ENVOYEZ VOS INFOS :

CONTACT [at] RADIOMETAL [dot] FR

Interviews   

Ruyter Suys: Addicted to her dose of Nashville Pussy


Ruyter Suys is quite a unique woman who decided to devote her life to rock ‘n roll. Well, “decided”… It appears that, for her, it was more like something she fell into and to which she immediately became addicted for life. To her, rock ‘n roll is “a religion, it is also my fuel, my passion, the air I breathe. […] it’s my cure, my love, it is everything to me. […] I need it just like a drug […] I am completely addicted.” If these words quoted from the following interview are not an absolute love declaration, then we don’t know anything about love!

And when she speaks about the new Nashville Pussy album, called Up the Dosage, Ruyter glows with happiness. Joyful, very positive, warm, about to burst out laughing any second, she makes us want to put the volume high and up the dosage, without worrying about the neighbours. You know… the rock ‘n roll way. And even if it is sometimes hard to stay feminine in this man’s world, where everyone spends three quarter of their time on the roads, just like “a bunch of fourteen years old teenagers”, the guitarist absolutely loves her job. Other than her enthusiasm, Ruyter looks back on what she considers being “their Back in Black” but also tells us about Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top) getting out of the shower and her love for… French cheese!

« Nothing’s cooler than waking up in the morning with your toothbrush and walking to the bathroom and seeing Billy Gibbons [ZZ Top] come out. »

Radio Metal: First we’d like to know about the most recent change in the band: can you tell us more about the reasons for Karen [Cuda]’s departure?

Ruyter Suys (guitar): Karen had physical problems with her neck. She had to have neck surgery and was no longer able to support the weight of her bass around her neck. Now, it’s been almost 2 years since her surgery, and she’s much better, but I don’t think she can play live anymore… She sure can’t play crazy Nashville Pussy anymore.

But you’re still in touch with her then?

Yeah definitely! She just had to quit because she just couldn’t handle it physically anymore. It was too much headbanging!

And how is she taking the fact that she’s not able to play anymore?

I think she’s really happy! You know, it’s a crazy life on the road, and she settled down, kind of [laughs]. She’s got a good guy, she’s bought a house, she settled down in Denver and she’s playing music. She seems really happy. I think she wanted to go to Brazil with us, but… [laughs]

You’ve been playing with your new bass player Bonnie [Buitrago] for more than a year…

Yeah, almost 2 years now!

… before she became an official member. How did you get in touch with her in the first place?

She tried out for the band 12 years ago, but we first hired Katielyn [Campbell]… Bonnie has been a fan of the band since she was in high school, since she was like 17 years old, she has only one tattoo on her body and that’s the Nashville Pussy tattoo on her wrist that she got done when she was 18. She’s 31 now and she’s been a fan of the band forever. When she first auditioned, it was very difficult because she was too young at the time, she didn’t have any real road experience or anything like that, so we said no. But when Karen quit we were like: “Shit, what are we gonna do? [laughs], who’s perfect for the job?” Then we thought about Bonnie and she said: “Fuck yeah! Of course I’ll do it.” By the time, it’s been 12 years later, and she’d already started her own band called Bloodhook. It’s a three-piece and they have toured United States and Europe, they’ve been to the studio, she’s got all this musical life experience under her belt and it was perfect. She fits perfectly and she’s a huge Nashville Pussy fan so she has a unique perspective in that, it’s like fresh eyes and a new heart that she brings to the band. She’s really nice, and very enthusiastic. Everywhere we go she’s like: “Yay!!!” while we’ve been there for a hundred times and we’re like: “Ugh, back in New York…” She makes us feel kinda young again! [laughs]

« If I wasn’t in a band, I don’t know what I would do. I’d go crazy. I would have to be like a hang-gliding fire-fighter or something to get out all the energy that I get out on stage. »

So it was kind of obvious for you to have her in the band, finally?

Yeah, she’d always been kind of on the lift. At one point she was busy with her other band, and almost every time we would be in Los Angeles she was here, as she lives there, we always see her, she comes to shows, she comes to parties, like we’re all friends. So now it’s fucking awesome that she’s actually in the band. She’s fun to party with, too! [laughs]

Was it also important for the band to have a female bass player to keep a kind of parity and balance in the band?

Definitely. We have to have the balance between oestrogen and the testosterone! [laughs].

What was Bonnie’s implication in the writing process of this new album?

She wrote all her bass parts. She’s also got a really good singing voice, so when we found out she sings so well we put backing vocals in almost all our tracks. Her, me and Jeremy [Thompson] singing backing vocals. She’s got a great voice. But yeah, she wrote all her own parts, we usually leave all the bass parts to the bass player so they can do their own thing, and she did great.

Blaine declared about the new record Up the Dosage: “This is our Back In Black album”. Why did he choose this particular reference?

