By Lyndon Chiang
VANCOUVER – “We’re generalists,” says Ai Ito, lead singer of experimental, no wave group Ruby Karinto. “You don’t have to be ‘in’ to anything to like us. We write our music for people who want to have fun or clean their house – something that will set off a spark in [our listeners].”
Drawing from the ethos of the no wave movement, the Victoria-based band claims to have no influences and rejects any genre classifications thrown their way. Ruby Karinto only has one goal: to express themselves through their unique, dissonant sound. The band is onto something truly amazing, and they are just on the cusp of releasing their debut album as the newest addition to the HoZac Records roster.
Since 2013, Ruby Karinto has been working tirelessly to inspire creativity and fun in their listeners. Their self-titled LP is a collection of analog bleep-bloop synth leads from the band’s resident gearhead, Soma Morse, layered over the driving post-punk grooves of Jason Flower on drums and Damon Henry on bass. Ito ties the knot together for the band with tenacious vocals, bilingually fluid between English and Japanese.
The choice of language and content of Ito’s lyrics are based heavily on her vocal delivery. On conceptual tracks like “Ai is a Pencil,” Ito chooses to sing in English and keeps a droning pace that pretty much captures the nondescript, mundane character of an ordinary pencil.
On other tracks like “Jugemu,” Japanese seemed to suit Ito’s delivery better. Ito explains that the story of Jugemu is “A Japanese folktale about these two indecisive parents who were trying to decide on a name for their son.” As the story goes, the parents ended up with a list of 12 that they liked, but instead of choosing one, they decided to give him all the names.
“I was looking for quick staccato type vocals and I thought of Jugemu,” Ito recalls. Strangely enough, Ruby Karinto’s rendition of this hilarious children’s story fits almost too well over its noisy post-punk instrumental.
Ruby Karinto’s tendency to mix the ordinary and extraordinary is all to encourage their audience to let loose.
“I see Ruby Karinto as fun music to play live, and fun music for people to dance to,” says Morse. “Sometimes crowds can be shy, and we want people to have fun with us.”
Ito claims to see Ruby Karinto not just as music, but as an avenue for performance art. Ito even goes to the extent of crafting a new mask for each show. It’s clear that the band has taken significant efforts to create a one-of-a-kind experience for their fans.
If you’re drawn to weird and wonderful experimental acts like Deerhoof and Melt-Banana, you can’t afford to miss Ruby Karinto. Their debut album might just be the craziest release to come out of Victoria in 2018.
Ruby Karinto’s debut album is now available on Bandcamp.