Indie Rock, Classic Rock, Power Pop. Musical genres with different characteristics, but if you take the right elements and put them together, you get something beautiful. Ruby Bones has delivered a beautiful record with Laser Tooth Tiger.
Sweet Sweet Music spoke to Chris Fox about the cornucopia, Julian Casablancas, and new spins on timeless things.
How did this record come together?
Laser Tooth Tiger was born from the idea that our first record was a bit dark and we wanted to do something brighter and sunnier. Once the first few songs came together, the theme of being nostalgic about the past came shining through in the lyrics. So while there ended up being a light story of one relationship ending and another starting, it’s more about finding yourself in your early 20s and navigating how to take the world in stride.
The meaning of success has changed over the years. What would success look like for the new record?
We would love a small devoted group of people who know all the words to the songs and come to all of our shows, that would be the purest success in my eyes. Past that, we always want to reach more people, but we want them to be invested in the songs. So many acts come and go, but Ruby Bones would like to be in it for the long run making sweet records that people get behind, even if we change sounds and genres a bit across them.
You can pick 3 co-writers to write new songs with. Who? … and Why?
Oh, this is a fun one! I’d say the first is Julian Casablancas because of the way his mind works (The Voidz are next level in terms of songwriting and music theory).
Second would be John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats. Just to take a glimpse at how he crafts his stories and characters would probably be eye-opening. Plus he writes a lot of songs that he puts together thematically, Beat the Champ being my favorite record. I even run a Facebook group about it!
Third I’d pick all of the Walkmen (cheating, I know) to help flesh out the sound of a record. At the end of the day, there are only so many chord progressions in a writer’s book, but the way they were able to create such lush songs that conjured and captured emotion is legendary, at least to me.
How great is the urge to stay creative? To keep writing songs and lyrics?
The urge is great, my newest friend. Lots of songwriters go through phases of writing and not writing, but most seem to stick with it their whole lives. I can see it getting more challenging as time goes on, what with all songs being about life, love, and death, but for right now I feel the cornucopia is plentiful. Over the last few years, I’ve found pulling a few songs along a similar theme and crafting a full record around said theme can yield great results. I’d recommend that to anyone stuck in a rut. You have to have an idea of what you want to say before you can say it, then edit it, then say it better.
Lyrics are too often taken for granted. What are some lyrics on Laser Tooth Tiger that you hope listeners will remember and why?
I personally love putting wordplay into songs; just interesting turns of phrase and new spins on saying old, timeless things. But this record is all about living life to the fullest, so those are the sentiments I hope will stick with people.
you were more than drunk, you were wasted
always waiting for your luck to come around
well it all comes around
Just pushing a positive message in a way that’s not nauseatingly cheesy pop music. Sure, pop music has a time and place, but we wanted to make anthems for the boys in the song “The Boys are Back in Town.”
well talk is cheap when you’re talking to me
oh opportunity, it’s always knocking
back on the beat, you better believe
that your only enemy is doing nothing
Lest we linger on the loss of alliteration, I definitely had fun playing around with internal rhyme schemes and phrasings. I view songwriting as little puzzles waiting to be solved, but you also have to make all the pieces interesting. It’s easy to accidentally make something boring if you aren’t careful.
but don’t it just feel like
turning black and white
wasting time all on
hold it closer now
let me figure out
how to make it right
turn back time
and press rewind
For me, the last lyric of the last song sums up the whole experience Laser Tooth Tiger is trying to convey. It’s easy to waste your energy chasing luxurious and grand dreams, but just finding moments to keep dear to you is good enough. There’s a lot to be said for crystallized memories, and they can go a long way in defining who you are to yourself, but it’s also important to not dwell so often in the past that you aren’t living in the future. There’s life to live, so live it.