Born Ruffians and Mounties Join Forces in the Studio
Published Aug 08, 2014In July, Born Ruffians spent four days with Steve Bays, Hawksley Workman and Ryan Dahle of Canadian supergroup Mounties at Bays' studio in Vancouver working on new collaborative material together while indulging in Kyle Mooney video clips and their appreciation for the recently reunited lo-fi pop favourites, the Unicorns. Although their mutual project has yet to reach an endpoint, Mounties and Born Ruffians have revealed to Exclaim! that they've laid down and mixed at least one new track, and they aren't ruling out working together further.
At this point, it's a bit unclear what will become of the song or under which band banner it might arrive, but the track was very much a joint effort. Bays laid down some vocal tracks and Workman provided the drum work, while lyrics are still being arranged by Born Ruffians frontman Luke Lalonde on their collaboration.
"I don't want to suggest too much lyrically because Luke has such a strong identity in his lyrics that kind of have his style all over them," Bays tells Exclaim! "I really just try to be a friend first and a producer/co-writer second. I just kind of enabled Luke to shake a bunch of ideas out of his head. I always try and approach everything with somewhat of a blank slate creatively, as well. I find sometimes, if you have too many ideas that you want to inject into a session it is kind of like putting a square into a circle."
Born Ruffians bassist Mitch Derosier adds, "We had zero expectations of what we were going to do."
Born Ruffians have previously discussed taking a free-spirited approach to their next record, moving into an "experimental phase," and this could possibly be a step forward in that direction.
"We get offered lots of different things to work with lots of different people and this is one thing where it was impossible to make happen in a certain amount of time, but we just said, 'Fuck it, let's do it,' Dahle says. "It is kind of like somebody has a blindfold on and you're helping them through the woods. It is as simple as that, when it is not you, it is a lot easier because you've already seen all the obstacles in your way and it is easier to move the boxes out of the way and get somebody in the right spot."
The members of Mounties and Born Ruffians were first introduced at the Sirius XM Indie Awards during Canadian Music Week earlier this year, and an enthusiastic Mounties approached Derosier and Lalonde to gush their admiration.
"Anyone can make alienating music, but it is really difficult to make good melodic pop songs in a way that is still honest," says Bays. "And when I heard them, I really just felt like there was no bullshit."
Workman adds: "To me, [Born Ruffians' 'Needle'] is two kilometres of creativity packed into one little sandwich and I think that song is nuts. When I was doing The God That Comes in June, backstage I listened to 'Needle' on loop. It was the only thing that I listened to. I bet you that we listened to it 20, 30 times before we went on stage every night. It reminds you that the creative boundaries are there to be exceeded. What those guys did with that melody is so extraordinary, as it breaks all the rules, but it still plays by all the rules of pop conventionally."