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Shine's CatchUp with Waterfront Wednesday Artists The Ruen Brothers

The Ruen Brothers
Ruen Brothers
The Ruen Brothers

Welcome to Shine's CatchUp where WFPK host Laura Shine catches up with musicians about their music, new albums, or whatever they've recently been up to.

Rupert and Henry Stansall are The Ruen Brothers and won't have to make a long trip to this month's Waterfront Wednesday on April 26th on The Big 4 Lawn in Waterfront Park. Why? Because they live in Louisville now! Originally from England, they moved to the States a few years ago and recently made Louisville, KY their home. I got to catch up with them and ask about their new album called Ten Paces due June 2nd, and how they're liking living here. You can also check out the official video for their new song "Bullet Blues", below.

You are from England but have been living in the States for some time now. You even moved to Louisville recently! Most musicians live in Nashville, L.A., or NYC. Why Louisville?

We’ve lived in NYC and L.A. and visited Nashville a handful of times. All have been great bases for recording records and music for film. However, Louisville feels most similar to where we’re from in the North of the UK - brick buildings, seasons, lots of greenery and surrounding countryside - and it’s ideal for our touring routes as it’s so central.

What are some of your favorite finds in Louisville so far? Places you like to eat or visit?
It’s been cool to find so many great thrift stores! We’ve found a lot of neat props for our music videos at ‘Fleur de Flea’. Close to us there’s the Bardstown Rd which has some great restaurants and shops. There’s Doo Wop Shop - a great music store, Matt Anthony’s Record Shop - a gem, and a western-style clothing store that we’ve bought a few shirts from. We’ve been to a soccer game (which felt very British) and it’ll be fun to check out some of the riverboat/steamboat happenings in the summer.

The new album Ten Paces seems to have many inspirations behind it such as old Western films, French films of the 1960's, and desert motifs. Why those things in particular and how did they influence your writing of this record?
We’ve always loved ideas of ‘the old West’. The surrounding areas of our hometown in Scunthorpe, UK are quite empty and agricultural - we grew up around horses, running around in wide-open fields. ‘The West’ therefore seemed like a close, yet distant ideal, so as children, the Westerns on TV appealed to us. The music captivated us too - we loved songs from the musical ‘Calamity Jane’, and Roy Rogers’ movies. We learned that many country artists like Willie Nelson grew up loving the Western genre and naturally, as it did for them, inspired us to play country and Americana music around our hometown. It must’ve appealed to the locals as we kept getting booked! This all flowed into our songwriting. Although in the past we’ve drawn from more varied influences for our songs, we were on a bit of a Western and noir binge throughout covid, the movie ‘The Night of The Hunter’ was something we watched a couple of times. Complimenting the songwriting, for the production we painted a soundscape with canyon-sized reverbs, and thunder and ricochet sounds.
Touching on our European influences, French films are similar to Westerns in some ways - visually uncomplicated and beautiful, with thoughtful, contemplative and sinister characters. There are some great European noir movies that stylistically influenced American films like ‘The Night of The Hunter’. We were therefore able to draw from both areas for our music and imagery. Also, we’ve always been fond of pulp-style artwork and we chose this style for the album cover - fittingly, Westerns were initially within the ‘pulp’ genre.

The song that contains the title of the album Ten Paces is called "The Good Surely Die". What inspired that song?
Films like ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ inspired the story of the song, albeit we flipped the narrative. We thought it might be quite moving to reverse the typical storyline where ‘the bad guy dies’. Metaphorically merging the idea with the story of a relationship, the ‘Good Surely Dies’ seemed fitting and not uncommon!

Laura is the afternoon host from 3-6 pm weekdays. Email Laura at lshine@lpm.org