[Laughs] I don’t know! I think it’s because it’s the biggest sounding album of ours, it’s got, like Back In Black, this kind of raw energy to it that is like earlier AC/DC or earlier Nashville Pussy, but at the same time, it’s our biggest sound. It’s like we’ve matured and immatured at the same time [laughs]. I think we’ve finally got a really good studio recording. It’s hard to capture the live energy in the studio, and I think we really did it on this album.

The album is called Up the Dosage and there’s two other songs referring to drugs. What is your relation with drugs actually?

[Laughs] Well, Up the Dosage doesn’t necessarily mean drugs. It could be anything. It’s just basically “more”. It’s like we’re taking it up a notch. We’re turning things up. It’s like we’re serious now. But then I don’t know. Blaine writes about drugs a lot. It’s a good subject, there’s a lot of good material in there.

« [About touring with ZZ Top] We spent all of our recording budget on that [laughs]. »

Would you consider Nashville Pussy as a kind of drug; addicting, relieving and dangerous at the same time?

Oh yeah, definitely, and I’m completely addicted. I’m a victim of Nashville Pussy, because even when I want to put it down, I can’t! [laughs]

The record starts with a crowd and an organ, something like the start of a gospel mass. Is rock’n’roll a religion for you?

Oh definitely, yeah. It’s not only religion, it’s fuel, it’s my passion, it’s like air for me. I can’t live without music, period. It’s my therapy, it’s my lover, it’s all that. I have to have it [laughs]. It’s like I can’t have no music. I have to have music, it’s my whole life. And now I’m actually in a band, I need that on stage, I need music, I need volume… If I wasn’t in a band, I don’t know what I would do. I’d go crazy. I would have to be like a hang-gliding fire-fighter or something to get out all the energy that I get out on stage. I wouldn’t know how to do that in the real world. It’s definitely a fantasy world that I live in, and I need it bad [laughs]. I need it as a drug, you’re very accurate! I’m completely addicted.

Apparently for this album you had a limited budget because of the tour you made with ZZ Top, which cost a lot. Was putting the money into this tour more important, in a way, than putting it in the album?

Obviously [laughs]… We had to make a conscious decision to go on that ZZ Top tour, it was an opportunity we just didn’t wanna miss, oh my God, it was so much fucking fun. Touring with ZZ Top was great, and completely worth every penny. We wanted to do it in style, we didn’t want to do it shitty, we wanted to have a really nice tour bus, and yeah, we spent all of our recording budget on that [laughs]. And we had a great studio – I think it’s spelled wrong in our biography on the album – called Nitrosonic, in Kentucky. We recorded a bunch of other bands there, Blaine’s other band that’s called The Kentucky Bridgeburners recorded there, his old band Nine Pound Hammer recorded there, me and Blaine have a side-project called Buzzard, we all recorded there at Nitrosonic, so we knew we could record the album in 10 to 12 days with a limited budget. We knew we could do it. Plus Brian Pulito is pretty cool.

So there’s no regret about putting the money into the tour?

Oh, fuck no! I wouldn’t want to give up that ZZ Top memory, nothing’s cooler than waking up in the morning with your toothbrush and walking at the bathroom and seeing Billy Gibbons come out. It’s like:”Right on! This is cool: waking up in the morning and seeing Billy Gibbons!”

« It’s hard to be true to your feminine side when you’re travelling and 90% of the people around you are men and not only men but men who’ve been on the road. »

This album is pretty diverse and there is a few references to the 70s’ inside: the country song “Hooray For Cocaine, Hooray For Tennessee”, “Till the Meat Falls off the Bone” has a kind of Aerosmith vibe to it, or “White and Loud” is kind of a stoner doomy song that is inspired by Black Sabbath. Can you tell us more about these particular songs? How these influences were included into the writing process?

I don’t even know where to start with that question! We get inspiration from all over the place. Obviously I and everybody are Sabbath fans, but that one riff in particular, I think I wrote it during sound check and recorded it on my phone [laughs]. When we were trying to find music, I actually turned in the phone to find all the little riffs that we wrote, and I was like: “Holy shit it sounds like Sabbath. What can we do with this…” Blaine wrote “Hooray For Cocaine”. I think he wrote that one just sitting around in the house one day with his acoustic guitar. But I mean, yeah, we listen to a lot of 70s’ rock so that stuff slips into our bones and comes right through our fingers.

Was it a way for you to pay tribute to your early heroes?

Not really, not specifically because, like I said, we get inspiration from all over the place, like there’s a solo in… I don’t remember the song, but it sounds kinda like Funkadelic. It has that Eddie Hazel kinda style, really erratic, energetic, crazy guitar, for somebody else it might sound like Jimi Hendrix. I don’t know, I just play the shit, and it might sounds like certain things but to me it’s all Nashville Pussy.

