This interview is one of several which was originally done for a printed publication. Due to production problems it never saw the light of day so is being published here along with several others over the coming week or so.
“We picked a hell of a time to record”, says Ruby the Hatchet vocalist Jillian Taylor, “By the time we came out of our album isolation Trump was president, Leonard Cohen died, and the Cubs won the World Series. Everyone seemed to be in a haze, and so were we…the world really did look and feel different. It did benefit the music to be isolated like that; it begged for complete and unwavering concentration. We were players in a beautiful mid-century setting and didn’t leave much. It could have been any era in there really, and we sort of got lost in that and could operate more freely.” The Philly five piece have just released their third full length album, ‘Planetary Space Child’, and recorded the entire opus of hard rock psychedelia over several weeks of self-imposed isolation, resulting in a record that sounds even more theatrical than anything they’ve previously produced, especially as this is the first album they’ve produced with Lake Muir as a permanent fixture on bass. “We’re happy to keep surprising ourselves by pushing away from comfort zones and experimenting with new sounds and methods”, explains Jillian, “Adding Sean on organ full time was the biggest shift during ‘Valley of the Snake’, sending us into this theatrical, dark carnival direction. Our bass player Lake has been with us for nearly 2 years now, but this upcoming album is his first with us. The sound keeps unfolding and we let it go where it wants.”
Psychedelic rock seems have exploded in popularity in the last five years, with bands such as Electric Citizen, Royal Thunder and Blood Ceremony all becoming hugely popular, however, Ruby the Hatchet feel it’s a genre they very much make their own and they’re not just another act riding a trend wave. “Psychedelic rock is kind of like rock and roll that took a few more mushroom caps or acid drops. Not in the sense that everyone has to be on drugs to play or enjoy it, I mean, they mostly are…but the freeness of where your mind travels in that state versus a sober mind has similarity to the difference between straight up rock music and a version that bends, breaks, and makes balloon animals out of the rules”, Jillian reveals, “It’s all a bit more fun. We make it our own by not limiting ourselves. The way we see it, there are 4, arguably 5, brilliant and vibrant and independent musical minds at work in the band…why not take advantage of that? We write everything together and all ideas are valid.”
While the album title ‘Planetary Space Child’ may suggest that Ruby the Hatchet are reaching for the stars, their actual ambition for where this project is headed is much more humble, with more of a “whatever will be will be” approach to their future. For the moment Jillian and the rest of the band are happy to continue down the patch of evolving their sound into something that’s ultimately bigger and more refined. “Our ambition is to keep our music evolving in a fun way that keeps us all interested”, she says, “We have been at this for going on 7 years now and seen countless genres and sub-genres pop up and go in and out of popularity. We have been labelled things no one in the band has even heard of, and that is some of the fun in it too. Our hope is to keep people guessing so they don’t quite know where to place us, and keep ourselves guessing, and make sure the heads keep bobbing along.”