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Hailing from New Zealand, Ruby Frost’s musical career kicked off with heights few of her peers will ever see. Her dangerously catchy music infused with her synthy-pop sensibilities has taken the young songstress not only all over her homeland, but also abroad. In 2009, Frost won 42Unheard, MTV New Zealand’s talent search that saw the electronic wonder score a release deal with Universal, as well as the opportunity to showcase her material throughout the USA.
Teaming up with EDM mastermind Chris Zane, 2013 will see the release of Frost’s two-year-in-the-making album Volition. The first offering off the album Water to Ice has been handed down to fans. Feeds caught up with Ruby to chat shop in the wake of the release to learn more about what’s in store for fans who have been salivating at the mouth for more.
You’ve recently released your single Water to Ice; it would be great to know the story behind this one?
Ruby Frost: It’s kind of an ode to creativity! I recently finished recording my debut album, and wrote Water to Ice near the end of the project when I realised how the writing process was affecting me. At the start of the project, I was extremely down and feeling pretty dark after a disaster of a relationship…but the act of writing songs and getting everything out transformed me. Water to Ice is about being a storyteller, seeing life through your own lens and using creativity to change everything around you…creativity is a powerful, spiritual thing that got me out of a bad place.
In your opinion, how does this track represent the other tunes on the album?
RF: The whole album is a journey about growing up, moving on from the past and finding joy and happiness again. Water to Ice was a pivotal track about finding the colourful things in life again. I’ve written short stories to accompany the liner notes and show listeners what it’s all about – I want people to understand the story as a whole.
The album won’t be released until 2013; what can fans expect?
RF: Vintage synths, mystical themes, bitter love songs, and my wailing voice, haha.
Your influences are very diverse, and span many genres; how does this affect your creative process?
RF: It’s hard to tell how they actually affect me… I tend to get really obsessed with an artist for like 6 months and then have to move on. I listened to lots of Fleetwood Mac when I was writing the break-up songs, and that directly influenced me to write one of the tracks (Bendigo) all about stalking someone and not letting them go (inspired by Silver Springs). But other influences like ELO, Air, Elliot Smith were a lot more subtle I think. I didn’t think too much about the sound we were aiming for, just wanted to write exactly how I was feeling, and it sort of came together from there.
Prior to the album, many ears were pricked up around your music, including those of producer Chris Zane; what was it like working with him?
RF: It was so cool to work with him, he has the most amazing synths and studio gadgets. I really respected a lot of work he’d done before my album, so it was so nice being able to trust his instincts and watch him work his magic on the songs. He doesn’t like to overthink things, we’d just get ideas down and trust our instincts, and I like working like that…trusting your gut feelings is usually the best way to go.
Already you’ve played with acts such as Diplo, Digitalism, and Magnetic Man; what did you take away from these experiences?
RF: It’s always inspiring to play shows with massive artists and watch how they connect with their crowds. I think those shows just helped me feel more confident – it’s so much fun playing in big arenas or festivals and you’re forced to be more outgoing and larger-than-life on stage. I’m naturally a shy, shy geek who just likes writing songs in my room, so I’ve learnt lots over the past couple of years by watching great entertainers. Kimbra was a great one to play with too, she killed it.
Few musicians have the same reputation for bringing their live show to life in a way that you do. How much planning does into your performance?
RF: We always practice and every couple of months my drummer and I have a freak-out and change everything. We just want to keep being better live, and keep learning better ways of triggering certain sequences or setting things up more efficiently. We’ve got it so that we can just play as a 2-piece, but can add extra members depending on the gig.
Already you’ve landed MTV NZ’s heatseeking talent competition 42Unheard, which saw you get off to the States. What were the shows like there compared to back home?
RF: It was pretty surreal playing in The Viper Room! My drummer actually got a drunken tattoo after that show, saying “I just played the viper room” in the worst font ever. Crowds in the US are so supportive, people are really encouraging over there. I’d love to get back over and focus on the States more intensely…we were still figuring out the song during our first trip there, but it was a great time.