it. If that's what people hear, fair enough. We've just grown up listening to and playing old music week in week out, so I guess that seeps into and influences our writing. The chords structures and melodies are just what come naturally. It's hard to pin down a description for us. You can hear things from rock n roll, to blues, to country etc...
PAUL: Alongside yourselves, there are other young artists such as Jake Bugg and The Strypes, who appear to be proud to show their love of scenes and styles from the past. Why do you think it is so popular at the moment?
RUEN BROTHERS: All things come back around... Guess it a generation thing. Our parents and most likely their parents grew up listening to stuff from the 50's/60's/70's etc... It all filters down. What you grow up listening to, more often that not, you end up enjoying. Besides that, everything today is influenced from something by gone. So many great things have gone before us it's hard not to appreciate and express them in what we do today. People tend to get this view about the 50/60's inspired music of today being 'RETRO' it's no more retro than some of the rap, dance or RnB you hear in the charts. Everyone pulls from the stuff that they heard growing up, anyone who's says differently is fibbing. Whether it's influences from the 50's/60's/70's/80's or 90's it's all music from the past... That's always been the case.
PAUL: Are you a bit surprised by the level of attention and enthusiastic response you have received from the main stream media such as The BBC, NME etc?
RUEN BROTHERS: We'd always hoped that one day we'd get some sort of recognition for our music. It's nice that it has come from such prestigious sources. We appreciate it and are thankful. It was quite a surprise receiving such great support, as you can imagine it would be for any new artist.
PAUL: A lot of time is spent discussing your influences, but who are the contemporary bands or acts that you like?
RUEN BROTHERS: Acts we like currently are The Black Keys, Angel Olsen, Temples, Tennis, Ellie Rose.
PAUL: You played quite a few festivals this year including Reading, The Secret Garden Party and, of course, the legendary Glastonbury. Have you been to many festivals as a punter?
RUEN BROTHERS: None! The first proper festival we went to, we played at... Glastonbury. Doesn't get much better does it? We'd always been too busy gigging to ever get to attend festivals, so we kind of missed out on that scene.
PAUL: Is it hard playing at a festival where many of the audience may just be there out of curiosity rather than being fans already?
RUEN BROTHERS: Sometimes. Fortunately we've always had at least a few fans there supporting us, people who know at least a couple of songs. Some festivals have been tougher than others. The reaction was really good this summer, so we were happy.
PAUL: If you were to create your own dream festival line up, which bands/artists (dead or alive) would appear?
RUEN BROTHERS: The Rolling Stones, Roy Orbison, Bruce Springsteen, Bobby Womack, Johnny Cash, Fleetwood Mac, The Kinks, The Animals, The Damned, Ry Cooder, Al Green, Not a bad day out right?
PAUL: There is a long line in famous sibling rivalries in music e.g. The Gallaghers or the Davies brothers. Do you ever worry that it could all go wrong and end in a family feud?!?!
RUEN BROTHERS: Haha I don't think you can predict things like that... We are both fairly reasonable people. Hopefully not eh...
PAUL: You've released some cracking singles, but most fans are eagerly awaiting the album. When will it be released and what can we expect from it?
RUEN BROTHERS: Thank you. Around the middle of next year! You can expect, honesty, attention to detail and hopefully a load of songs you can have a sing and dance to.
For fans of the band that is extremely good news. It is great to see a band who are proud of their roots and are looking to match the great musical heights of some of their musical heroes. Anyone who has seen the band live will know they are certainly capable of getting an audience dancing. If they can transfer that talent on to an album it should be pretty special.http://ruenbrothers.com