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Studio Session: The Ruby Suns

“I think it was something that was bound to happen. I’d flirted with pop long enough; it [was] time to delve in,” observed Ryan McPhun, lead singer of The Ruby Suns, when talking about the band’s latest release, Christopher, during an interview with opbmusic‘s Jeremy Petersen.

A lot has changed in the three years since The Ruby Suns released their last album, Fight Softly. Following a breakup with a past band member, McPhun changed the band’s lineup and, to an extent, its sound. The Ruby Suns is now a trio of McPhun on guitar and vocals, keys player Bevan Smith and drummer Alistair Deverick, and the tropical styles of songs like “Tane Mahuta” have given way to a new kind of pop sound.

This evolution only seems natural as parts of the album were created in Olso, Norway, a key player in the fabled Scandinavian gloss-pop scene. In discussing his relationship with pop, McPhun talks about growing up listening to his parents’ music — Michael Jackson, Hall and Oates, and Phil Collins.

“They’re probably my three top favorite bands still. I think that definitely influenced what I like now, and of course the nostalgic thing is so huge and I think everybody’s affected by that.”

McPhun also loves Swedish dance-pop queen Robyn, whom he references in the track “Desert of Pop.”

Chris Coady, who has worked with many indie heavyweights, engineered Christopher, resulting in a bright hi-fi sound full of synths and youthfully nostalgic lyrics.

Christopher serves as a metaphor for transformation, both emotionally and musically. In “Kingfisher Call Me,” the first single, it becomes apparent that the album is about moving on and growing up: “You came so far/from psychological high school/the look on your face/waterfalls/dry your eyes/it’s what to do/don’t listen to anyone but you.” 

The Ruby Suns is currently touring the U.S. and Canada. Christopher was released by Sub Pop on January 29.

Watch and listen to the full opbmusic session.


The Ruby Suns

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The Ruby Suns: Kingfisher Call Me (opbmusic session)

The Ruby Suns Oregon Public Broadcasting Portland, OR 2-15-13 Full session at