In Lieu, Martin Ruffin speaks to The 405

In Lieu, Martin Ruffin speaks to The 405

In Lieu

Interview

Date: Jan 04 2011

Genre: Electronic / Experimental

Label: Unsigned

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In Lieu is the experimental project of Martin Ruffin, creator of the Fuck Crz EP. Released on January 1st 2011, this atmospheric record is an early and exciting showcase of the New Year’s forthcoming sounds. When rooting through heaps of promos, every so often a record arises that has to be explored – and we at The 405 believe that this is one of those records. Ruffin’s productions are complex and ambient, with similarities to the likes of Sigur Rós and M83. Following a very favourable review (here), The 405 decided that an interview would be ideal to find out more about the future of In Lieu.

How would you explain In Lieu? What is the project about and what are your aims
In Lieu’s basically a solo project where I play/program/produce everything and occasionally sing, and just a way of having a bit of cohesion in what I’m doing musically. Over the past couple years I kept starting overly ambitious projects of various genres, recording songs then getting distracted before they went anywhere or anyone really got to hear them so I wanted to try and focus on doing actual full bodied releases which could work in their own right, rather than just a few eclectic songs appearing online to my friends sporadically.

What is the meaning behind the title of the EP Fuck Crz?
Just kind of a play on words between fuckers and fuck cares, there’s no real deep meaning to it other than at the time of writing I was pretty pissed off at a few people and writing was a good way of taking my mind off of it. Plus I just liked how it looked on paper a bit, that played a part.

Following the Fuck Crz EP we’ve heard you have plans for a full length album. What can we expect in terms of sound and style?
First and foremost I want to place a bit more emphasis on the actual songwriting as well as the production, I’ve got some pretty set ideas on how I want specific chunks of it to sound and transitions to flow overall but most of the music isn’t written yet. While on Fuck Crz the instrumentals were quite rushed and a lot of the musical ideas were put in to fill space sonically, this time I want to just take more time and consideration in what to put in, writing on guitar rather than in the box. I love how Dntel makes really interesting fucked up productions and textures but they’re based around well written songs, and want to kind of go along that route but mixed with stuff like old Jeniferever, Peter Broderick, and those Manitoba records as well, a bit bigger sounding.

You’ve stated on your website that although you believe there are ‘proud moments’ in the EP, you’re not happy enough completely put it out there and get it released. What do you plan to change or do differently with future projects?
The main reason I say that is that I think I just left it too long unfinished to still be excited enough with the songs when it came to putting them in the public domain, and there’s a few niggling little production issues that I could’ve done loads better. I was planning to make the EP into a full length but life got in the way and I ended up having 5/6 of those instrumentals just sitting there for months, which sucked! So next time I’m going to have a set idea of how I want the entire record to sound before actually recording anything, then work on it as a whole rather than the individual tracks one by one, can apply a bit more attention to detail and everything will still be exciting once it’s finished and hopefully get in touch with a label or something to release it along the way rather than just have no idea what to do at the end. That’s the plan anyway, I hope.

The In Lieu sound is very original and experimental, what would you consider are your main musical influences?
Weirdly, my main influence musically sounds probably nothing like this record, but At The Drive In are pretty much my No. 1 influence as far as playing guitar and fucking around with effects from when I started recording music. But at time of writing I was listening to a lot of A Sunny Day In Glasgow, Memoryhouse, M83, Fuck Buttons, Youth Pictures Of Florence Henderson, Pele, things like that. An underrated band from Surrey called Secondmonday deserve a mention too. Oh and Sigur Ros, always!

If there is one, what is the story behind the Fuck Crz artwork?
It’s literally just one of my sisters illustrations that was lying around in my parents house, I think her artwork’s beautiful and she just does it for herself or for like presents for people without any delusions of grandeur which I think is great. I just thought it’d be a nice thing to have there and it kinda fits with my sounds, and show her that it’s worthy of being appreciated by others too. She’s living in Thailand, has no internet and thus no idea I’ve used it I imagine haha.

Do you have any plans for live shows? How would you plan on transferring the epic sound of In Lieu from record on to stage?
As a matter of fact that’s another reason I was a little unhappy with my EP, in around April I tried putting together a live band to play everything, but had no idea how to translate the electronics into a live setting and wasn’t comfortable just having a backing track behind everything else. Plus having the songs already written then having to teach all the parts to other people was a little frustrating and for better or worse I’m a quite impatient human. My awesome friend Ben gave me a midi keyboard/controller which I’ve since translated all of the parts of the tracks to on Ableton, and I’d like to do a one off live show playing the entire EP if I can do it justice at some point.

In future I’m definitely looking at what I write being a bit more playable, but I still like the idea of writing music that’s a challenge to figure out live, however annoying that occasionally is.

Can you tell us about the technicalities behind In Lieu? How is the sound created?
As far as how I make stuff, without going into too much detail I’ve got a Macbook pro which I run Windows XP on, then do everything in Cubase and do a lot of programming/audio manipulation to create most everything, recording anything else with an SM57 I’ve got and a cheap 2 track USB interface which I’m upgrading real soon. I’ve always been against the idea of using loops and stuff like that for some reason so I program everything electronic/percussion based entirely from scratch, which takes a while but I prefer for sure. I don’t really like the idea that people put a lot of parts in electronic music that they couldn’t write themselves, and I just think it’s a bad habit to get into creatively. Apart from that, I don’t like how most synths sound in general, so anything pad/synth like in there is from composing parts for classical instruments and screwing with them a lot to make sounds, re-sampling and re-amping plays a big part too. I think there’s a cassette tape used as a lot of percussion in there too somewhere haha.

Words on your website suggest you’re eager to get involved in collaborative tracks and projects, if opportunities arose would you include such tracks on your forthcoming album?
I’m hoping to do a couple of little collaborative projects separate to my next album, but it’d be nice to do a lot more work sending music back and forth online with people, so maybe a few things will come from that. There’s loads of young musicians I really admire musically at the moment, and a lot of music I write that doesn’t translate for my own voice or hold up instrumentally, so I’d love to do an EP or something where I just make instrumentals and get some friends to come up with vocals for and that’s a plan for 2011 too.

Apart from releasing a full length in 2011, what are your long term plans / aspirations for In Lieu?
To be honest, I have no idea beyond continuing just writing and recording a lot more, for myself and others. I only seem to work in sporadic obsessive periods of a few weeks so I’m content just making my own records in my own time without too much expectation, but I’d love to be in a position where more people could hear and hopefully enjoy my work and be able to eventually get a full band together of Anathallo proportions to do something live with. We’ll see, I have no plans to ever stop doing this so hopefully that can happen without too much real life hindrance. If I can spend the rest of my life making sounds and skateboarding then I’ll be content, for sure.

You can visit In Lieu by heading to http://inlieu.co.uk/

~ Article by James Murray

Written for The 405.

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