"The album is pages from a diary documenting the arduous but necessary process of becoming and unapologetically embracing oneself" Introducing Ruby Mack
Meet Massachusetts based folk quartet Ruby Mack. Emma, Abbie, Zoe, and Abs released their latest record in Autumn (aka Fall) of 2020. We caught up with the band to chat all things Devil Told Me and Ruby Mack.
Hey Ruby Mack, how’s your day going?
Zoe Hello there! Doing great, thanks.
Em Full but glorious!
Abbie Day is going well!
So... where are you right now?
Abs Working at the hospital (on break right now!!) [laughs]
Abbie I am sitting with Emma in her living room! (I live upstairs, don’t worry, we’re in the same bubble!)
Tell us a bit about you guys, what do you do for fun?
Abs Definitely dance! I’ve been learning mando during quarantine, reading, and enjoying lots of dank food.
Abbie Fun? What is this “fun” you speak of? Just kidding...I like to eat, play with my dog and do as little as possible.
Emma I love to walk around neighborhoods and analyze the architecture. I am obsessed with the mythology of home.
And what’s the one thing people don’t know about you?
Abs I’m a huge nerd (which people do know) but I used to fence when I was younger (yes, as in sword fighting) which not many people know!
Abbie I used to pretend I was a horse when I was about 5 years old. I used to carry my sister around the house on my hands and knees.
Apparently you’re named after the Ruby McIntosh Apple. We’re big lovers of the Granny Smith in the UK, what’s your apple like? Sharp? Sweet? For making cider or cooking with?
Emma I worked in a gorgeous historic orchard for a while...where I first heard Ruby Mac’s name. Ruby Mac is a tart-sweet apple good for baking and even better for biting into fresh off the tree with the juice dribbling down your face. As a band, we embrace both our tenderness and strength.
Tell us about Devil Told Me.
The album is pages from a diary documenting the arduous but necessary process of becoming and unapologetically embracing oneself.
Would you consider it a concept album?
Abs I don’t think we set out to have it be a concept album but I think looking back there are definitely feminist themes that run throughout.
What was the first song you wrote for the album?
Abbie Ah, that’s a long question. We went through many iterations of the band before we landed on the present configuration and setlist. Emma definitely wrote the first song — Emma, when was that?
Emma I don’t even remember. Some of these songs have been incubating for years.
Tell me the most exciting/surprising thing that happened during the recording of the album?
Abs The most fun thing for me was probably improvising the fiddle part on 'Milktooth' and the solo for 'Jane'. If I could only pick one thing to do for the rest of my life it would probably be fiddle improv, it just lights me right up.
Which song turned out differently from how you expected?
Abbie Hmmm, I don’t know if anything turned out differently than I expected, but I can say the end product was wild to hear for the first time. I almost couldn’t believe we finished. I wasn’t expecting to feel so much in that moment.
You record in a converted church, how did that come about?
Abbie Well, that happened because our favorite sound engineer and studio, Andrew Oedel of Ghost Hit Recording, moved his entire studio into the church. We were actually the first band to record in the new space with him — that was pretty special. Oh, and this was RIGHT before the lockdown started. Wow… feels like so long ago now.
And what difference do you think that made to the sound, or vibe, of the album?
Live sound is a precious currency these days. The band was fortunate to record the album live and there is an effervescence and spiritedness that comes through that evokes nostalgia of the days when it was safe for us to gather.
Talk to me about Massachuesetts. I had family there for years as a teenager, so I love that whole area of the US. What’s the good and bad about it?
Zoe Oh we love talking Massachusetts! Two of us live in the western part of the state, where we all went to college and started playing music together, and two of us currently live in the Boston area in the eastern part of the state, so we are kind of experiencing the two worlds of MA at the moment.
The good parts of living in MA are having such a full experience of the four seasons, having so much of the culture revolve around local agriculture and artisans, and of course being so close to the beaches down on Cape Cod. A perk of growing up outside of Boston was that most touring artists (big and small) will have a stop in Boston or Cambridge and I went to so many concerts throughout my teenage years which I might not have had access to otherwise.
The worst parts about living in MA are probably the cold winters which last until mid-April, and the lack of diversity in MA as a whole - meaning that most prominent MA residents are wealthy, highly educated, white folks. Not to say that that demographic is bad, but there is little representation of anyone outside of that group. MA prides itself as being socially progressive, but the income inequality is quite astounding and is reflected in lack of access to food, housing, and education across the state. That being said, there are so many incredible grassroots and community organizers that are working to change this, and so many amazing non-profits and funds that support and value local independent artists like ourselves! Overall, MA is a great place to live, and to be an artist, and we are very lucky to have so much local support.
Assuming things become slightly more normal… what have you got planned for 2021?
Abbie The goal is to hit the road, write music together, be a band again, and look forward to what’s to come. Another album is definitely in our future.
If you could recommend one artist to hear this week, who would it be?
Abs Probably Bad Bunny or Young Smith. That’s what I’ve been bopping to this week.
Finally, how do you take your coffee?
Abs I actually don’t drink coffee!! It gives me heart palpitations, which is not a great time!! I love herbal tea and will treat myself to the occasional chai latte. 😈
Abbie Eppp, I don’t drink coffee either...I barely drink caffeine… but I like a good English Breakfast.
Zoe I looove coffee. I usually take it with a little bit of oat milk, fancy I know.
Thanks so much, I really appreciate your time!
Abbie Thank you so much! Stay safe out there, and make good choices.