The Ruminaters aren’t just a bunch of rowdy misfits. Look past the haircuts and ironic styling and their mental-as-hell gigs, The Ruminaters see beyond the mayhem and have something more profound to say… even if at first glance, it doesn’t seem that way.
Hard-working and with an energetic spritz of cynicism, their latest album I Used to Hate The Ruminaters, Now I Like Them has proved that The Ruminaters are consciously kooking indie pop. I sit down for a catch-up with frontman Jake Voroshine for the great reveal, summed up pretty perfectly here: “Just a bunch of idiots having fun, but with a smart undertone.”
In our chat we talked shop, music videos, branding and most importantly what it’s like going out on their own to form indie label The Sunball Machine. The project was an opportunity for fresh ideas, independent direction and to extend the lines of decency whilst on set (but more on that later). Think nudity, fire, brains and kitchen appliances.
This EP is fun and catchy, a rolling wave of pastel-tinged surf-rock and crashing psych foam. Six tracks long and punctuated with a pleasing mix of blistering guitar and crispy drums, the record is a compendious ode to the Australian summer, tongue-in-cheek and soaked in sassy drawl.
“We’re not trying to tailor music for anyone specifically, we’re just trying to put out proper music,” explains Voroshine. “There’s just so much shit playing these days, it’s hard to believe radio is playing some of the music that you hear. We’re probably doing it regardless of the music industry or not… We want to do it and if we can make a living out of it that would be sweet, but we haven’t been in [the industry] a long time and if we can bring anything it’s just music that we believe in and that we like… It’s more self fulfillment than anything.” This is a record of crispy diversity – a carefully curated kaleidoscope of sounds. As Voroshine laments, “We never tried to find one sounding song over and over again… We always wrote what ever we felt like writing… All the music comes together and sounds like a Ruminaters song.”
The conundrum of understanding exactly where The Ruminaters are coming from has intrigued me endlessly since the release of their first album I Hate The Ruminaters in 2014 and I was eager to find out more. All the colours and lunacy are definitely not all that these bright talents are up to. “I really like playing fun songs and party songs live and then [when] writing and recording I enjoy the deeper ones more. I think we get mistaken for a bunch of funny idiots, but when it comes down to it I think we can think a lot stronger than people think we can,” he laughs. “I don’t really mind how people see us. I like when people come to a show and it will be a bit of a shock to see us actually playing properly… I don’t mind people thinking we are a bunch of funny characters, I’m fine with that, but we take it more seriously than it looks.”
But these guys have a few more surprises up their sleeves; the series of self-deprecating album titles are definitely up for discussion and it doesn’t take long before the story is revealed. ‘The first album I Hate The Ruminaters came from my brother,” Voroshine begins. “He wanted me to draw him a ruminaters T-shirt – he’s always been a brat and not liking me – so when someone asked him what he wanted on his T-shirt he said ‘I hate The Ruminaters.”
And the fun doesn’t stop there. For every record a fan hopes for a killer video and these Sydney guys definitely went further than rogue. “All we wanted to do was make a cooking show,” he laughs. “It was going to be kind of pop art looking and we also did the album cover the same weekend, so we were pushed for time. We had our friend Tom shoot the film clip and it turned out that by the nighttime on the day we were shooting – we’d just been drinking all day – so by the time we got to shooting our concept had gone kind of off. We had a bunch of brains and blood and it became more of a drunken film clip of idiots. We didn’t do quite what we set out to do. A lot of it we didn’t put in the film clip, it’s pretty vulgar!”
The conversation steers to probably the most exciting development for The Ruminaters aside from this latest release – The Sunball Machine – the independent label project of drummer Teddy Brennan. ‘We’ve all put our fingers in it… It’s a pretty happy little crew we’ve got at the moment. I think we’re just going to put a heap of parties on – we’re the only band that’s on it! We’ve been talking to a few other bands around, a few friends’ bands, it’s still pretty early stages.”
The conversation for going independent is one on the tip of a lot of acts’ tongues, and Voroshine goes on to say that their situation is no different. “It’s good to be able to release everything ourselves… It’s pretty good to have full creative control and know who you’re working with, because before with someone else, you’d sort of expect something to happen and then you’d be going ‘Who’s doing what here? What are we paying money for?’ Now we have our own team that we work with and we know exactly what we’re doing with everything and all the money we make is for us.”
And so to the future, 2017 is looking to be filled with promise: “We’ve got plans to record the next album in late January in London, which I’m probably more excited for than anything, so we’ve just been writing for that and demoing a bunch of stuff at home. When you’ve got a bunch of songs there you just want to play them and we’ve only just released the last EP, so we are kind of itching to get some more stuff out there and play some stuff that people know.”
We can expect similar quality and debauchery in this next hot pocket of tunes. Straight from the horse’s mouth: “2017 should be pretty good.”