With every new offering, Los Angeles -based MY RUIN documents their life and wears their bloody ravaged hearts on their sleeve often reflecting what is going on around them both sacred and profane. With ‘Ghosts and Good Stories’ marking the end of a decade and a true milestone in their career, the magnum opus that is ‘A Southern Revelation’ signifies the band’s seventh full length studio album as a symbol of staying power celebrating their determination and dedication to the fiercely independent DIY ethic that has always been a part of MY RUIN. Some weeks ago I had a pleasure to chat with band’s charismatic vocalist, Tairrie B. and i can assure you, wherever she goes, she leaves a lasting imprint on her way…
Hi Tairrie, I’m Tarja. Welcome to Metal Shock Finland!
TBM – Hello Tarja, nice to meet you my rock sister!
My Ruin’s debut album Speak and Destroy was released in 1999 and your latest 7th full length studio album A Southern Revelation came out at the end of last year. In between there have been many other albums. Which one has been the most significant in your career and why?
TBM –This question is similar to asking a mother which of her children means to the most to her. It’s very difficult to answer. Each album I have written and recorded is unique in its own way and represents a specific time in my life. I recorded Speak and Destroy in 1999 before I met Mick [Murphy] my guitarist/husband and it sounds nothing like the music we have been writing for much of the last 12 years. It was a very experimental recording which introduced My Ruin as my solo project which I fondly view today as my transitional album after leaving my former band Tura Satana. I met Mick in 2000 and we began a relationship which lead to us working together and recording A Prayer Under Pressure Of Violent Anguish together soon after. 12 years later we have recorded 2 live and 6 studio albums that we consider to all be significant and special to us. I also believe it’s important for your music to stand the test of time and still sound relevant 10 years later which I hope the fans of our band feel when they listen back to our previous albums. I think most musicians tend to feel that their latest recordings are always the most reflective of who they are as artists in that moment and in this moment A Southern Revelation is what defines who we are. I think the back story of why we chose to record and release it the way we did gives it a significance that stands alone in our cateloge which we are very proud of.
A Southern Revelation is available as a digital only*Free Download* via your website but there is also button where fans can donate. Can you tell us why you have chose to release it this way instead of through a label?
TBM – We made the decision to release our new album this way because of certain things we were forced to deal with behind the scenes and surrounding the release of our previous record Ghosts and Good Stories on our former label Tiefdruck Musik. We felt it would be a nice gift to our fans and an even nicer middle finger to label owner Daniel Heerdmann for all the hell he had put us through at the time. We have very little faith in labels these days and even less faith in people at labels who come on super strong and make a bunch of promises they do not intend to keep.. This is our way to take our power and integrity back as underground DIY artists and keep the spirit of independence alive. It’s amazing how most labels continue to remain in business these days considering how they treat bands. Album sales in general have dropped massively and the industry has changed a great deal over the past 5-10 years because it’s become really easy to download music without paying for it so we decided to bypass all the bullshit and get the best quality digital version straight to the people who dig what we do. We’re tired of dealing with assholes and trusting liars. We’ve basically had enough. It’s always been about the music for us and all we ask is that fans download it directly from us rather than on some random torrent online site. We set up a donate button because so many people wrote us asking us if they could contribute something towards our band and to be honest, it’s been much more rewarding for us doing it this way on all levels.
This was your first time recording out of Los Angeles. How was this experience for you and why di you choose to do this?
TBM – We recorded our new album at Soundtrack Black Studio in the snow covered hills of Tennessee just outside of Knoxville [where Mick is originally from and where we got married] with our long time friend Joel Stooksbury who co produced, engineered and mixed it. Joel offered us the chance to record at his home studio and we felt it would be a nice and much needed change of atmosphere which it was. Mick and I go home to visit his family every year at christmas so this time we just stayed a few extra weeks and recorded. Being that it was during the winter it was very cold which I wasn’t used to but I quickly adapted to the environment which actually played muse to me while writing. It really set the tone for the album. Joel was so much fun to work with. He’s a wonderful guy who we really bonded with. Both he and his wife Mindy were so welcoming to us while we were in town and many of Mick’s childhood friends and former bandmates would drop by and hang out. It was really cool. Definately one of the most amazing experiences we have ever had making a record and a great memory we are looking forward to repeating again very soon with Joel.
This album’s main focus seems to be about broken trust in friendships with an overall theme of betrayal in business and personal relationships. Can you describe what this album represents to you and Mick and something about the songs and their birth?
TBM – With every new recording you could say that we attempt to document our life and reflect what is going on around us both sacred and profane. Initially the first songs written were penned out of frustration. It was our way of venting and purging. It soon became a highly focused, intensely passionate and cleansing record that invites it’s listener to join us on a personal journey of retribution. ‘A Southern Revelation’ signifies a symbol of staying power for us. It celebrates our determination and dedication to the fiercely independent do-it-yourself ethos that has always been a part of My Ruin. It’s our meanest and most pointed album to date. Unrepentant, unrestrained and unforgiving. This is our slaying of the beast.
A Southern Revelation is a title that bears two of the main elements that are representative of My Ruin. The first being the southern atmosphere and musical roots, the second would be the reoccurring religious but anti-pious references. What lies behind this title and how was it born?
TBM – The title of the album was born in the south and you can feel that Southern influence throughout the songs in both the music and lyrics. The revelation aspect is about the act of revealing coupled with the Biblical reference of the Book of Revelations, the beast, the Book of Daniel and the number 7 as this is our 7th album.
What has been the reaction of your fans and critics about this album?
TBM – It’s been totally positive from both. We were wondering how our new album would be received after G&GS got such an incredible response from the press and fans because ASR is not as heavy musically speaking but it’s gotten terrific reviews and people seem to really love it so we’re thrilled.
