When Chris Nova was in the exuberant pop-rock outfit Boxed Wine, him and the rest of the gang had a pretty novel way of getting their music out to people: giving all of it away for free.
Indeed, dropping a full-length, two EPs, and two meaty dance-ready singles is a hell of a way to get attention, but Nova’s muse was more than just pastel-colored party favors. Along with drummer James Janocha, and bassist FC Spies, Nova soon formed a much more rock-oriented outfit called Ruby Bones, which put the guitars and the grit front and center, but without sacrificing any of Nova’s clear melodic gifts.
“The long and short of it is that I’m always writing and had a ton of extra songs laying around gathering dust,” Nova said prior to premiering the band’s eponymous debut exclusively on PopMatters. “At the same time, I wanted to put together another band that played something a bit more ‘rock n roll’ than the more contemporary sound of Boxed Wine.”
“When I say ‘rock ‘n’ roll,’ for me it represents the idea of timelessness,” he continues. “What bands are timeless? It’s a subjective and oh so easily pretentious question, but in my opinion it’s artists like the Stooges, the Velvet Underground, the Strokes, the Thermals, Bruce Springsteen, Ezra Furman, Spoon, and the Walkmen. Groups who own their sound and exude a classic cool. Obviously there’s many more examples and arguments to be had about it, but as a songwriter those are the bands that I admire most. Their influence is definitely on the album in bits and pieces.
“My goal has always been to be in a band that could take from different eras and make something that seemed like it could be from any of them. If not on this record then on future ones. This one might have ended up being way heavier than I imagined it to be, but in retrospect that’s pretty cool. It’s good that it’s heavy but still not overly macho in a ‘hard rock’ sense. These are folk songs that got electrocuted and ground into the dirt a few times, and I know they’re probably better for it.
When asked to pick out a favorite moment on the debut, Nova giddily declares that “The song I’m most excited about is probably ‘Gone Gone Gone’. It’s got a longer structure, an extended outro that’s a blast to play live, and a feel/sound that reminds me of The Pixies. That one was a surprise, and recording the backups revealed that our bassist FC Spies only belts vocals like a 1977 English punk rocker. We still can’t figure out why, but it works wonders.”