Artists You Should Know: Tiny Ruins
Musicians strive for headliner tours, record deals and a large following but the reality of the industry is joining a competitive pool of newcomers, YouTube sensations and artists that just didn’t have what it takes to coexist.
New Zealand artist Hollie Fullbrook decided to take her musical dreams into her own hands by teaching herself guitar, writing music and forming a trio group known as Tiny Ruins. Fullbrook continues to prove that not all bands are led by a male and music doesn’t have just one genre.
Tiny Ruins captures the essence of mixing sounds to create a new refreshing song with tracks like ’Rolling Mill Blues’. The group will be releasing an album entitled Brightly Painted in 2014.
Q: Why the band name Tiny Ruins?
TR: I was trying to think of a band name and I had been thinking for a few days so I was reading a couple of book trying to get inspirational ideas. One of the books had a passage about ruins, not in the ruins castle sense it was about the fear of waking up and only a few months to come to fresh ruins. Investing in something and putting all your hope into it and then waking up down track in a relationship or something and it be ruined; I kind of liked that idea.Then as I was reading it a song came on by Tiny Bradshaw, who was a band leader from the 40’s. The song was called ‘She’ll Be Coming Round The Mountain’ and I really loved that song and it was one of my favorite songs at the time so I put the two together so the band is kind of named after Tiny Bradshaw.
Q: You started off as a solo artist, what made you want to add band members?
TR: I [Hollie] moved into a house with a bunch of friends who are also musicians and one of them being Cass who plays the bass. When I moved in she suggested she buy or hire an upright bass to see how my songs would suit being played with an upright since she’s an electric bass player, so we hired a bass and she started learning it from scratch and it was just cool playing with somebody else. I had this European tour roughly planned for about 9 months later so we decided that we would go on tour together. Alex is a drummer who has played with Cass in many bands over the years and they went to school together, I knew Alex for a few years as well so it made sense to have the both of them because they’re a good rhythm section.
Q: What was the song writing process for your new EP Brightly Painted?
TR: Well that’s funny because I guess the songs have been written over the course of three years and you kind of write these songs knowing you’re growing a collection for the next record, but it’s not until you’ve recorded them and you line them up that you realize that they’re kind of interconnected. So the songs on this album have similar things and it kind of goes in an arc, it comes from melancholy space then it moves into the center epiphany place then it moves into a kind of acceptance. So there’s kind of a journey through the album and but the actual song writing they all came about differently and I didn’t really think of them as being connected when I wrote them.
Q: What does CMJ mean to you?
TR: So far it seems like it’s very much linked to New York City as an environment and these venues that many people know. From an outsiders prospective, you just come to the city and it’s quite structural in terms of the maps and subway maps with this borough and that one and it’s like kind of trying to figuring out how to get around but I love that about it. It’s this huge beautiful framework and when you’re on the subway and you look out as you’re crossing the bridge from Brooklyn to New York and you see all these buildings and you know the history of it but it’s suddenly right in front of you. It’s quite emotional actually, there’s a lot of symbolism in New York in so many films, books, songs and history which all embeds itself in your consciousness when you’re growing up and to find yourself here is very exciting.
Q: What would you describe your music as to a new listener?
TR:Usually when people ask me I say it’s kind of folk, it’s quite fast but it’s really about stories and song writing lyrics in that kind of song writing tradition. I still play an acoustic guitar so it’s got that element and having a band is bit more layered. It’s hard to explain but the main thing about it is the song writing, it’s not pop and it’s not going to be on mainstream top 40 radio so its a little bit weird and not going to be everyone’s cup of tea is what I usually say [laughs].
Q: What’s the best and worst about touring?
TR: Everyone talks about the ‘post-tour blues’ and you definitely feel like there’s just this routine and you have to get used to the routine again and you even build up your own routines when you’re on tour to stay sane but it’s more of a thing of relationships; It’s hard to maintain relationships back home if you’re always leaving all the time, for instance I would love to have a dog or cat but can’t do that. I’m very lucky to live with 5 musicians so we’re all on the similar lifestyles and we manage to group together and cover our rent when people go on tour. It’s important to have a space back home that you can come back to and crash while recovering your energy. Best thing about tour is living quite an intense life it’s not boring and you get to meet lots of different people, you get a real broad outlook about life with people, communities and different cultures. I feel like if I looked back on my life then this five years or so that I’ve been doing this by far would be the most rich experience.
Q: One band you would like to tour with next?
TR: Neil Young or pretty much anyone. I don’t have any goals that I’ve set to tour with anyone because I find that things just open up and things arise and any opportunity is worth it. Pretty much most musicians can teach you something even it’s like the support band for you, they can inspire you. You see a lot of music while touring and then when something stands out it really stands out.
Q: Why should someone check out your CMJ set?
TR: I would say that a lot of CMJ I think is going to be loud boys with guitars and maybe check out all the girls. I feel like a lot more women are getting involved with music now which is great. It will just be different from the things people have seen. It will be a chance to catch something from New Zealand which is a long long away and I don’t know when I’ll be back [laughs].
Check out more music and information about Tiny Ruins: www.tinyruins.com