Published Nov 02, 2012It's been a couple of years since Born Ruffians dropped a long-player, and since then, frontman Luke Lalonde found time to pen a solo effort, the newly released Rhythymnals.
"I started in early 2010, January or February," Lalonde tells Exclaim! "[I was] writing and demoing a lot when I was living alone, away from the band. I was in Montreal writing a bunch while the other guys were in Toronto. As I started writing more songs and completing more songs, they started to fall into different categories."
The songs, he asserts, "were written over such a long period of time, they're representative of a lot of different phases. There were times when I was like, 'Man, I just want to make a record of Scott Walker-style, crazy songs,' and then I would abandon that idea after doing a couple of songs. I was just going through a bunch of different moods, and I realized [after that] I had a very varied-sounding record, but I didn't really mind that. It became the point of it to just do something that sounded representative of those changes.
"Calling it a sketchbook would be a good analogy for [the album], but at the same time, they're songs that are still genuine. It's not like, 'Here's my Bowie rip-off song,' or whatever. They're still coming from a place where I was trying to pay homage to those influences."
Of course, Lalonde is still very much invested in Born Ruffians. The songs on Rhythymnals either had the wrong "attitude" for inclusion in the Ruffians catalogue, or they were simply finished before the band could hear them.
"If I had a really strong idea of exactly where I wanted the song to go, I didn't think it would be much fun to bring it to the band and be like, 'Well, I've already done the drums, this is how they need to sound, your involvement in this is minimal.' Those songs might as well remain in my solo catalogue."
So, although Lalonde maintains that "I do what I think is best for the song," he admits that the influence of his bandmates might still have played a part in the writing of Rhythymnals.
"There's a definite possibility that my taste in drumming style might be influenced by what [Born Ruffians'] Steve [Hamelin] does. I've always liked his sparse style, so maybe those ideas made their way into my songs. On this record, though, I've made the drums more simple. I was more focused on melody and such on the record. It's fun to be able to do all of that myself."
Rhythymnals is out now via Paper Bag Records. Stream it here.