Emma Ruth Rundle: A Rock and Roll Fables conversation

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Emma Ruth Rundle wants you to dance to Some Heavy Ocean. No, seriously. “If somebody figures a way to go and make a choreographed dance to it I think it’d be pretty funny. I’d be pretty impressed!” says the songstress via phone soon after the release of her debut solo album, Some Heavy Ocean, which is definitely not Pop music.

Jokes aside (Except when comparing her painting to her music: “I kind of describe them as having a mistress: you can kind of go between the two and it keeps things interesting. If I feel sort of stunted in music I can switch over to drawing or painting but the art thing happens in compulsive spurts. I never studied formally so it’s a huge leap to call myself an artist. I think ‘professional doodler’ would be more fitting”), Rundle describes her debut outing as a “very heavy thing and emotional for me” but hopes fans take away from it what she feels when listening to Sun Kil Moon or Mark Kozelek: “Obviously some of that stuff he’s talking about is heavier or painful for him but it really relieves something in me and I hope [Some Heavy Ocean] does something like that for someone else “.

Speaking of the genesis of SHO, Rundle continues: “The Some Heavy Ocean experience was really unique in the sense that I was living at Sargent House. Cathy (Pellow, owner/manager) had taken me in after where I was living before was completely burglarized and I had to leave. And I really had to leave with nothing.  We moved in and then Marriages went on tour with Deafheaven. The opportunity came when I came back to the house because Chris (Common), who had engineered the record and also filled in on drums for that Marriages tour had a studio in the house. He was like “Yeah, let’s just start recording when we get back”  because there was nothing that either of us had to do immediately. It was just something I had talked about doing for a long time and we kinda locked ourselves away to the studio in the house.”

“The song “Oh Sarah” was meant for my sister. I had wanted to make a record for her and ended up making Some Heavy Ocean which ended up being more for me than for her. “Shadows Of My Name” was a song I had written from start to finish as an acoustic song and we were going to be doing a Glass Room Sessions for Sargent House which is sort of equivalent to Marriages unplugged. That song, Greg (Burns, bassist in Marriages) had gotten really attached to because he heard me sing a demo of it and really loved it and wanted to do it as a Marriages song. It worked really well for that Glass Room setting but once we tried to take it back from the acoustic setting into the world of Marriages, which is a lot louder, it just didn’t work at all. It ended up sounding more like The Nocturnes and I did not want Marriages to ever go in that direction.”

The conversation shifts towards her various bands (Red Sparowes, The Nocturnes) and what role she most feels comfortable in: “It’s hard to say. Everyone’s different. For me, it was never “I’m gonna be a frontperson for a band!” You start doing music and it very much becomes a part of who you are and what you do. I worked at this music/guitar/folk store [which was] sort of the epicenter of folk culture in L.A. and worked there for a very long time. I started hanging out there when I was 8 so it sort of becomes who you are and it somehow shifts over to what your career is and your professional life more and more as you start doing it more.”

“Out of everything I’ve been in I’d have to say I loved being in Red Sparowes. I loved getting the opportunity to just play guitar and speak through the instrument without having the attention put on me, the attention of being a front person or a solo artist. It’s not something that I’m trying to run away from anymore but I loved Red Sparowes and that there was an anonymity to it in a sense that there were four other people on stage. The guitars would speak to one another and I felt very immersed in something that was happening between several people. There’s a lot less pressure in a situation like that. A lot more freedom and certainly the ability to hide a little bit more.”

Looking forward, it’s just been announced that Rundle will be opening for Buzz Osborne on most dates of his summer tour while the second Marriages LP should finally see the light of the day as well: “We’re wrapping the record up right now and hopefully it will come out sooner than later. It’s different and we’ve got Andrew Clinco as a writer. He’s a full member, he’s the drummer. It seems like we get thrown on tours sort of out of the blue so we might be doing some tours, too.”

Some Heavy Ocean is out now through Sargent House. You can read all about it here and be sure to catch Rundle this summer on tour with Buzz Osborne and with Marriages. For a complete list of dates, go here.

 

 

 

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