Emma Ruth Rundle Interview: “I wanted to make a raw and honest album”

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emma ruth rundle interview

New album Marked For Death is out now via Sargent House.

I can vividly recall the first time I listened to singer-songwriter Emma Ruth Rundle. I was about to cook dinner and looking for something to accompany my endeavour. I’d received an email about Rundle and so decided to give her a shot. I then burned the dinner. Such is the captivating nature of the LA native’s work.

Honest and heart felt, her songs are intense and emotional. Drawing on emotions of heartbreak and loss, she creates quietly defiant tracks that are truly beautiful somewhat like pearls made from parasites that invade oysters and clams.

She took some time to speak to us about her new album, Marked For Death, touring with King Buzzo from the Melvins, and what inspires her music.

Overblown: Marked For Death is your second solo album. What inspired you to release solo albums away from your work with Red Sparowes and Marriages?

Emma Ruth Rundle: I did release an ambient solo album called Electric Guitar: One before Some Heavy Ocean but its often overlooked due to its over lack of vocals. To answer your question, I have always made music alone, Cathy and Sargent House just gave me to opportunity to release it. My relationship with Sargent House has greatly influenced the path my career in music has taken over the last 6 years. Red Sparrows isn’t an active band and Marriages is sort of on hold for the moment too. Being a solo artist as well as a member of several bands makes it easier for me to keep working and not necessarily need to rely on others.

O: For me, your music is a quite beguiling mixture of folk with post metal. Is that a fair description of your music?

MRR: If it works for you, thats fine. I like the sounds of post-metal folk as a genre but I’m not very invested in descriptors. People ask me what I do and I say I play guitar.

O: When writing and recording Marked For Death, did you have any particular goal or intended end result in mind?

MRR: I wanted to make an emotionally raw and honest album- that was the goal.

O: You recently released a music video for ‘Real Big Sky’. In the video you talk about how natural beauty, or things that aren’t created by people, touches you more than things created by humans. Do you strive for that feeling when you create music?

MRR: Its not at the forefront of my thoughts when writing for this or the last album. When I approach guitar textures in recording or when working on ambient music, yes – landscape is part of the process.

O: After you released your first solo album, Some Heavy Ocean, you toured the US with King Buzzo from Melvins. What was that experience like?

MRR: It was a real honor to tour with King Buzzo. I learned a lot about being a professional in music from him as well as a great deal regarding performance, which was impossible not to glean after endless nights of watching him. He is a worthy hero in all regards and a very genuine man.

O: One of my favourite songs on Marked For Death is ‘Heaven’. I love how it is both delicate and yet muscular at the same time. What inspired that song?

MRR: I was on a particularly low down swing emotional and was thinking of my Granny Ruth. Most of my lyrics are fairly obvious and I think with a little reading the listener will not have a hard time being able to discern the meanings, themes and story of the song.

O: Who would be your ideal musician, living or dead, to collaborate with and why?

MRR: Patrick Walker, 40 Watt Sun. The Inside Room has been my favorite record for a while now.

O: Who or what inspired you to pick a musical instrument in the first place?

MRR: All three of my parents are musicians so maybe it wasn’t a choice but the story goes like this: After a massive earthquake in my hometown, Los Angeles, my mother took my sister and I into legendary folk store McCabe’s and told us we could each pick one instrument and that we would be allowed to rent it and be afforded some lessons. I chose the celtic harp and later went on to work in that music center for a whole 13 years.

O: What is your favourite song you have written and why?

MRR: ‘Real Big Sky’ – its very simple and humble in way. Its very human and from the heart.

If you like this Emma Ruth Rundle interview, you might enjoy our interview with Russian Circles.

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