With their album “Sacred Ground” just around the corner and a mini European tour underway, Sophie sat down with Ry X at Gaïté Lyrique, just before his concert on February 18th, 2015. It was one of those freezing winter days in Paris. Sub-zero temperatures, very grey and murky… The kind of temperatures that could easily flirt with the kind of organic music that Howling will release with “Sacred Ground”. The duo made up of electronic producer Frank Wiedemann and Ry X himself on with his now well-adored trademark vocals, have been known to not play by any rules except their own. We expect that from artists, as we did from Ry X. Read on to know more about how, why, what, who with, and get to know more from the Australian born, Los Angeles based singer-songwriter-unexpected-hit-maker : Ry Cumings.
RY X started his career using his birth name. In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, he mentioned Pearl Jam and Jeff Buckley as the greatest influence on him. He started writing music at 16, after he heard Buckley‘s album “Grace”. His song “Let Your Spirit Fly” appeared on the soundtrack of the 2006 film Hoot. He moved to Los Angeles, where he was signed by Jive Records, releasing his self-titled debut album on 20 July 2010. He briefly toured with Maroon 5, becoming their opening act in select venues.[separator type=”space”] [separator type=”space”]
Interview by Sophie. Photos by Michela Cuccagna.
Tonight you’re in Paris to play your own music but you’ve been involved in so many projects : The Acid, Howling or Hymn de Lune. How do you find time to do this ?
I don’t ! (laughing) I don’t find enough time. I shouldn’t probably do all of this at once but I like to fuck with the industry (laughing)… I do !
“I shouldn’t probably do all of this at once but I like to fuck with the industry… I do !” – Ry X on being in 3 different projects at the same time.
You’re almost everywhere now !
I don’t like playing by the rules. I like to express myself in different ways and record labels and agents or people don’t understand it sometimes but I just did it anyway. It’s been fucking crazy for me too because there’s been so much work and so many projects but I love to make work.
You haven’t released your own album yet. Are you working on it ?
Yeah, but it’s hard. RY X is difficult.
You mean being yourself is difficult ?
Well, it’s hard to explain… Imagine that someone came into your house and undressed you, made you naked and just looked at you….
I would love it !
(laughing) French ! That was such a good answer ! Obviously your mind works better than mine ! You know, RY X is like undressed, very raw. It can be difficult to get to that place cause sometimes you might want to put make up on it. It takes time and then, when you give that to people, when you share that, people are seeing the most naked part of yourself.
Let’s talk about the song “Berlin”. You’re Australian, you’ve been living in Los Angeles, you spent some time in Germany. Is there any place you can call home ?
Well, I don’t know…yeah but it’s not an arbitrary thing. I have a few homes. Berlin is one of my homes, so is California and so is Australia. I could actually live anywhere as long as I’ve got community and love.
Would you be interested in trying other kinds of art ?
Yeah, I love lots of things. I actually direct the videos for The Acid and Howling and I creatively direct the projects too. Sometimes I write for other artists too and I produce them. I don’t paint, I mean I paint but I don’t paint for people, you know. There are some things that I maybe don’t do. I think everybody is creative, it just depends on how much you’re in touch with that part of yourself.[separator type=”space”] [separator type=”space”]
In all your projects, there’s always a strong link with nature. Will it also be a recurrent theme of your own album ?
I guess so… It’s on the Howling stuff because this project is very much about spatial influence. Being influenced by the energy of Berlin or the energy of the mountains in California. The RY X album is like a landscape of your heart I guess. It’s much more like the different places within yourself that you have to explore. In Howling and The Acid it’s a balance between internal and external but RY X is very introverted.
Talking about Howling, you didn’t start this project under this name so how did you pick this one ?
It was pretty obvious. We just wanted to have a name because the project started to take more of a shape … We didn’t plan to be a project in the beginning, we didn’t plan to have a record, we just wanted to make some music and then it turned out that we needed an album name, a band name so we thought how better than to start with the begining.
I read somewhere it’s a reference to the man being a lone wolf.
Yes, I live up on a mountain, I live a long way away from things. I kinda live a little bit of that life.
How did you meet Frank [NDLR: Frank Wiedemann] by the way?
We met randomly through a friend. We just met on skype actually and we saw each other in California when he was out playing and then I went to Berlin and spend some time with him. He’s just a wonderful human being. So we became good friends, brothers.[separator type=”space”] [separator type=”space”]
How do you actually manage to be involved in all these projects and still be yourself ?
“There’s some sense of rawness, which is very important to me, to connect and contribute to society.” – Ry X on celebrity / stardom.
(sigh) It can be hard ! (laughing) I’ll never be and I don’t wanna be a pop star so you never have to think of that much but you’re still under some awareness or scrutiny all the time. There’s always a bit of, not expectations but, a little bit of awareness on the projects. I’ve found out it’s important to be even more yourself, even more raw, even more stripped. And if people don’t like it they can fuck off. It’s a very French attitude, isn’t it ? (laughing) No, it’s something about being yourself. This idea of being naked and getting used to it. You don’t wanna do it sometimes but once you get used to it and you can stand naked in front of anybody and feel comfortable you get passed the borders. Yesterday in Brussels people writing an interview were like « he’s got no shirt on, he’s lying on a couch, he doesn’t care and he’s not put together » and I was like « Fuck you ! Like you don’t do this too ! This is my home now ! » (laughing) I give exactly who I am. I think people see artists and they want a romantic notion of who they are. Some of it is bullshit. You don’t need to go on stage every time with a new outfit. There’s some sense of rawness, which is very important to me, to connect and contribute to society.
Last time I met you you were about to be a father, can I congratulate you now ?
Bravo ! So now you need to find time for the baby too !
No, it’s like now I need to find time for life outside of the baby! It’s crazy, it’s a really good reality check. Everything suddenly makes sense in a different capacity. Everything becomes relevant and irrelevant at the same time. You realize that the esteem or glory is not real and you don’t need it cause you’re just in love with a tiny human being !
“Sacred Ground“ will be out on May 4th via Monkeytown and Counter Records.