Saints of Ruin has taken the Goth/dark rock world by storm. Already popular internationally, the release of their first full-length album “Nightmare” has garnered them some very well-earned respect and praise in the United States. I had a chance to speak with Ruby Ruin, lead vocalist for SOR and ask her some questions about Saints of Ruin and what drives their music.
SM: First of all, your music is awesome. The fans here at HorrorAddicts dig you guys BIG TIME. The first thing that really hits me about the bio on your website is that Tommy Dark, singer and bass player for what became Saints of Ruin journeyed to California from New York when he found you. What is the story behind that? How did you guys meet across a country and what were you doing before that?
RR: Oh, it is a great story: Tommy Dark was in a band on tour here in San Francisco and played a show with my band. We became big fans of each other’s talents (and were mutually attracted as well). It took three years for us to finally come together and he moved to SF in 2006. We started the band, got married and the rest is history. Funny how love at first sight can work out.
SM: How has Saints of Ruin evolved over time, sound-wise and as a whole band?
RR: I think the sound has not changed dramatically except in that our writing has changed as we get to know our market (audience) better. We have learned what our fans like and strive to do more of the same rather than just to write and preform whatever comes out. Also, our lineup has changed and now the synth sound and harmony vocals have evolved to be more cohesive with the material.
SM: The Industrial and Goth genres are full of A LOT of subcategories and as a fellow Industrial musician, I know it can be difficult sometimes to decide where you should place your music to get the best reception from listeners, especially when you don‘t really WANT to categorize and label your stuff. Which niche or category do you think Saints of Ruin fit in the best and why?
RR: Our record label categorizes us as “Classic Goth Rock” but I think we have very little “Classic Goth” in our sound. We are rarely “new-wavey” and not death-rock but more epic like European bands such as HIM, Lacuna Coil and Tiamat. However we do have a touch of Cult, Sisters of Mercy and Concrete Blond in our sound. We are really a dark rock band in Goth clothing with a touch of horror-slash-vampy sexuality.
SM: Which Saints of Ruin album would you say is your favorite so far (if you had to choose) and why?
RR: We only have our debut 5-song EP “Fairytale” and our first full-length CD “Nightmare” so far, so it would have to be “Nightmare” because it is a maturing of our concepts and writing skills. It also showcases our diversity while sticking with a theme.
SM: What do you think is the biggest inspiration for the music for you personally (as in, what inspires you to write a song)?
RR: In my case it is actually dreams. I often wake with a hook in my head and get up in a daze to write it down. When Tommy writes he is usually practicing when he stumbles upon something catchy. Then we flesh our the ideas together.
SM: The SOR song “Halloween” is the theme on HorrorAddicts right now. What is the story behind that one?
RR: That is an anomaly of our writing style. I told Tommy that I wanted to write a song that embraces the concept of Goth culture. He wrote the lyrics in an hour while the rest of the music took a month. It came out reminiscent of Voltaire’s
cabaret style. It is fun to perform and anthemic.
SM: I saw video of SOR playing The New Orleans Vampire Lestat Ball last October and you guys were great! How was it?
RR: The whole experience was epic! That was probably my favorite show we have ever played: a Thousand decked-out Vampire fans at a gorgeous venue all centered in the mysterious City of the Night. New Orleans is crawling with Vampire freaks throughout Halloween weekend. This year the whole thing is being called Undead-Con filled with music and costume events, book signings, vendors, etc. We will be playing again this year and the theme is “Memnoch’s Resurrection.” Check out Anne Rice’s Vampire Lestat Fan Club, or ARVLFC and Endless Night. It is an unforgettable experience.
SM: Who would you name as SOR biggest inspirations musically (as far as sound)?
RR: We don’t necessarily sound like them, but some of our favorites are Rammstein, Type O Negative, Depeche Mode, Nick Cave, Sex Pistols, Black Sabbath, Alice in Chains and Led Zeppelin.
SM: Who would you name as your own personal musical inspirations, like vocalists you admire, etc.?
RR: My favorite vocalists are PJ Harvey, Robert Plant, Amanda Palmer and recently Mona Mur. We just got back from a partial tour with Slick Idiot (original members of KMFDM) and Mona Mur has been collaborating and performing with EN Esch for quite some time. She is amazing. My new heroine.
SM: I see that you guys are passionate about animal welfare and animal rights [‘Murder of Crows’]. As a HUGE advocate of animal rights myself, I commend you for that. Would you say there is any one message you want to get across to people with your music, or a message you want to come across the strongest?
RR: No, there is not one message, Tommy is particularly sensitive towards animals, though we are all animal lovers. I think we all just recognize that humans are pretty fucked up. There is a lot of injustice in the world and suffering is a part of the human experience. I think we will always write songs that touch on depressing subjects to some extent. That said, we do write love songs and violent songs as well.
SM: You guys have gotten a lot of recognition lately. Has that changed anything in your lives?
RR: Not so much except that we are sometimes recognized in public. And we were recently asked to endorse a cosmetics company. Not only are they using a photo of me advertising Black Magic Mascara in Gothic Beauty Mag next month, they also have created our own line of dark nail lacquers after Saints Of Ruin. I even have my own color named after me! That is pretty cool. We don’t quite make a living off of our music yet but we hope to tour Europe next summer. It is great that our name recognition is taking root in both the horror and Goth communities.
SM: What’s next for Saints of Ruin?
RR: We are just finishing our summer shows here in California and plan to get working on all of the new material that is in the pipeline. We will begin tracking new songs this fall and will hopefully release a new album at the beginning of 2011. We will play a few shows around Halloween here in San Fran and in New Orleans. We are shooting our first video next month so check our website in early September: http://www.saintsofruin.com. We plan to have a few new bone-chilling tunes ready for horror fans real soon.
So there you have it: Inside Horror Music with Saints of Ruin. Thank you to Ruby for being so gracious and forthcoming. We are looking forward to their new album!