Born Ruffians Play Elsewhere

Born Ruffians Play Elsewhere
"Every time we’d play a show — even when we did pretty big opening slots — we’d always get glazed over [by local media].” Steve Hamelin, drummer for Midland-bred, Toronto-based trio Born Ruffians, sounds disappointed at the lack of Canadian attention, but he’s not.

Along with singer/guitarist Luke LaLonde and bassist Mitch DeRosier, Hamelin found appreciation in the open-arms of Britain. "In March we played once a week in Toronto, and our first proper live review was in NME,” Hamelin says, a little baffled.

The Born Ruffians’ story is ass-backwards — unable to capitalise on our nation’s current case of "hot-new-band-itis,” their manager dispatched demos to UK labels and press. "Maybe it was our sound that struck a chord really quickly. Our demo circulated a lot faster, even though we’d done the same in Toronto. Canadian labels had our music too.”

In no time, the trio of 20-year olds found their quirky pop songs on BBC and XFM radio, and signed unique deals with mega indie XL in the UK and the electronic innovators Warp Records in North America, who loved their brand of awkwardly spry, but adorable indie rock.

The band are quick to point out their trips abroad were necessary, not treasonous. "It wasn’t like there were all of these Canadian labels talking to us, and then one UK and one U.S. label, and we said, ‘Fuck Canada!’ Literally the first labels on board were not Canadian,” Hamelin explains. "It’s like they were hesitating, waiting for someone else to take a chance. So we went somewhere else,” adds DeRosier.

Regardless of where this jet-setting lifestyle takes them, it certainly isn’t going to their heads, according to LaLonde. "Well, I got drunk and rented Mario Party 7 last night, and played it till four in the morning with two other friends. We bought chips and pop, it was a good time.”