Was it also a need to diversify Nashville Pussy’s music a little bit?

Well you know, as usual Nashville Pussy doesn’t do really anything with a whole defined style, we don’t really think about what we do, we just do it! [laughs]

So it comes naturally?

Yeah, since the beginning, Nashville Pussy has been a very organic band. We never really have a plan. This album is the perfect example: if you had told me before we went into the studio that I’d be recording keyboards and mandolin, I would have said: “Really?!”, I would have been surprised, but by the end of it it’s like: “I wanna put bagpipes on this album!” When you’re in a moment, in the studio, and you get struck inspiration, you go with it. We come up with some crazy shit like: “Let’s use an organ at the beginning”, “Let’s use a piano on that song”, “Let’s use a mandolin over here”, “Let’s use slide guitar over there”… We just had a whole lot of ideas that came and we went with it.

You said in an interview that you were getting tired about the fact that you can’t play songs from yet not released albums on stage anymore without someone in the crowd filming it and putting it on the Internet. Do you think you’ll just stop doing that in order to protect your new material?

Yes and no. It’s just that it would be nice to play some of the songs live for a while so you can change them and kind of tool them, but we have that problem now with people recording them and instantly putting them on the Internet. I don’t know if it’s a problem or not, but it’s not the same as the old days, when it was a surprise when you heard the song for the first time. It’ll still be a surprise when you get to hear it live but people will already be familiar with the new song before we play it because they’d hear it on YouTube or something like that. It’s a little odd, I wish we could still do the stuff in private but with an audience! [laughs]

« I have trouble with that, when you look at an audience and you see all these phones staring at you [laughs] […] I know I’ve done it too, but I don’t post my shitty videos on the Internet. »

Isn’t it sad in a way that so many people feel the need to constantly do some crappy pictures and videos at shows with their phones instead of really living the live experience?

Fuck yeah! I remember the first time I went to the Prado Museum and I saw Hieronymus Bosch painting “The Garden Of Earthly Delights”, everyone was taking pictures of it with their cellphones. That was 12, 13 years ago and they had terrible cellphones, it wasn’t iPhones! They were taking pictures and I was like: “Why are you people doing that? Why are you taking pictures of the Mona Lisa? Look at it or buy a postcard if you wanna bring it home, pick a big picture of it.” It seems so stupid. You stand there and you look at a bunch of other phones. I don’t know. I have trouble with that, when you look at an audience and you see all these phones staring at you [laughs]… But if that’s what people wanna do, I guess it’s hard to argue because I know I’ve done it too, but I don’t post my shitty videos on the Internet. There are a lot of really shitty videos out there! But people are proud of being there, they wanna show that.

You’re known to have a strong temper. Is it essential to have a strong character when you’re a woman in this very masculine type of music and environment?

Very much so! You have to be more than just a guitar player, that’s for sure [laughs]. If you’re a woman, you have to play both the boys game and the girls game. It’s a little different being a woman out here, that’s for sure [laughs].

We’ve read really stupid comments about women in hard rock and metal. Do you sometimes have to kick some men’s ass because they were being disrespectful to you as a woman?

Oh yeah, that’s true for before I was in the band. It’s true anyways! If you’re born a woman, you’re gonna have some attention that you don’t want. That’s better now that I’m in a band and have my own security [laughs]. I don’t have to kick ass anymore, I can make somebody else do it for me!

But does that happen often?

Not really. To tell you the truth, I have really respectful fans. I don’t have any trouble with my fans, but it’s a bit difficult both being a woman in a men’s world and staying a woman. It’s hard to be true to your feminine side when you’re travelling and 90% of the people around you are men and not only men but men who’ve been on the road. It’s like travelling with a bunch of 14 years-old boys pretty much all the time. It can be a little hard to maintain your femininity, but I’m getting older now and I’m getting better at it [laughs].

This was my last question. Do you have anything to add?

I don’t know! I can’t wait to be back in France, we’re gonna be there in January or February I think, we always have a fantastic time in France. We’re looking forward to eating a lot of cheese as usual. I miss your cheese, France!

You can’t find those in America!

Well you can but it’s very expensive and it’s not as good! [laughs] I need your cheese to maintain my figure!

Interview conducted by Amphisbaena on December, 11th 2013.
Questions: Spaceman & Metal’O Phil
Transcription: Chloé
Introduction: Spaceman

Photos : Fernando Yokota & Claudia Mollard

Nashville Pussy official website: www.nashvillepussy.com

Album Up The Dosage, out on January, 20th 2014 via SPV/Steamhammer.



Laisser un commentaire

  • Arrow
    Arrow
    Alice Cooper @ Paris
    Slider
  • 1/3