Ruby June releases “Reflect” EP
You’ve recently released your debut EP Reflect. What made you decide on the title for the EP?
I first started performing my music about four years ago in a very informal way; open mic nights, talent shows, unpaid gigs. About two years ago it got a bit more serious and I realised that I needed to work a lot harder at what I do and be more intentional about sharing my music if I wanted to make a success of this. So I set out with a plan to record an EP.
I believe with everything in life that it’s good to reflect on where we’ve been and where we’re headed, and that was the idea behind the EP name Reflect. The night I officially launched Reflect to the public, I sang a song called Ruby June’s Got A New EP, and one of the lines reads “reflecting on life and all it can give, the fact that we only have one life to live.” With that in mind, I want to inspire people to be more intentional, to not let life pass them by too quickly.
Were there any stand-out moments during the EP’s recording process?
I recorded the four songs with a good producer friend of mine Jandre Spangenberg in Melkbosstrand. Recording with Jandre was absolutely effortless and an amazing experience! I got to record all the guitar and bass tracks for the EP and it was great to hear all the parts come together. My band mates (Behan Croeser on drums & CJ Duckitt on bass) often join me in the rehearsal room as we work on the arrangement of my songs, but being only a three-piece band, we often need to think outside the box to make live performances sound really good. In the recording process, your options really are limitless, and I loved being able to layer different parts together to come up with beautiful and exciting arrangements.
Do you have a personal favourite song from the EP?
My personal favourite song off the EP has to be “Beautiful”. I wrote it to encourage those who have been victim of abuse, whether it be violent or emotional abuse. I love when songs leave you wanting to listen to it again and again. Because Beautiful spends a very long time building up to its climax, once you hear the guitar solo, you’re basically falling backwards off your chair because the music just feels so good!
My favourite line of the songs goes “You’re beautiful, you’re beautiful, in every single way. Yes, you’re beautiful, no matter what they say.”
Where do you usually draw the inspiration from for your music?
I love writing from the perspective of other people, whether it be my family or friends or people I’ve never met. I find that it really pushes me to see why I’m exactly the same as everyone else. No one person’s worth should ever be more than another. I believe that God created us to be perfectly loved and that Jesus came to set me free. I always try to keep this in mind when writing my music.
Which other musicians have inspired and shaped your music?
I come from a very musical family, with musicians on both my mother and father’s side. Therefore I cannot discredit what my family has done and meant for me, especially my mother who has always encouraged me to be the best that I can be and to always keep dreaming.
During primary and high school years, I spent a lot of time singing with the South Cape Children’s Choir, which I believe trained me to become a better singer without me even realising it! More recently, my music has been shaped by the musicians I toured with during 2012 when I formed part of the band of a performing arts ministry called 13thFLOOR which was based in Pretoria. There I learned to work with people from different backgrounds and cultures and make beautiful music together. I also spent some time studying at a music college in Cape Town where I met the most amazing musicians who helped me find my “sound”.
Do you have a specific song-writing process or is the experience different with each song?
The great thing about playing music is that when you start to learn your instrument, you’re often presented with a whole bunch of rules. The rules is what makes you sound good, write good songs and generally play things that people will like. Sometimes I like to follow these rules, but for the most part I like to break them! I find that when I think outside the box by maybe tuning my guitar differently or not writing a song that follows the natural verse-chorus progression we find in most pop music, I get to be more creative and write songs that sound less generic.
My song-writing process is honestly never the same and I often surprise myself when out of nowhere a catchy line pops into my head or I think of a riff I could play on guitar. The great thing about living in the 21st century, is that we have smart phones that we can use to quickly capture all our ideas onto. If you were to go through my voice recordings on my phone, you’d find tons of unfinished ideas and potential songs that I’d still like to work on!