Rodeo Ruby Love

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An email interview with Zachary Melton of Rodeo Ruby Love.

Your sound has a lot of elements that sound familiar, but I’ve never heard them all put together like this before. How did you craft your unique style, and how has it grown over the years?

Dave Buckler and I, when we first started, had one goal: to write catchy love songs. Our original sound came from a drummer learning to play ukulele and a bass player pretending to know how to play guitar. The goal of writing catchy songs has persisted. So many people have come and gone, throwing in their influences on our music. I’d say that our current sound is due to two things: Kyle being more involved with the song writing and our touring without Dave, Erik, and Annie. There was a definite drop in excitement when we lost those three to school and work, and in order to compensate, we got much louder. Plus, I only know how to play power chords.

Rodeo Ruby Love was the second band to drop a record through Crossroads of America. Now, four or five years later, you’ve got three full length records and two EPs under your belt. Tell us about that journey, and specifically what it’s been like working with XRA Records.

Mike Adams, founder of XRA, approached me about releasing our music. I wasn’t going to do anything with the songs, so I thought what the heck. It’s been a fun and educational journey. XRA and RRL started right around the same time. So as we both struggled to figure out how things worked, we worked with one another. It’s a really great feeling when someone likes your music enough to listen to the people associated with you. It’s been a two way street with our label. XRA has provided us with opportunities that we otherwise wouldn’t have because we’re incompetent ninnies. And up until this last year, we were the most active touring band on the roster, taking with us the gospel of XRA. Husband&Wife has since displaced us. . .for now.

You’re latest release, This Is Why We Don’t Have Nice Things, was produced by Ed Rose (The Get Up Kids, The Appleseed Cast, Limbeck). What was he like in the studio?

We actually corresponded with Ed Rose via email. Kurt kept in contact with him the most, probably because the rest of us would have geeked out too much. He has produced some of our favorite records, and it was quite an honor to have him even bother with pipsqueaks like us. In fact, I kept bugging Kurt to relay to Ed how much I liked a couple Kill Creek records. Ed did not care that much. He certainly added his Ed Rose touch to make it sound awesome, but a lot of the credit needs to go to Wes DeBoy, who recorded the album.

Speaking of the new record, how do you feel about the way it turned out? Does it really capture your sound the way you wanted it to? What are some of your favorite songs, and why?

It turned out better than I expected. That is mostly accredited to the rest of the band’s persistence. I’m usually the one who says, eh, good enough. Kurt, Alex, Kyle, and Dave really pushed me and one another to make it something we could really be proud of. My favorite songs on the records are actually the ones that I am least connected to. A lot of these songs were inspired by different books I had read, and it was really fun to see how they were shaped by the often irrelevant facts that I gathered from my readings.

I’ve noticed a lot of spiritual themes on the album; what role does faith play in Rodeo Ruby Love?

Faith plays a very large part in our band because it has been such a huge part of our lives, both good and bad. Most of us grew up going to church. Many of us attended religious schools. Some of us try to retain those things, while others completely reject them. It’s something I’ve always found beautiful about our band. Kyle is a proud atheist. Annie is a Sunday School teacher. And yet, through our love for one another and through our love for music, those things really fall by the wayside.

What has been your favorite tour experience so far?

This summer we got to see a lot of things that most of us would not have seen otherwise. Swimming in the Pacific Ocean and driving through the Redwood forests were pretty surreal. It’s hard to pick out one specific experience. Maybe when I pooped my pants in Tampa. Or when Kurt was seduced in Sedona. Or maybe our first visit to Peoria, IL, years ago when Dave took a spill during 4-square.

Music has been good to us in 2010. What were some of your favorite records this year?

I’m actually the worst person to ask. The new Husband&Wife album Proud Flesh is one of my favorites. My friend from Florida, Moor Hound, put out a new album called Love in My Jaws. Another one of my favorite albums was from my new favorite Bloomington band, Memory Map. It’s a super group comprised of Matt Tobey, Mike Dixon, and Mike Bridavsky. Their album, Holiday Band, is full of noodly guitars. Gets me pumped! I really just like the music my friends make.

Moving into a new year, what can fans expect from Rodeo Ruby Love in 2011?

We are working on writing some jams and hoping to tour a little bit more, though not to the extent we did this past year. We’ve also been talking about releasing our first record on vinyl and we either never have the money or we keep forgetting about it. Nothing too immediate, I guess. I’m sure we’ll come up with something that sounds like a great idea that will leave us in debt.