Having rocketed from obscurity onto the stage at Austin’s prestigious SXSW Festival via an obscene amount of support for the track ‘Aces’ across BBC Introducing, BBC Radio 1, Radio 2, 6Music, XFM and Amazing Radio, 2013 has been a whirlwind for Scunthorpe’s Ruen Brothers.
“People ask if we’re intimidated by the music industry,” says Henry with a laugh. “I think if they’d seen some of the gigs we’ve played, they wouldn’t be asking that question.” Along with younger sibling Rupert (22), Henry (23) has taken the Ruen Brothers from some of North Lincolnshire’s more insalubrious drinking dens to acclaim from tastemaking figures like Rick Rubin and Radio One’s Zane Lowe – who will be giving ‘Walk Like A Man’ its first airplay on 15th May as his Hottest Record – Huw Stephens, Phil Taggart and Alice Levine.
Good things have come easily to the duo since their track, ‘Aces’, was posted online in January this year. And well it might, since the song’s marriage of Stones-y R&B with heart-stopping, Roy Orbison theatrics sounds remarkably fully formed in a band so young.
Then again, Henry and Rupert have been playing this stuff for years – covers of hits by The Hollies, The Everly Brothers, Johnny Cash and The Beatles were mixed up with covers of more contemporary luminaries such as The White Stripes, Kings of Leon, Amy Winehouse and The Killers and were honed in bars full of “contractor blokes, who were all like 6ft 5 skinhead guys,” and scrap-happy punters.
Much as they enjoyed the opportunity to test their skills, the band lacked opportunities to try out their own songs, and in September they decided to make the move down to London and got to work writing, recording and making the DIY video for ‘Aces’ that would put their careers firmly on track.
Despite all that – and tracks like forthcoming single ‘Walk Like A Man’ and its b-side ‘Hold Me Tight’ can only boost their chances of doing for early-60s beat music what Jake Bugg has recently done for skiffle – the boys are taking it all in their stride for now.
“We sweated it out, we’ve done some of the roughest gigs,” says Henry. “I think growing up in a town like Scunthorpe, you don’t get influenced by any scenes, you just do what you enjoy and don’t worry about the rest. And I think that’s a healthy sort of upbringing.”
‘Walk Like A Man’ is released on Ruen Records on 1st July, the band will be playing a string of festival dates this summer and a headline show at London’s Electrowerks on 15th July – more details below.
Check out ‘Walk Like A Man’ below:
16th May The Great Escape Brighton
18th May Stag & Dagger Glasgow
24th May Dot to Dot Manchester
25th May Dot to Dot Bristol
26th May Dot to Dot Nottingham
14th July T in the Park Kinross
15th July Electrowerks London
20th July Latitude Suffolk
27th July Secret Garden Party Huntingdon
11th Aug Wilderness Cornbury
8th Sept Bestival Isle of Wight