[Exclusive Interview] Born Ruffians


Born Ruffians | Buy Birthmarks

Last week we had the humbling opportunity to interview the eclectic Born Ruffians at the beautiful Troubadour in LA. A show that will definitely hold a place close to not only our hearts, but those of the band as well. You could feel the excitement reverberate through both floors of the venue. After the thunderous set, we sat down with the pulsating energy of the band and bassist Mitch DeRosier.

Check the interview after the jump, and don’t forget the video of “Foxes Mate For Life” if you want to catch the vibes of the night.

Born Ruffians – Rage Flows

Born Ruffians – Ocean’s Deep

C+A+D: That was a hell of a show. It never gets old seeing a band tear up an intimate showcase as this.

Born Ruffians (Mitch): Thanks a lot man. Believe me, we don’t get tired of playing them.


C+A+D: I never see you guys on festival bills. I was just curious, was it just because you were in the recording process and you wanted to go or did you not want to go?

Mitch: It’s difficult; we’ve wondered how we haven’t broken into that yet. We’ve played festivals in Canada, smaller festivals in Europe and stuff, festivals in Australia. We’ve kinda got into other places, Germany too, but the States…I don’t know. I wish I had a reason why. Cause a lot of times people are like “Play at Sasquatch!” “Play at Bonaroo!” “Play at Coachella” and we’re like “Yeah! We’d love to.” If we could somehow get them to bring us, we would love to but I don’t know.


C+A+D: You’re on the way though, shows like this in places like LA is where you get that little extra push in the live music scene. It’s just something to look forward to I guess.

Mitch: I think you’re right. It’s just when is the question, hopefully.


C+A+D: You’re on the right track. I was wondering: what is your favorite and least favorite parts about being in a touring band?

Mitch: You just saw my favorite part, probably. Sometimes you’re in the van for 8 or 10 hours, which is fun but also taxing. You are able to get out and blow out steam basically and let loose. The reason why I play music is for the live shows and stuff. There’s a lot of other stuff too, cause Steve, Luke and Andy are basically my best friends. Luke (lead singer) is my cousin, I’ve known him my whole life. We’re family but Steve (drums) too, we’ve known each other since high school. So basically you’re on the road with your best friends and it’s the best time of your life. So that’s the fun part, the hard part is we have lives at home that’s difficult leaving, like girlfriends. It’s hard cause you get to go out and have fun and leaving family, girlfriends behind is hard. People communicate in different ways and that lessens the blow a bit but it’s not the same as being home.


C+A+D: As a musician in the age of the music blog, what’s it like seeing your stuff reviewed across the board?

Mitch: It’s cool. I mean we kind of had that with Red, Yellow and Blue and our EP where our music was getting popular on sites like MySpace when people used MySpace. That was cool, it helped us a bit. It’s cool to see that people will talk about you when you put it out there, it’s great. And I do read, I do all our on-line stuff so I’m always on-line. I do like that…you just have to teach yourself that with whatever anybody writes is just their opinion. You take the good with the bad. If someone writes a glowing review you have to think “that was really nice, but it was just one person.” You always want people to receive your stuff well. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in that it’s so easy to get wrapped up like “oh that asshole said ONE THING! That DICKHEAD!”


C+A+D: There are so many dickheads on the Internet…

Mitch: You just have to remember it’s just one person.


C+A+D: Your sound has changed so much since you started out. How has the praise or criticism you have received changed since you started out?

Mitch: We get both sides of that. A lot of people will say Birthmarks is their favorite, it’s awesome or it’s wicked. Some people say it’s pop or whatever, and I agree with what most people say. It’s exciting to see a band change and evolve. And Luke always says “Those records still exist, they’re still out there.”


C+A+D: Albert Hammond, Jr said something very similar.

Mitch: We’re big fans of the Strokes, too. I like their new stuff and listening to it and thinking “This is the fucking Strokes. This is crazy!” just hearing the sound come out. I think we just can’t…we can never cater to anybody. We’re just kind of ourselves and we’ve always been that way. I think a lot of bands will be like “We’ll be this two-piece, drums-thing…”


C+A+D: (The Black Keys)

Mitch: …you, know, where they had an idea before they started but we’ve never been like we’re just making music and we’ve never changed that. We’re just making whatever we think is fun, exciting and cool. So when we do that it’s so hard for us to think we should make a song like ‘this’ again. We wanna move forward. If you don’t move forward you die. I must say, I’m most proud of this record than any other record we’ve made. I think it’s our best.


C+A+D: We love it.

Mitch: Thank you, a lot of people have said really nice things about it.


C+A+D: Well it’s because it’s a great record! It came together really well, and it’s different from all the other ones, too. But I was wondering. Do you guys go to concerts or was there ever a time before you were a band when you would just go out to see shows? Do you still find time to do that at all as a band?

Mitch: Yeah, yeah. A little bit. I’ve been wanting to more and more sometimes when I go out as band. Sometimes obviously being on tour, you just want to be at home. But when we first started playing together we lived in Midland, which is a small town north of Toronto. We would drive to Toronto to see like, the Libertines. We’d go see tons of shows, so yeah, that’s how we got addicted to wanting to be in a band more. We would say “Ah this is amazing, I want to play there!” The places we would go to see shows at we’d say imagine if we could play there, and when we did it was amazing and it blew my mind! We did that and it was an accomplishment. I mean, it would blow my 16 year old brain’s mind that we did that and were able to follow through with our dreams.


C+A+D: Set your sights on something and work for it you can accomplish that. It’s cool to see when people do that. Never get tired of it. Who have you seen that was your favorite or most memorable shows?

Mitch: One of my favorite shows in Toronto since we lived there was Akron/Family. We saw them at the Great Hall in Toronto and I didn’t really know anything about them before. And they changed the way we even thought about shows. We saw so many bands that would just play which is cool, but Akron/Family were really jumping in the crowd, playing in the crowd. It showed us that there’s more to a show than playing your songs and they definitely were my first “Woah” concert that wasn’t just the same old thing.


C+A+D: Speaking of shows, I know you guys played a show with Tokyo Police Club in 2010, would you ever consider doing a US tour?

Mitch: We’ve thrown the idea around. It would be cool, both of us going around, playing shows.


C+A+D: Are you guys friends?

Mitch: Yeah. Actually, funny story. When we would drive to Toronto when we were 16, to see shows, before we realized it, we met a few of them at a show with friends. A few years later we figured out that we had met at a show and our friendship became that much stronger!


C+A+D: Ha! Sounds like a dream come true. Two of Canada’s finest. One last question. You’re stranded on an island: One album of your choice and one bottle of alcohol. What would you take?

Mitch: I’m not big booze guy, I’d probably take beer. Steam Whistle is pretty good. For the record—it’s tough to say—if it’s just my favorite record…it’s impossible to truly choose. Like am I trying to get something with a more “beach” feel since I’m on an island? I’m overcomplicating this aren’t I? If I had to take anything it would probably be Bruce Springsteen’s “Darkness On the Edge of Town.” That is probably one of my all time favorite records.