The Ruby Coast Freefall by Laura Phillips

With the release of a debut album and new material on the way, the three-piece suit of Ruby Coast has taken this year with wings. The LP, Whatever This Is, marks an elevated garage-pop record on the front of easy listening. Atmospheric blends add a new, more visceral quality to the band’s high-energy palate, and with a myriad of projects on the go, Ruby Coast shows no signs of stopping. The Little Red Umbrella sits down with lead-singer, Justice Mclellan, to talk music, social media, his number one city, and what’s next.

LRU: So, you’ve been on the move.
JM: Yeah, we played through the US and Canada earlier this year as a band, and I just finished touring with Graham Wright of Tokyo Police Club. It’s been busy and giving lots of good flow for new material.

LRU: Is there any one city or gig that stands out the most?
JM: I love Halifax. Graham and I played some shows there during this year’s Pop Explosion. Split Crow Tavern and Pizza Corner always seem to make it into the agenda. Split Crow is nice because there is almost always some form of live music happening. Plus, the beer is cheap… it’s a spot that’s basically all about the business of drinking. Generally, though, Halifax is definitely one of my favourite cities to visit. Good people and an easy place to be.

LRU: Oh yes. Split Crow with their infamous “Power Hour”. Dangerous?
JM: Aghh, yes. I went for the first time before a The Most Serene Republic show a couple years ago, and it did get a little out of hand. Just a little bit. It was a great night...

LRM: On Whatever This Is, you worked with Howard Billerman (Arcade Fire, Wolf Parade) and Brian Paulson (Wilco, Beck). What was that like?
JM: The recording process was a bit more studious and drawn-out compared to our previous EP (less drinking involved). Although, pretty much everything was conceived prior to the studio time and we had a clear vision going in. Howard and Brian ironed out technical bits on the production end, but otherwise we just went in and did what we wanted to do.

What’s the songwriting process like for you?
JM: I try to write every day. I find that the more I write, the more opportunity there is for ideas to take shape. I can write 10 shitty songs, but eventually that will fire up something. It allows you to get those gems, otherwise I’d just be sitting there.

LRU: And how does this tie into the dynamic of the band?
JM: It’s all a pretty natural process for us. I’ll write songs by myself and bring them to the band during our sessions, and hopefully we find a way to work them into instrumentals / playable songs. On the opposite end, ideas also happen when we are just playing to play. It’s a mixed bag. I guess it’s mostly about collaborating and being consistent in output – rough thoughts and ideas can usually be molded into something good.

LRU: As an unsigned band, do you find yourself relying on social media for communicating your music?
JM: With Twitter and Facebook, they are just another place to tell people to come to our shows. I try not to get overly into it – if I have something particularly witty to report, sure, I’ll tweet it. But for the most part I prefer to put my energy into other stuff. And sometimes Twitter can be pretty silly. I don’t consider myself a socially inept person, but I refuse to plug away for hours trying to size up some kind of great ‘online personae’. It’s a strange world… I prefer to focus more on the actual music.

LRU: So what’s next for Ruby Coast?
JM: Well we’ve got four new tracks all ready to go, and plan to finish recording through November and December. But it depends on how long it takes to make the tracks that glue a complete album together. I’m also working on some solo work that will venture more towards electronic sound.

LRU: Sounds excellent. To be continued?
JM: To be continued.

Download Ruby Coast’s Whatever This Is for free HERE.

Photo: Ruby Coast

Laura Phillips is a Toronto-based arts writer with East Coast roots and a ponytail. Easily excited by most things music, book, femme, and film related, she can usually be found nestled under a blanket or sipping tea somewhere / anywhere.  Follow her on Twitter @la_pixies or contact her through


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