Please describe me your genre? and how your sound has changed in these past years?
TBM –One of the biggest misconceptions about My Ruin is that we are a goth band. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I think people have a hard time categorizing us because our sound is very unique and has many different elements to it. We sometimes describe ourselves as Black Flag meets Black Sabbath with Pantera vocals. We’re a rock & roll metal band that features a bit of spoken word and a whole lot of screaming. That pretty much sums it up!
Tell me about your live shows… what is your message on stage?
TBM – I think our shows are cathartic. Not just for the fans of our band but for us. It’s very theraputic to scream. It’s primal and gut wrenching and I have found it has soothed the savage beast on more than one occasion. One thing I have always loved about our shows is that they are so personal. I tend to spend a great deal of time in the audience and sharing my microphone with the front rows. I think it’s important to share a connection and music is such a powerful release and healer. I don’t really have a message on stage. I’m not up there to preach my beliefs. I would rather our fans believe in themselves, think for themselves and take away what they feel inspires them individually.
Where do your main influences and ideas for the songs come from?
TBM – I have always said that my religion is relationships. I write about what I know when it comes to my lyrics and I never seem to run out of subject matter because there are always new stories to be told. In regards to the music, Mick is very influenced by 70’s classic rock. He’s inspired by a wide range of musical styles that help him to create the sound of My Ruin. Mick is a very humble guy. It’s one of his most admirable qualities but the truth is, he’s an amazingly talented multi-instrumentalist and has played guitar, bass and drums on our new and last album as well as our 2005 release The Brutal Language. I think his knowledge of music has grown and developed heavily over the years and helped him to become a better producer and musician. I’ve learned a great deal from working with him and so have many people in and around our band over the years.
I personally have discovered you by your last album Ghost and Good Stories and among the first 2 things that stand out to me are the incredible voice of Tairrie and the awesome guitar of Mick. Tairrie, please tell me what is the secret of your voice which has been often imitated but never duplicated? Is it due to practice or a natural talent?
TBM – I have been screaming since 1993 and trust me when I say that my throat has taken its fair share of vocal abuse and beatings. It’s not easy to keep your voice in perfect condition when you’re on the road and I tend to get sick a great deal because we always seem to tour in the winter. My voice has grown into it’s own over time with each album and touring definately helps to develope and strengthen it naturally. I think it’s important for vocalist to have their own voice and never try to imitate someone else whether they are singing or screaming. There is no real secret to what I do. I just do it.
You have chosen to record as a two-piece in the studio, why is this and who is playing with you live at the moment?
TBM – Mick and I have always been the main songwriters of My Ruin and together we work very fast when it comes to writing and recording our albums. The Horror of Beauty in 2003 and Throat Full of Heart is 2008 were both recorded with a full band and we had a blast both times but the truth is, while we enjoy working with other musicians, it has been much easier and more cost effective to just do it as the two of us with a co-producer but who knows how we will record our next album. Only time will tell. At the moment, Luciano Ferrea is playing bass with us. He’s been in My Ruin for the past couple of years. He’s a good friend and awesome bassist. My longtime friend Marcelo Palomino is playing drums. I’ve known Celo since 1993. He was in my first band Manhole [which later became Tura Satana] with me and has toured with My Ruin in 1999 and 2008. He also recorded our live album/DVD Alive On The Other Side with us. We’ve had a few drummers over time but having Celo in the band is like having my brother with me and feels like home. We all have a great chemistry together that is very natural, especially between the two of us because we’re friends first which I think is important. This was not the case with any of our former drummers.
Being that you and Mick are husband and wife what are the pro’s and con’s of this kind of “symposium” within the band dynamic?
TBM – Mick and I were married in 2008 and we’ve been together over 12 years. Our being a couple has never been something I would reduce to pros and cons in the band. It simply is. No relationship is 100% perfect, we argue, have disagreements and have our good and bad days just like any other normal couple but we’re a team and always have each others backs and best interests at heart. With all the things we have gone through together within and around our band, our bond and relationship has really strengthened. We’ve been through hell and back more than a few times and it’s not always easy to keep going. Being in an underground DIY band takes a lot of heart and dedication to yourself and your art. In the beginning most people [including myself and Mick] saw My Ruin as my band but it has grown into our band and something we share as two individual artists. I think it’s our seperate influences and inspirations that we bring together that make our band so special. It’s a rough road more often than a smooth one and you have to be level headed and tough enough to withstand whatever comes your way because there is always a new surprise around each corner. Especially when dealing with the amount of assholes, liars and creeps there are in the music industry.
What are your next plans for My Ruin?
TBM – We recently toured the UK & France where we shot a new DVD and live video for Deconsecrated with our friend Tor Burrows who worked with us on our last 3 videos from Tennessee Elegy, Long Dark Night and Excommunicated. She is editing those now in the UK and we are in rehearsals getting ready to do some shows this summer and film our next video for Middle Finger in May which I plan on co directing with our drummer Marcelo. We are also excited to announce that we have signed on with That Authoring Group and our new album will be featured on RockBand 3 and RockBand Blitz in July so we’re looking forward to that.
Thanks Tairrie! Now the word is yours, please say something to your fans and to our readers….
TBM – For those of you who have been following My Ruin for many years, thank you for the continued rock love and support of our music. For those of you just discovering us for the first time, we would like to invite you to visit our site at http://www.myruin.net and get to know our band, download our new album A Southern Revelation and share it with your friends. Thank you to Metal Shock it was great chatting with you Tarja! xo
Interview by Tarja Virmakari – Photos: Kayla Wren of Ren Photography
For more information, please visit: www.myruin.net