From Ruin are a thrash metal band from the south of England, who have been building quite a name for themselves with their crisp, melodic riffs, crushing rhythms and the soaring vocals of frontwoman Anita Griffin. M3 caught up with drummer Jon Rudin to discuss the internet’s effect on the music industry, and picked up some tips for up-and-coming bands along the way…
M3 – First of all, could you tell us a bit about yourself, and what it is that you do?
Jon – My name is Jon Rudin, I play drums in From Ruin, work at TMTI Ltd and currently studying BA hons in Music Business at the ACM Guildford.
What inspired you to form From Ruin? What are your own musical backgrounds?
It started from a school band called SRG, a punk band consisting of myself, Jonny Randall, Damian Milburn and Jake Hindley. The band was fun, had a bit of following locally and definitely gave us a bit of experience in gigging regularly and recording material. The band broke up a few years later and myself, Jonny, Damian and Pete Holman started From Ruin. We were all are big into our metal from a young age, bands such as Testament, Iced Earth and Iron Maiden definitely influence a lot of our material, and inspired by this started writing material for a Demo. Anita Griffin, our singer, soon joined after and Damian left with Karl Schramm taking his place. We’ve been writing and gigging frequently ever since.
What would be your preferred medium to listen to music (eg. Vinyl, CD, tape, MP3 etc.), and why?
CD – I have a massive CD collection, I love the ownership feel of a CD and of course the sound quality.
Do you feel the idea of an album, as a piece of art that people will listen to from start to finish, has been undermined or forgotten about in the digital age?
I certainly think the idea of shuffle, playlists and media devices have had an effect on the way music is listened to. But I don’t think listening, and appreciating an album from start to finish has been forgotten. I believe if an album is of high quality then it will grip the listener from start to finish, no filler!
Much has been made of the supposed death of the record store in recent years. Do you believe the digital age has killed the record store, and if so, do you think that this is a necessary part of progression, or a tragic loss?
I think the internet has had a noticeable effect on retail let alone just record stores. You look at Woolworths, Zavvi, MVC etc – all closed nationally. Game is likely to close down within a year or so. It is a shame, I used to love spending hours in record shops, trying and buying CD’s, getting home and playing it. But we’re living in the digital age now, I guess you could say it is just progression.
Many people have claimed that there is no longer any money in record sales, and that touring is the most efficient way to earn an income as a band. How much truth do you think there is in this sentiment?
I’d say that pretty much sums it up. Record sales have dropped because albums either leak or get streamed. Live music and branding is definitely where an artist should be looking to make income in my opinion. But the likely-hood is, an artist that tours 300+ days a year whilst writing albums, is still is likely to be broke! An artist will write music and tour for the love of it, not for the money.
How useful do you think social media websites are for new bands?
Very important, it’s a perfect way for bands to get their voice heard, find new fans and receive feedback. Every new band should consider using social media alongside their own website. Labels will usually look at social media statistics on a band to measure how much ‘buzz’ the artist currently has.
Recently, there seem to be a large number of bands offering their releases for free or ‘pay-what-you-want’ download via sites like Bandcamp. What do you think of this distribution method, do you think it is a realistic solution to the problem of illegal downloading?
I think it’s a good idea, but not a long term solution. ‘True’ fans of the artists generally will pay a reasonable amount for the album so it works in that sense but paying nothing is essentially the same as downloading illegally in my eyes. I personally think online music should be free.
What is your take on the recent SOPA/ACTA controversy?
I think if SOPA/ACTA/whatever spent less time constantly trying to shut down websites and suing online users and more time finding ways to make content seem more tangible and valuable, the record industry might not have declined so quickly. Instead of a TV license, how about a media license that covers all music, film video etc for say an extra £10-20 for all the media possible? The music industry for one would be in massive profits! David Kusek and Gerd Leonhard’s ‘The Future of Music’ gives a good futurist opinion on this, well worth a read, I don’t agree with it all but I like the ideas from it.
What would you say are the main challenges facing an up-and-coming musician/band in today’s cultural climate?
Time, money and exposure. As a new band you do have to put in the hours, cash and everything into getting yourself heard. Bands cannot simply record a track onto a computer and expect to be the next big thing. Bands need to work hard, work jobs whilst writing music, gigging frequently and promoting it as much as possible.
Finally, what does the future hold for From Ruin?
We’ve nearly finished recording our new album ‘The Path Ahead’ which should be available in the summer, we’ll also do videos and as many gigs as possible to follow up. Before the album release we will be doing listening parties for feedback on what tracks should be a video, played live etc so for anyone interested please keep an eye on our social media pages and websites – we’d love to hear from you!