Interview with The Family Ruin following Voodoo Rocks Summer Ball, June 2014, London

TFR dearly departed plus pic

The Family Ruin are a fantastic up-and-coming rock band from the North of England.  They were meant to be touring around America with Crown The Empire at this point in time but, due to visa issues, unfortunately they weren’t able to go.  They have, however, just announced a support slot on the Asking Alexandria ‘Moving On’ tour of America and Canada later this year.  Also, their debut album, ‘Dearly Departed’ has just been released in America this very day (European fans – have some patience, only six sleeps to go!). 

So, in case you missed the original, first time around interview that I did with them earlier this year at the Voodoo Rocks Summer Ball in London, here it is once again for your delectation and delight! 

The Family Ruin WATERMARKED

L-R – Liam Redman, Wrath Of A King; Craig Robinson, TFR; Josh Adamson, TFR; Johnny Mennell, TFR; Natalie Conway, Red Dragon Records; Dom White, TFR and Me (Photo courtesy of Emma Radwanski Photography).

What did it mean to you to be playing alongside bands such as Funeral For A Friend at the Voodoo Rocks Club night?

It’s insane. I think, years back, we played with FFAF in our hometown of York (as The Fallen), so it’s great to be back on the bill with those guys, who have obviously massively climbed the ladder since then.  I think then they had just released their first EP, so they were at the level we’re at now.  It’s awesome to be playing with the Basement boys again, we’ve done quite a bit with Heaven’s Basement before and they’re good guys.  We’ve not gigged for 6 months and this is the first show since we’ve recorded the album and signed with KBB; it’s nice to be doing a high profile London show.  Good times!

You were formerly known as The Fallen. Did signing to KBB (a record label part-owned by Ben Bruce of Asking Alexandria) bring about the name change?

We’d been The Fallen for many years and we wanted to stick with it. It’s a bit of a sad explanation really, but there are so many different variations of the name.  There are other bands out there with the same name and you couldn’t Google it and find us straight away.  KBB told us they wanted to do the best for us, that we needed to be easily identifiable, so we went through two weeks trying to think of a name.  We could have punched each other, we all thought we had the best names in the world and everyone else hated them … it took a long time to come up with The Family Ruin.  We whittled it down to about five names and sent it off to KBB, told them that we hated everything we had come up with and told them to choose.

So, who actually came up with The Family Ruin?

It’s a bit of a cheat really, but there’s a band I really like called Oh, Sleeper and I was looking for references to lyrics and stuff; they have a quality song called ‘The Family Ruin’ and to me, that just kind of sounded like what we were producing at the time musically and it defined the sound for me, in my head … I’m not sure if everyone agreed with that. It’s got an identity because you want people to read it as, The Family Ruin, so no-one’s perfect but we can all join together and make something of it.

Very profound! Who do you draw your musical influences from?

We’re all totally different, so when we come together to start writing songs, there’s a good starting point. I think that’s good though because we all like different genres of music and it all comes together to make our sound, which is hard to compare to another band.  Each song will vary; it’s not the kind of band where you’re going to get the same song throughout the album.  It also works well because we get to play with different types of bands; our songs sound like different genres.  We can roll up to some gigs and be the heaviest band on the bill and then we turn up to others that make us sound like Steps.

For anyone that’s not seen you before, how would you describe your show?

Party! That’s one thing that’s stuck with us through the years … one time we did a show back in Yorkshire and they put us on the poster as ‘party metal’, which is something we’d not heard before. We like to make sure there’s a groove in there so you can bang your head or have a good time.  We’ve been known to have a few beverages and we enjoy a good time, we just want everyone to come down and get rowdy.  We’ve got Liam (Redman, Wrath of a King) standing in on guitars tonight, he’s played a lot of riffs and tried to rock out to it, but he’s got some filthy grooves.  As long as it’s rowdy and the beer’s flowing, it’s just got to be a party.

You’ve just announced a US tour, what are you hoping will come from that?

Leaving work! That’s a big factor to be fair, we’ve spent a lot of years doing nine to five jobs, so the US tour is a massive step up for us – it’s a proper platform to take the new album on and it’s going to be awesome to be in the States.  We hope that they’re going to accept us.  We’re starting to work on a few other things over there as well, so all being well, it’s not just going to be the one tour, we have got other things in the pipeline.  In 2015 we’re going to spend quite a bit of time in America, and then we’ll focus back on the UK.

Well, you’re doing some UK dates this year, but nothing on the South coast. What’s that about?!

We hate them all, and we don’t like driving or really like leaving Yorkshire that much! No, to be honest, we’ve just been in touch with a really good booking agent who sorted us out for the UK to get us warmed up and prepped for the States.  We don’t want to look as if we’re just ditching the UK because we’re not, but this is just a small showcase tour.

But you’ve missed out the South completely …

Speak to the booking agent, although we’ve been to Plymouth twice …

That’s not the South coast though! What about Southampton, Portsmouth, Bournemouth …

The plan is to go to the States for a while, build up a bit of a profile and hopefully that will feed back through to England. If we can get some more decent shows over here then we can tour the shit out of the UK.  It seems no matter what dates we announce, someone’s always asking why we’re not playing somewhere else.  It’s a shame for us, because we’re not hitting Scotland on this tour either and there are quite a few people up there asking why.  It’s basically just a quick, warm up tour and when we come back we’ll hit more dates.

You’ve been at this for quite some time now, what would be the one piece of advice that you would give to an upcoming band?

We would say, literally, don’t give up. We’ve had a couple of line-up changes, but you have to have a certain determination to stick at it and your heart has to be in it.  Over the years we’ve had some shit shows, we’ve lost money, but we’ve stuck at it.  You have to find the right group of people that you get along with – thankfully we’ve always had that, even with the members who have left in the past, we’ve never had musical differences or anything like that, it’s always been that they can’t fight the struggle anymore or can’t commit.  At a low level, it’s going to cost you a lot of money, you have to be prepared to sacrifice a lot of your free time and anything that you earn outside of the band, you’re going to have to put it back in.  But if the dream is strong enough, it’s going to pay off in the end, so stick at it.  If you really want it, it’s a lifestyle choice.  We all work to be in this band and if any of us didn’t, we would be nowhere near where we are now.  It’s all about the heart.

We’ve literally just landed on our feet with the whole KBB thing and everything has fallen into place since then. You have to stick to doing your own thing, too, but it’s all about your lucky break.  We started recording the EP this time last year with Sam and Joe Graves from With One Last Breath, they have a studio in York – we’re all local lads.  Ben Bruce was recording a solo album with Sam and Joe and they told him, very kindly, to check us out as he mentioned he was starting up a label.  They’d seen us play as well, but it all came down to luck.  KBB’s a very hands-on label, they want to get involved in artwork, the songs and give direction, but they’ve given us no ultimatums just because they have the knowledge.  They’re on the second stage of their careers, we’re on our first!

So ‘Dearly Departed’ hits the streets in the USA today, Europe on 29th September – seriously don’t wait to catch these guys – they’re awesome and fully deserve your attention!  In the meantime, check out the audio for ‘Let’s Go’ here – http://youtu.be/CdZ4aR6q06U

Keep an eye out for my review of ‘Dearly Departed’ – coming soon!

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