Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: What type of artist are you?
R: I am a solo artist – Classically trained in the Violoncello and Pianoforte – self-taught bassist and guitarist. I’ve only been solo since we went into Lockdown last March, it wasn’t something I’d ever thought I’d be! It’s all very exciting though…
PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.
R: Well, I was born in Barcelona, we left Catalunya very soon after as Spain was under a facist dictatorship, which had many implications on freedom, of views and cultural diversity etc. Conform or die basically! I grew up speaking Catalan, this was illegal in Spain at the time… We moved to Durham where I learned to play the piano from the age of 6 and the cello from 9. I used to play my cello on my lap and pretend it was a bass or a double-bass, I used to love pretending to be McCartney or a rockabilly – the Stray Cats were very popular at the time, lol. My mum is classically trained, she was an amazing pianist, and also played classical guitar.
Whilst doing my A’levels I joined a Durham University band, Don’t Kick The Baby, that was the beginning of my playing in bands. It wasn’t very good for my academic education to be honest. I remember playing at St Aiden’s Uni Ball, supporting The James Taylor Quartet and the amazing Bundu Boys, champagne breakfast at 4 am, A’level exam at 9… My parents were not impressed.
I moved to Sheffield as a student and then really started playing in bands. Sheffield has always been amazing musically. We used to rehearse in the same complex as the Longpigs; and would go and see Pulp in pubs. I would see Philip Oakey of the Human League, a childhood hero, shopping… amazing, right? Lol
So, to move on in time, I played in a band called Bolster for around 10 years or so, releasing 3 singles. That was ace. We played around the country. I also played in a really fun and somewhat crazy band called The Better Ford Clinic. We sold out Upstairs at the Garage in Islington, that was a gig and a half! With the Jim Muir Slideshow we toured a lot too. We played in Spain once. They really looked after us, we did go on around 1am though. Our manager had to stop us taking advantage of the hospitality, otherwise we wound’t have managed to do the gig – personally anyway! A Guardian single of the week and an amazingly reviewed Album followed… Then came obLONG, we were described as the opposite of jazz! A post-punk female fronted Sabbath meets Siouxsie and the Banshees, XTC sound, we played on the main stage at Tramlines a few times, we were playing in that there London every three weeks or so too. It was hectic and mostly fun! (All on Spotify etc)
I also helped form The Clear, a band with a publishing deal with the guy that signed Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys amongst many others. I also played (Covid put a temporary end to that!) in a little covers band with various great pals, for each other’s birthday soirees’, called the Birthday Band…
And then came Lockdown, I was sat there setting work for my classes (I’m a Spanish and Music teacher) and my Mac was staring at me. I’d failed for years to manage to use GarageBand and lacked in confidence as a songwriter. I’ve only played bass in all my various bands so becoming a solo artist, writing, playing and recording all the instruments, has been a steep learning curve! Paul Galpin, a dear and very talented friend, does the mixing for me. Fresh and independent ears always help. I was encouraged by others to get my music out… What could possibly go wrong? Lol
PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
R: Musically, the Beatles, Matt Johnson (The The), Post-Punk bands like Adam and the Ants, Siouxsie, 60s Psychedelia, OMD, Human League – I’ve always loved electronica, Can, Kraftwerk, David Bowie, Pulp… There are so many.
Non musical is much harder to answer, generally resilient people who stand up to bullies, who are selfless and want the better for the greater good. My partner Elly, for giving birth to my amazing twin daughters Alba and Hani! They’re four years old… they influence me in many ways.
PD: What are your dreams and goals?
R: I would like to hear my music on the radio, particularly on 6Music… Marc Lamacq, Tom Ravenscroft’s show, he’s the closest to John Peel I’ll get to as his son. They’re all amazing on that station.
My goal is to get another single out in March, and then the album in May. I’d love that to come out on vinyl, that will be amazing!! And then, when I can, put a band together as I’ve been asked to play a few gigs but Ruiz! is only me. I do have some amazing musical friends so that won’t take long… Dreams!
PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?
R: I write and play everything. The songs are about many different things. They’re about love, falling out of love, ghosts from the past, the state of the world. My dad and his abusive way of dealing with life, me as a child. Some are absolute nonsense… They have been very cathartic to be honest. I wish I’d started many years ago now…
PD: How do you promote your band and shows?
R: It’s all on Social Media, and word of mouth.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online?
R: I think it’s the way of the now. I’m all for it. Music is an art, and it should be heard by the masses. People should respect the work and time that’s gone into. Streaming services should reward the artists realistically or we will soon run out of new music. We all need to earn a crust…
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
R: I wish I’d written Paperback Writer, it’s the perfect Pop Song, riffs galore… or Across the Universe. It’s one of the best songs ever written… hypnotic. I recorded a version of it over Christmas. It’s on mu SoundCloud page. (See below)
PD: What are some of your pet peeves?
R: I don’t like the generic pop that is in the charts. I hate fascists and rudeness. I’ve got used to people saying my name wrong now but I can’t understand why people pronounce Chorizo with a ’t’ in it.. It’s clearly not choritzo is it!! Lol
PD: What is your proudest moment in music?
R: Playing at the Barflyin Liverpool with the Jim Muir Slideshow, supporting Willy Mason was amazing. 500 attentive people who cheered and danced to everything we did, or playing at Tramlines with obLONG, and getting on 6Music, but maybe it has to be that I’ve released two singles so far, all on my own and in lockdown… More proudest moments to follow in 2021!
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
R: I’m constantly writing new songs. I have 23+ finished and recorded so far, of which 11 will become the album. I’m also on the final checks for the next single, So Beautiful. Tony Fitzgerald, he does all my covers and videos etc. and I were only discussing the cover for this yesterday…
PD: What music have you available online and where can we buy it from?
R: Aha, lots of places… All good streaming services like Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/6yWoGhOJwXRg68OJ9euzOS?si=pI7ASy1iR4aVzQRd9d9dpg